Dear Future Interns,

First off, congratulations. You are in for an experience of a life time! Living in a brand-new country while working with MSRI won’t be like anything you’ve ever experienced before. It will be scary, exciting, challenging, fun, and absolutely unforgettable all at the same time. You will face obstacles that will put your character to the test. You will also have experiences that you thought you’d never have in your life. I have three pieces of advice for you as you head out on your journey:

  1. Be patient, with others but especially with yourself. You will encounter challenges and tasks that will push you in ways that you probably haven’t experienced before. The best thing you can do for yourself and the people around you is to be patient. You will need some time to adjust to your surroundings. Be patient as you learn about your unfamiliar environment. It can be overwhelming at first, but understand that there will be many things you won’t understand, and that is okay! Give yourself the time to learn.
  2. Be open-minded. Malaysian culture is very unique, and it is a blessing to be able to experience it and learn about it through the daily interactions you have. Remember that the best thing you can do is to not compare it to the culture you know, but to take it as it is and embrace it. Just because something is different than what you are used to, does not mean that it is bad! Don’t be afraid to ask a lot of questions, even if you think they are stupid. Always push yourself out of your comfort zone because that is where you will learn the most.
  3. Take care of yourself. This is the most important piece of advice! Listen to your mind and your body. It is easy to forget to take time for self-care when you are in a new and exciting environment. Give yourself enough time to rest. Feed yourself well. You need to be in a healthy state if you want to make the most of your time in Malaysia. This may mean finding comfort in a nearby coffee shop or reading your favourite book. It may also mean cancelling plans to take some time alone.

Throughout this experience, I always focused on these three things to keep myself healthy and happy. Considering this everyday helped me work with MSRI to the best of my ability. Remember that the CAPI Internship community is here to help you if you are having trouble with anything. Also, remember to take everything in, because it will be over before you know it. Take tons of pictures, make as many friends as you can, say yes to every event you are invited to, take risks, work hard, learn lots, and make the experience count! It is such a wonderful opportunity. The internship has changed my life, and I hope it will have the same effect on future interns as well.


Seema Prasad

Selfies with friends at our fundraising event.

Reading with MSRI School’s kindergarten program.

Our coworkers took us out for dinner at Jalan Alor.