Melbourne internship (Isue 42, 2010)


Winnie at the Melbourne campus entrance

Have you ever dreamt of working in an international workplace with colleagues from all around the globe? Or dreamt of living in a cosmopolitan city with a diverse culture and many nationalities? What about combining exchange and working experience together and striking up friendships with international students across the world?

This summer I was able to realise all these dreams by being granted the chance to work in a genuine international environment in another country. I was lucky to be sent by my university, Chinese University of Hong Kong, to complete my internship at La Trobe University, with the La Trobe Abroad team.

My colleagues at La Trobe International are diverse in nationalities and cultural backgrounds. They come from places across the world including the United States, India, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, China, and most of them can master more than three languages fluently such as English, Indian, Malaysian, Spanish or Mandarin.

Generally, Western people are all very friendly and respectful. They respected my ideas and opinions and provide me with autonomy on my work. They encouraged me to create the framework of all my work freely and provided useful guidelines and feedback to improve my work. I truly enjoyed the equal and friendly working environment they created for me.

Working with the La Trobe Abroad team (which deals with the student exchange and study abroad students), I got a chance to serve different stakeholders, including international students, La Trobe International staff,  partner institutions and the government. I had a chance to taste different kinds of work, from administration work to strategic planning, from written work to oral presentation and from indoor office work to outdoor activities. This experience improved my marketing and computer skills, but also my communication and interpersonal skills, time management, organisational skills and creativity. Working at La Trobe is definitely an incredible experience making me well-equipped for my future career.

The most interesting task was designing and setting up the Facebook page for my team and designing the brochures to promote exchange programs. I’m very thankful to my team for giving me lots of space and autonomy to develop my creativity and potential to finish my work. Gaining teammates’ acceptance, I feel really proud of myself and got great satisfaction from my work.

But the most wonderful job was organising orientation activities for exchange students from around the globe. I was involved in organising a three-day orientation camp with activities including surfing, hiking, playing footy, sightseeing and a cruise night party. This experience provided an opportunity for me to form friendships with students from around the globe and improve my interpersonal skills.

The most challenging job was doing a presentation to all the staff at La Trobe International. I was assigned to introduce CUHK, my team work and my work during the internship in front of the staff in a half-hour tea reception session. Though this job was a bit demanding, it was absolutely a worthy experience. It greatly enhanced my public speaking skills and built up my confidence.

I was lucky to be assigned to do my internship in Melbourne, Australia, one of the most vibrant and dynamic cities in the world. This city is famous for its great diversity in culture, food and entertainment. I came across Melburnians from different nationalities easily, exploring diverse cuisines from Italian, Vietnamese, to Chinese and Thai. I got exposure to various Melburnian pastimes like street-art performances, opera and footy matches easily.

This city is also famous for its tranquillity. Green parks and beautiful beaches surround the whole city. The skyline is so clear that I can see the sky filled with sparkling stars easily. I couldn’t resist the temptation of this city and fell in love with the tranquillity, diversity and modernity of Melbourne. No wonder it is ranked as one of the most liveable cities in the world.

It was a great experience to be an intern at La Trobe University, I never felt lonely and I have many fruitful memories coming along with me.