Perth is one of Australia’s best-kept secrets. With its sprawling beaches, thriving economy, and young student population, Perth is one of the most actively growing cities in the world, both in regards to culture and opportunity. As the capital of Western Australia, Perth is a central hub for entertainment, employment, and natural beauty that is often overlooked by visitors, and thus it is perfect for interns who are looking to truly immerse themselves in the Aussie lifestyle. If you want all the excitement of a large, metropolitan city, but still crave wide open spaces and the outdoors, internships in Perth are perfect for you.
Internships in Perth
Internships in Perth allow you to work and learn abroad in Australia from six weeks, to six months, to a year. How long your internship lasts is dependent on the organization or company with whom you work. Internships in Perth can either be part-time (20 to 25 hours a week) or full-time (30 to 40 hours a week); be sure to thoroughly evaluate how long you’d like to work before agreeing to any internship abroad.
As the largest city in Western Australia, Perth has a seemingly limitless array of possibilities in a variety of fields for those looking to intern in this Australian metropolis. However, some of the more common types of internships in Perth are in the fields of:
Marine Science. Located right on the water, Perth is well-known for its pristine, sandy-white beaches, but it is the Ningaloo Reef, a UNESCO World Heritage site just north of the city, that makes it such a prime location for those looking to gain professional experience in marine biology. The coral reef is most famous for its high population of whale sharks, humpback whales, and manta rays. Perth also plays hosts to the Marmion Marine Park (the first of its kind in Western Australia) that protects a threatened coastline teeming with tropical fish. The amount of internship opportunities in Perth’s various conservation and research organizations are as numerous and diverse as the number of marine organisms waiting to be discovered.
Business & Trade. As the capital of Western Australia and the largest city on the western coast, Perth is also the central economic hub on the western side of Australia. It is also also easily accessible by African and South East Asian countries, making it an excellent port for trade in its vast ores of gold, iron, nickel, diamonds, coal, and natural gas just outside the city. Due to these resources, the sheer number of banking headquarters within the city, and because of its role as one of the largest metropolises in Australia, Perth’s economy is booming. Australia has the 13th largest economy in the world, and yet only has 0.3 percent of the world’s population. This is due specifically to cities such as Perth, whose economies carry Australia on to the global stage. For those looking to intern and learn from international businesses in one of the more competitive markets in the Pacific, Perth is the place to be.
Performing Arts. For a city that relies heavily on commerce and mining for economic prosperity, Perth is surprisingly artistic. There are over 20 major art and cultural institutions throughout the city, not to mention the numerous art galleries and small theatres. Performing arts companies specializing in theatre, orchestra, and ballet, as well as the Art Gallery of Western Australia, are prominent in Perth. The city is also home to the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts, where numerous performers and producers have launched their careers; Hugh Jackman is even an alum. The annual Perth International Arts Festival also makes Perth an excellent location performing arts internships in Australia.
Life in Perth
If you’ve always dreamed of living that stereotypical, easygoing, sunny Australian lifestyle, you’ll find it interning in Perth. The city actually has the highest recorded amount of yearly sunshine throughout all of Australia, in addition to long flatlands of white beaches and winding rivers. Perth is home to over four million people, but with its wide span and numerous parks, the city gives inhabitants “room to breathe.”
Perth is home to over five universities, some of which are the top in Australia, which creates a vibrant, young local culture. The neighborhood of Fremantle (known as “Freo” to the locals) is an eclectic collection of cafes, pubs, and open-air markets that pop up on the weekends. The neighborhood is also home to Western Australia’s only UNESCO World Heritage site on land: the notorious Fremantle Prison. Due to its history and unique street life, this area is surprisingly popular amongst students and young professionals.
The city is also bursting with diverse cultures (the population includes large numbers of European, South African, and South East Asian communities), a myriad of art festivals, and a strong music scene. As is common throughout all of Australia, sports are very popular amongst locals, particularly “footy” and rugby.
Need a break from the city? Just a few miles north of Perth is Swan Valley, Australia’s take on Napa Valley, but with the addition of microbreweries, craft distilleries, and wineries. Public transportation in and around the city is easily accessible and affordable, so getting to the valley is easy.
Perth offers all the amenities of a large metropolis, but earns its title as “one of the world’s most liveable cities” with its relaxed and entertaining lifestyle; it is perfect for those who want to work hard all day interning and then head down to a local pub or pop over to the beach to catch a few waves at the end of the day.
Salary & Costs
It can be somewhat difficult to obtain a paid internship in Perth due to competition and the fact that most internships are mainly applied for academic credit; nonetheless, it is possible to find a paid internship in Perth. Every intern’s salary (or living stipend) will depend on the organization or company with whom he or she interns.
The cost of living in Australia can be somewhat pricey, although Perth is relatively reasonable for such a large city. An average dinner out at a nice restaurant usually costs around $30, whereas rent for an apartment can range anywhere between $1,500 and $3,500 per month, depending how centrally located you’d like to be in the city and how many roommates you want.
Accommodations & Visas
While interning in Perth, the most common living arrangement is an apartment, a shared house with roommates, or a youth hostel. Accommodations are often the responsibility of the intern, although many internship providers will assist you in the details of finding a place to live.
To intern abroad in Australia, you must obtain a visa before leaving your home country. Current students and recent graduates can complete an unpaid internship in Australia for up to 26 weeks on a 416: Special Program Visa.
On the other hand, if you are completing a paid internship in Perth, you must obtain a 417: Working Holiday Visa, which allows you to intern in Australia for up to one year. The visa application process is online and very efficient; most visas only take a few days or weeks to process through an Australian Embassy.
Benefits & Challenges
The True Australia. It is often said that Perth is “the true Australia”: an unfiltered snapshot of the carefree and sunny lifestyle that is stereotypically associated with Australians. Although Perth is still a large, bustling metropolis, it is far more relaxed than other major cities in Australia, allowing interns to truly immerse themselves in the local culture.
Living “Upside Down.”Remember that if you are from Northern hemisphere, Australia is on the other side of the equator and your seasons will be flipped; the North American or European winter is the Australian summer. However, across the board, Australian weather is very warm and Perth in particular is known for its hot weather. Soak up the vitamin D on those miles of beaches, but don’t forget to pack rain gear for the monsoon season.
Language Barriers. Although the most commonly used language in Australia is English, it has its own distinct accent and slang that requires a slight learning curve upon first arriving. This is particularly true of Australian abbreviations (ex. “See you in the arvo!”).
Fierce Competition. Obtaining your dream internship in Perth can be challenging, as Australia is one of the top countries to relocate to for those under the age of 35. Many university students and recent graduates look for internships in Australia to jumpstart their professional career; however, this should not deter you as this high number of interns in the city make for an exciting and vibrant culture.
- Big Rewards. Perth’s many professional sectors, strong economy, and relaxed lifestyle teeming with cultural diversity makes the opportunity of interning abroad in Perth the perfect springboard for a career abroad.