Dominique Nolen - internship abroad at the Regional Finance Department of the TMF Group in Hong Kong
I was really happy to receive the Holland Scholarship, Hong Kong was more expensive than expected.
Looking back on my experience abroad
The internship has contributed towards my professional development, as it gave me the opportunity to experience what it is like to live and work in an international setting. It showed me the standards of working in a large, international company: how to dress, the formal way of communicating and of course how to communicate cross-culturally. In my daily communications with other cultures than my own I learned and experienced things I couldn’t have learned during an internship here in the Netherlands. Next to that, because of this experience I was able to expand my network, which won’t hurt for my future career. And finally, it helped towards my decision for my master. The experience of having a job in the regional finance definitely helped in making this choice.
On a more personal level, the opportunity of getting to know such a different culture and country was amazing. I’ve gained both personal and professional advantages, made great friends and professional connections. Getting to know a culture where the religions are so different from my own and where they celebrate such different festivities, like the Mid-Autumn festival, was absolutely interesting and something I’ll never forget.
How to prepare
The process itself, from applying for my internship to actually arriving at my destination, took pretty long. From doing the interviews to actually arranging the practicalities, like flights, housing, opening bank accounts and making sure you have the right insurance: all in all it became a lengthy process. So make sure to take your time in getting all this straightened out, it’s not something to start with last minute.
One practical tip regarding to Hong Kong specifically: I found it particularly difficult to arrange housing, as the demand for housing is very high in Hong Kong. I would therefore advise you to contact a company that rents out studios or apartments.
Financing the stay abroad
On average, I have spent 300 Euros more per month than I would have done here in the Netherlands. I could partly compensate this with my salary, which was also higher than back home, however the rent of 950 Euros a month was still a big chunk out of my finances.
Winning the Holland Scholarship was actually a big surprise for me. I did not apply myself, the career services of RSM selected me based on my grades and the fact I wanted to do my internship outside of Europe. I was really happy to receive the scholarship, as Hong Kong was more expensive than expected. I think I still would have gone if I wouldn’t have received it, but it definitely helped in making decisions about, for example, the accommodation.