sarah and hospital staff smile in the hospital in thailand

Internship In Thailand Prepares Moody Student for Future Career Abroad

  • Mar 4, 2021
  • Jenan Taha

When she first started at the Moody College of Communication in 2018, aspiring business leader and health advocate Sarah Fung knew she wanted to broaden her worldview and deepen her understanding of other cultures by studying abroad. She earned an internship opportunity at Samitvej International Hospital in Bangkok, Thailand during her first summer, and leveraged the UGS Summer Exploration Grant to support her endeavors.

Since 2010, the School of Undergraduate Studies has offered summer exploration grants up to $2,000 to support a wide range of student academic and career development opportunities. Fung says she chose to pursue an international internship because it was the perfect combination of professional experience and cross-cultural enrichment.

Each day of her internship was a unique experience for Fung, from observing surgeries to shadowing ICU doctors and helping with English translation. She studied Thailand’s distinct healthcare systems up-close and interacted with people from all over the world.

Sarah and staff smile in the hospital

“It was a really good experience to meet different kinds of people, especially in the hospital—it was the one closest to the airport, so a lot of international people would go there,” Fung said. “We interacted with a lot of Thai people, a lot of people who spoke Arabic and even some people who spoke French.”

After work, Fung enjoyed visiting Thailand’s colorful night markets with fellow interns, where she sampled Bangkok’s famous street food and absorbed the country’s rich culture.

sarah poses at a food vendor in thailand “It was a really great way to get to know the culture better and familiarize ourselves with the different kinds of food, so it was pretty exciting to get to go after work,” she said.

Fung’s experiences in Thailand solidified her desire to work abroad in the future.

“Thailand has definitely shaped both my academic and career goals,” Fung said. “Growing up, I was pretty sheltered. And that's why I think going abroad is so important, because to become a worldly person you need to have different experiences, and if you confine yourself to university, you're not going to be able to grow. I'm so thankful UT has programs that encourage students to go abroad and have these experiences.”

Now in her third year as an advertising and health and society double major concentrating on healthcare in the economy, Fung says once she graduates in spring 2022, she plans to work in marketing before applying to serve as a Peace Corps Volunteer to promote maternal health or work in HIV/AIDS prevention programs.

“Having a job isn’t just about what your major is,” she said. “By doing international work and learning another language, I can be more knowledgeable about what’s going on around me and use that to learn to care for other people. I want to take my skills and apply my education here at UT into helping other people wherever I am.”