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Along with other Hinrich Foundation scholars in Hong Kong, I had the opportunity to work with members of the Foundation’s Export Trade Assistance (ETA) team at the October 2018 Lifestyle Show held at the AsiaWorld-Expo in Hong Kong. From Oct. 27 to 30, we helped the team promote the products displayed at the New Sourcing Markets Pavilion (NSMP), the Foundation’s curated exhibition at the show.

I found the experience unforgettable, as the event was both enjoyable and educational: It gave me a chance to apply what I learned in school, and I learned more about the ETA program and its team, which included former and current scholars of the Foundation.

Hinrich Foundation team members and scholars encounter buyers from various countries at the New Sourcing Markets Pavilion.

Breaking the ice

Lycah Baylon, the ETA Program’s export consultant in the Philippines, gave us a tour of the pavilion and the products displayed at the booth. We learned more about the exhibit, which consisted of houseware, home decor, garments and fashion accessories from export suppliers under the ETA Program.

Lycah also introduced us to the other members of the ETA team. In addition to Lycah, the Foundation’s staff at the show included Marian “Ian” Benetua from the Philippines, Emerela Puspita from Indonesia, Ly Nguyen from Vietnam, Phonevilay ‘Katink’ Keopaseuth from Laos and Abdul Rahoof K.K. from India. Ly and Katink are both Hinrich Foundation alumni and Rahoof is a fellow scholar on his internship with the Foundation. They welcomed us warmly and it felt like we had known each other for a long time.

After the introduction, as it was still early in the morning, we did not have many people stopping by the booth. My fellow scholars and I used that time to familiarize ourselves with the products so that we were prepared to answer questions about them. When a large number of potential buyers visited the booth, we were able to give them useful information about the products. We also told them about the Hinrich Foundation’s programs, and most of the visitors thought highly of the Foundation and agreed with the mission of promoting sustainable global trade.

Scholars get to know Hinrich Foundation team members and familiarize themselves with the products at the booth.

Learning from mistakes

During the trade show, lots of buyers showed interest in the products at the booth, especially the coconut bowls, saying that they were unique and beautiful. However, I had some difficulty using the Global Sources app to scan the badges of the buyers who were asking about the products.

Rahoof helped me overcome this by demonstrating how to use the app and explained why we did it that way. After his explanation, I understood more about what I was doing and was able to scan badges and record buyers’ inquiries.

Unforgettable experience

I enjoyed my experience at the trade show very much.

Scholars Cecilia Long (left) and Wang Yue (center) from China makes the victory sign as they pose for a photo with Phonevilay Keopaseuth, Hinrich Foundation alumni and export consultant in Laos.

For one, I met a lot of interesting people, including buyers and Hinrich Foundation staff from various countries.

I also learned a lot from the show. It provided me an opportunity to put what I learned in school in practice. I also appreciate the chance to work toward the Foundation’s mission of promoting sustainable global trade.

In general, the working environment was really warm and interactive. The staff and scholars got along very well, and everyone felt like family.

One of the most unforgettable moments during the show was the making of a video for our fellow scholar Vini Damayanti from Indonesia, whose birthday occurred during the third day of the show. We greeted her “happy birthday” in different languages, including Lao, Hindi, Vietnamese and Mandarin. It was so much fun among us.

About the author – Cecilia Long

Cecilia Long is a scholar from China under the Hinrich Foundation Global Trade Leader Development Program. She currently on her third year of study pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Marketing at the Hong Kong Baptist University. Cecilia’s future goal is to help small and medium-sized enterprises participate more actively in global trade.