YAU Chi Shing

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The frequent interaction with strangers, where I was using a second language, really boosted my self-confidence.

Yau Chi Shing is an outgoing individual who enjoys interacting with people from diverse backgrounds and all walks of life. One personal ambition he had was to work for a non-government organization (NGO) and that came about thanks to a 2019 summer internship at NCBI (Ireland’s charity for the blind) in Dublin.

 

“Initially, I wanted to find out about the different areas an NGO may involve in,” Yau says. “I hoped to get exposure to the field, make some connections, and familiarise myself with the operations. My career goal is to be an activity coordinator at NGO.”

In Ireland, NCBI is dedicated to providing a comprehensive range of services to supporting visually-impaired people. This includes running a training centre for individuals with specific needs, as well as training and assigning guide dogs. During his eight-week internship, Yau was attached to the fundraising department where he helped with the development of future events. “I conducted online research, came up with ideas for future monthly fundraisers, and wrote proposals,” he says. This involved regular discussions with his colleagues to assess the viability of proposed activities and required plenty of initiatives. “Doing that has certainly enhanced my communication and soft skills,” he says.

 

In identifying and liaising with potential event sponsors and donors, he also had the opportunity to solve practical problems and work independently. At one point, for instance, he had to pinpoint districts where would-be donors and sponsors might be found and then approach them via email or by phone. “The frequent interaction with strangers, where I was using a second language, really boosted my self-confidence,” Yau says. “This kind of full immersion definitely improved my communication skills. At first, though, there was a bit of a language barrier as many Irish people speak English with an accent – and at high speed. But I tried hard to adapt and was soon able to communicate effectively in the office setting and at our various events.”

Even making cold calls was less of a challenge than expected. “Many people in Hong Kong hang up immediately when they receive unsolicited phone calls from strangers,” he says. “In Ireland, though, most people are more curious. They would listen to what I had to say and ask questions.”   

Thanks to the internship, Yau now understands himself better. “I’m still driven and fully involved when working on something I’m passionate about, but I’ve realised I also enjoy meeting new people.”