What I learned from my internship at XL8

Right after I finished my junior year of high school, I had an amazing opportunity to gain hands-on experience of working in a professional setting during my internship at XL8. With XL8’s innovative approach and dynamic work environment, I truly believe that my time at XL8 fostered my personal growth and gave me valuable insights into professional life. Here are some aspects that provide a glimpse into what it’s like to work as a high school intern at XL8.

What I particularly liked about XL8

  • At the office, there were sit-stand desks where I could adjust their height. As I was able to change my posture anytime, I had less back pain and more productivity!
  • We had a delicious and free lunch together everyday. Having a short ice cream break with other interns after every lunch was also something I couldn’t afford to pass up.  
  • There was an XBox in the office. Playing TEKKEN before and after work was a great way to release stress and bond with other high school interns. 
  • I was encouraged to make mistakes! I’m not saying that XL8 wanted me to make mistakes but everyone at XL8 valued lessons that can only be learned through trial and error. 
  • The project that I was working on during my internship was making key performance indicator (KPI) dashboards for MediaCAT and EventCAT. More specifically, I extracted data from XL8 databases and displayed meaningful statistics in charts and graphs. During the midterm presentation where all interns presented what they had accomplished in their projects, I realized that I made a huge mistake on getting the number of translation tasks done through MediaCAT. I was supposed to exclude some files that were translated by calling XL8 API keys, not by using MediaCAT platform, when counting, but I totally forgot to filter the files beforehand. Thankfully, nothing bad happened and surprisingly, everyone was willing to help me find out where I made a mistake and fix it with wholesome support. Later, I grew a new habit of checking my SQL queries multiple times. 

What I learned from XL8

  • Over the summer, I could gain a deep insight into not only the professional world of machine translation, but also myself. Below is some information that I learned about myself at XL8. 
  • I usually lose my focus on work between 2pm and 3pm so I have to restore my energy with small snacks like chocolate bars or diet coke. Free snacks at the office saved my life. 
  • I’m not that bad at public speaking. During my internship, I had midterm and final presentations that I showcased what I had accomplished in my project. Although I had always considered myself a nerd who can never talk confidently in front of more than three people, my presentation skills were much better than I thought. 
  • Concentrating on something, I struggle to hear ambient sounds, and often get startled by sudden noises. 
  • In order to communicate effectively, context must always be provided. A few important pieces of information regarding what I was trying to do, what approaches I had taken to achieve it, and what kinds of errors I got from those errors had to be shared with other people when asking for help. 
  • The exchange of ideas and knowledge, which is done through asking questions, is more valuable than any temporary uncertainty. At first, I was afraid to ask any questions as I thought my questions would either bother or disturb other’s work. However, it didn’t take much time until I regretted not asking more questions. 
  • When I was first assigned to my KPI dashboard project, I was a bit disappointed. Because making KPI dashboards didn’t seem to be directly related to XL8’s products, MediaCAT and EventCAT, I thought my project was less “cool” than any other projects. I was frequently unmotivated to work on the dashboards, and couldn’t erase this discouragement until I asked CEO Tim, and Senior Marketing Specialist Rosa about the purpose of this project.
  • Tim and Rosa both told me that the dashboards I was making would be used to determine long-term goals and direction of XL8 and would eventually have the biggest impact on XL8 than any other project. They even said that they are always open to any questions and that everyone at XL8 likes questions. 
  • What I heard back from them changed not only my perspective on this project but also my work ethic. More specifically, realizing the value of my work, I became more motivated and engaged than ever. Also, I felt more responsibility on this project and channeled more effort to provide accurate and effective visualization of KPIs. 
  • The biggest change was that I was at ease asking questions to people, regardless of any concerns about them sounding silly or causing any inconvenience. I truly understood that asking questions is an essential part of learning and communicating.

What I didn’t like at XL8

  • Unfortunately, the bathroom at the office was too close to the room that I was working in with other interns. Therefore, I always worried that someone might hear me using the bathroom. It would have been better if there was a sound player inside the bathroom to hide any embarrassing noises. 

The memories I made at XL8 this summer are unforgettable and will always remain in my heart, motivating me to constantly move forward to professionalism and innovation. I’m also looking forward to applying what I have learned from XL8 to my future endeavors and sharing the valuable insights and experiences with others in the future.

Written by Daeun Chung

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