‘Never a dull day in Hong Kong’ ~ Robin Heemskerk, General Manager of the BLCC. With these wise words I want to introduce you to my experience with the BLCC in Hong Kong.
Doing a traineeship at the Belgium-Luxembourg Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong has been a great pleasure and a very insightful experience. It’s an internship which I would recommend to each and everyone who wants to gain knowledge on how business is done in Hong Kong, but furthermore how business is done in general. Hong Kong is often referred to as the ‘gateway to China’ and is one of the four Asian Tigers. The cultural fusion of East and West makes Hong Kong so rich on a cultural level, which makes it interesting to see how a two value system conflicts on the one hand but makes Hong Kong b(l)oom on the other.
For those among us who are a bit introverted and unfamiliar with Asian culture: no worries! Hong Kong is very open to newcomers and making new friends/connections here is as easy as anyone can hope for. People are more than happy to help, because the prime goal is to move forward in business as well as in life. And whenever you feel a bit homesick, you can go for breakfast to ‘Le pain Quotidien’ or grab a beer at ‘De België’.
As a trainee of the BLCC you are given the possibility to go to loads of events, which allow you to easily meet new people and lay connections. You’ll meet the board of directors, which consists of successful businessmen and businesswomen, with tons of experience and knowledge. You’ll meet successful entrepreneurs from Belgian or Luxembourgish origin, who will tell you their story on how and why they started their business in Hong Kong. You’ll meet the Consul General of Belgium and you will furthermore meet a lot of other businessmen and businesswomen from all over the world who will tell you their unique point of view on why they chose Hong Kong.
Working at the BLCC has also been a great way to develop a handful of other skills like sales, marketing and even developing a digital magazine. Working close with the General Manager, Robin Heemskerk, was also a privilege for me as he’s a very knowledgeable and experienced person when it comes to working and doing business in Asia. He was also extremely helpful and open minded when it came to optimizing my Asian experience.
Asian culture is known for its long working hours and Hong Kong is no different! But when the weekend arrives I can assure you that those long hours will all be worth it, because you can let go of the hustle and bustle in so many ways. You can start the weekend by enjoying the famous nightlife of Hong Kong on one of its majestic rooftops or you can go to Peel Street or LKF to have a wonderful but quite heavy night. The next morning/afternoon you can go for one of the so many hikes and enjoy Hong Kong’s rich nature. After an intense hike you can cool off at one of its beautiful beaches, where you will have forgotten about Hong Kong’s busy city-life. And spending the rest of the weekend is also quite easy. You can go to one of Hong Kong’s big shopping malls or to one of its many markets and afterwards enjoy some delicious dim sum. There’s just so much to do, that I can assure you, you won’t get bored!
My traineeship in one word: Amazing!