Travel with Austern
First quarter of 2016 is by far the most adventurous time I have had so far. The past three months have been spent traveling to 5 different countries and 10 cities. I have so many impressions and memories to share with you! The three weeks I spent in Hong Kong with Austern International was a privilege where I got to collaborate and be a participant. Austern is a Global Leadership program where students are given the opportunity to get hands-on real life experience by solving company challenges with booming start-ups, multi-corporations and organisations around the world. The program is designed to develop leadership skills, increase future employability and empower each and every participant to become change makers.
Swire Properties’ new tech start-up programme, Blueprint, was one of the companies that we visited during the program. Blueprint’s office doors brought life to Hong Kong’s famous food types such as Stinky tofu and Ha Cao in order to create a creative co-working space.
Being apart from my sister and partner, Tsutsumi have been a slight challenge for me. We always do everything together, but are now comfortably doing our own thing. During this trip I grabbed the opportunity to speak directly to one of Austern’s company partners, the founders of KLOOK, for a collaboration with our blog. I am so used to communicate online, so it was a personal achievement to step out of my comfort zone and take the chance to network and build a relationship with companies I share the same values with.
I had such an incredible time and benefited so much from the Austern program. I smiled, laughed and was constantly in awesome company with passionate people full of knowledge and ambitions. Prior to this program, I had not met anyone that had the same entrepreneurial mindset as these people. It was the founders Lily Wu and Jamie Lee, Austern team, participants, HR representatives, start-up founders, mentors and volunteers. I desperately needed to unleash my inner entrepreneur when the program came to an end. That truly emphasizes the importance of surrounding yourself with likeminded individuals that share the same vision and values as you.
I can’t help but realize that the future is in my hands and I am in control of its path. One of the most important things that I learned after taking the program is “It is not the idea, but the execution that gets you to where you want to be.” During the program I got to participate in a volunteering program, solve an offline marketing strategy for a start-up company and work on my leadership skills while adapting myself to a new unknown environment in Hong Kong. Three weeks flew by and so much was happening everyday, by the end of it I was not sure if it had benefitted me in any type of way. I simply did not know how to put words on how my journey had been to myself nor to my close ones. I was confused. On the last day of the program, however, we all gathered together to reflect on our journey. This was my turning point. Suddenly I was in possession of so many valuable skills and how I had earned it from being an active participant in the program. My mindset was disrupted and I travelled on with new perceptions on my future.
I came as a little nervous wreck not knowing how to speak up for myself and left with confidence, ambitions and an entrepreneurial mindset waiting to be unleashed. Austern have done an amazing job creating an opportunity for so many students. Travel with purpose and be a changemaker with Austern, guys! It is a life changing experience. You can apply, here.