NUS BBA 26 June 2015

Abroad and beyond: An internship in the land of samba and football

Brazil is synonymous with football. But with its rich culture and colourful life, the world’s fifth largest country offers so much more than just the beautiful game, according to BBA first year student Lester Phua.

While Brazil might be an unusual destination of an overseas internship for Business School students, Lester has taken the bold step to work at a Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) there since late May this year.

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And out of curiosity, Outside-In caught up with Lester to find out how he is coping in the land of samba.

How did the internship in Brazil happen?

I was interested in having my internship overseas, I also wanted a truly unique experience out of my summer vacation.

When I applied through the global citizen programme, I looked through the list of countries available and I picked Brazil. It is the furthest country away from Singapore. I am also intrigued by its culture and customs.

The duration of the internship is seven weeks long and I am supporting the marketing team of an NGO called Casa De Emaus.

Tell us more about your NGO.

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Casa De Emaus is based in the city of Maringa. The organisation takes care of the elderly and HIV patients. Maringa is situated in the south of Brazil and close to the city of Sao Paolo.

My task is to organise fund raising activities, upgrade their website and create a social media presence for the organisation.

Are there other interns who work with you?

I am currently working with Ricardo, an intern from Colombia, as we work to raise awareness for Casa De Emaus.

We are also helping to set up fund-raising activities for the organisation. Currently, we are looking to raise 300,000 Brazilian real (SG$573,090) because a collapsed tree had destroyed the perimeter wall of the building and rebuilding it requires money.

What is the working environment like?

Brazil has a three-day work week, this means we work from Tuesdays to Thursdays each week.

I am unable to speak or understand Portuguese at this point of time, so Ricardo acts as a translator for me when I need to communicate with my colleagues.

What are you looking to gain out of this internship?

I definitely look forward to experiencing Brazil in terms of its culture and even cuisine.

My company has actually signed me up for samba lessons and a Portuguese language course, so I am extremely excited to pick up new skills and enrich myself.

And since Brazil has a three-day work week, I am travelling and exploring the country including the cities of Sao Paolo and Rio de Janeiro.

This programme will be an invaluable experience for me as I pursue my dream of setting up my own start-up.

Lester Phua is a first year majoring in accounting. He is keen on taking a second major in finance or marketing. His ambition is to start his own business.