How To Work & Play As An Intern In Australia

by Andrei Milosevic

As an intern down under you will likely be busy learning new tricks of the trade everyday. But it is important to remember even at the end of a busy day, when flopping on the couch sounds amazing, that you are in Australia! Make time to really get out and stretch those social legs.

A beautiful beach in Queensland.

A beautiful beach in Queensland. 

Photo by Victoria Mita

Interning abroad in a new and unfamiliar land is overwhelming in many ways, and one of them should be by how many incredible things you do each day! When you're in a place like Australia, a veritable land of extremes, find ways to maximize your time with a variety of experiences. One moment, you can be in the city, surrounded by glass, steel, and concrete, and in the next moment, you can be in a sparse desert surrounded by absolutely nothing. 

Australian weather often means warm and sunny skies so it is easy to spend quality time outdoors but contrary to popular belief, there are some areas and times that will keep visitors indoors. For example, the north has a monsoon season and it even snows in some areas, but Australia is a big place and there is plenty to do indoors and out. Interning abroad in Australia can become a balancing act and a serious test of time and self-management. But, there are simple ways to get the most out of your time without compromising the work experience.

A Little Planning Goes A Long Way

Being spontaneous, especially abroad, can be thrilling and often results in some of the best memories. However, it is a good idea to put some planning and research into your time. Since Australia is so large and diverse there is a banquet of activities to choose from. A little research will ensure that you don't miss something incredible like the secret underground civilization of Coober Pedy in South Australia. The population developed an entire city underground in order to avoid the heat and the area is also known as the Opal Capital of the World. Talk about a treasure right under your nose!

On the other hand, don't end up spending a precious long weekend doing something that you don't enjoy. Ask some questions and read a little to ensure time well spent. It also keeps people out of bad situations. It may sound like a great idea to trek halfway across the country that morning, but when you're halfway to your destination surrounded by that sparse “nothing” with a low tank of fuel you may wish you had thought things through.

Meet The Locals

Interning abroad in Australia is a deeply social experience and meeting new people is absolutely critical. The connections made in the workplace will be just as useful as the job skills. In Australia, meeting and engaging with the locals is arguably more important than in other places because it is so wild and diverse. While it makes the place amazing it can also make it dangerous. The locals are more than aware of what might be lurking in the grass along the path. And in the rugged Outback, there is always going to be something lurking in the grass.

Aussie home cooked barbecue

Aussie home cooked barbecue

Photo by Victoria Mita

Enjoy the Food

This is another reason to talk with the locals. They may be colleagues, a neighbor, or some guy on a bench in the park, but they know where to eat and what is the best. You can say this for virtually every location, but for interns abroad in Australia it's good to know you don't have to subsist on Vegemite for the Australian food experience. Australia has a huge variety of cuisines that simply aren't found many other places such as Pavlova, a meringue like dessert garnished with fruit and cream, or kangaroo steak and emu pizza. If you are craving something a little more familiar, Australians are great at putting a personal spin on typical meals.

Keep a Journal or Blog

Recording your experiences is the perfect way not only to remember them later, but to share them with others and encourage further exploration and experiences. You can keep track of your experiences as an intern in Australia on a daily basis, and store and share photos. By keeping content online, it can serve as a backup in the event you lose your data. However, if you maintain a blog or use a social media service, just be sure not to become reliant upon it and let it consume your precious time. While it's important to be active and engaging with social media, be sure it doesn't get in the way of everything else.

Beyond personal use, an online presence during a professional experience such as an international internship can be a major resume builder. What better way to demonstrate what you learned then an easily accessed, interesting document of your time. They can show employers creativity, ingenuity, and self motivation, not to mention great pictures that will help you stand out as they sift through stacks of applicants.

Deakin Waterfront

Deakin Waterfront

Photo by Victoria Mita

Make the Time

It seems like common sense, but it is easy to become completely absorbed by work. Keep in mind that as an intern in Australia you will likely be an unpaid employee and it is important to maintain boundaries for yourself. Don't forget to make time for other things. It could be as little as looking out the window or as big as a week-long walkabout. Making the time to explore is always worth it and the more time you can find the better.