Alumni Spotlight: Sol Marques


Why did you decide to intern abroad with TIC TWO in China?

I'm not a recent graduate and have worked in countries such as Australia, Singapore and Brazil in the healthcare sector but I always felt I under-delivered as a Diagnostic Imaging specialist. In my view, nobody chooses to have an illness and when they do, they deserve someone who can really offer the best service to them. I always felt I could do better and with time I realised I was in the wrong job.

I have been trying to relaunch my career in a commercial role, one where I could use my interpersonal skills, which is what I believe is my greatest strength, on a different level. I came across TIC TWO online and decided to apply. My primary vision was to create opportunities out of it; I was always mindful of my age and background since I was not the average intern you get in these programmes, but I think this was part of the challenge.

I have been to China before and felt that this would be a really good way to reinvent myself. From my first interview with TIC TWO I made it clear what I expected and we were able to take things forward from there on focusing on how I could benefit from it. I was both very happy and surprised when I was told I was accepted and TIC TWO found me a placement in Logistics, Marketing and B2B sales. From that point I decided this was definitely worth going for.

What made this internship experience unique and special?

There are a lot of things I could go on about here however, on a personal level what really made it special for me was knowing I can do and be whatever I want. My previous jobs were very dynamic and I have done so many different things in life, that's why I believed I could develop in various areas of interest.

I learnt a lot about a new industry and met so many people from all walks of life and was able to learn from each individual and where applicable I left my marks as well. The opportunity to expand my network has got be the best thing here, after all what is the point of having skills and knowledge if one doesn't have anyone to share it with? I can't emphasise enough how great it feels to create opportunities and exploit them to what best suits you.

How has this experience impacted your future?

As I mentioned previously this experienced has had a very positive impact in my life and has definitely contributed to the development of my future goals.

Personally, it has helped me to gain confidence, something I had doubted for while especially when I started to apply for different jobs and got so many rejection emails. That made me feel very frustrated and my confidence was slightly impaired, but I regained that very quickly by just being in China!

Professionally, I believe it has been just what I have been waiting for. I said I went to China after opportunities because that's where things are happening right now. During my internship I applied for jobs, was interviewed, and offered a position with a business who is looking to expand to the Latin American market. I speak fluent Portuguese so I guess it was the same as saying; " I was at the right place at the right time"!

Academically, even if it doesn't work out long-term and I go on to study at a master's level, which I intend to do in the future, I know more today as a result of this internship than I knew a month ago so it can't be a bad thing!

What is one piece of advice you would offer something considering interning abroad in China?

For anyone thinking about joining an internship program in China, the best advice I could give is: Believe that this experience will add value in your life, even if it's just on a personal level. Be open to cultural diversity and learn to appreciate China and Chinese people; they are actually very nice people and you can learn a lot from them!

Always be yourself and let others see your true potential. Admit your lack of experience and knowledge. I think it's graceful to do that. After all if you were an expert, you would not be an intern. In China, people value that a lot and they will be more inclined to help you learn as much as possible!

Have fun, its not just about being serious all the time. Shanghai is a fascinating and intriguing place and I think enjoying what the city has to offer outside work is also part of the experience. (Obviously don't do anything unsafe or break the law) I have been to various bars, restaurants, clubs and shops. Had I not done that I wouldn't know if could go back for longer. I have seen a lot of it and that's why I'm not hesitating to return.

Don't forget, this could change your life, so I definitely think this is not for everyone. However, if you do go, this could be the best decision you will ever make!