An internship in a tropical paradise
by A’ishah Ibni Shaik Fareed |July 11, 2017 -- Updated 13:53

THUMBS UP: Kirwin’s exceptional performance and attitude during his
internship at a luxury resort in Maldives impressed his employers who
rewarded his family with a four-night stay. (PHOTO: Kirwin Lee)

Talk about having your cake and eat it. Not only did Kirwin Lee intern overseas, the 21-year-old’s family was given a complimentary stay for four nights at Maldives’ Gili Lankanfushi Luxury Resort.

Kirwin impressed his employer during his five-month internship last year. The School of Hospitality student worked nine hours every day, six days a week. He took on multiple roles. He was a management trainee, a sales and marketing representative and a butler.

Kirwin impressed his employer during his five-month internship last year. The School of Hospitality student worked nine hours every day, six days a week. He took on multiple roles. He was a management trainee, a sales and marketing representative and a butler.

Kirwin, who is a HPL Hotels & Resorts Pte Ltd scholar, was nominated by his lecturers for the overseas internship. “I want to get a memorable poly life, and of course give myself a little challenge, stepping out of my comfort zone,” he said.

“Not only that, lecturers have been encouraging me for oversea internship as they feel that students will get a different and unique experience there, getting training and a cultural experience which they may never get to experience in a local internship.”

One of the challenges Kirwin faced was language as some of his colleagues were not fluent in English. He picked up basic Dhivehi – the national language of Maldives – and learnt common hospitality terms online to aid conversation. Sometimes, Kirwin turned to Google Translate for help.

He said: “Having a language barrier does not stop me from my work and positive mindset.”

Kirwin also learnt to be sensitive to the local culture. During the Muslim holy month of Ramadan last year, he abstained from eating or drinking in public during the day. “There are people from all walks of life. There will be a difference in the cultural dimension and personalities so we have to be sensitive to what we say and do around them,” he said.

Despite the challenging work environment, Kirwin found time to dive, snorkel and parasail. His family also spent a week at Maldives and paid for their own expenses and leisure. “My superiors and resort manager was kind enough to reward me with a four-night stay complimentary (room only) and the rest of the expenses are on our own,” he said.

Kirwin feels that going to Maldives for his internship was one of the best decisions he has made. “I forged life lasting memories and if I had a chance to do it all over again, I would,” he said.

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