From the small town of Crawley, England, Vidisha Nayee had her sights set on seeing Australia for years. When she discovered that she could earn professional work experience in PR and Marketing in her dream destination, she jumped at the opportunity. After two months of gaining life-changing personal and professional experience, Vidisha is back from her internship down under and wants to tell us all about it.
TIG: What led to your decision to do an internship abroad in Melbourne, Australia?
VN: I’ve always wanted to visit Australia and originally I had planned to travel there after I finished university. Having been stuck in a full-time retail job for just over 2 years, I decided that I needed to take a step forward in my career. Nowadays it seems nearly impossible to get hired without experience. I realized that I could do an internship and enjoy Australia at the same time!
TIG: Where were you placed for your internship? What were some of your daily duties?
VN: I did my internship at Get Glossy, a Digital Marketing Agency. Within my first couple of weeks, I was thrown into the deep end which really helped me to develop my skills quickly. Some of my daily duties included editing images and text images using Photoshop, styling photoshoots appropriately for clients, engaging with clients’ consumers through community management and collating stats of certain feeds on social media to improve click-through rates.
“I felt as though within Get Glossy, we were a big family rather than a group of colleagues.” -Vidisha Nayee
TIG: How did you get along with your coworkers?
VN: Not having worked in an office before, I was excited but also nervous about what to expect and how I’d fit in. Nevertheless, walking in on my first day, I was given a warm welcome and the ice was broken with “the interrogation”, otherwise known as a game of preference. From the very start of my internship right through to the very end, each and every one of my colleagues were nothing less than supportive. Because of this, I felt comfortable approaching any one of them when I didn’t understand certain things, asking about what other tasks I should do and even suggest doing tasks that I wanted to do.
TIG: Could you take a moment to talk about the office culture?
The office itself was chilled out, no matter how much work people had to do. I would rarely see signs of stress, everyone supported each other in getting work completed in time, and treats were also given out as a ‘time out’, which I felt was rewarding and kept us motivated. There was even a ping pong table in the office! There would always be music playing in the background, keeping a lively vibe for when we were all quiet in the office knuckling down!
Did you have to make any cultural adjustments?
I didn’t feel as though I needed to adjust much, however my “Englishness” would show every morning when I walked in greeting, “Morning, you alright?” instead of the Aussie “G’day!”, which I was told would be missed! I was very lucky as they gave me every other Friday off so that I could spend longer weekends exploring Melbourne. My colleagues were always helpful and gave me a handful of suggestions of where to go and what to see, which even got them excited for my weekends. I felt as though within Get Glossy, we were a big family rather than a group of colleagues.
TIG: What did you enjoy most about the internship?
VN: Out of all my tasks that I had to carry out during my internship down under, I loved copywriting for the social media posts. Having written copy for various brands targeting various markets, I was continuously switching my language and tone of voice, so I felt I was never writing the same thing twice. I also loved that because I was in a foreign country, outside my working hours, there was always something I could do and see. Every day was different!
TIG: What were some professional skills that you think you improved on at your internship?
VN: I can definitely say I gained more confidence as well as a more professional level of interaction. At Get Glossy I was regularly in contact with brand managers of some of our clients and even engaged in some meetings. I also learned how to use Photoshop, a skill that I couldn’t add to my CV prior to this experience. I also improved my writing skills with this internship. I hadn’t done so much writing since finishing university and starting this internship, so this was a great way to flow back into it and produce copy of various styles to show more of my writing ability.
TIG: In what ways do you think you’re a more qualified professional now than you were before?
VN: Firstly, I feel like a more qualified professional now that I have relevant experience on my CV. This shows potential employees my capabilities. The skills I’ve developed and the new skills that I’ve learned also show potential employers how capable I am. Although applying for jobs is still a struggle, after having done my internship, I have noticed a big difference in terms of responses to my applications. Prior to this internship, my applications would rarely be given feedback or any responses at all. However, employees are now eager to speak to me about my internship in Australia. I’ve been invited to interview a lot more than before and my profile on recruitment websites is also getting more views.
TIG: What are some other ways in which you grew during the experience?
VN: Although I can say I was independent before, without a doubt, my independence grew during my time in Melbourne. I went on a day trip by myself with a tour company which is something I didn’t really see myself doing but I thoroughly enjoyed it! My self-confidence definitely grew. I never saw myself going abroad for so long by myself, so I surprised myself by stepping out of my comfort zone and even having the confidence to do some of the things I did on this trip. I drove abroad for the first time during this experience, which as silly as it sounds, I found quite exciting! And having made friends from around the world, I learned more about different places, like America, Austria, Chile and China, where my fellow interns came from.
TIG: What were some interesting things you learned about Australia and Australians while you were in Melbourne?
VN: Coming from a small country, I didn’t realize how different it would be living in such a big country. For example, different states in the same country have different public holidays, like Labor Day. Also, totally random, but I remember being shocked when I was coming back from a night out and changing out of my heels on the train and a guy asked me how I managed to fit a pair of thongs into my clutch bag – then I realized Australians call flip flops “thongs”!
TIG: How did you get along with the other interns in Melbourne?
VN: I knew myself and all of the other interns were in the same boat – we were all away from home, we didn’t know anybody, we were adjusting our lives and suddenly starting work in a couple of days! This was exciting! I can happily say I’ve made some great friends from around the world, even becoming friends with an intern who doesn’t live far from Crawley! Yes, there was sometimes a divide, and you might get a vibe that there’s a clique formed, but at the end of the day, everyone’s civil and gets along and it was always nice to have those nights out with everyone as a big group!
TIG: Would you recommend an internship abroad to your friends? Why or why not?
VN: I already have and will continue to recommend an internship abroad, not just to my friends but also to those who I may come across and I know will benefit from it. An internship abroad is a great way to take a step up your career ladder and build networks from different places all while exploring a new place, it’s a simple win win – what’s there to lose?
Inspired by Vidisha’s internship down under? Apply now and boost your career!
This interview has been lightly edited and condensed.
Thanks to Vidisha Nayee for the interview and photos.