My TWC Story Continues
It’s hard to believe that it has been one year since I moved to Washington, D.C. and kicked off my experience with The Washington Center. What a crazy and wonderful journey!
During my semester in the U.S. capital, I wrote several blog posts about my TWC experience. Now that I'm back in Taiwan, I'd like to share how much I changed throughout and after my time at TWC, from a worried girl to a positive, confident young adult. Where did I go after the program? What was my plan to follow a semester with TWC? I thought my adventure would end after TWC and my life would go back to the same old; however, I underestimated my new self and the magic TWC gave me.
Right after my TWC semester ended, my friends and I went on a weekend trip to Canada to see the breathtaking Niagara Falls from the Canadian side. We were lucky enough to see the complete rainbow across the falls! Afterwards, I went to Cambridge, Massachusetts to visit my friend Frank, who was an exchange student at Harvard from National Taiwan University (NTU). Going to Harvard has been my dream since childhood, so you can imagine how thrilled I was to stay in their dorms, walk along the Charles River and chat with Harvard geniuses. Then I headed south to meet Ru-Shiuan and other TWCers in Miami, Florida, where I got to sunbathe by the beach and experience the hostels and holiday atmosphere there. Finally, I ended my 4-month adventure at Universal Studios (the very first one!!!) and then headed back to Taiwan.
At first, I thought it might be a good time for a break before starting graduate school in Taiwan after my TWC internship. Nevertheless, I found myself missing the fast-paced work environment of the internship I had in D.C. with Councilor, Buchanan & Mitchell...so much so that I again applied for another internship just 3 months later.
I decided to broaden my experience from accounting, so this time I applied to various internships in different fields. After many interviews, I got in the equity sales and trading department at UBS and have been working as an intern for almost 3 months now. I have to say, my TWC experience not only helped me get more opportunities, but also enabled me to adapt well in new challenges for the following reasons.
1. TWC polished my CV
After adding TWC experience to my CV, I found it much easier to get to the next steps of interview. Of course, we’ll never know the exact reasons we are chosen or rejected, but most of the interviewers are interested in my TWC experience, which for me combined studying abroad with an internship (in the capital of United States, as an added bonus). Also, my TWC advisors helped me to format and tailor my CV, making it stand out easily.
2. TWC taught me how to interview
At the beginning of my TWC internship matching process, I was so anxious and worried that I did not even know how to react when I got my first invitation for an interview. Thanks to my dear TWC internship advisor, I was able to practice mock interviews before the real one and learned some useful tips in the process. I gradually learned how to behave naturally, sincerely and confidently in an interview. Equipped with this skill, I no longer feel afraid when facing an interview. In fact, now I even enjoy each interview and look forward to its challenges.
3. TWC internship trained me to be a professional
As an international student, interning in an accounting firm during the busiest tax season while also dealing with the language barrier and cultural differences was no easy task at all. However, this tough challenge transformed me into a competent professional and has allowed me to be a better intern during my internship in UBS. Thanks to my prior TWC internship, I now adapt quickly to intense trading rooms (it’s easier than moving to a foreign country for 4 months alone), multitask well and know how to deal with stress and stay positive. Although the working environment and tasks are quite different, the things I learned from my TWC internship definitely apply to my new internship and daily life.
UBS year-end party @Taipei
As for graduate school, I took an optional Global MBA course because I really missed the discussion I had with students from all over the world during my evening course at TWC. I am the only Taiwanese student in this class, but I am very comfortable with public speaking and group discussions. It was through TWC that I realized having conversations and discussions with people from different backgrounds or cultures can be inspiring and thought-provoking. Even a common question can have such different results in different cultures. In Taiwan, I can still find my way to connect the world and keep my mind open.
All in all, leaving TWC was not the end of my international experience; in fact, it was a start of my international exploration and life-time adventure. I want to thank my parents, teachers and friends, who supported me to fulfill my dream in D.C. with TWC and thank TWC for not only giving me an unforgettable semester but also a turning point in life. This is indeed the best decision ever.
If you’re still not sure what you want to do with your life, if you don't think you have the courage to think big and act brave, or are just feeling uncertain about walking out of your comfort zone, let TWC open a door and a new chance for you. Trust me, it’s will be an amazing journey with unexpected results.