Ayesha Dharmapala, Professional Internship Program London, UK (December 2013 – February 2014)
Field of Studies: Bachelor of Law (Deakin University Melbourne)
Program Duration: 8 weeks
As any application for an internship I would be lying if I said the process was not stressful, however the team at Australian’s Abroad were extremely helpful and guiding throughout the whole process and always kept me updated on how my application was going and answered all my questions no matter how silly they were.
I cannot stress enough how much of an amazing time I had working in London. My Host organization was incredible and always provided with work that kept me interested. I was expecting my duties to simply be admin and clerical duties however it was so much more. My daily tasks frequently included visiting court cases and clients in jail, reading over cases, and clerking for barristers. The quality of the internship was more than I ever expected. The level of work I completed and knowledge I attained during my internship has made me extremely eager to start my career.
My accommodation was student housing close to central London. This was quite beneficial as it gave me the opportunity to make friends with other students and interns from all over the world. The transportation in London is the best I’ve experienced in the world. I utterly despise public transport in Australia, however the London tube was such a breeze to catch everyday to and from work and made discovering London that much more easier.
It has always been a dream of mine to live and work in London, and this experience has definitely satisfied this goal. Living in such a large and vibrant city was extremely liberating. There is so much to do and see in London, and there was never a dull moment during my stay.
There were no major cultural differences I came across during my time in London. Being a Western country the people are quite similar to Australians. Apart from the odd person who can’t understand my accent I never really came across any difficulties.
I had the most amazing time on my internship and it was all thanks to the team at Australians Abroad. I found the constant guidance throughout the application process and my issues abroad well handled and extremely helpful.
Annalise Varghese, Spanish Language Course, (Barcelona, Salamanca & Valencia) Spain (December 2013 – February 2014)
Field of Studies: Bachelor of Architecture (University of Queensland)
Program Duration: 12 weeks
After much thought, I decided that to capitalize on travel, study and holidaying, a language immersion course would suit my plans perfectly. Australians Abroad introduced me to an internationally accredited and recognized Spanish Language School, with schools located in many cities in Spain and South America. By attending lessons at this school, I would be exposed to real Spanish culture by living with a host family, or other Spanish language students, studying the Spanish language during my stay by attending school, and still have the chance to explore new sights, sounds, noises and tastes in the city of my choice. This seemed like the perfect option, and in addition, I would be doing all this with like-minded students, with similar ambitions and who also share my lusts for new experiences.
Australians Abroad helped me decide the program of my choice. I selected the Super-Intensive Spanish program with the school and opted for shared student accommodation. At first, the name “Super-Intensive” was quite intimidating, but after starting the program in Spain, found that the number of hours the course provided was perfect for learning and absorbing the language. And having free time after class and on weekends to use my growing skills was exciting, and as the weeks progressed, I could see myself improving and gradually noticing that I could understand little more each day. It was an amazing feeling.
Having been through high school and been a full time university student for 3 years, I did not know what to expect from a foreign language school with international students, each at different levels of Spanish and learning easy to difficult concepts in a new environment. I can say with confidence that the Spanish Language Schools were excellent. The teachers were engaging and very accommodating of the different levels and needs of the students. The classes were organized in a way which enabled the students to come in for either full day, morning or afternoon classes, and most of the schools were sited close to city sights, metro or bus lines. The best part about the school however, were the students, who, like me, were intent on making the most out of their experience in Spain; by practicing and studying Spanish when possible, exploring the cities before or after class, and just for hanging out together. I made amazing friendships, and I will try my hardest to keep these. Despite being half way across the world, I hope that someday our paths will cross again.
Australians Abroad helped me organize and find the perfect living situation the student apartment. I selected three different cities to study over three months, and in those months lived with students in shared apartments. All of these were within walking or metro distance from the school, very comfortable and being able to live with other students from the school was fantastic. I met students from all parts of the world, each with their own stories and experiences to share. We cooked together, travelled together, studied together, partied together and looked out for each other. I wouldn’t have lived in Spain any other way.
The three cities I selected were Barcelona, Salamanca and Valencia. I stayed in each city for a month, and hopped between the Spanish Language Schools. Advice and guidance from Australians Abroad regarding traveling between these cities was very much appreciated, as at times, with limited experience of transport in Spain, a little extra help in organizing trains, buses or planes was very helpful. From this, having returned to Australia, I feel that I am more confident about traveling solo overseas. Three months in Spain hardly seems like enough time to spend in a beautiful country with so much to offer. During my stay, as I was learning Spanish, I could feel that little by little, I was going deeper into a culture which, previously, had been completely foreign to me. Australians Abroad have given me so much, as through my involvement with them, I was able to organize what I wanted, and was able to achieve it. I believe that in my future travels overseas, by simply knowing another language and, through the language, another culture, I feel that I can simply understand more, say more, see more, I can go out into the world and “feel” more.
My experience of a lifetime would not have been possible without the assistance of Australians Abroad. For any adventurous, young person like myself, I urge you to get in contact Australians Abroad if you are planning an adventure overseas. Whether it be a Language Program similar to the one I have enjoyed, or and internship in the field of your choice; an option which has great appeal to me at the moment, as I will take any opportunity to travel overseas again for extended study or work, and will definitely be liaising with Australians Abroad. Thank-you again to all the people who helped me along the way, for fueling my ambitions, and for making it happen!
