14 July 2016

How I Learnt To Appreciate Paris

The end of week three marks the halfway point in the programme, and a three-week countdown to the next time we return home again. I'm thrilled. Paris has opened my eyes in so many ways, but also granted me an appreciation for home and longing for comfort of being around family and friends.

As we kiss June goodbye and enter July, I started reflecting on the first half of the year and thinking about what I wanted for the second half. Despite the number of stumbles I faced, I'd had so many great experiences that I treasure and keep so close to heart. It's been interesting to see how we've each settled into the rhythm of Paris and can finally find our way around it comfortably... Well, for the most part.

Last week, we had a very lovely visit to the Australian embassy where we met the Ambassador. It was refreshing to hear him share candidly about his experiences in Paris, and some of the challenges he faced. It also made me miss Sydney that much more, as well as the everyday “Hello, how are you?” greeting that has now become second nature to me. 
Paris... is not easy. But nothing worth having ever comes easy. As the novelty wears off, the long days becoming weary and exhausting, and it's easy for us to lose sight of what we originally came for. I thought about some of the things I wanted to achieve from embarking on this trip - one of which was international working experience in the heart of Paris.

The best part about working at the OECD is probably the strong sense of importance you feel about the work you do. OECD is a huge organisation, so you definitely feel as though the stuff you are working on has a certain level of impact on society in the wider scope of things. Being in the Public Affairs and Communications directorate has been rather exciting - we're basically at the heart of the organisation in that we manage the communications in various directorates and the overall messaging is projected through what we create. If you thrive in large organisations and value a sense of purpose in your work towards creating a greater impact on the broader community, then this is the place for you.

I think many things - and many situations - boil down to the perspective you adopt. And many times, your experience is influenced by the perspective you take. When I experience a particularly challenging week, I like asking myself, so what can I do about it? Is there anything I can change? And sometimes it's as simple as saying a "Bonjour, ca va?" to an unfamiliar face at work, or coming home to your roommates and exchanging stories and laughing your guts out.

Some time back, I questioned the notion of perfection, and whether perfection is realistically attainable. But when you think about it, if your experience is flawless, then have you learnt anything from it really? No opportunity is perfect, and it's only an opportunity if you take advantage of it.

I'm happy with my choices. Are you?

Felicia Poh
Current student of The University of Sydney Business School and participant in the Industry Placement Program in Paris

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