Lennart during his internship in Bangkok
Lennart did his marketing internship at a boutique hostel: "Most memorable is the new family I got in return. It didn’t happen in one day, but overtime I learned about them, spent a lot of time with them, and became good friends".
Hi Lennart, what did you think about the city?
Bangkok is a global hub in Southeast Asia. A city populated with over 10 million people, it is very safe for its size. Mostly due to Thai culture, which shows generous respect to others’ values, expressions and acts. The country and Bangkok in special is very liberal and offers heaps of things to do. Cultural sites including thousands of temples and golden Buddha’s, day and night markets serving great Thai cuisine, boat trips on floating markets, exotic animal shows and many more. Also, Bangkok has great nightlife and is famous for its banging clubs as it attracts people from all over Southeast Asia. Asian people LOVE shopping too. Bangkok is home to tens of huge shopping malls, as big as seven stories high, covering every imaginable product you can think of. To travel around, just hop on the well-streamlined Skytrain, hovering sky high through Bangkok’s skyscrapers to any destination.
While living the big life in Bangkok, you will never have to worry about cold season. There is hot, hotter and hottest season. Close to the equator, Bangkok will treat you well with an average of 30 degrees Celsius. Don’t forget your umbrella though, it might get rainy. Bangkok is a fancy mix of concrete and jungle, flavored with Asian hipness and primitive food vendors. Thai culture will give you a warm welcome and treat you good. People are always smiling and are very helpful. Underlining their attitude in life is ‘sanuk’, having fun, with anything you do. Thai people are united, everyone is family, they don’t know violence and use to do everything together. Once you’ve eaten with Thai people, you are part of the family. Thailand welcomes you!
And what did you think about your internship?
Being involved in Marketing is very cool and individual. A hostel usually has less overhead costs than a hotel, which leaves a lot of space for budget. This consequently results in more marketing efforts, in order to create more awareness and attract visitors. Besides, since the brand office has a concise set of employees, it is easy to rotate through different departments and experience neat marketing first-hand. During my intern period, the hostel released a viral marketing campaign, spreading three funny videos with Thai tongue twisters, which generated a lot of attention. It has been featured on many local and international TV shows, magazines, radio shows, and has spread its love through social media and forums.
As I gratefully could stay at one of both locations during my intern period, I had the rare opportunity to meet all the hosts and learn about their background and personalities. I could witness their efforts to stimulate more activity and being interactive with Hostel’s residents, which requested a lot of energy. Their hourly wage is incomparable with western payload. But they loved their job. They put so much effort in doing their job and providing exceptional service. We went out with guests, organized city strolls and many other activities to stimulate ‘sanuk’ within Hostel. This resulted in a lot of ‘social’ activity through Twitter and Facebook, leaving guests with valuable friends forever. A superb example of this kind of brand experience, were two guests who tattooed “the name of the hostel” on their arms. There is no better marketing than people wearing a brand for life on their skin. The Hostel is not just a hotel. It has become a lifestyle. It is an experience.
What is the most memorable experience during your experience abroad?
Most memorable is the new family I got in return. It didn’t happen in one day, but overtime I learned about them, spent a lot of time with them, and became good friends. I will foster all the friendships forever. My supervisor organized many trips with me, visiting several islands and shared many cultural insights. I never, never expected my supervisor to take me for a six hour drive to just please my stay abroad. Do you imagine your Dutch boss to take you from Amsterdam to Paris, and back? And not just once but many times. I am very grateful for the family, which taught me to be more Thai than any ‘farang’ will ever be in such a short time. They are very caring, considerate and super friendly. Besides that, I have had many great parties with guests, met interesting people from all over the world and have had random, but great days and nights, ending up on places which the Netherlands will never be able to offer me. It is a great experience.
Do you have any tips for other students?
To really experience the country and culture you end up with, you should avoid foreigners as much as possible. Staying at a hostel, I have seen how many foreigners tend to stick around the hostel to spend time with other foreigners, which is fun, but it won’t get you very far or to unseen places. Many braided backpackers act like they have been everywhere, while they usually head for most touristic places, such as Khao San road, or like said stay with foreigners in the hostel, watching a movie or TV. It becomes really interesting when you make local friends, learning about their way of life and work, hanging out with them, and seeing things of the city you would have never found out on your own. Having a translator by your side helps you with bargains too, and will be easier and more fun to get in touch with even MORE local people. Hitting Thai bars and clubs are also an entire different experience than drinking with foreigners. I have met Dutch exchange students who sticked around their hotel all day, eat only in expensive (but familiar) restaurants instead of the thousands of street vendors, and complain about the inconvenience of not having Albert Heijn around the corner. They won’t learn about culture, won’t meet diverse people, or experience a lot of new things. Their culture shock might be bigger since they will never get to understand why certain things work the way they do. For me it has been a rollercoaster all along and that was ‘sanuk mak mak!’
How would you grade your experience?
My internship has fortunately not ended yet, but for all the goods Thailand, Hostel and the new friends have brought to me, while never put much expectations to it, is so far most valuable for life. There are times I feel envy towards guests who are able to travel all around Asia and to spend longer periods of time in other countries, similar to my stay in Thailand. I have been inspired by traveling and hopefully experiencing a variety of cultures won’t end here in Thailand. I kept recalling for the reason why I was in Thailand, and knowing that intentionally I only stay here to receive work experience. All the other things I could additionally experience, is just a gift of life. I recommend it to everyone! 10+