Stories from our international boarding schools

Figuring out finances: My internship with the EF Hong Kong team

SooHee Kim, an IB student from South Korea, will start her last year of high school at EF Academy New York in September. She says her experience as an intern with EF in Hong Kong has changed her life and taught her how to make the most of her opportunities. Read on to find out more about her internship this summer: 

“What an amazing place!” That was the first impression I had when I entered the EF Hong Kong office. The glass window covering one whole side of the lobby showed me a magnificent view of Hong Kong: people walking busily in and out the crowded buildings covered with English and Cantonese signs, red taxis waiting for passengers, trams carrying loads of people, ads on the screens changing rapidly. While everything moved and changed so fast, the mountain slightly covered with clouds behind the buildings made the view exotic. I was thrilled about what I would experience and learn in this charming city.

As I was interested in finance and accounting, I applied for the internship with the finance team in the EF Hong Kong office. I learned how accounting was used in the company and how different people had different roles in dealing with the finance part of the company. Among different roles, I worked for the payroll team. The concept about payroll was new for me so I had to study some basics about payroll and the policies of the company regarding salaries of the employees. I learned that the finance system the company used is much more complex than one might think at first. For example, I learned that when a company hires someone, it should think not only about the salary but also about the extra working hours, holidays, insurance, pension and time off.

In addition to the work experience, I learned more from the experiences and the people I met during the internship. As I finished my junior year, I had to make important decisions about colleges and majors. Knowing that the choices I make now will leave a lasting mark in my life, I was stressed and scared. However, meeting people here, I gained confidence. First, they helped me to appreciate the fact that I can make choices. Despite all the burdens and worries I have about my future and my job, I should also be excited about what I can do during my college and further in my future. I realized that I should be thankful for the opportunities that I can have in the future and enjoy the moment. Moreover, I was so stressed about whether I was making the wrong choices but after I talked with them, I realized the world is not black and white. There are no right choices or wrong choices and even though the steps that I took today seem wrong right now, in the future, those steps can lead me to a better path.

Most importantly, I promised to myself that I will do something that matches my true passion and interest, not something that will bring me more fortune or a better reputation. Sitting with the finance team, I could see how the people in the finance sectors really work. I imagined myself sitting down in an office working on things that I am not interested and passionate about but only earning a good salary. It was miserable and frustrating. I concluded that I am simply going to try my best on big or small tasks I have right in front of me. And I truly believe that if I follow what I really like and try my best every day, it will really bring out the best in me.

This EF summer internship program was an extraordinary and invaluable experience for me. I thought I would make photocopies and bring coffee, but after two weeks, I found that I had grown and matured. Even in the future I will see this chance as a life-changing experience. Lastly, I really want to thank Sara Magnusson for guiding me to apply for this internship and Mandy, Johanna, and Anders for making this summer internship even more special.

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