Published on November 25, 2013
I thought; what a pleasure it would be to help other people experience an international internship in their chosen field. I applied for the Melbourne Director role straight away. Six months of interviews, planning and preparation later, Intern Melbourne is ready to roll.
By using The Intern Group’s connections and global brand, we have put together a stellar program, including partnerships with a leading accommodation provider, the highest rated surf school in Australia, award winning vineyards and the best attractions and tours as well as internships at some brilliant companies. Everything is in place, from the companies to the classes to the kangaroos.
As Intern Melbourne’s Director, I’m obviously biased, so I don’t want to sound like a commercial. Instead, ask somebody you know who has been to Melbourne, “what's Melbourne like?” - listen to their response.
If you don’t know anyone who has been to Melbourne, Google the phrase ‘world’s most livable city’ or take a look at the ‘Visit Melbourne’ website. Then visit the Intern Group's Intern Melbourne page to see the program itself in detail. The city and the program speak for themselves.
So instead of the superlatives, I want to challenge some assumptions, using my own international internship experience to try to answer the question....
Why do an international internship?
To see the world and experience new things? Yes…but you could just go on holiday to do that. As an international intern you’re not another tourist you’re a member of the Intern Melbourne community - you don’t just visit a city, you live it.
To be part of a successful company? Yes... but it’s the role, and what you make of it, that is most important. I started my own internship on Wall Street at the world’s biggest bank. Within a year the bank was on the brink of collapse, the government was intervening, the office was being sold and I had decided finance wasn't for me. But at the same time I loved my internship. It was the role, the people and the city that made it.
To get a good job on completion of my internship? Yes, in part: It is directly because of my internship that I have since been able to work all over the world on projects that I cared about and enjoyed. But this isn’t the most important aspect of an international internship. I think it’s a bit deeper than that.
2500 years ago, the ancient Greek poet Pindar wrote “you become who you are by learning who you are.” I think this point on self-awareness gets to the crux of why an international internship can be so valuable.
It is the not the external environment but the personal challenge, the learning experience itself and the internal development that comes with the adventure of moving to the other side of the world to pursue your career. For me that is the most important aspect of an international internship: in a new city you can be whoever you want to be. At the same time the challenge of the internship helps you find out what you are really made of.
In Melbourne you will make new friends in a great internship program, surf with Australia’s best instructors, develop professionally and experience a new life. You may even shake hands with a kangaroo. But ultimately your internship helps you learn who you are and realize your own personal potential.
You are still yourself when you come back, of course - just better.