Interning internationally can’t be classified. It is in a sector of its own. The Intern Group is spot on when they say “launch your career by combining an internship with a travel adventure.” My internship in Australia has been the epitome of both of those things. I’ve had the opportunity to work for a unique magazine publication, Dumbo Feather. I’ve seen the ins and outs of what it takes to put together a magazine. I’ve also had the chance to enhance various key skills, which is great for an aspiring journalist. All while having the chance to live, learn and grow in the beautiful city of Melbourne. Here’s an inside look into my personal experience interning for six weeks in Melbourne, Australia.
Catching my flight to adulthood
Upon arriving in Melbourne I was nervous about everything – would I be picked up from the airport on time (or at all)? Was I going to make friends? What about getting lost? Was I going to be an asset to the company I was interning for? Who would have thought that the girl sitting next to me on my 15 hour and 45 minute plane ride would also be part of The Intern Group Melbourne program? Who would have known that she also happened to be the girl that I would share a car ride with to our accommodation? Guess I had nothing to worry about all along. Coming upon this discovery, I think it’s safe to say that we both felt much safer and relaxed about this new venture. As for all of my other premature worries, they soon diminished as I warmed up to my first few days in Melbourne.
First things first
After spending my first two days getting settled into my new home for the next six weeks, I honestly wasn’t prepared for things to really kick off just yet. Regardless of whether I was prepared or not, the welcome induction kicked my butt (in the best way of course). Not too long after meeting up with Dylan Sucevic (our Aussie Experience Coordinator) for our induction, we went on a long, blazing hot, walking tour. Though I believe that we were all glad to escape the cold climates of our hometowns, I don’t think any of us were prepared for the type of heat this Melbourne Summer was offering. Despite the heat, we managed to see a lot of hot spots and attractions such as the graffiti alley, Federation Square, and a few bars and places that Dylan recommended, like “Naked for Satan”. The best part, aside from seeing all the scenic sights that Melbourne had to offer, was winding down for our welcome dinner at The Chew, and drinks at the Racoon Club.
Putting my big girl hat on
The next day, it was time to put play aside and focus on my first day at work. I was really nervous as to how I was going to manage finding my way to work. Coming from Texas, I wasn’t used to using public transportation. Occasionally when I was on campus at school I would use the buses to get around, but not often. I was so accustomed to just hopping in my car and going wherever I pleased, whenever I wanted. Now I was going to have to learn how to work with the public transportation system, specifically trams and trains. A big aid in helping me plan my route and find my way to work was the PTV app (Public Transport Victoria). Using this app, along with my prepaid MYKI card, helped me navigate my way through the city and get to work exceptionally early! On top of finding faster and different routes to work, I was adjusting to my work environment, coworkers, and workload more and more each day.
Working at a magazine publication gave me the opportunity to work alongside the assistant editor and digital editor. I learned so much about editing, writing British style versus American, social media, a company’s voice and all that it takes to successfully put together a publication. I think one of the major things that I will take away from working there is that, as an intern, they will occasionally stick you with the administrative tasks, the not so fun tasks, things that you are good at and things that you’re bad at. However, it’s all about making the best out of it, out of every single experience, and learning and absorbing as much as you can along the way. Remember the sole purpose of interning is to not only to thrive on what you’re good at, but also to get a little uncomfortable with things that you’re not good at, and you don’t particularly like. It is through this process that you will see extreme growth.
Overall, with the combination of everything that I’ve learned working for a magazine publication, and all the people I’ve met along the way, and all the sights, events and experiences I’ve had in this alluring city, I think it’s safe to say that I’ve morphed into a Melbournian over these few weeks. This city took my heart by storm and I hope that I’ll find a way to stay and never have to return to Texas, unless it’s for holiday. Hopefully my internship experience has encouraged you or will encourage you all to take a step, catch a plane and intern internationally. It will not only provide you with the desired work experience that you want but it will completely change you as a person.
My top take aways and tips
1. As stated before, download the PTV app and keep track of your MYKI at all times. These are your keys to traveling and exploring successfully around this beautiful city.
2. Participate in anything and everything that you possibly can! One thing I love about Melbourne is that it is so alive, there is always something going on. So participate in as many of the events with The Intern Group (especially since they are free) and go out and do some exploring on your own or with friends.
3. Speaking of friends, don’t be afraid to get out there and meet people outside of The Intern Group. They are your keys to networking and to discovering all the hidden gems of the city. I’m not saying be friendly with everyone. Use your common sense and know when to say no or walk away. If something doesn’t feel right, stick with that instinct.
4. You know how the saying goes, “When in Rome do as the Romans do”. Well, when in Melbourne do as the Melbournians do (not sure if that’s a word or thing). Engulf yourself in their language, customs, traditions and culture in every way that you possibly can, it’ll definitely make your stay worthwhile.
5. Explore, explore, explore until your little heart can’t take it anymore. Take trips to St Kilda beach, Luna Park, go see the penguins (yes they have penguins). Take a weekend trip to Sydney. Just get up and get out there!
6. Take tons of pics, videos, post statuses, write, blog, etc all in the name of making your friends and family a part of your experience (as well as super jealous)!
7. Above all, take your internship seriously. Especially when it comes down to the work you’re doing for your company. Be an asset to the company as opposed to a liability. Not only will you be gaining valuable work experience in the field of your choice but your bettering a company as well. It’s all about what you want to get out of your internship.
All photos Tai John