Scholarship Series: 7 reasons to go to Australia
NSHSS scholarship winner Julia Vachon is interning abroad in Melbourne with The Intern Group this summer. Read about her 7 reasons to go to Australia.
Anyone who has spent time overseas studying or interning will tell you one thing: do it. You’ve heard it from your parents, your teachers, your friends, and now you have that voice inside of you telling yourself those same two words. Once you make the decision to finally go abroad, the real decision-making begins. Where will you go? Will you study, intern or both? How long will you remain abroad? In fact, there are so many detailed questions factoring into your decision that it may be overwhelming at first. A good first step to making those important decisions is research which, if you’re reading this article, you’ve most likely already begun.
After a long, drawn-out decision-making process of my own, I finally decided to intern in Melbourne, Australia. For me, interning rather than studying made the most sense, since I will be entering the work force as soon as I return home and I was looking for more experience. Australia became my top location choice, since it is a country I have always wanted to visit, and I figured this was my chance. I blinked and suddenly found myself in Melbourne, Australia, a city I never dreamed I’d end up seeing. But here I am. If you are thinking about interning in Melbourne, I could give you a thousand reasons to go to Australia. Instead of writing you a novel, though, I’ll keep it short and sweet and give you my top seven reasons you should take a chance and stand in my shoes as an intern in Melbourne.
1. Work Environment
After the first couple of days of my internship, I realized Australian work culture is nothing like the work environments I have experienced previously in my life. In the U.S., work tends to be serious and there seems to be a general sense of stress and pressure over everyone. Sure, people love their jobs, but there’s still that strict factor of professionalism that follows in almost any occupation to some degree. Here in Australia, the work environment is much more laid back. Do not be mistaken—Aussies work hard and get things done, but they do so in a nonchalant manner that mostly removes that intense pressure. Bosses tend to be blunt and to-the-point, which saves time. Coworkers are flexible so if you need help finishing something, they’ll rearrange your schedule to help you. And, at many jobs, one day a week is often dedicated to “knock-off drinks,” which is usually a beer or glass of wine before the day is over for those who are of drinking age. It is such a great change of pace to experience a work environment where you feel you can relax with your associates while simultaneously working hard.
2. Professional Experience
Like most of us, you’re probably looking for an internship to gain valuable job experience that will look good on a resume. Not only will Australia provide you with that professional experience, you will also stand apart as having immersed yourself into a completely new culture. It takes courage to learn the culture, lingo and work flow of another country, and employers recognize and value this when looking for employees to hire. Australia provides a relaxed culture to develop those intercultural skills and obtain job experience.
3. The Location
If you’re interning abroad, you won’t want to spend all your time in the office and not exploring. Chances are you’re looking for a place where you can do both. Melbourne has it all, which is one of the greatest reasons to go to Australia. The city—voted the world’s most livable city seven years in a row—is buzzing with interesting people, hidden restaurants and interesting stores. You’ll never be bored and could spend a significant amount of time exploring all the city’s nooks and crannies. There are so many reasons to go to Australia as an international intern. If you’re more interested in scenery, Melbourne is located a short distance away from the ocean and several small islands to do sight-seeing. The famous Great Ocean Road, a road that allows you to cruise right next to the ocean and on top of Australia’s cliff-like coast, borders thick rainforest where you might see wild koalas or kangaroos. And, despite the city itself being quite large, there are several parks and suburbs to explore just outside the city if you’re looking for a quieter afternoon.
In Melbourne, there are so many people to meet. You have everything from street artists to professional business people, to old men sitting on park benches covered in pigeons. Melbourne is ethnically such a diverse city as well, and so far in the short time I’ve been here I’ve met people from Singapore, Sweden, Malaysia, Canada, France, China, India, and at least eight different states in the U.S. Plus, many people in Melbourne has travelled all around the world and can describe various other countries to you. Australia may be English-speaking, but you will not last two days here without having an encounter with someone from a country you have never visited. I have learned so much about the world from these interactions, and you don’t realize how valuable those encounters are until you experience them on a regular basis.
Melbournians are coffee-fanatics. If you try to tell them otherwise, you will be scorned. Making coffee in Melbourne is such an art, that to become a barista means taking an actual class. Most authentic coffee shops roast their own coffee beans every morning, and everyone takes pride in their coffee-making abilities. If you aren’t a coffee drinker, don’t worry—tea is also a popular drink, and real tea leaves are used more often than processed leaves.
Another one of the most practical reasons to go to Australia is because it’s easy to navigate. Melbourne has one of the most well-adapted public transportation methods in the world. There are many trains, trams, buses and cabs to get you exactly to where you need to go. In the city’s business district, all public transportation is free. Outside it, you need a transportation card, but if you travel with an internship program such as The Intern Group, it’s often included in your program cost. I can get anywhere I need to go in the city free of charge, which is very useful when you are trying to explore the city as much as possible in the short duration of your internship.
7. Open Mindedness
Interning in Melbourne changes you. You’ll speak to so many diverse people, learn to navigate the city transportation, and intern in an environment completely different than your home country. Your mind opens, you see how small and big the world is at the same time. One of the best reasons to go to Australia is because of the way it changes how you see yourself and the world. Once you return home, you know your worldview won’t be the same, and that results from interning in such an incredible location.
This experience in Melbourne is worthwhile. Once I leave, I know part of me will always be longing to come back. Despite the fact that I’ve only been here for a few weeks, it already feels like a home away from home. If you decide to intern in Melbourne—which I highly suggest you do—you’ll see what I mean.
Now that you know Julia’s 7 reasons to go to Australia, apply now to boost your resume with an internship abroad.