Student Stories: Yao Dong

Yao Dong was awarded an individual Prime Minister's Scholarship to fund an internship in Medellín Colombia, for 10 weeks at the end of 2019. Her internship was in the public policy team at Ruta N, a government organisation that was established to transform Medellín's economy through science, technology and innovation. Here is Yao’s story.

"My internship exceeded all of my expectations. I was most impressed and interested in seeing the many exciting projects that were being created in Medellín. Ruta N is the centre of the city’s innovation district, it attracts organisations from all over Latin America, and the world. This allowed me to meet visitors from many different places. There is great potential for innovation in Colombia and Latin America, and because of this I am now keeping an eye out for opportunities that may arise there for future endeavours. 

"Throughout my time in Medellín, I was fortunate enough to immerse myself into the culture in a way that many visitors do not have the opportunity to do. I found my way around less visited parts of the city, and I learnt to order lunch and dance salsa with my colleagues. Living and immersing myself in the culture also helped me to improve my Spanish, while my colleagues tried their best to teach me Colombian slang. I loved the whole experience. It taught me to be more relaxed, to value relationships, and to trust that everything will be ok.

"While in Colombia, I took many solo weekend trips as well as trips with other interns and colleagues. I visited small towns in and around Antioquia, which were more popular with domestic tourists. I also spent a week after my internship visiting some of the popular destinations for international tourists in Colombia, like Parque Tayrona

An overseas internship is a brilliant opportunity to learn about a specific culture and is a unique experience to have before starting your career.

"My advice for anyone embarking on the Prime Minister’s Scholarship is to be open minded, as it will serve you well anywhere. Also, call your parents!"