February 1st was the beginning of the internships for three new faces at the Danish embassy. Until the Bangkok summer heat gets to rough, Tanja Thorsen, 27, and Henriette la Cour, 27, will assist the trade department whereas Rasmus Sørensen, 28, will take care of assignments in the political, economic as well as the Danida departments.
Bangkok is among other things known for its air pollution, hot summer days and its sex trade industry. What made these three Danes pick Bangkok as their home for six months?
HENRIETTE: I wanted to go to a fairly developed country in Asia. A friend of mine told me about Bangkok and it sounded great so I applied here. Initially, both Tanja and I were rejected for the trade department, but luckily the two who had been offered the positions were not interested anyway so we got it in stead.
TANJA: I wanted to find a country with cultural differences to Denmark. I also applied for internships in Singapore, Kuala Lumpur and Shanghai, but I am very happy I got this one. I have been here before and I mostly remember the smog, but actually it is not so bad this time. The air is somehow different than the last time I was here
RASMUS: I have been backpacking in Southeast Asia a couple of times before. I had applied for some other internships within Europe and one in Ghana, but I am really happy to be here.
HENRIETTE: Everybody is so kind out here
TANJA: Yeah, that is why I wanted to go back to Bangkok. People are so nice, this internship cannot go wrong.
What are they going to do at work?
Tanja is cand.merc in marketing and Henriette studies cand.merc in International Marketing and Management. On the other hand Rasmus is a student of political science. Their goal is to put knowledge and theory into practise and what is that exactly?
HENRIETTE: We will be doing sector analysis and some business partner matching for Danish and Thai companies. Until now we have only been introduced to the work, so we are not quite sure what will be the actual content of our job. We will also be updating the embassy’s website with the latest trade information on food stuffs, electronics, environmental and health sectors.
TANJA: I am hoping for partner matching and basic marketing, but it really all depends on which companies that contact the embassy for assistance.
RASMUS: I will probably spend most of my time updating and closing Danida projects and report them to the Danish Foreign Ministry. One of them is Clean Development Mechanism which deals with Danish purchase of CO2 quotas. I am not familiar with the details yet, but I am looking forward to gaining a deeper insight to the region.
And what do they do after work?
Bangkok is undoubtedly a city that has a lot to offer young people – also after business hours. So how do they choose between the many options?
RASMUS: I have started playing badminton with some other Danes, but it is quite hot to play here.
HENRIETTE: In our appartment building we have something they call a pool and a fitness center but I am not sure we are going to use it.
TANJA: We were at Koh Samet this weekend. That is a place for great food and beaches.
RASMUS: And we have talked about going to Hanoi for a weekend in order to extend our Thai visa. I want to see some more of Thailand, because there are always new places to see. Even though I have travelled all over Thailand there is always a place next to where you are that you do not know.
HENRIETTE: I hope we get time to travel all over Asia during these six months. We also want to go to Cambodia and Malaysia but our wish list is very long. When we are in Bangkok, we eat out almost every night.
RASMUS: I also went for dinner at The Oriental one night
TANJA: And he has not spoken about anything else since that evening….
HENRIETTE: All the food is so great out here but I am allergic to curry and chilli. I try to make my allergy go away.
RASMUS: When I heard that she was allergic to that I thought she had forgotten to read page 2 in Lonely Planet.
The Thai language is nothing but a pretty mix of sounds to most Europeans. But you don’t have to go too far out of Bangkok and a few phrases become useful, but what is the ambition of the interns in terms of language?
TANJA: Rasmus can speak a bit of Thai and we manage that way. Henriette and I know about three words each. We do not have any intentions of becoming fluent in Thai
RASMUS: But we have someone from consular department to teach us Thai once a week. But it is not the easiest language in the world. For example ‘Kao’ can mean three different things depending on pronounciation. And I think ‘Ma ma ma’ means something like ‘Your mother looks like a horse’.