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Das fraulein who brings interns to Thailand

PHUKET: The Phuket News sits down with Judith Arndt, Lich, internships placement manager for Internships Thailand, to find out more about how the industry works.


By Jody Houton

Wednesday 30 October 2013, 06:10PM


Judith with her daughter Elli and husband Anak.

Judith with her daughter Elli and husband Anak.

How did you come to work in Phuket?

In 2003, my brother Marcel went backpacking around Southeast Asia, and not only lost his wallet but also caught dengue fever. My parents asked me to go to Thailand to help him.

I spent around three weeks here and when it was time for me to return to Germany, my brother told me that he had decided to live in Thailand. His enthusiasm for the country and the beauty of Thailand triggered my desire to stay also.

What happened to your brother?

My brother lived and studied Media Science at Ramkhamhaeng University, in Bangkok, where he met and fell in love with his girlfriend, now wife. They moved to Germany about a year ago and live close to my parent's home.

You are fluent in Thai. How did you learn?

I am quite modest about my language skills, but if you asked my parents they would tell you that I am an autodidact.

Thailand is my chosen home and therefore I feel the need to communicate in Thai, in order to understand and embrace the rich Thai culture.

In the beginning, I simply listened to Thai people speaking with each other, and I memorised the words and phrases. After a few weeks, I started to speak and let my Thai friends correct me when I was wrong.

Reading and writing came a few years later, and I am still a beginner in both. I have been living with Thais for almost a decade, and I still add new words to my Thai vocabulary every day.

Do you find it helps you in your job and daily life?

Yes, being able to communicate in Thai is definitely a huge advantage for my job and daily life.

There are countless situations in which my ability helped me to maintain a happy life as an immigrant in Thailand.

How did you come to be involved with Internships Thailand?

My career started in Krabi where I worked for a local travel agency as a German-speaking representative. Three years later, I returned to Germany to study, and graduated after two years as a Tourism Marketing Management Assistant.

With the aim of spending my life in Thailand, I came back in 2007 and found a placement as Management Trainee in sales and marketing with the Holiday Inn Resort on Phi Phi.

On Phi Phi Island, I fell in love with a Thai colleague and we got married on September 9, 2009 in Phuket. Our daughter was born in January 2010 and we settled in Phuket.

For the next three years I worked as a freelance English and German teacher until my current employer, Internships Thailand, head-hunted me in February 2013.

As Internship Placement Manager, my role is to mediate between the multinational interns and the host companies, which are 4 and 5 star hotels and resorts in Thailand.

I assess resumes, conduct interviews and match the candidates’ requirements to the open opportunities of our host companies.

Then I follow up with the host companies to place the intern and support the arrangements for the visa, accommodation, transportation and so on.

Is there a growing market for internships in Phuket?

Thailand is one of the most hospitable countries in the world, and is known for its customer-oriented mind and curiousness towards other cultures.

Phuket derives a lot of its wealth from the hospitality and tourism industries. Therefore, it is very important to our host companies to provide their guests not only with excellent service, but with a contact person who can speak the guests’ language.

The host companies have the opportunity to teach the next generation of hoteliers in Thai hospitality, and to see how well educated and skilled international interns are, for future recruitment.

Our individually-customised internships fit both the hotel and the interns’ requirements, in terms of education, experience, languages, and departments.

Both parties receive our full support, monitoring and liaising on a regular basis to ensure the success of the internship in a win-win situation.

Which nationalities tend to apply?

Our applicants are a great mix of cultures, from all over the world but mainly with European backgrounds.

Bearing the language requirements of the hotels in mind, we adjust our marketing and also actively promote our product to those countries that have a high demand in interns by our host companies.

The cultures of Germany and Thailand must seem like polar opposites at times, what are the major differences?

I have not been back to Germany for six years, but I would love to take my husband and daughter to see where I grew up and to meet my relatives and friends.

The major differences between German and Thai culture are – in my opinion – how people live their daily lives, the manner of comprehending their surroundings, and the way they meet confrontation and solve problems.

Even though it has been a rocky road, I have learned to adapt myself to my chosen home, instead of asking it to change for me.

You’re married to a Thai man, and have a child, what are your future plans for your family?

As my husband is building a house for us on our rice farm in Nong Khai and I am growing in my career, I am certain that our future will take place in Thailand.

Our daughter is growing up trilingual, and is eager to learn and explore what life has to offer. Call her a “luk-krueng” (half-Thai, half-foreigner) and she will give you a dazzling smile.

Have you considered becoming a Thai citizen?

I have thought about becoming a Thai citizen but decided against it because I would have to give up my German passport if I did.

To visit the place I was born and raised, I would have to apply for a visa like every other Thai person.

I’d rather renew my marriage visa once a year, it may sound cheesy, but to my husband and me, it's refreshing our marriage, reminding us where I came from, what we have been through to get where we are now, and my honour of being allowed to live in Thailand.

For more information on Internships Thailand, visit: internshipsthailand.com

 

 

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