INTERNING ABROAD; THE OPPORTUNITY OF A LIFETIME
On 29 October 2018, 13 students from Deakin University Australia began an 8-week internship program in Kuala Lumpur and surrounding areas. The students, from Deakin’s Burwood and Geelong Campus’ are studying courses in the communications field, that includes Public Relations, Journalism and Graphic Design.
The Communication Internship Program in Malaysia is supported by the Australian Government’s New Colombo Plan (NCP) initiative. The NCP aims to lift knowledge of the Indo-Pacific through encouraging and supporting Australian Undergraduates who are seeking a rewarding, challenging and culturally diverse experience, to study and complete an internship in the indo-pacific region.
Riley O’Farrell, intern at the MABC interviewed some of the interns, whose aspirations to gain invaluable international experience in their desired fields was made possible, thanks to the NCP to discuss their internship experiences. Intern hosts vary and are based on career interests. Interns who participated in the interview include:
Adair Winder, studying a Bachelor of Journalism at Deakin University Burwood, interning at Zafigo
Chloe Adriano, studying a Bachelor of Arts majoring in Public Relations at Deakin University Waurn Ponds interning at Monad International
Chloe Richardson studying a Bachelor of Arts majoring in Visual Communications at Deakin University Waterfront, interning at Monad International
Darcy Chiller, studying a Bachelor of Public Relations Deakin University Waurn Ponds, interning at Roots Asia Pacific.
Jane Considine, studying a Bachelor of Public Relations at Deakin University Burwood and interning at Trade Victoria.
Katrina Cort, studying a Bachelor of Public Relations at Deakin University Waurn Ponds, interning at M & C Saatchi.
Lachlan Mitchell, studying a Bachelor of Journalism at Deakin University Burwood, interning at Malaysia Cricket Association.
Penelope Cannata, studying a Bachelor of Journalism at Deakin University Burwood and interning at Malay Mail. Tegan Rohan, studying a Bachelor of Arts majoring in Journalism and Public Relations at Deakin University Waurn Ponds, interning at the MABC
WHAT HAS THIS INTERNSHIP TAUGHT YOU SO FAR IN TERMS OF YOUR PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT AND HOW HAS THIS PROGRESSED?
JC: I have grown in confidence in terms of not being so hard on myself and putting myself out there more. It can be tough working in a professional context, therefore I have found that it is important not to be so hard on myself when something may not go the way I would want and not to worry when someone doesn’t agree with you on an idea.
PC: In terms of personal development, I believe this internship has taught me a lot about myself. My independence, especially, I’ve come to realise is one of my greatest assets and one which I’ve had the chance to improve and develop since coming to Malaysia. I’ve also had to acknowledge that my self-confidence isn’t all it could be, and that’s been a positive thing for me. I have the opportunity, being in a foreign environment, to establish exactly the kind of person I want to be, and that’s been one of the most fulfilling aspects of this experience.
WHAT WAS A CHALLENGE YOU FACED IN YOUR INTERNSHIP AND HOW DID YOU OVERCOME THIS?
TR: My biggest challenge was changing internships from one in a gym to a new internship in Public Relations. After four weeks interning at the gym, I was not sure I could handle an office environment surrounded by new people. After some reflection on myself and what I wanted to achieve while in Malaysia, I took on the new role as a Public Relations intern head on. I found comfort in the support of my new work colleagues and surprised myself in how I managed the tasks. Going in with an open mindset and a willingness to learn helped me to take on new challenges and move past my discomfort.
WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR PROUDEST ACHIEVEMENT DURING YOUR INTERNSHIP?
AW: My proudest moment within the internship experience has been when my first article was published, it’s a really nice feeling to know that people are actually out there reading and sharing something that you have written.
JC: During my internship I was tasked with a project where I had to create a whole new social media platform to reflect the activities that the team were doing in the Southeast Asia region. I took this on and did it to the best of my ability, resulting in four successful social media pages that I would say accurately represent what the Victorian Government Trade and Investment does. However, even more interestingly I was proud of the way I conducted myself during my internship I had to learn the ins and outs of Government dealings, but more importantly the art of communicating especially when I was dealing with members of the VGTISEA in three different countries.
