My Internship Abroad: Peeking into the Australian Work Culture
This blog post was written by Education Abroad Peer Advisor (EAPA) Zoe Feng ’19…
During my semester exchange at the University of Sydney in Australia this spring, I took up a local internship alongside my academic studies. My internship role was International Project Assistant at the Faculty of Health Sciences at the University of Sydney. I was to work directly with the Senior Project Officer to help increase the Faculty’s international engagement, mainly on a mobility program called FHS Abroad, in which eligible students of the Faculty get to go to one of the four destination countries in Southeast Asia for 4 to 6 weeks during semester breaks, shadowing health professionals in a local community-based health organization. My daily internship tasks included email correspondence, application processing, data base update, and outreach material preparation.
As the internship was a part of a course called ARTS2600: Internship I at the University of Sydney, I received both academic course credit and expert support for it. There were workshops prior to and during the semester to help the enrollees, who were mostly American exchange students, to adjust into the new working environment, to gain better communication and collaboration skills, and to get the most out of the internship, its experience, and the relationship it fostered.
I picked Australia as my study abroad destination for its modern cities and beautiful beaches, and as I started considering moving there after graduation, I thought it sensible to first check out its work scene. The Internship I course was great as there were coordinators who were dedicated to help connect you to an internship post – the course had an extensive position listing as well, should you not want to find other ones.
‘Educational’, and ‘inspiring’ would be the two-word description for my four-month internship. Not only did I get to take a peek at the Australian working culture and environment as I wished, I also learned so much more. While the job itself honed my communication, time and project management skills, and professionalism, my supervisor herself has taught me gentleness with strength, generosity with heart through her own actions. It was a fun challenge to learn and adapt into a new system in a very short period of time, and adding Australia onto my international work portfolio as the fourth country after China, France, and the States opened my eyes further and prompted me to think about the ‘what-how-why’ questions behind the similarities and differences among them. Interest-wise, I had never been a science person before, but working with the Faculty of Health Sciences and learning about all the current progresses and mobility initiatives in the health science field around the globe during my internship turned that switch on inside of me, inspired me to think bigger, and to work to make the world a better place.