The SVIP program facilitates paid one-year internships in Silicon Valley for software graduates around the world. This is a series of interviews with the latest round of SVIP interns to hit Silicon Valley. First up, Grace Chen.
Where are you from?
I grew up in Taiwan and went to university in the UK. After graduating, I was working in Taiwan for several years before joining SVIP.
What company will you be working for, and in what role?
I work at LoopUp, a teleconferencing service. I’ll be helping to build the screensharing feature, as well as other future projects.
What is something that most people don’t know about you?
I really love history. I read a book on John Adams after visiting Washington D.C., and I was a member of the English heritage during my years in the UK. I can also go on and on about Taiwanese history.
What’s your impression of San Francisco and Silicon Valley so far?
The community here is very diverse. Each neighborhood in San Francisco has its own quirks and characteristics. It is also a city that has gone through a lot of transformations in the past decade, so it is always fun to hear stories from the locals.
How is the tech scene in SF different than where you came from?
Technology is the dominant industry here, and it’s a rarity to meet someone who doesn’t work in tech. What’s more is that everyone is very enthusiastic about what they do. The result is that it is easy to start interesting conversations and learn about new trends in technology.
Where do you want to be doing in five years?
Honestly I just want to be somewhere where I am happy, like my current situation!
Before you leave San Francisco, what do you for sure want to accomplish?
I want to help a homeless person. It doesn’t have to be something big, but I want to at least volunteer once or twice.
What is one thing that you have learned so far?
Even in the birthplace of giants like Twitter and Pinterest, many tech solutions start out geographically bound. Not all tools need to aim to be scalable in the early stage, as long as they do solve a certain problem, it is a good start.
What about this experience, to date, has inspired you and how?
I feel most inspired by the people I have met here, people who come up with an idea, and just go for it. They find time outside of their regular duties to build something they love, some coming into the startup scene with no background in coding.
When people back home ask you what it was like, what will you say?
There are pros and cons to living anywhere, so just come and visit, experience it for yourself!