Tamarin Liebenberg - Marketing & Communications Coordinator
Tamarin holds a bachelor’s degree in communications and English from the University of Johannesburg and she has been working in the advertising and marketing industry for the past 16 years in various roles, both locally and overseas. Tamarin is passionate about travel, nature, and extreme sports. She prefers teaching through fun, unconventional methods, and her goal is to use her skills to give back and help others.
How did you get connected to if I could…?
I was looking for a change in career where I could find my purpose and use my experience to finally give back. After 16 years in advertising agencies and the like, I was fortunate enough to find a role with if I could...
What experiences inspired you to get involved in the field of international education and experiential learning?
I have travelled extensively, and my life has been enriched by that experience of meeting new people and learning about different cultures, often coming face to face with the real life struggles of not only people in my own country, but those in other third world countries. The people I have met along my travels have always been such humble, beautiful souls and I have always tried to help in whatever small way I could whilst there, but never felt it was enough. I hope that now, with my professional experience, I am able to indirectly assist those with the much needed skills to do their part to help even just one person who is in need.
What does a typical day of work look like for the Marketing & Communications Coordinator of if I could…?
An average day consists of updating our social media channels and writing or sourcing content for our blog and monthly newsletter. It also consists of research around the locations we offer and the hosts we work with as well as what’s topical and new. Meeting and greeting new interns and doing a welcome interview with them as well as exit interviews, and going along to intern outings to capture the fun had, through either a video or photos for content which we share later. It also involves updating our website and looking for networking opportunities to engage with new hosts or interns. No one day is the same.
How do you utilize your educational background and travel experience in your current role?
Because I travelled after my studies, I can relate to what interns are interested in, their fears, their challenges, their interests, and perhaps also what drives them; I try to hone in on this in the content I create for our different channels.
What do you feel sets if I could… apart from other internship program providers?
We are very hands on, and the whole team, including our director, is very invested in every one of our interns. From beginning to end, we make sure that they have a meaningful experience, and that both interns and hosts achieve what they need to out of the programme.
How does if I could... help participants immerse in not only the business culture of their host company, but also the local culture?
We share a lot of information through our blogs, newsletters, and social channels in a fun and lighthearted manner. Also, when it comes to the actual sign up, we make sure each intern is fully equipped with all the knowledge they need to know about the location, the host, safety, weather, transport, you name it. Then whilst in country, we arrange for bi-weekly catchups through fun outings, to expose them to other interns and the local culture and experience the sites of the location they are based in.
What do you think the biggest benefits of interning abroad are?
An internship abroad will broaden your view on the world, change you as a person, and help you appreciate the things in life that really matter. Going through a reputable programme allows you peace of mind that your interests will be catered to, and a trusted support structure in an unfamiliar, and sometimes somewhat scary, environment. This all helps you settle in and allows you to focus on your studies and career.
What characteristics do you look for in potential interns? What are the keys to being a successful international intern?
Passion, dedication and commitment. A successful international intern needs to know what they want to achieve from their internship, as this helps us place them with the best host to ensure an overall meaningful experience for both parties.
What makes South Africa a great place for international internships? What about India?
South Africa, although classified as third world because of a lot of development issues we encounter, allows for a really hands on experience and wonderful opportunity to give back and have a positive impact. It also offers the first world comforts that most internationals are accustomed to, good food and restaurants, running drinkable water, access to transport, accommodation, and telecommunication. India also offers a combination of exposure to development issues and challenges, yet still also offers first world development, technology, and growth prospects.
Both locations are ideal for development students and practitioners hungry for knowledge, real world experience, and an opportunity to immerse themselves in a new culture and give back in a very real, compassionate way.
Is there anything exciting in the works for 2016 that we should know about?
We are looking at more hosts in New Delhi, especially in the public health, human rights, and advocacy sectors. We are also considering new destinations; there are some great locations that we know our interns would love to explore and spend time interning or volunteering in, and we look forward to making this possible.
What is the most rewarding part about your job?
I would have to say knowing that I am indirectly helping others to affect positive change through what they do best.