Monique Chiong - 2015 Program Participant
Why did you decide to apply for an international program?
I applied for an international program because I wanted to experience something different outside of what I've known for twenty years of my life. Also, to be globally competitive and independent.
With my mentor, Michael Bevivino
What made you pick Global Experiences?
I chose this program because it catered to what I wanted and needed, which was an architectural internship that exposed me a very diverse culture and community while being challenged in a very cutthroat environment.
What was your favorite part about New York?
My favorite part of the location was that there really is no place like New York. I wasn't able to get through my day past nine o'clock in the morning without overhearing at least three languages as a I walked to my station to commute to work.
It's such a beautiful place and offers a diversity that I couldn't get anywhere else in the world.
What makes Global Experiences different from other programs?
The program was unique because I was the in-between intern. Global Experiences really was amazing on how they handled me interning late at fall and early in spring, which was a very special case. Other than that, the architecture program was unique in itself because I was dealing more with a single, specific project that is still ongoing, instead of doing multiple tasks at once.
In what ways did the local staff support you throughout your time abroad?
The local staff supported me through regular check-ins, either via email or in person. They made sure I was well taken care of and that I was enjoying the experience.
Is there anything you wish you would have done differently?
Nope. To be honest, I only wanted my internship to go longer because of the amazing experience I had in New York City.
With the Fall 2015 interns and the Chrysler building behind us
How was a day at your internship organized?
I woke up at 8 a.m. to catch the “6” train, getting to work before 9 a.m. My mentor would give me technical tasks to do and would give me deadlines to work with. If my mentor didn't have anything for me, other senior designers would give me other short-term projects to work with. Then I left around 6 p.m.
What did you enjoy doing most outside of the office?
Definitely walking around and seeing the architectural sights in New York City.
Where did you live in New York City?
I lived in 92Y. What I liked best about it was that it was pretty accessible and safe. Apart from that, the community at 92Y is very friendly, so I got to make international friends along the way!
What was the hardest part about going on an internship abroad?
The hardest part about going on an internship abroad is the possibility that your skills might not translate well into their culture. Of course, all doubts are quelled once you get into the groove of things. It's the initial shock that sort of settles in, but eventually you'll get the hang of it.
With the Spring 2016 interns and the Statue of Liberty right behind us
What surprised you most about New York City?
What surprised me most about New York City is that, despite me expecting a diverse community, being immersed in it was absolutely amazing. Everywhere I went to, there was an intermingling of different languages and cultures.
What is one thing you wish you would have known before going to the United States?
The one thing I wished I would have known before going to that internship was already knowing the stuff I would learn there; there was so much to explore! If I had known New York City like the back of my hand, I definitely wouldn't have needed so much time time during my internship to get around the transportation system.
Do you have any packing tips for individuals headed to New York City?
If you're going during winter, always pack thermals; it will save your life. Other than that, always pack light. Try to get your essentials (e.g. toiletries, underwear, etc.) in first and foremost, and always pack neutral colors so they can go with everything you'll wear.
What did you gain from your internship with Global Experiences?
It certainly has given me a sense of direction as to where I'm going with my career path and life. The program has made me not only a better professional, but also a better person overall. I've gained independence, renewed motivation and faith in myself, and less fear of change.
If you could intern abroad again, where would you go?
I am interested in going to London and/or Spain. Definitely somewhere in Europe.