Moving abroad is not easy. It challenges you in so many ways you’ve never been before. Every day was full uncertainty, loneliness, and unhappiness.
At least that’s how I felt.
As some of you know, I moved from Vancouver, a beautiful city I’ve called home for the last 12 years to halfway across the world, Bali. Now I know what you’re thinking. It’s gorgeous there. The beach, the daily sunshine, the people. All that is true. And, I was also moving back to the country where I was born and raised in. My parents couldn’t be happier.
I was happy to go on this exciting new endeavour too but little did I realize it’s not all fun and games.
On March 23, 2017, I was invited to speak to a group of students who are thinking of moving abroad to advance their career. I had a hard time thinking about what I should say. Do I sugarcoat everything, or tell the truth even if it might discourage them?
First and foremost, you have to know and embrace the fact that you will be uncomfortable for awhile. But have a goal in mind and set your mini milestones to get you through. Then,
- Be open minded and be willing to learn new things
- Observe, listen, speak their language. Not just the verbal language, but the implicit.
- Have allies – build trust, spend time to get to know them and they will let you into their world
- Find a club or association to be a part of
All these take time. There will be many lonely nights where you question yourself why you made the decision to move. When those nights come, remember what you’ve achieved. Zoom out, don’t get caught in the small details, but appreciate every little thing you’ve done.
Also, make sure you have a support system. I am lucky to have amazing friends who were always ready to cheer me on and some even came to visit!
During the panel session, one of the students asked what self development books or podcast do we recommend. My fellow speakers, Gordon Ching and Jared Lim, both have great recommendations. As for me, I let the students in to one of my coveted life secrets. YOLO. You Only Live Once. So go out there and experiment (but be safe please). I’m an experiential type of person, no book can really convince me to do this or that. I have to learn it myself, either the fun way or the hard way. The latter happens more.
Thank you AIESEC UBC and GradusOne for hosting this event and the kind invitation to let me share my story.
When was the last time you update your resume? Most people update it quickly before they start their job hunt, I know I did.
We had an opportunity to update our resume with Doug from the Career Management Centre at SFU. He gave us a bunch of great tips on how to make our resume to stand out more and it was a great timing for me too since I have not updated my resume for awhile. I sat there after the workshop to really clean up my resume and make the necessary adjustments. I have not sat down with Doug again to go through my ‘new and improved’ resume, but I am quite pleased with the content in there now.
Check out my new resume here. Please let me know what you think of it!
I feel like I’m losing the design touch on this particular version because I had to use Word, but I have seen some people use Word really well. So if you have some ideas of how I can improve it, please write to me.
Doug, thank you for the nudge. I needed it!
There are so many things I want to do on a rainy Saturday. Stay in bed, binge watch, drink hot chocolate, do puzzles, make some arts and crafts, basically anything but go to school.
I did anyways, because it’s our first case competition ever. I was excited but terrified at the same time. It’s been 5 weeks since classes have started and I’ve got to know what my classmates are like. They’re a bunch of smart, thoughtful, analytical bunch. I’m the exact opposite.
But there I was today at school, right at 8:50am, with a case in my hand. It was on Netflix and the year was set to 2007. We put our biases and knowledge of where Netflix is today (2016) and read the case thoroughly. Then we discussed the points and the alternatives given. Once the counter hits 1 hour 20 minutes, I started the presentation design. It was a challenge to not be able to use internet, even to grab images. But everybody was given the same condition and it turned out to be a great exercise for me to be creative with just text and offline resources (and very limited time) given.
I was so nervous when we were practicing our parts. I did not know what to exactly say. I started writing a script but I tossed it away. I let the words flow and the next few hours went so quickly.
Our team thought out presentation went alright. We were proud of our team but felt we could’ve done better.
Turns out, the judges didn’t feel the same way. They nominated us to go to the finals. Us! Out of 15 groups that presented, we got chosen along with other 2 groups to do another presentation, and this time in front of the whole 9 judges and the 52 people in our cohort.
Yes, we won! I could hardly believe it. It wasn’t just the judges who congratulated us, but the whole class. They said the combination of our stage presence and analysis of the case was great. It’s one thing to win a competition, but another to be congratulated by your peers (and competitors of this particular case).
I have a slight regret for deciding to skip the local MBA games because I didn’t have my confidence in check. But I know, the people that are going, are the best of the best from our cohort and they’ll bring home the awards on our behalf.
Accounting quiz is coming and I’m getting so nervous. I had no idea how to do depreciation, t journal, and all that jazz yet. I need the support of my crew but I am not too sure who could help yet.
