I did my internship at Jurong Frog Farm during the period of 19th June 2019 to 4th August 2019. When I told my friends that I was going to do an internship on a farm and what’s more, a frog farm, they were clearly amused. Some questioned my decision to work there, while others even asked whether my job scope included slaughtering the frogs. Since I wanted to occupy myself during the summer break and try something different from an office environment, I applied for the programme. Truthfully, when I turned up for the interview and saw many pairs of frog eyes staring at me, I had cold feet. Nonetheless, I trusted my instincts and had an eye-opening, unique and enriching experience. I had the opportunity to explore one of the more rural areas in Singapore, learned more about the local farming sector and even gained insights into some of the decisions undertaken to stay relevant as a farm and as a small medium enterprise in Singapore.
As a marketing intern, one of my main responsibilities was to create, refresh and modernise marketing collaterals on the farm. Some of the projects I have undertaken were designing the farm menu and creating a product list brochure showcasing the various products offered by the farm. I also had to design posters for the Farmers’ Market and other roadshows, featuring some of the local farm products and farm activities. Other projects were designing interactive information boards to be used during tours and also creating posters to promote activities like “Catch a Frog” and “Frog Quest Explorer” that children can participate in.
It was a challenge creating these many posters, but it was a rewarding experience as well. I relearned Adobe Photoshop and also figured out how to use Adobe Illustrator to create digital illustrations, a skill that I have always wanted to pick up. I also have a newfound appreciation for graphic designers as I realised that it is not easy to make an aesthetic yet effective design. Behind every design is a long thought process about design factors like the colour scheme and type of font to use, and even the hierarchy of design elements that can impact the effectiveness of the message.
One of the more challenging projects was designing the product list brochure, which took many rounds of revision before the final version was done. We even had to do a mini product photoshoot, which was an interesting experience. However, the final printed version of the product list brochure turned out rather different from what I expected. The colour was a little dull and there were some design mistakes that could have been avoided had I printed a coloured copy to check. Nonetheless, I still enjoyed working on this project.
Apart from creating marketing collaterals, I had to conduct tours during the internship too. Public speaking has never been one of my strengths and initially, it was an uphill struggle giving tours to students of different age groups. Some of the students were even as young as three years old and it was tough getting their attention. I also received feedback from my supervisors that I could be more engaging by incorporating more rhetorical questions and varying my tone. Also, I just had to enjoy the process of sharing about the frogs and farm. Towards the end of the internship, with enough practice, I felt more confident and found myself interacting more with the students.
I also had the opportunity to learn about the day to day operations of running a retail shop. Initially, I was overwhelmed by the number and range of products that the farm offered, as well as the different number of tours on the farm. There were many things to prepare too, even more so when there were tours, such as stock taking, restocking products, cashiering and basic housekeeping. Basic retail had its challenges too. The first weekend of the internship was both physically and mentally draining. Servicing customers was not an easy feat, and I found myself energetically drained while trying to provide consistent customer service to everyone who stepped into the shop. Nonetheless, it was a fulfilling experience as there were many customers who appreciate your service, and who genuinely want to know more about the farm. Additionally, I had the chance to meet people from different walks of life, and thus learned how to communicate with different customers and deal with unexpected situations.
Lastly, working on the farm was an eye-opening experience which got me thinking about the importance of food sufficiency in our country. Before this internship, I rarely thought about the issue of food security in Singapore. However, I have come to realised that it is as important as water security. With the government’s move to increase local food production to 30% of our total food needs by 2030, it is indeed imperative to raise awareness of urban farming and the agri-food tech industry in Singapore.
To conclude, I had a really fun and unique internship experience, and other than the peaceful mornings on the farm, I liked that I was only seconds away from nature whenever I wanted a break from work. Through this internship, I also found out more about myself and discovered some of my strengths and weaknesses. Lastly, I would like to thank my two supervisors, Chelsea and Jackson for their guidance and generosity, not forgetting Darren, Puppy and the frogs for being my source of encouragement during this internship.