A country which has undergone a dramatic transformation from small British colony to global economic powerhouse, Singapore has been an incredible place to spend the second seat of my training contract. Known for its futuristic architecture, the island state has also proven to be a melting pot of culture, with its renowned hawker centres revealing influences of its rich and diverse heritage and the areas of Chinatown, Little India and Kampong Glam giving visitors a glimpse of the Singapore of the past. Couple that with the weekend hikes, champagne brunches and beaches of Sentosa and I certainly have not been short of things to do.
Undertaking an international secondment is an excellent way for trainees to develop their internal global network at an early stage of their career. A true embodiment of one the firm's four key values, being 'Collaborative', the Singapore office frequently works on cross-border matters with teams from different regions. I have had significant exposure to DLA Piper's large and diverse Litigation and Regulatory global practice group. Highlights have included working with the Bangkok, Perth and New York offices, experiences which opened my eyes to the firm's global mindset and allowed me to witness first-hand how the firm operates seamlessly across multiple jurisdictions.
The smaller size of the Singapore office has also allowed me to work across different practice groups. Within the Insurance sector alone, I have been involved in both insurance-linked security transactions and complex insurance and reinsurance disputes. The experience has highlighted the firm's sector lead approach and the importance of understanding the industries in which our clients operate - even at the beginning of your training contract.
Having to adapt quickly to a different living and working environment can push you outside of your comfort zone but I've found listening to and sharing new ideas with colleagues to be rewarding. The experience has even prompted me to begin leaning Mandarin!
Singapore serves as a major gateway for travel within South East Asia. This has consequently afforded me some incredible opportunities, including visiting Borneo to see orangutans in the wild, witnessing the vast scale of the temples of Angkor Wat in Cambodia, and exploring the rapidly transforming Yangon in Myanmar.
There is also a large cohort of trainees from other international law firms in Singapore, so the secondment provides an excellent means of developing an external network of peers (and make friends with whom to explore the city's dynamic night life scene!).
With the opening of Jewel, Changi Airport's new $1.7 billion entertainment and retail complex, and plans to add a fourth tower to the iconic Marina Bay Sands resort, Singapore truly is a city of the future. My six months here have been unforgettable, both professionally and personally and I would highly recommend Singapore to anyone considering an international secondment.