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Emma Yen is the recipient of a 2022 Westpac Asian Exchange Scholarship – an award that helps fund student exchange programs in Asia. The scholarship aims to facilitate a cultural experience that will develop open-minded and complex thinkers, providing opportunities to network with some of the best Australia-Asia thought leaders.
Emma is studying a Bachelor of International Business, with a specialisation in the Asian market. She is also undertaking a part-time, virtual internship with a Japanese training and consulting firm, J-Global.
In the future, Emma would like to become a cross-cultural management consultant who helps Australian companies expand operations into the Asian market and overcome cross-cultural challenges. She aspires to improve ties between Australian and Asian businesses, and improve cultural literacy in Australian organisations.
In this interview, Emma talks about why she applied for the internship and what she hopes to achieve during her time in Japan.
Q. What led you to apply for the scholarship?
I have always wanted to go on exchange as part of my degree, because I believe that culture cannot be fully grasped unless you can have experience on the ground. The Westpac Asian Exchange Scholarship offered not only the funding for this experience, but also the Leadership Development Program in Singapore, and the connections brought by the Westpac 100 (W100) Scholars Network. It was this clear, continued investment in the scholarship recipients from Westpac that made me excited to apply.
Q. What does it mean to you to be one of the 2022 Westpac Asian Exchange scholars?
Being a Westpac Scholar means a lot to me. I’m so grateful that Westpac thinks that my vision to help bring Australia and Asia closer is worth investing in. I think that with my exchange experience as a starting point, and with the help and resources of the amazing W100 Scholars Network that I have met through this scholarship – I can definitely work towards this future.
Q.The Scholarship allows you to undertake university-approved exchange programs, internships, volunteering and intensive language courses. What do you plan to do with your scholarship, and why?
I will be going on exchange to Hokkaido University, which will give me the valuable experience to learn about Japanese culture and business in an academic setting from a Japanese institution. In addition to this, I will be continuing my internship with J-Global. As I have been working virtually, that has limited the kind of projects I could work on, and I am looking forward to the new experiences I can gain by being able to work in-person.
Q. What are you looking forward to the most about this opportunity? How has your degree prepared you for this?
I’m most excited to live in another country for the first time and all the new experiences I will encounter. I’m also excited for the chance to be in an environment that will force me to improve my Japanese language skills. I like to think that the Japanese language courses in my degree have helped me prepare, but I think it will be a shock to the system in the beginning.
Q. You have a particular passion for the Asian market and cross-cultural management consulting. How will this experience benefit your career ambitions to help Australian businesses navigate the Asian market?
It would be impossible to assist businesses without any experience or expertise in the field I’m consulting in. I think that this exchange will enable me to gain some of the on-the-ground experience that will be necessary to develop a deeper understanding of Japanese culture and improve my language skills. It will also help me work in Japan in the future, by enabling me to better understand Japanese business culture.
Applications for the 2023 Westpac Asian Exchange Scholarship are open. Click here to find out more and apply. Applications close 5pm (AEDT) Wednesday 30 November 2022.
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