Chloe Parkin – Challenges Worlwide ICS volunteer to internship in Asia

cpChloe started life with Challenges Worldwide in early 2016 on our ICS programme. Since then, she has excelled in her career, spatially and vertically. She had already arranged to participate in an internship organised by CRCC Asia, for 2 months after her placement. She travelled to Beijing to work with AirVisual, a company that focuses on tackling air pollution with real-time air quality monitoring.

After living in Accra, Ghana, Chloe became more aware of the extent of air pollution and the impact it was having on communities. As a consequence, she went to Beijing to begin her internship and arrived with an increased determination to make a difference.

After the initial internship, she was then invited back to work full-time! Whilst Chloe feels there was a different kind of culture shock i.e. not being able to speak to most of the people around her due to the language barrier, it was a challenge that drew her in. With a close community of young professionals and armed with her Challenges Worldwide ICS experience, it was a challenge she felt was achievable.

How has your Challenges Worldwide ICS experience contributed to your progress on your internship?  

beijing-summer-palace

Indeed, she highlights that her CW ICS experience was central to her success in securing her post-internship position. Particularly as AirVisual is still a start-up and therefore the skills learnt in the first half of the placement were directly transferable. For example, how to build brand awareness and identify which demographics the business should be targeting with its product is key to her role in marketing. Meanwhile, her experience from being part of the Communications Committee became particularly valuable in writing blogs and articles for the company.

In addition, due to the increasingly competitive nature of this sector, the competitor analyses knowledge and skills that she developed have become particularly valuable. In conjunction with the skills and experience above, Chloe highlights that her CMI training may well hold the key to progressing further within her company as it underscores her ability to work in other areas and in senior positions. Furthermore, the business has taken notice of her experience in Ghana and with an increasing demand for air quality monitoring within Sub-Saharan Africa, who knows what could happen, the world is open.

 

Was there the expectation to stay on?ghana-wedding

However, whilst Chloe had planned to go to China after Ghana, she did not expect to end up staying there longer than two months. Central to remaining in China was the fact that “having international experience shows employers that you are happy to move and commit to working abroad”. And what advice would Chloe give to other aspiring young professionals about to embark on a CW ICS placement?

“Go with an open mind” and prepare to say yes to new experiences. As with life, expect the unexpected. Makes it more fun! Chloe certainly did. During her placement, she was invited to the wedding of her counterpart’s relative. Being the only non-Ghanaian there, she admits that she stood out a bit, even more so when she danced in front of the whole congregation by popular demand! Why not?

“Have no set expectation” in addition to “think about what impact you can have, not about your pre-determined goals” are two further pieces of advice she would give prospective volunteers. These two sentiments that the impact might not be immediate but in the end, it’s about more than a three-month placement and ultimately, that is why it is important for volunteers to see how the business is doing through Challenges Marketplace.