Newly embarking on her 21st year, Shivali Batt has already completed not one, but two international internships. A travel-hungry Londoner, Shivali was just 18 when she first decided she wanted to travel the world in a way that would also help to develop her career. Leaving everything she knew behind, Shivali pursued life-changing international internships in both Hong Kong and Madrid.
TIG: What initially drew you to your first internship in Hong Kong?
SB: With a huge interest in Mandarin and Asian culture/lifestyle, I initially sought to go to Beijing to teach English. However, that plan totally fell apart and thankfully I found The Intern Group. Although Hong Kong is not primarily a Mandarin-speaking city, it is still located on the side of the world I was most intrigued by (plus it is a tantalizing city!).
“I learned the importance of exploring and ‘leaving your nest’ before you make any crucial decision in life, like choosing a career. I mean, how are you supposed to make such a fundamental decision without having the slightest idea of what options are out there in the world?” – Shivali Bhatt
TIG: How did you grow during that experience and why did you decide to invest in a second internship abroad?
That was perhaps one of the best experiences I have ever had in my life. Even to this day (nearly two years later), I am reflecting upon the lessons of life, people and ambition, that I was exposed to then. The importance of making strong connections (professional and friendly), being streetwise and aware, consequences, sharing memories, the list goes on… But one thing I must say is, I learned the importance of exploring and ‘leaving your nest’ before you make any crucial decision in life, like choosing a career. I mean, how are you supposed to make such a fundamental decision without having the slightest idea of what options are out there in the world? We don’t go to the first furniture store we come across and instantly place a thousand pound order for a sofa, do we?
Sure going online is awfully convenient nowadays. But can you really guarantee that what you see is what is actually out there? If one wants to understand what it means to truly know, they have to get out.
Having had such a powerful experience in Hong Kong (thoroughly enjoying Asian culture), I really didn’t want to see my journey end there. As soon as I found out that I could get 10% off on another internship, and knowing that I had a large interest in and very little knowledge about Spanish culture, it was not long before I found myself learning Adobe in Spanish, feasting on paella, and gulping down sangria with the most beautiful people!
TIG: What professional insight did you gain from your internship in Hong Kong?
The most important insight I gained was that it’s not what you know but who you know. I think we all know this, but do we really recognize the significance of it? Only after I was faced with the forces and challenges of the global community and economy did I recognize it. Something that goes hand in hand with this is the importance of nurturing and maintaining a connection once made!
TIG: How were your internship experiences different?
Naturally, I met different kinds of people and encountered two distinct cultures. This put a lot of things into perspective. It made me realize how every single person is different, and culture only exacerbates that. Of course, I had to learn a bit more Spanish in Madrid than I had to use Mandarin in Hong Kong. Hong Kong was more international than Madrid – thus, I made more national connections in Madrid. In terms of the work-aspect, Hong Kong was more relevant and contributed more to the field I’m interested in.
TIG: Did you gain anything from these international opportunities besides professional experience?
I made amazing friends and had unforgettable memories!
TIG: Describe your experience in Madrid in three words:
Ah, I hate these questions! But if I really have to: colorful, dangerously fun, and unforgettable. Ok I cheated and gave you four.
TIG: Describe your experience in Hong Kong in three words:
Again! Ok – indescribable? Haha. Ok, seriously: entire, significant and unbelievable. Just so you know, that was horrible to do! The art of describing could never satisfy the experience that I had in Hong Kong.
TIG: Would you recommend an internship at The Intern Group? Why or why not?
YES. I would do it again too, despite already having hacked two cities. I was taken care of by lovely people that worked diligently to make sure I had an amazing time!
TIG: Anything you would like to add about your experiences?
I would like to thank The Intern Group for enabling me to have such wonderful experiences. I would like to encourage all to take the plunge, recognize that there is so much we all have to learn, and enjoy!
Inspired by Shivali, a truly ambitious global citizen? Apply today to boost your career with an international internship!
Photos provided by Shivali Bhatt