Career growth as an international student with Aadit Kamat | Humans of Ladder
Having a global experience has become so important to many early career professionals. The exposure to different perspectives is thrilling, yet challenging.
Though a global experience doesn’t exactly fit into the agenda of the pandemic, some students have found other avenues to still make the most of it.
This week we chatted with Aadit Kamat, a final year student at National University of Singapore and Software Engineer intern at SGInnovate. He shares more about his cross-cultural upbringing, why he believes global opportunities are where it’s at, and how he found community with other international students on Ladder!
Give us a little background about yourself!
I was born in Mumbai, India, but I came to Singapore (SG) when I was a year old and stayed here since. Growing up in a multi-cultural background exposed me to many cultures and languages — it was cool to be able to interact with people from so many different perspectives.
During primary and secondary school, the academic pressure was really stressful and intense because of how the local schooling system worked in SG. You needed good grades in order to get into a good school and it was highly competitive. But thankfully my high school was geared towards STEM, which sparked my interest in engineering early on, before I started getting more into computer science.
What sparked your interest in engineering and computer science?
My dad is an engineer, so I was just naturally interested in classes like physics rather than computer science. But when I joined Ladder, it opened up my mind to all opportunities there are to explore because in Asian universities like National University of Singapore (NUS), it’s not as flexible to switch majors. Then my dad asked if I wanted to consider switching majors to computer science and said that maybe I would enjoy it much more.
So I took a computer science course before I started university — it was a difficult course, but I learned that I really enjoyed coding. It’s a really tough skill especially at NUS where computing is pretty competitive, but it ended up opening a lot of new doors for me. I haven’t worked at any big name companies yet, but even working at startups can give you such a great experience.
Are you eventually hoping to work in the States?
Yeah! Since last year, I’ve been trying to connect more with people in the U.S. because I went on exchange to University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, but then it got cancelled because of COVID. The two months I spent there, I got connected to many students and really liked the college vibe there. It was really different than NUS — students had so much school spirit compared to colleges in Asia.
That’s awesome you went on exchange, anything new you discovered?
I actually heard about Ladder through intern.club and saw a post Akshaya (Ladder Co-Founder) had made in that community. While intern.club was great, it started going haywire — it’s a problem I noticed with many slack and discord groups. Because anyone can start a channel, there ends up being so many discussions and self-promos going on, you end up feeling kind of lost. I wanted something where I could have more of the community feels.
And how was community different for you on Ladder?
When Ladder was called Remote Students, I didn’t participate as much. Then when October rolled around, the platform was popping off, and I couldn’t not participate. So many people were posting and the whole community feel just came together for me. I really wanted all these discussions to spark new discussions around new topics and benefit all users.
And because I didn’t have much of an in-person interaction with students on campus, I found my community on Ladder — this is where most of my interactions ended up taking place. It’s made me so happy to be on Ladder, and I really want to continue sharing it with my friends and I even want to start posting the link to Ladder’s Medium as well.
What were some memorable experiences you’ve had on Ladder?
There was one time I was reading a post by another user from SG, and she posted about how it’s been really difficult to learn in a remote setting and meet new people. And then after that, another user commented something similar, and Jacqueline from International Hub did too. I ended up bookmarking this post because I felt like it was something we all connected on.
As a fourth-year student, any advice for students looking for an internship?
I think most students are going for brand name internships rather than going for startups. So I’d say for anyone in Asia or even the States, the Asian startup ecosystem is really booming, and if people are looking for opportunities right now, they should go for startups. I even saw a post the other day another user made on Ladder about an internship through a top university in HK.
I definitely think students in the U.S. should consider coming here to Asia to do internships, places like SG are great for that since it’s so well connected to the SEA region.
Fun question, if you could work anywhere in the world for a year, which country would you choose and why?
I would say the U.S.! Its contributions in tech have been so outsized and we’ve seen so much innovation, I think I’d love to live in the Bay Area.
Join Ladder for access to more opportunities to meet amazing students and recent graduates like Aadit!