Virtual IBM-New Zealand Internship Spotlight: Johntesh Lin
December 2, 2020
Where and when did you study/intern abroad?
I did an online internship for IBM between the months of July-August.
Why did you want to study abroad?
When I returned to Taiwan in March, COVID began to spike back then. I finished parts of my spring semester online after the extended spring break. My family business in Taiwan also got struck between the months of Summer break. I planned on taking summer courses then, but I did not want to add more financial burdens of paying multiple summer courses to my parents (financially stressed already). I decided, after consulting with my academic advisor, to take one summer course for the first half of my summer while finding an internship in the other half. Dr. Jennifer Clevenger introduced me to Global Academics Ventures (GAV), and they were willing to assist me during this time in finding a virtual internship. After being rejected by a few companies in internship interviews, IBM-New Zealand accepted me, and I spent the rest of the summer break working for them.
What is something that challenged you while studying abroad?
The biggest challenge was having to attend all the meetings on time (or even show up earlier) and be able to maintain an optimistic attitude while accepting feedback from your supervisors and workmates. I realized it was also challenging to match the supervisor's expectations with your expectations doing things remotely. They cannot help you out unless during the meeting, and you're on your own most of the time. That alone is quite challenging because you’re stressed about having to deliver a report that they might disapprove of during the meeting.
What advice would you give to students about studying abroad?
Stay optimistic! Being rejected in interviews is part of the experiences of life, and sometimes it's more about matching personalities with your interviewer. I would also recommend following up every day with your supervisors so that they know you're hard at work. Moreover, even if you do make a mistake, at least they'll understand that you tried very hard, that you're learning, and it is all about fixing the problem. I'll also recommend following the footsteps of your team. The internships aren't a one-man-show super stardom type of work. You're just a rookie, to be honest. Following the veteran's advice who have been there and know what to do is the best way to avoid putting in extra work, only to receive criticism and disapproval because you didn't follow their instructions.
What did you learn during studying abroad?
I've learned a lot about what IBM does within the global business aspect of their company. I also learned some skillsets and pieces of knowledge which apply to what I'm learning right now in my sophomore classes. Things like SWOT analysis, researching data, and gathering information, identifying market segments, as well as understanding what meetings within companies are like, is truly a spectacular experience.
What is the funniest or most memorable thing that happened during study abroad?
I remember many of the conversations I've had with my supervisor and my partner about life in Taiwan and New Zealand. We were also talking a lot about what to do during this time of lockdowns and quarantines. My supervisor also went on TV broadcasting during the time of my internship, and it was just fun speaking to them about it. My partner and I joked with my supervisor about how serious of a face he looked when interviewed, and we all shared a lot of waves of laughter.
I'm happy I got a chance to meet some more good people working on the other side of the hemisphere and was grateful that I accomplished the job well and earned their appraisals.
- Year: Sophomore
- Major: BIT-Cyber