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Singapore Summer

Two UIndy art majors took advantage of an incredible opportunity this year, traveling 10,000 miles to work in the Southeast Asian city-state of Singapore for summer internships.

Christopher Hartley (above) and John Lasky (below), both Visual Communication Design majors, spent a fascinating, month-long internship at the Shooting Gallery Asia—one of the largest and most established advertising production agencies in the region.

The internship application process was decidedly informal. UIndy’s Art & Design department is a close-knit environment, so instead of requiring an official application, Professor Nelson Wei Tan simply announced this golden opportunity to his students in the junior class. Those interested were encouraged to chat with him.

Professor Tan had been working closely with Chris and John, and the two were chosen based on their interest and desire to explore other cultures for an arts experience. They worked with the television and film department at the agency as well as with the photography department.

Summer vacation? Not so much

“We managed to do quite a bit in and outside of work at Shooting Gallery Asia,” John says.

“We assisted the full-time staff—photographers, producers, directors—with whatever shoots were going on, both video for TV commercials and still photos. We also gained some valuable experience from other departments, like photo retouching and building sets for shoots. When there weren’t any official shoots going on, we managed to stage a few test shoots for ourselves.The people there are helpful and accommodating,” John says, “and very good at what they do. Because of this, they have quite a reputation as one of the best, if not the best, production houses in Singapore.

“At first it was a little intimidating when they flipped on business mode, but once we started learning how things work there, things started to go smoothly for us.”

“A typical day,” John says, “would start at around 7:30 or so, with coffee, breakfast, and getting ready for work. We would leave at 8:30 to catch the MRT train to the studio, and report promptly at 9 a.m.

“If there was a shoot, we would assist in whatever capacity they needed us. For us as interns, that could mean anything from setting up stands for lights to getting refreshments for the talent, the agency staff, or clients.

“If there wasn’t an actual shoot, we would help out around wherever we were needed or work on furthering our own learning, with test shoots and the like. We’d usually end our work day at 6 p.m.—or whenever the shoots would finish.

“The longest shoot we participated in,” he says, “was about 19 hours.”

A major opportunity

Chris and John were thrilled to have such an opportunity to explore their major interest abroad, and with such a distinguished firm.

“My ultimate goal,” Chris says, “is to work for an advertising firm doing photography assignments. I’m most excited about learning skills I can actually apply to my field.”

UIndy offers an array of such hands-on learning opportunities, and students enjoy returning to their professors afterward to strengthen and reinforce what they have learned.

“There were so many awesome things about this trip,” John adds. “There isn’t just one ‘best’ thing!

“The food was fantastic, the coffee is way better than in America, and there’s tons to see and do. I would do it all again in a heartbeat.

“It was such a fantastic experience to be able to live there and immerse myself in a completely different culture. I would highly recommend at least a visit; it’s just so neat there.

“And as far as jobs are concerned, an advertising production house is another part of the graphic design spectrum.

“I think the skills I’m learning here are invaluable and will help me no matter what I end up doing in life.”

—Lauren Alayza ’15