This summer I have been reminded time and time again how extensive and active the Trojan Family is… especially in South East Asia. First of all, the Marshall International Summer Internship Program wouldn’t even exist if it weren’t for an active alumni network in Bangkok. With the help of Bangkok’s USC Alumni group, this program has been able to provide about ten USC students with internships and mentors for nine years in a row. All of the companies that we intern at are either run by or connected to a USC alumni.
The two alumni that really have really made the MISIP interns feel welcome this summer are Mr. Bill Reinsch and Khun Tim Bhanubandh, who both graduated from USC over 45 years ago. Mr. Reinsch hosted us for dinner during our first weekend here and even invited all of the interns spend a weekend at his beach home in Krabi, Thailand! Khun Tim treated us to an incredible seafood dinner (where we picked the live lobsters ourselves!) and a one night stay at his hotel in Bangkok. Beyond this, they have provided us with opportunities to meet and connect with even more USC alumni at a mid-program dinner and they also organized an afternoon briefing at the U.S. Embassy on U.S. and Thai business relations, which was very enlightening.
I have been lucky enough to travel outside of Thailand a couple times this summer for visa renewal purposes, and on both trips I ended up with fellow Trojans. I traveled to Singapore with other MISIP interns, but happened to connect with a friend I knew from a GE class my freshman year who lives in Singapore (I didn’t even know his family was from Singapore, we connected through social media!). He showed me around on my first night and took me to dinner at the famous Newton Hawker Centre (Singapore’s food courts are called hawkers). When I visited Hong Kong, I actually stayed with my friend who is interning through the USC Global Fellows program, so I got to meet and hang out with all of the USC kids interning in Hong Kong for the weekend. It was really interesting hearing about the protests from their perspective, since they've been there since they began. The friend I stayed with speaks Cantonese so it was super easy to get around and I got to eat at some restaurants I probably couldn’t have ordered at otherwise. It was so cool connecting with old friends and meeting new Trojans even though we are over 8000 miles away from USC!
My favorite thing about USC has always been the diverse student body and all of the interesting and driven people I've met there, and this summer has reinforced this sentiment. I believe that the amount of international students at USC and the international programs that USC offers really opens up our little bubble in South Central LA. Especially for business students, having a broader perspective on the world and exposure to as many cultures as possible is immensely beneficial to our futures. I can say from my experience that having an international work experience will impact and enhance the rest of my studies at Marshall and beyond.