On March 19th, 2014, I got a chance to join one of the most significant meetings of Fulbright Thailand called “Staff Retreat.” It was a session where all staffs of this foundation gathered to discuss about their work in terms of the quality, problems and solutions, future plans, and so on. I entered this meeting as an intern to study and observe the professional meetingBefore this session, the meeting of the university students is the only meeting I have ever joined. As a result, Staff Retreat of Fulbright Thailand provided me many new lessons that no one was able to find easily.
The first thing that I learned from the retreat was about how to communicate professionally. In the meeting, I saw how the staffs discussed about everything that they had done throughout many years. For this reason, there were absolutely evaluations and feedbacks from all co-workers. That was why I found the way to be more open-minded when it came to the unpleasant things like criticism. The professionals here were able to handle the comments from their co-workers very well. I came to realize that in a real world, we were all going to get plenty of criticisms from other people whether what you had done was right or wrong. Looking on the bright side, you could benefit from those comments to improve yourself in a long run.
The next lesson I actually learned from Staff Retreat was the working system of the foundation. I have to admit that almost half of the contents discussed in the Retreat were completely beyond my own knowledge because of the frequent use of abbreviations and technical terms, which somehow require working experiences to understand. However, the meeting was worth joining. I received various kinds of new information, for instance, the position of eachstaff, the process of how to manage things in an organization, and the way to solve all problems effectively. I would say that this lesson provided benefits which I could employ to work in a real life.
The last thing that was a brand new for me was the atmosphere of the certain meeting in a real company. This might seem too ordinary for anybody else but for me, Ihad been extremely excited since I knew that I was going to join the Retreat. I considered this opportunity very rare and valuable because the meeting was confidential. However, all staffs still allowed me to join and the outcome was nothing but brilliant. I found out that the formal meeting did not need to be serious because Staff Retreat was quite very easy-going and flexible. The Retreat’s atmosphere was better than my expectation. Moreover, the thing that I really appreciated was that I was able to be a part of the meeting as well—not only just sat silently and observed things. I was asked to share my opinions on several issues, which aroused me to focus on every topics that all participants were examining.
The overall picture of Staff Retreat was very impressive. What was mentioned above was just only a part of my appreciation towards this session. I had never expected the meeting of a real foundation could be this good. At the end of my internship, Staff Retreat would be one of the best moments I explore when I am working at Fulbright Thailand as I learned plenty of lessons and discovered what I had never seen before.
By Arpiwach Supateerawanitt
Intern from the Faculty of Liberal Arts, Thammasat University