Being so close to Asia, Australia is an English speaking country with remarkable opportunities. Choosing Australia for your internship gives you first-hand experience with an extremely successful and still-growing economy, while living the life of an international professional and with all the chances to immerse yourself in a foreign culture that you expect.
The Australian job market is competitive, but still booming. Australia was one of the few countries to survive the recession almost unscathed (more information here). You can jump in and start gaining real life experience in the business where you intend to start a career, instead of reading about it in a textbook.
At the same time, doing an internship in Australia allows you to develop your understanding of international cultures. Australia is home to a rich mix of people from all over the world, with very strong representation from the nearby Asian countries. (You’ll find the Asian food in Australia to be fantastic.) And to Australians, “G’day mate” or “cheers” aren’t just slang terms. They’re expressions of an open, informal work culture that’s very different from elsewhere in the West.
With an internship under your belt, you’ll have learned to immerse yourself in a different way of thinking and adapt. One of the key skills you need as a professional is the ability to communicate in a way that suits the other person — not necessarily yourself. Putting yourself among others who have different values and ways of thinking helps you develop this highly valuable mindset. Australia makes it easy, since the country is English speaking and the culture still relatively close to what you find at home.
Still, having successfully completed an Australian internship will demonstrate to others that you can successfully adapt to an international lifestyle, embracing a working environment in a foreign country and thriving. Practice makes perfect. Coming to your new career with some practice and experience will allow you to perform that much better when “push comes to shove,” because you’ll already have been there.
The practical experience you get will prove useful even if you end up doing something different. Why? Having placed yourself in a foreign country with a different set of rules and a whole new social set of people to connect with, you’ll still succeed. In the process, you’ll apply what you’ve learned in the classroom, and see first hand how to adapt academic knowledge to the practical world. You’ll know what works and what doesn’t, and, perhaps most importantly, you’ll know that you can do what you need to do. This may be the most valuable part of an internship, because most people end up changing their minds about what they want to do several times before they graduate. The lessons from an international internship will stay with you no matter what industry or business you end up entering.
One more feature of an Australian internship that will stay with you are your contacts and connections. Your business network will be a key part of your success in your future career. Starting an internship now will allow you to widen your network of contacts abroad, developing connections that will help you tomorrow and within a decade. At your work, you’ll be surrounded by professionals who work in your industry, whom you can ask questions, learn from, and impress. Perhaps these people will be colleagues in the future, or perhaps they’ll help you find your first job.
If you find yourself looking for a position for after you graduate, in fact, an internship in your past may prove to be your best asset. As great as grades are, the working world is significantly different enough from academia that practical experience is essential. One of the best routes to gaining that experience is with an internship.
Australia is a successful and culturally diverse marketplace that encourages internships, helping international students develop language skills, develop their cultural understanding, and build their professional networks. In fact, having done an internship in Australia will help you get a work visa there later. There are several types of Australian work visas and you can easily check which one you need here.
Although you need to be patient and persistent in this endeavour, it’s a small price to pay to experience what the International Monetary Fund predicted would be the world’s best-performing major advanced economy.
My name is Alex Pejak and I’m an economics graduate with a bachelor’s and master’s degree in Finance and Banking. After my studies, I spent a year searching for internships when I got an opportunity to do an internship in Brisbane (Australia), where I decided to stay and build my career.