Luy Man Wai

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And seeing the successful closure of sales or leases to which I had some way contributed made me feel I had the potential to excel in fields other than nursing, if given the opportunity.

Although Luy Man Wai is enthusiastic about becoming a registered nurse after graduation, she is also determined not to limit her practical work experience to just that area. She has always been keen to challenge herself by trying different things, which is why she chose to do an internship with a small real estate agency in Barcelona, Spain, in the summer of 2019. What she saw and learned there have significantly broadened her horizons and enhanced her awareness of her own strengths and abilities.

The boutique agency where she worked emphasised attentive customer service, and Luy’s initial duties involved browsing through relevant websites and updating information in advertisements about units for sale or lease in the picturesque Spanish city. The agency needed assistance from interns because, traditionally, summer is the peak season for people to move home in Barcelona. In due course, Luy also began to accompany the firm’s owners on visits to apartments being put up for sale or lease in different neighbourhoods. “The internship really opened up the city for me; it was so unlike any of my previous travel experiences,” Luy says. “Together with my supervisors, I visited virtually every district and saw all types of residences from working-class to the most luxurious.” This in-depth look at things has indeed made for an eye-opening and enriching internship experience for Luy. “And seeing the successful closure of sales or leases to which I had some way contributed made me feel I had the potential to excel in fields other than nursing, if given the opportunity.” Luy adds.

During the various visits, Luy and her supervisors dealt with a wide range of sellers, interested homebuyers, landlords and tenants. “We took potential buyers and tenants to apartments they were interested in,” she says. “We also inspected each apartment to check if the overall condition was consistent with what the owners had initially stated. I would also help out with measurements.” Although it was left to her supervisors to discuss the details of contracts and other relevant matters in Catalan, the main language spoken in Barcelona, Luy learned to follow these discussions quite well by observing expressions and gestures.

 

Good customer service, she notes, is the key to success for real estate agents, and the same applies to other professions, including nursing. “We need to have empathy for patients in our care and listen to them attentively,” Luy says. “While language can sometimes be a barrier, I have realised that making an initial friendly impression by smiling is important. Smiles make people more approachable.”