Stephen Heavener, Cheetah, Wild Dog & Vulture Program, South Africa
Field of Studies: Majoring in Biology with a minor in Zoology (University of New South Wales)
Volunteer Field: Animal Care & Conservation
Program Duration: 4 weeks
Stephen volunteered at one of the oldest wildlife care and conservation projects for cheetah in South Africa. The project looks after a variety of animals such as cheetah, wild dog, brown hyena, serval, suni antelope, and vultures – including the very rare Egyptian vulture.
Why did you choose the Cheetah, Wild Dog and Vulture Program in South Africa?
I have always wanted to work with large predators, especially the cheetah. This program facilitated my needs.
Quickly explain what you were doing during your volunteer program:
I worked on a cheetah and wild dog property, helping out with everyday duties and large projects. Some projects included painting a bus for tours, building a road for kids tours and clearing enclosures. Everyday tasks included feeding, grooming, medicating and cleaning the animals as well as the preparation area.
What is your advice to participants who are planning to undergo a volunteer program in South Africa?
Be open minded and let your carer know what you want, without being pushy. Other than that let yourself go and enjoy a trip of a lifetime.
Australians Abroad was amazing and so was the program they set me up with.
Choose three words to describe your experience in South Africa:
Three things that you missed most from home:
To find out more about our volunteer program in South Africa please click here.
Gyongyi Horvath, Professional Internship Program, Singapore
Field of Studies: International Studies (University of New South Wales)
Internship Field: International Relations and Environmental Sustainability
Internship Duration: 12 weeks
Gyongyi interned at the vibrant and active branch of an international institute aimed at developing research, conservation and educational programs around the world.
Why did you choose Singapore for your internship?
I wanted to do an internship in Asia and for my field of studies, Singapore seemed like an ideal location. In addition, it is an English language environment, making adaptation and work easier.
Quickly explain what you were doing during your abroad program:
A variety of tasks, including media outreach, research, project management, event organisation, coordinating programmes, as well as admin tasks.
What is your advice to participants who are planning to undergo an internship in Singapore?
To come for an extended period of time – at least two months or more. It makes settling in easier and enables you to benefit more from the experience.
A great programme, very helpful staff, and thanks to that I had an internship at a great place – I can definitely recommend it!
Choose three words to describe your experience in Singapore:
Three things that you missed most from home:
– My own place
To find out more about our internship program in Singapore please click here.
Amy Greenbank, Volunteer Program, Ghana
Amy Greenbank, a 22-year-old journalism student from Brisbane, participated in a 6-week volunteer program in Ghana, Africa. Amy was involved in a Government campaign promoting AIDS prevention and awareness for children.
“Well my story all started with Australians Abroad. These guys set me on my way for my international adventure. It all began with a desire to put my media training into practice in a way that brings a positive change to a devel¬oping country. Ghana was my nation of choice, and I headed over there with little idea of what to expect. It was quite daunting to jump of a plane and find yourself in a country that looks totally unfamiliar. But the partner agency over there met me at the airport and helped me get my feet on the ground.
It wasn’t long until I was on my way to meet my host family, who over the weeks became as close to me as my real family. They laughed with me at all my cultural mistakes (well I hope it was with me) and fed me masses of food – seriously, I have never seen so much rice in my life! But the most rewarding part was my daily role of visiting the local schools and giving the AIDS awareness presentations. A hundred or more kids crammed into a little room – often three of four to a seat – to hear the ‘white ladies’ talk. The six weeks were over so quickly, and I would have extended my stay if I didn’t have to get back for my final semester. But it was an experience that will stay with me for a life time.” -Amy Greenbank
Volunteer programs are available in a range of exotic locations around the globe. Enticing programs such as the “Save the Panda Program” in China; the “Cheetah, Wild Dog & Vulture Program” in South Africa or the “Orphanage Program” in Ecuador are just a few of the humanitarian, wildlife conservation and social welfare programs available for Australians through Australians Abroad. Package deals are available for candidates wanting to combine language courses with volunteer programs. Volunteer Programs…A travel experience that makes a difference!
Samantha Hinds, Au Pair Program, U.S.A.
Samantha Hinds from Woongarrah participated in a one-year Au Pair program in the USA. There she was part of an American host family and looked after the two lovely little sons.
1. Why did you choose the US for your experience abroad?
I chose the States because I needed a change of scenery and was looking at experiencing the American culture. It was also a cheap and easy way to explore the whole country.
2. Quickly explain what you were doing during your abroad experience?
I was a nanny with an American family. I looked after two boys aged 8 and 2. They always had activities planned or we would play in snow or on the beach. I was also able to study while i was there. I made plenty of lifelong friends and I can’t wait to see them all again and visit their countries.
3. Choose three words to describe your abroad experience:
4. Three things that you missed most from home:
– Family, Family, Family
– And my friends
– Australian people and way of life
5. How will your year in the US influence your studies/ job/ life in general?
I was able to gain a lot of experience and also have some great contact that i will be able to utilize on my next adventure in becoming a Speech Pathologist. My way of looking at things in general in my life has changed for the better – i am much more positive and patient.
6. What is your advice to other students and graduates who are thinking about going abroad as an Au Pair?
Don’t think about it. Do it. You only live once and this is definitely something you are going to love. It is a challenge to be so far away from home and arrive in a country with nothing or no one but the people are amazing and very helpful. Americans love Aussies. It is a once in a life time opportunity that should not be missed. – Samantha Hinds
Australians Abroad offers Au Pair programs in Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, The Netherlands, the UK and the USA.