Who says you can’t mix business and pleasure? Interning abroad in Oceania offers the bliss of tropical outdoor living combined with fantastic career-building opportunities. The beaches in this part of the world speak for themselves, but there are also exciting cities for culture buffs, remote landscapes for adventure seekers, and plenty of kiwifruit, koalas, and cricket to go around. Whether you’re interning at a start-up in Sydney or a school in Samoa, the islands are calling. Head down under to gain real-life work experience in a laid back culture sure to leave it’s watermark.
Oceania, as the name suggests, is ruled by the water, and is made up of some 30,000 islands. Although not all of them are inhabited, there are a few spots that sparkle for interns more than buried treasure. Pack your preferred floating device and go with the flow in this easygoing region.
Australia. The land of sun, sand, and surf certainly has plenty to entice you, but there’s more to Australia than meets the eye. For example, there’s vegemite and dingos. It’s also an important world economy that is highly connected to and influenced by Asia, providing ample internship opportunities. Sydney, specifically, is a top choice in the region. As a magnet for international interns, Sydney offers a diverse atmosphere and plenty of internship placements. Plus, how cool would it be to work with a view of the Sydney Opera House? Melbourne is yet another good choice in OZ. A livable and easy to navigate city and the cultural capital of Australia, Melbourne maintains a memorable, artsy ambience. Whichever city you decide to settle your internship roots in, there’s plenty of Outback and seaside to keep blood flowing properly.
New Zealand. The landscapes are as breathtaking as the Lord of the Rings movies portray. Your camera will work overtime on the weekends as you explore waterfalls, mountain peaks, and glaciers. The majority of interns in New Zealand head to Auckland, the country’s largest city. The City of Sails offers art, culture, and the best of city life for interns. The capital of New Zealand, Wellington, is referred to as the adventure capital of the world. Fitting in with the theme of this region, “Welly” provides the perfect balance of outdoor living, with it’s harbour and green rolling hills, and stellar internship opportunities.
The Islands. To truly experience island culture, intern abroad in one of the smaller Oceanic islands. They may be modest in size, but they pack a punch when it comes to opportunities to intern and experience a different way of life. An island group of over 300 islands, Fiji is one of the most popular destinations in the South Pacific, making it ideal for tourism-related internships in Oceania. Halfway between New Zealand and Hawaii sits Samoa; island hop to this community-minded nation to pursue environmental or education internships.
There is no sink or swim mentality here. The welcoming, unhurried vibe of Oceania rubs off in the workplace, but that doesn’t mean it’s not hard work. Roll up your sleeves (if you’re wearing any at all), and get to work as you learn, live, and gain invaluable professional experience in Oceania.
Environmental Studies. Folks in Oceania spend a lot of time outdoors and, therefore, take the world around them seriously. Since life centers around the oceans, it’s no surprise that many internships in Oceania are centered on environmental management or marine science and ocean conservation. Your days will likely be spent in the field, which could mean everything from a wildlife reserve to a coral reef. Interning in Oceania in environmental studies gives interns the chance to learn a ton while also contributing in a positive way to Earth’s future.
Tourism & Hospitality. As a tourism hot spot, Oceania is flooding with tourism and hospitality internships. Right in line with the importance of the environment, many tourism internship opportunities focus on promoting sustainable tourism practices. Although English is the working language in most of the region, if you have second or third language under your belt, it will be a huge plus. Hospitality internships in Oceania may include placements at hostels or local tourism offices, or may even might throw you into a restaurant to tame the barbie. For a super unique internship opportunity in Oceania, consider a scuba placement; yes, it’s a real thing!
Business. With its strategic location in the Pacific, business in Oceania have a strong focus on Asia. If you’re interested in doing business in or with countries in the East in your future career, interning in Oceania can give you a head start. In the larger cities throughout the region, there are numerous options for internships in business administration as well as in communications.
No one ever pursued an internship to get rich, but there is still a ton to be gained by interning in Oceania. For starters, consider the value of building professional experience, expanding your network, and boosting your skills and confidence in an international environment. Throw in the fun and adventure of traveling, and the expense is totally worth it!
Salaries and costs of living vary greatly throughout the region. The larger cities of Sydney, Melbourne, or Auckland come with a high price tag, while less-developed Samoa is a more affordable option. A dinner out at an inexpensive restaurant may be upwards of $15 in Australia, for example, and a one-bedroom apartment in Auckland is about $1200 per month. On the upside, transportation within the countries is typically cheap, and the smaller islands tend to come with smaller price tags (as long as you stay away from imported jeans).
In Australia and New Zealand, paid internships do exist, especially for interns with prior experience or niche knowledge, such as language or computer science skills. However, paid internships are generally the exception. If you do score a paid internship in Oceania, often the pay is higher to adjust for the cost of living. For students aiming to earn credit to transfer back home, it’s often possible to do so, and this can enhance the value of the experience.
Although you likely will be spending most of your time either at your internship site or out exploring, a place to sleep might come in handy. Your intern abroad program may provide assistance with securing housing, or you can ask your internship site for help. Housing may even be provided as a free benefit, which can greatly reduce your overall cost.
Accommodation options for interns include homestays, youth hostels, or apartments, all of which can be good choices, depending on your personality, goals, and budget. Homestays are ideal for those looking to totally immerse themselves in the culture. A youth hostel provides an awesome way to meet tons of new people, but may not be the best choice for introverts. In an apartment, you’ll likely have roommates, which translates to new friends to go exploring with. Usually, apartments are the most costly option and come with the most paperwork.
Luckily, visa regulations are welcoming of interns in this part of the world. In Australia, the Working Holiday Visa allows young people, ages 18 to 30, to work or intern for up to 12 months. In New Zealand, interns up to age 35 can spend up to a year in the country. Be sure to check out GoAbroad's Embassy Directory for current visa application requirements for each country in Oceania.
Settling into the culture of your country and company is exciting, but it can also be an adjustment. Between navigating a new metro system, dealing with jet lag, and making the tough decision on whether to wear striped or solid socks, even just making your way to your new site on day one can be stressful (tip: go with the solid). Despite the challenges of interning abroad, Oceania is a great place to ease into intern life.
The accents may differ, and of course the vocabulary may take some getting used to, but for the most part, you can get by in English during an internship in Oceania. A limited language barrier will allow you to focus on your internship and the task at hand, rather than at which verb tense to use to ask about the deadline.
The diverse internship opportunities you’re sure to find also set Oceania apart. From examining marine life to understanding how to conduct business across cultures, your days as an intern in Oceania will be busy and varied. There are as many options for work and fun as there are types of unusual wildlife, so focus on your interests and take a walk on the wild side.
Rather than embarking on the typical three-hour boat tour, intern abroad in Oceania to fully maximize your learning opportunities. Avoid the cassowaries and honey bees, and learn how to float through life while also gaining skills and finding your professional spark. Before you know it, you’ll be eating pipis (a local variety of shellfish) and pavlova (a meringue-like dessert) with the best of them and return home with a fulfilling and purposeful experience to boot.