– EP and I went to ETSY Craft Fair in North Van and picked up this beautiful illustration of Miya and magazine by Mint to Inspire!
– I don’t know how this guy does it but he did it, and with a smile at the end of the day. He stayed and sat for 4.5 hours while I studied Accounting in another room with a few other people.
– Since the professor allows us to bring 2 double-sided cheat sheet to the quiz, I decided to cram as much as I can to those two pages. Most people got theirs typed up but I find it beneficial to just write it out.
-Accounting quiz came and gone, it was fine. Just fine. I’m glad it’s over so now I can catch up on the reading and prepare for the next one.
– Nyak and Kap arrived to Vancouver
– 5k Inflatable Run with Danielle, Ken & Annie, and Eric. It was lots of fun, I just wish there was less running, more inflatable 😉 The girl running with t-rex costume on was the highlight of the whole run though.
– After a fun morning, I had to rush back to school and spend the rest of my Saturday (5 hours to be exact) working on economics assignment. It was a rather tense meeting but we got the assignment done nonetheless.
– On a side note, I’m really loving my Surface Pro 4. It’s been so useful, especially taking notes directly on slides and e-books.– Finally got to take photos on this bright and pink wall! I love how bright paint can change up the mood of an alley.
– Apparently PM Trudeau was in Vancouver that weekend
I’m freaking out. There are lots of readings assigned for this week and just looking at the calendar, it seems like we have so many things due soon. I like to plan things out but now I feel like I’m already drowning before the race even began.
But here are some highlights nonetheless:
– Read assigned articles to EP on the way up to Squamish and pretend it was a podcast
– Took advantage of the sunny day and listed down all upcoming assignments into my new agenda (spent over an hour looking for the perfect agenda at Indigo downtown)
– Participated in a video shoot for SFU because why not 😉
– EP packed hainanese chicken with quinoa for lunch!
– Team discussion on what are the most important things for us, what we are looking for, and what we are willing to give up. Our team decided on three main things:
1) To create and foster a positive team culture
2) To complete all our assignments on time with a quality we are proud of
3) To stay humble and open to feedback
I wrote that I’m willing to give up unexpressed expectations. I do that a lot, not just at school but in personal life, and I know by practicing giving it up, I will be much happier. Like Shakespeare said, expectation is the root of all heartaches. With EP too now, I try to let him know in advance just so he has a clear understanding and be on the same page as me.
Today is the end of the 2nd week yet it feels like I have been in school for much longer. I haven’t talked to most people in class, but I think I’m starting to get a handle of all their names now.
– EP dropped me off to school on orientation day
– Met my new cohorts (all 51 of them!)
– Got my name tag and business photo taken
– 1st hang out with a few people from the cohort
– Got a lavender bunch from EP
– Scavenger hunt around Vancouver with my new team. I gained the nickname “bunny” for having “endless energy” and “still jumping around after a long day of classes
It’s been a pretty long week it seems. I’m still so intimidated by my classmates and nervous to speak up in class. I know that I eventually have to because the leadership class relies heavily on class discussion.
It has been over a month since we celebrated the resort’s third anniversary yet I still can’t get over it. How could I? It was a magical evening and everything I have dreamt and planned for turned into a reality. It was more beautiful than anything I could ever imagine and I’m glad the guests and staff felt the electrifying energy too.
Every detail was carefully crafted as I did not want to leave anything out. I was a control freak, I admit, but I knew I had to if I wanted it to be magical.
As I have shared on April 20, it all started with an idea of having mermaids at the anniversary party. Indeed, the mermaids drove the whole concept and we decided on “Threemendous Sunset at the Enchanted Garden of Le Méridien Bali Jimbaran”. The evening enchanted our 450 guests with our lush tropical garden and one-in-a-kind 1,300sqm saltwater lagoon area.
Guests were greeted with the magical appearances of stunning mermaids from Mermaid.Inc, accompanied by fairytale-themed music from Bali Classical Lounge.
To kick off the evening, guests were invited to release beautiful butterflies of various species from all over the Indonesian archipelago to give them a new home in the gardens. The butterfly release stunned many of guests and added a magical sight along with the stunning golden dusk as the sun sets.
The celebration continued with cake cutting ceremony of a one-and-half meter signature éclair tower along with the thrown of real flower petal confetti.
Acro and fire dance performance from Dwi & Eka, the grand finalists of ‘Indonesia Mencari Bakat’ also enlivened the evening, followed by fashion show by Air Resorts & Swimwear, Uluwatu Handmade Balinese Lace, and Aryuna Jewelry, worn by models from Yongki Model Management, and the groovy tunes from Bali’s rising DJ Shissy Bvlagry.
