Working Abroad! The Work Side of Things


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This past summer I had the privilege of working at Hutchison Port Holdings, a terminal port company based in Hong Kong.  I was afforded this opportunity through the Iaccoca Internship program that is run here at Lehigh.  I, along with three other Lehigh students, spent eight weeks in Hong Kong working at the company.  Two of us were placed in the Operations Development Team which mainly dealt with logistics and engineering design. The other two students worked in the commercial department doing market research which was then distributed to the employees.  I was able to learn a lot through the experience, both professionally and culturally.  The first project that I was assigned to help with, involved planning the implementation of a new online forum that would be used internationally within the company to help install the Terminal Operating System at the different ports.  A Terminal Operating System (TOS) works to manage and track the different shipping containers that are imported and exported from the port.  The second project I became involved in dealt with a new regulation implemented by the International Maritime Organization (IMO).  In order to prevent ships from capsizing due to under-reported weights, the IMO issued SOLAS requirements which went into effect two weeks after we arrived.  These requirements specified the procedure to mass containers and pass this information along to the relevant parties so that ships remained safe while transporting goods.  I was asked to collect data from HPH’s forty-eight international ports and analyze it to determine how prepared each business unit was for the new guidelines. Throughout the process, I gained skills that you can’t learn in a classroom such as communicating with colleagues and upper management to achieve a common goal.  My last major project was to restructure an existing database within the company on SharePoint so that the files met a standard called CMMI.  The main objective of this task was to better organize existing files into a standard format so that others could more easily find files that are pertinent to their problem.  Overall the experience was incredible.  My co-workers were extremely kind and welcoming, which made the adjustment of working from 8:30 to 5:30 (or should I say 17:30) much more bearable.  We were able to make friends with other interns who went to different schools all around the world.  I am beyond grateful to have this opportunity provided by Lehigh, especially because I got real-world experience within my major, and can only encourage others to pursue this opportunity in their respective fields.


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