Between trying out ice-fishing and being wowed by virtual reality technology, it’s safe to say the three months Pang Suwanaposee spent in South Korea was varied.
The Christchurch software engineer was one of the Foundation’s Wilson Parking business interns in 2017, based in Seoul.
“I had enough time in Korea to become completely immersed in a new environment, which really opened my eyes on the current situation overseas and how people live day-to-day.
“I was able to see the differences between our environment and cultures, which I think is important to not only be more appreciative of the things you have, but also to build a greater understanding of people outside of New Zealand, especially in Asia.”
Pang spent her time at Wilson Parking working on a new parking database system, which gave her a chance to design a piece of technology from scratch while being mentored by IT professionals at the company.
“I am very happy I could contribute something to their technology sector while I was there. Without my internship experience, I wouldn’t have been able to graduate with my software engineering degree,” says Pang.
Outside of office hours, Pang was exposed to other world-beating technology which inspired her next move.
“Samsung’s VR [virtual reality] showcase at the Olympics sparked my interest in immersive technologies, which led me to working with augmented reality for my honours project.”
She also made valuable connections in Seoul, some of which remain strong today, and travelled around the region to build her knowledge.
“I travelled to Tokyo, Busan and Nami Island. I also went to Pyeongchang for the Winter Olympics and Hwacheon for their ice festival where I went ice-fishing for the first time.
“I learnt a lot about the Korean culture. I visited gardens, palaces and museums. I also went on an eye-opening tour at the DMZ and stepped over the border into North Korea.”
Pang says the internship was an unforgettable experience which broadened her perspective on the world.
“‘The world is your oyster’ speaks loud and clear to me now. There were so many opportunities for me to try things I have never done before… If I had another chance, I would do it all over again.”