In 2023, Fulbright students intern in Singapore as part of the Venture Fellows Program (VFP). Building on the previous two successful seasons in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, the Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation’s (CEI) has made special effort to provide Fulbright students with 100% internship opportunities at Singaporean start-ups.
CEI has actively fostered connections with Singaporean start-ups with the aim of creating opportunities for Fulbright students to work and learn in the country’s dynamic entrepreneurial environment. Over 20 internship positions were offered, and 12 students were supported to travel to Singapore and gain direct experience with start-ups such as HEA Care, HeyHi, Flare Communications, OSG, and Antbuildz.
Prepare solid groundwork for the best internship experience for students
To ensure a comprehensive internship period, Fulbright and CEI have carefully planned every step, from selecting suitable partners, designing the learning path, to assisting students with procedures for their trip to Singapore.
After passing the selection round, students participate in the Start-up Internship PrepCourse, a preparatory course lasting 2 days. Throughout the course, students are equipped with knowledge about:
- Intro to Tech & Startup Culture, and selecting Internship positions;
- Optimizing your resume & cover letter for Startup & Tech Internship;
- Preparing Winning Portfolio & Securing an Internship Offer;
- Navigating Virtual Interview & Negotiating Offers.
VFP also includes simulation training and tests to help students assess their skills. This allows them to understand their strengths to leverage and identify areas for improvement and learning.
In order to ensure that students can focus on their meaningful internship opportunities, Fulbright has provided full support for all expenses, including transportation, accommodation, and living expenses for the students. Students can choose the duration of their internship in Singapore, with a maximum of 4 weeks.
“CEI has always been enthusiastic in supporting me when planning the budget for this internship. As it was my first time going abroad, I was quite confused and did not know what to prepare. However, CEI has always been there, offering suggestions for adjustments to ensure I have a complete travel plan,” shared Minh Hiep, a student from the Class of 2026.
Cultivate the entrepreneurial spirit of students from the cradle of start-ups
In this year’s program, Ha Vy, a student from the Class of 2026, interned at Reactor School. This is a leading entrepreneurship education program in Southeast Asia, helping students turn their business ideas into real projects. Here, Ha Vy experienced the dynamic and passionate spirit of young entrepreneurs. Ha Vy’s manager is a young and talented leader who manages three markets: Australia, Cambodia, and Vietnam.
“His dedication is evident through small actions, such as preparing presentations with partners, meticulously editing documents, or flexibly handling situations,” shared Ha Vy about her manager. In addition, she learned many new knowledge and skills, such as negotiating contracts, creating and maintaining quality relationships with partners.
Although the internship period is just over 3 months, it is a valuable time for students to enhance their soft skills, learn through experience, and observe from experienced colleagues.
Nguyen Van Thanh, a student from the Class of 2025, enthusiastically recounts his first tasks at HeyHi, an AI learning system that provides personalized and effective teaching methods. As a Digital Growth Specialist Intern, Thanh was responsible for brand development and HeyHi’s reach by continuously exploring and innovating content development and communication methods suitable for current and potential customers. Thanh also shadowed his supervisor to learn how to communicate with partners and introduce the company cleverly.
The startup environment is not only dynamic but also “messy” because everything is new and requires employees to be flexible in adapting to the situation. After being shaped in the Liberal Arts education environment with interdisciplinary courses, “diving” into various fields and positions to support the company does not pose a challenge for Fulbright students.
Also interning at Reactor School, Minh Hiep took on the role of Business Development. In addition to the main tasks of implementing strategies to expand the Vietnamese market, Minh Hiep was versatile, jumping into supporting events, writing press releases, designing materials, and being the MC for programs.
Stories of the first foreign experience in Singapore
The opportunity to work and explore Singapore left many impressions on the students. Minh Hiep had the chance to discover many interesting places after getting lost unintentionally using public transportation. He also enjoyed multicultural neighborhoods combining Malay, Indian, and Chinese influences, as well as walking more than 10,000 steps every day.
This internship was the first time Thanh worked in a culturally diverse environment. “The trip to Singapore, full of memories and opportunities to meet students, colleagues, and even ‘bosses’ from different cultures, is something I cannot forget,” shared Thanh. It was also the first time this young man had a trip abroad after 20 years in Vietnam. Throughout the hurried preparation for the trip, Thanh often wanted to give up. However, in the end, he was determined to accept this valuable internship opportunity.
The 20-day life in Singapore opened up a “new horizon” for Huu Nguyen as he had the opportunity to interact with guests from various cultural backgrounds. “Where I lived had a common room, and I often sat there listening to people share about their culture and countries, talk about interesting trips, or things they found in Singapore. I always felt the closeness and learned a lot from everyone,” shared Huu Nguyen about the happy days with new friends.
In addition, Huu Nguyen also recognized the values that interdisciplinary courses at Fulbright brought when chatting with foreign friends. For example, Huu Nguyen brought the knowledge learned in the Modern Vietnamese Culture and Society course into a conversation about socialism-capitalism with a History major student at a university in the UK. From this, he understood that interdisciplinary knowledge at Fulbright not only helps in career paths but also makes you a more diverse and interesting person.