The worldwide Augustana College experience

Australia Day 2011 to Internship..s

Hi America,

It’s a been a while and I’ve neglected you…but Australia has my undivided attention at the moment!

I finally started my internships (yes, plural) and have been hard at work 8 hours a day, 4 days per week. It’s not so much that the jobs are hard, but adjusting to work culture from student culture is definitely a bit of a challenge. More on that here in a minute, though.

A few weeks ago (January 26th to be exact) was Australia Day! I can loosely describe it as the Aussie equivalent to the 4th of July. Lots of fireworks and beach-going, drinking, and–our favorite–the only acceptable day to wear Aussie paraphernalia without shame! I woke up early, got decked out in my Aussie gear (t-shirt, blue swim gear, and an Australia bag) and then headed to Bondi Beach to abuse the sun! Upon arrival, the sun disappeared and it began to drizzle…but I remained on the beach, fell asleep for a bit, and woke up to go purchase a $10 sandwich and realize I got a little red from the non-existent sun. Even cloudy days are dangerous here! We then headed to Darling Harbour and wandered around before watching an amazing fireworks show at around 9pm. These fireworks put US fireworks to shame! They were amazing!

Since Aussie Day, I’ve been busy on the job! I started my internships on January 31st and have been busy since juggling two very different work experiences. On Mondays and Tuesdays, I intern with Greg Smith, Member of Parliament, assisting his assistant with general office duties. I’m definitely getting experience answering phones and doing data entry, but also learning about the political system of Australia. It’s very different from the U.S., but there are plenty of scandals to go around so there’s always some office buzz about who’s taking bribes from who, stealing money, corrupt, etc. Reminds me of back home! It’s a formal setting and I do need to maintain a high degree of professionalism. Additionally, it’s an important time for the MP as he is up for election in March. We have to do everything to make sure constituents are satisfied!

On Wednesday and Thursdays, I intern for Vibewire Youth Inc. It’s a non-profit organization that primarily creates media outlets for youth and young entrepreneurs to express themselves and connect with other like-minded people. I’m sure it’s a bit hard to wrap your head around as nothing like it really exists in the U.S., but it’s a great company and they’re hard at work for an upcoming event. Being there only 2 days/week, I float around and assist various teams from HR to communications to design. I also have been given some pretty hefty tasks too, such as writing sponsorship proposals and doing research for marketing purposes. Having no experience doing this, that’s quite a daunting task, but it’s been pretty successful so far. I think they realize that we’re still learning how to be professionals and the only way you get better is with experience. I really like having a lot of independence to work on tasks and to approach them from my angle. Definitely a great experience! Hopefully we get the sponsorship!

Well, now I must work on some homework. It’s very nice to have Fridays off to just do “whatever”. The beach does sound nice though and I hope to make it there today or tomorrow. In the meantime, I only have a few weeks left interning, but look forward to what else comes my way through that…and, of course, looking forward to spring break at the reef!!!

-Louie

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