Aside from the actual celebration itself, we had to keep the guests busy while we work on putting and setting up the magic in the pool area. So we had Uluwatu Lace Demonstration and Flower Crown Making at the lobby and they were both so well received by the audience.
The day after, we also hosted A Day at Sea – an experience to know a life of a local fisherman, and other engaging activities were also specially prepared to take all the guests’ experience to the whole new level during this extraordinary jubilee.
It was truly a magical night and I could not have done it without the immense support of the team, the family, EP, our entertainers and partners. I wish I could replay the moment and slow mo it.
Can’t get enough? Me too. Watch the video here.
This event marks a few career achievements for me:
- Efficient planning
- Creative thinking and problem solving
- Enhanced leadership skills
- DIY’d backdrop
- Event styling
- Project management
- Internal/external communication
Those are just a few things I learned during this whole process and I am just glad to have had the chance.
Photos by Grace Road Photography
I couldn’t sleep that night. I just kept tossing and turning. It was as if I was waiting for something to happen. Then something did.
My phone buzzed.
Any other night, I would just ignore it and force myself to sleep. But that night I picked it up and I’m glad I did! It was a nicely written email from the SFU MBA Admissions team letting me know that I have been accepted to their program!
I jumped out of bed right away and called my mom (she was in Vancouver, so it was her morning). I then texted EP and a few of my other friends. We were all celebrating the fact that I will be coming home to Vancouver, not as much the fact I got accepted to MBA. Haha! The responses I got from Facebook was immense though. I don’t want to sound cocky or anything but I am so very thankful to have such supportive group of friends that want me to be successful.
It truly is an incredible feeling to have that much support from others. But.. yes, there’s a but.
I am a little sad and concerned that I would have to leave the hotel for 1.5 years. Life is so funny isn’t it? Just a few months ago, I wanted to have a way out. Now that I have my “way out”, I don’t really want to leave. I am getting used to the hotel life and to the work that I’m scared that if I leave, I would have to start from the beginning again when I come back. Maybe I am just chickening out thinking about the amount of homework I would have to do. I was never a good student. I procrastinated often when I was in school. But I know this time it would be different.
I know I would come out from the MBA program a better, a more skilled leader. I look forward to enhancing my business and analytical skills. I want to make better decisions. I want to lead my staff with empathy and wisdom.
MBA Candidate (Can I call myself that already? Is it too early? It just sounds so cool!)
“What about sports bar?” asked one of the bartenders at the hotel.
For the last 1+ year, we have a venue at the hotel that we’re not using. It’s just left empty because we didn’t have a strong concept for it. It’s such a waste of space but we just didn’t know what to do with it.
Until one night I had a chat with two of the bartenders at the hotel and they brought up the idea of a sports bar.
But it was in August. We were too busy with everything else that was going on and we didn’t have a budget for it. But we’ve got everyone’s approval for it so we started planning and in January 2016, we really put all those planning into action.
On January 7th, I posted on Facebook, hoping there will be 3-4 replies to help us get started.
I obviously underestimated the power of Facebook and my friends’ interest of sports bar. 36 people liked the post and over 40 comments were shared. Each of them are so valuable. Some weren’t even considered by our team previously. We really took the comments seriously and we discussed them over and over again to make sure we hit all the right marks.
When I got to Bali, I made sure all the preparation for the opening is ready. There were still a few important things missing, like the pool table, foosball, and decor. I’m a GSD (get sh*t done) type of person so I took my Purchasing guy out and made sure we got everything we needed.
A week later, things looked better.
Yep, that’s our pool table before they got put together. Here’s a little secret for you… it’s a refurbished pool table. The price is half of the new and I was super picky about the quality.
For example, this leg right here, needed more bronzing. They had to do it three times ’til I was satisfied with the result. But once we put the pool table and 6 TV’s in, it started to look a lot like a sports bar. The next thing we worried about was the food and beverage.
I was wrong. Nothing to worry about here. The team has got it under control.
Thankfully, everything ran as scheduled and we were able to open the sports bar to our in-house guests as per our original schedule. It was a huge success! We received great feedback from our guests and we fixed our mistakes right away. It’s far from perfect still and there’s still lots of training to be done for our staff, but it’s definitely off to a good start.
Never in my life I thought I would ever help open a sports bar, but I did and I had so much fun doing it. I could have never done it without the support of the team here and the friends I have on Facebook. So thank you, for your hard work and for your ongoing support for Smoqee Sports Bar and Lounge, the first and only sports bar in Jimbaran, Bali!