I-ki Chan is the founder of Virtual Global Internship Initiative and a managing coordinator of One Young World in Asia. In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, I-ki leads the Virtual Global Internship Initiative, embracing the idea of Working from Home and Overseas Internship, aiming at filling the gap between the excessive supply and demand of human resources in online job opportunities. In the past years, she took part in establishing the Hong Kong Federation of Youth Group Leadership Institute, the first leadership institution in Hong Kong. She and her team raised over 50 billion HKD for projects that support social transformation and inclusive development, including social entrepreneurship, responsible business, human rights, and wildlife conservation.
[Below are some highlights from the interview that are edited for clarity.]
The Virtual Global Internship is a very new idea in Hong Kong. When I stay at home and work for my full-time job, I keep asking myself what I can do to contribute to society. I start thinking about Virtual Global Internship when I see the problems of young people who stay at home without any plan about their coming summer and graduate job. Due to the pandemic, many young people are having their homework and exam online. Graduates can’t find a full-time job and internship, which is very important to their future career development. I see this as a severe problem not just only among graduates, but also working youth and those lose their job recently. We can do something to help because they are staying at home doing nothing.
I met many university students who decided to extend their university completion to next year so they could find the job. During the time of job hunting, they need to find out their future career development and direction. I asked myself what I can do more than giving them advice. One of the practical matters to me is to provide the first-time experience. Due to the limitation of the virus, you can’t go outside easily. The human resource department can’t interview you in person. You might not be able to go oversea for any exchange or internship programs. Why don’t we go online for all of these experiences? So, I start to think about a global internship opportunities.
We do the internship at home by connecting the interns and the company partners. I think this is what I can do quite easily. With my previous jobs, I have a connection with some non-profit organizations in Hong Kong, especially youth organizations, university departments, some professors, and some people working in career development for young people. On the other hand, I have some friends from oversea, especially leaders from One Young World and Forbes 30 under 30, who are developing beautiful projects. They always ask for human resources, so I see the gaps. I think about matching young people and global leaders together. What I was doing in the past few years was to connecting the global leaders to local leaders physically in Hong Kong. Now we go online, which is another version. This is how I start the idea of the Virtual Global Internship.
We encounter difficulties every day. The pandemic is out of everyone control, but what we can do is how we transform crisis to opportunities. If you have a positive mindset that you can make a difference, nothing can stop you to be successful and happy. Maybe you are currently in trouble of financial issue, relationship, health problem, but you are not alone. Things will get better if we stay positive.