My name is Wei Xuan. I am a year 1 student from the Faculty of Law, National University of Singapore.
I must say that my time interning with the Foundation has exceeded my expectations. My work here combined two interests of mine – social development and international relations. On the social development side, I was involved in crafting proposals such as the ASEAN Science & Technology Fellowship and the ASEAN Volunteer Programme. On top of balancing the interests of multiple stakeholders and working within the ASEAN mandates, these tasks further challenged me to put myself in the shoes of our beneficiaries to create effective and impactful programmes. It was also a good opportunity to apply the cognitive rigour and communication skills which law school inculcated in me.
On the international relations side, I had the privilege of attending meetings and conferences that gave me a behind-the-scenes peek at the workings of regional diplomacy. Watching diplomats balance the interest of multiple countries and find common ground to move forward as an ASEAN Community gave me insights into valuable negotiation skills. I was also able to better appreciate the rationale for the different ASEAN mechanisms.
Beyond the aforementioned, the Foundation afforded me a myriad of other opportunities to enhance my learning experience. My Executive Director and mentor would often share their insights into corporate governance and the skills involved in forming partnerships with private, public and civil society entities. The various meetings with ASEAN stakeholders allowed me to gather how the Foundation and its partners build mutually beneficial relationships. In addition, I was fortunate enough to participate in various ASEAN conferences that offered me a regional perspective regarding issues such as human rights and religious diversity.
Furthermore, I am blessed to have made friends with my amazing colleagues, who took time out on their weekends to show me the sights and sounds of Jakarta. They are always more than willing to answer my incessant questions about Indonesia’s history, politics and social issues in detail. I will treasure the laughs we shared over our many café adventures.
The lessons I learnt under the Foundation go beyond what one can glean from reading the news or studying textbooks. I hope that these lessons will continue to inform the kind of person that I aspire to be in the future.