After waking up at nine twenty, I brush my teeth and wash my face in five minutes. Then, I put a capsule in the coffee machine, and quickly turn on my laptop, log in to Zoom and attend my nine-thirty lesson. Yes, this was my daily routine for almost my entire university life. Since the COVID-19 outbreak in 2019, schools were forced to shut down and quickly adopt the mode of online teaching. Particularly in my city Hong Kong, the strict lockdown measures and social-distancing rules have drastically affected my life poorly.
At first, I liked having online classes as I could wake up just ten minutes before the class started and save transportation time and cost to the school, but the cons outweighed the pros. The pandemic caused me to be so lazy and demotivated that I had become the living embodiment of a sloth. Especially, when all sorts of public facilities like sports grounds, swimming pools, cinemas, and museums were closed, this gave me a valid reason to stay home and chill. I also could not hang out with my friends due to the strict social-distancing measures, not even having dinner together as we were not allowed to dine in after six. The pandemic undoubtedly worsened my social life and made my university life dull. Before entering university, I always imagined meeting new friends, joining clubs, and mingling with others on the beautiful campus. Thanks to the pandemic, all my fantasies about my vibrant university life were gone.
It was such a horrible experience to be stuck at home. Fortunately, I have found a new hobby during this pandemic – baking. I love eating, especially desserts, so why not bake for myself? Almost every week, I tried to bake something new, ranging from breads to Russian Napoleon cake to French desserts like creme brulee, macarons, and Portuguese egg tarts. I enjoy the process and, of course, eating them all! I am glad my family and friends enjoy it as much as I do too.
Finding an overseas internship amid the pandemic
With the harsh border restriction in Hong Kong, I was worried about my overseas placement – one of the most important graduate requirements for my degree. Due to the pandemic, the school allowed us to work in local organizations. However, I did not consider interning locally or remotely as I have long longed to experience living and working in a foreign country. Initially, my university matched me with a social impact organization in the US. Yet it, unfortunately, decided not to take interns at last. With my school continuously trying to source new placement opportunities, I also tried to find internship opportunities by myself. I spent much time and effort looking into many websites, writing cover letters, and sending applications to different organizations. Some replied they could not assist with my visa application, some asked me to intern remotely (which I 200% do not want to), and some didn’t provide any updates. With tight deadline, I began to panic because I feared I would not find an overseas internship and have to do my placement locally or virtually. I even thought of the worst scenario where I could not get any internship offer and would have to defer my studies.
Ding, an email notification popped up. It was an interview invitation with APCOM, a week later. I immediately stopped browsing for other internship opportunities and started preparing for my interview. The interview went well, and I gained more understanding of the work APCOM has been doing and its goals. Eventually, I have been offered a six-months full-time placement position in Bangkok.
Working at APCOM for four months so far, I have been bringing over my leadership and experience to the team. As a student intern, I mainly assist with HIV prevention projects while preparing communication material and helping my colleagues at different events. I am glad to be part of a diverse and dynamic group of like-minded individuals, as I love meeting people from different backgrounds and exploring new cultures. I believe that this six-months journey will be a lifetime experience for me.
APCOM staff share their activities for maintaining good mental health
Click on the photo to read their articles.
A (Wattana Keiangpa)
Arm (Siripong Srichau)
Mill (Natthakorn Chatsakulsri)
Shan (Tanet Vongvisitsin)