In this week's post, Lorenzo discusses the reasons he had for taking an internship placement during his study abroad program, why he enjoys it, and the advice he has for anyone interested in interning while abroad.
One of the reasons I chose the CAPA program over the myriad of other study abroad options is because they offer an internship placement. I am at the point in my “career” as a student or young professional where I value work experience a lot more than classes. It’s just more hands on, puts more skills to use and provides you with more achievements to talk about when you interview for jobs in the real world. On a personal level, that is what works for me right now but it’s not for anybody. I advise you to consider that the work will be “for free” meaning you won’t get compensated with money or other benefits but with academic credits and, hopefully, if you do what you’re supposed to, with professional contacts in a field you like.
The placement process is quite easy, just enable the CAPA staff to understand what you’re looking for, specify them a couple of possible positions and activities you want to be doing and they will give you a relevant internship to work on. I want a career in digital marketing, managing online campaigns, search engine optimization efforts, content, social media and so on. I have experience in most of these aspects of the business but I’ve never really managed a full scale Google campaign and I would really like to. After talking about it with my supervisor she was very open to involve me soon in a project with ads and shopping. Communicating and coming to work with a purpose can get anybody where they want, people are willing to help if they see effort and passion.
Two months have passed since the beginning of the program and until now I’ve been creating content for press releases, online marketing articles and an entry-strategy plan for a new food product into Australia. I’ve also been tasked with dealing with social media influencers, which I’m currently working on. The internship is 20-25 hours a week and the people at the company you will be working at understand that you’re a student, unpaid and don’t have all the time to focus only on work. The internship also comes with a class you attend only once every 2-3 weeks which is to fulfill the academic requirements and make sure you understand the workplace and so on.
If you decide to take this path, make sure you’ll be ok with doing unpaid work. I say this because I’ve been a paid employee before and then I went back to doing unpaid internships, and it was tough. Once you value your time with a set amount of dollars, it’s hard to go back, and this applies to me going from a little bit to nothing but also to the executive that has to resign and take a lesser position. It’s good to understand that this work can help you with your future jobs as well as with your academics but it’s also better to do work that you are passionate about and see yourself doing.
The Australian workplace is not too different from the American one, people might be more laid back but in each country more details will always depend on the size, industry and phase of the company you are working at. Considering that the two cultures are not too far from each other most Americans won’t have much problems adapting to the rules and habits of the place, or at least not more than adapting somewhere in Asia or Latin America. My advice is that, if you’re thinking about it, go for it but make sure you have a purpose for doing an internship, because you’ll get out what you put in. I know some guys here who came to enjoy the laid back lifestyle, the beaches and nice weather and they don’t take internships because it was not what they wanted. As long as you’re clear with yourself and your objectives you will have an amazing experience, for me it was definitely worth it!
Lorenzo Corazzin is an official CAPA blogger for fall 2018, sharing his story in weekly posts on CAPA World. A Global Studies major at the Arizona State University, he is studying abroad in Sydney this semester.
Lorenzo's journey continues every Friday so stay tuned.