RO: My proudest moment would have to be producing this Byline publication. When I first arrived, I was given the task of planning, organising and writing pieces for the December Byline edition. As this was my first internship and something I had never done before, the thought was a little but daunting and I wasn’t sure where to begin. However, I took on this role with an open mind and positive attitude, working hard to ensure the publication was completed to the best of my ability to deliver a high-quality magazine to be enjoyed by all readers. Not many people can say that they completed the development of a successful publication such as the Byline during their internship, but this is something I have achieved that I am extremely proud of and excited about.
HOW WERE YOUR SOCIAL ENGAGEMENTS AND INTERACTIONS WITH CO-WORKERS, DURING AND AFTER WORK OURS?
CA & CR:From the first day of our internship, we were embraced as part of the team. Monad international has embraced a great work/life culture balance.
At work, we are often involved with lunches with various team members. Outside of work, we join employees in various night-time activities. We have participated in team dinners, after work drinks and concerts. The workplace at Monad promotes social endeavours and they encourage the team to support each other and possess strong relationships; inside and beyond the workplace.
HOW HAS THIS EXPERIENCE AS AN NCP SCHOLAR BENEFITTED YOU AND HOW WILL IT BENEFIT YOUR FUTURE STUDIES AND CAREER DEVELOPMENT?
JC: This experience has been highly beneficial for me and something that I wouldn’t have been able to do without the NCP grant. Whilst working for ‘Trade Victoria’, I was given an insight into a completely different industry, but it’s one that I think I could see myself pursuing. I have been given so many opportunities and met so many influential people that have ultimately shaped the way I see how important and successful the Trade between Malaysia and Victoria is. The NCP grant is one example of the Trade between the two countries as it ignites the relationship between the two regions not only on a government level but on a personal development level also.
LM:The NCP has financially given me the funds and resources to travel over to Malaysia to better myself academically and further benefit my career goals looking forward. The grant has opened me up to a wide variety of tasks and opportunities that I can take forward no matter what field I end up in.
PC: This whole experience has been incredibly beneficial – both professionally and personally – and I’m grateful to have been an NCP scholar, as financially I wouldn’t have been able to undertake this opportunity otherwise. The skills I’ve learned here in Malaysia I’m sure will prove to be an incredible advantage when I begin to navigate through my career. And the things I’ve learned about myself will contribute massively to my personal life.
WHAT WOULD BE YOUR ADVICE TO STUDENTS CONSIDERING UNDERTAKING AN INTERNSHIP IN MALAYSIA?
DC: My biggest piece of advice is to go into your experience with an open mind. Entering a new workforce can be daunting, especially when it is your first time working in another country. It can be difficult to adjust to working in another culture and your first dew days may be different to what you expected, but it is important to know how to adapt and change to your situation, it is all part of your learning experience. Keeping an open mind allows you to accept change, learn how to handle criticism, helps you to be proactive about the daily tasks you take on within your workplace and will ultimately help you get the most out of your time interning abroad!
JC: I believe the best thing one can do when undertaking an internship is to go with an open mind. I arrived with no expectation and it led me to learning more as I wasn’t limiting myself to the idea of ‘this is what I am here to do’. I came here and have done much more than what was required. I fully embraced every opportunity by attending networking events, travelling as much as I could and becoming friends with a group of people that I most likely wouldn’t have met in Melbourne had I not undertaken this internship. Ultimately, I stuck with the motto that Melbourne will be there forever but my time in Malaysia will end before you know it. This has led me to having an unforgettable time that I am sure students aspiring to complete an internship abroad in Malaysia will also have.
AW: My advice to other students considering an internship in Malaysia is to take a leap of faith and do it, home will always be there waiting for you when you get back.
Introduction/quote of interns:
Bachelor of Journalism Deakin University Burwood | Interning at Zafigo
‘The opportunity to live, work and learn in a culture completely different to my own is not something that everybody gets to do, and I am extremely grateful for this experience. Interning in Malaysia has enabled me to really push the boundaries of my comfort zone and put myself out there into a completely new environment and essentially has given me a new-found confidence in myself.’
Bachelor of Public Relations, Deakin University Geelong | Interning at M & C Saatchi
‘Interning at M&C Saatchi in Kuala Lumpur has been a fantastic learning experience, professionally and culturally. Adapting to the Malaysian work environment has expanded not only my knowledge in the communications field but also my ability to acclimatise to a new environment.’