Our graduated intern, Timothy Teoh, shares what it is like to be a storyteller in LokaLocal during his internship.
The past 3 months has been the most important for me in 2019.
At the start of the year, I had just graduated and scouring the internet for jobs was a morning routine I didn’t look forward to.
Eventually, I did find a temporary contract job at a corporate multinational. And although my colleagues were great and the salary did help me earn that little bit of financial independence, it was quick to dawn on me that I did not get much fulfilment in this industry.
So I went back to the job-hunting routine. Combing over all types of job portals and turning them upside down – all in the effort to find a sense of purpose.
Ironically, my decision to apply at Lokalocal didn’t come from a portal site. Instead, it appeared when I was scrolling through social media and saw a post by their page on Facebook. “Hmm” I thought to myself, “I remembered sharing a post by this company a year ago, I wonder if they have a vacancy.”
Out of interest and a good deal of impulse, I sent an application that very moment.
And that’s where it all started.
Inspire, and be inspired
Working at LokaLocal presented a whole new set of challenges doused heavily with great laughter and eye-opening experiences.
One of the many things I’m grateful about is having the opportunities to meet some of Malaysia’s most passionate local experts. Now, you are probably pressing your assumptions that the term “local expert” is just a way to avoid using “tour guides”, and perhaps it is in the conventional sense. But I’ve always found “local experts” a more apt way to describe these individuals. Why? Because the conversations I have with them stems from a place that goes beyond an occupation. To them, showcasing what Malaysia has to offer isn’t just a job, but a duty.
More than just someone who would take you around town, these are knowledgeable specialists that could narrate history and culture without hesitance, absence of any hint of doubt.
Not only was I impressed with their stories, I was at the same time quite awestruck by the way they expressed their ideas in their own respective fields. Listening to them was a privilege which opened a new perspective into tourism in Malaysia. Just as much as it is a duty for them to pursue their role in being local experts, I also felt a sense of duty and responsibility to bring out the best in their stories.
One of them
I firmly believe one of the reasons why LokaLocal has been a great step for me career-wise is because interns are integrated into the team. One of the many concerns for those seeking internship positions is the lack of learning opportunities and static growth.
Fortunately, this wasn’t the case. I was quick to understand that Lokalocal would throw you into the thick of things. That meant giving you task that required you to get familiar with how things are run in the tourism industry.
Although I signed up as a writing intern, I was involved in much of the company’s backend duties that would see me take on a multirole position. A lot of my work had to with contacting potential local experts for our brand and facilitating them with the onboarding process. Admittedly, this took some getting used to as I’m not one who is comfortable pitching over the phone, but credit to myself, I did get better over time and was more than able to ring up anybody if need be!
Where writing assignments are concerned, I owe a big thank you to Rachael for diligently editing my articles and her valuable advice on how to fine-tune my work to look like a proper travel article. Not to mention the CEO, Khen, for his trust, encouragement, and freedom to carry out my task the way I see fit.
Also of course to the entire team that has helped me settle in and allowing me to be part of them. I will always be grateful to my colleagues who have welcomed me warmly into the company, albeit for only a short period. My internship at LokaLocal has been fruitful only because the people that surround me have contributed so much to the experience!
An unforgettable step
Simply put, I have no regrets taking this leap and joining LokaLocal for my internship. It has been such a great learning curve and provided the chance for me move one step ahead to my eventual career goal.
As a start-up, there is still a long way to go before the company can hit its full potential and grow in the direction that will see it breaking tourism milestones in the country. Personally, despite playing only a small role in the grand scheme of things, I’m glad that I have been part of the company’s growth, a company that I will always remember as my first significant step in being a writer.
We’re grateful for having Timothy with us to tell the stories of our locals. If you’re looking for an internship that will challenge you and help you grow in meaningful ways, apply for our Start-up Intern Programme.