Taiwan internship a
‘leap of faith’ for recent graduate

Leanne Ho says the three months she spent living and working in Taiwan as a business intern at Orient Europharma has set the trajectory of her career aspirations and is an experience she will cherish.
Girl stands in front of flag

Leanne: "At times, however, I almost forgot I was in Taiwan as its natural landmarks are very reminiscent of New Zealand."

I think at times in life we need to take a leap of faith. Not knowing what to do after graduation is a scary thing, but as I learnt during the three months I spent in Taipei, it’s an equally exciting one.

Having graduated in December of 2017 with a business and communication studies degree, I really did not know what lay ahead for me. However, I had a long-term dream of working in Asia and this internship opportunity seemed like a perfect stepping stone to get there!

A unique characteristic of Taiwan is its resilient and open work culture - something I experienced with my internship with Taipei-based multinational pharmaceutical company Orient Europharma.

Like so many people she met in Taiwan, Lianne says her colleagues went out of their way to provide assistance and support

My main project as a marketing and sales intern looked at strengthening existing marketing strategies and seeking new branding opportunities for a goat infant formula product imported from New Zealand.

The role primarily focused on building the brand’s digital presence in international Asian markets and using tailored channels to better acquire and engage target consumers.

Between working on this project and having fascinating conversations with my colleagues, I learnt that Taiwan’s economy has transitioned through a few significant stages despite its fair share of political challenges.

Historically a nation known for agricultural production and manufacturing basic consumer goods in the 1970’s, it's now embracing the digital age as a high-tech exporter of electronics and smart gadgets.

Orient Europharma is an example of resilience against this backdrop of economic transition. They are open to change and are constantly seeking new collaborative opportunities. This was evident in the company's work culture where my colleagues valued my opinions as an international colleague, and saw my project as a key component of actively transitioning into an increasingly digitally driven era for the company.

What was most rewarding about my project was that it provided me the opportunity to develop a diverse range of skills and learn about Taiwanese business culture.

I learnt about cross-cultural market research, liaising with international marketing managers, analysing website data performance, and formally proposed an optimization plan to senior management.

Girl sits in the curve of a rock

Leanne describes life outside of work as an adventure

Although challenging at times, it was a period of professional growth under the guidance of great mentors, just as a good internship experience should be.

Life outside of work was also an adventure. Taiwan is an island nation of about 23 million and its capital city Taipei has a large international community, which makes it an ideal place to form diverse connections.

At times, however, I almost forgot I was in Taiwan because its natural landmarks are very reminiscent of New Zealand.

A great weekend or even day trip can be made to mesmerizing outdoor spots such as Taroko Gorge, WuLai Waterfalls and Yehliu Geo park. And with the accommodating culture of everyday Taiwanese life, it’s equally as fulfilling to buy a cup of bubble milk tea and spend an evening in a three level book-store or board-game café!

I look back on my Taiwan experiences glad to have seized this opportunity out of university. It has set not only the trajectory for my career aspirations, but I will definitely cherish the rich experiences I had for years to come.