Australia has the unique ability to combine sleek cosmopolitan urbanization with wide open beaches and deserts. The country is as much famed for cities such as Sydney, Melbourne, and Brisbane, as it is for “the bush” and “the Outback.” What do you get when these two conflicting landscapes come together? A country that has the second highest Human Development Index (HDI) in the world, taking into account life expectancy, literacy, education, standards of living, and quality of life.
Interning in Australia is guaranteed to be a fun and exciting experience. Not only are the opportunities endless, the culture is fascinatingly multicultural. In Australia, your time outside of the office will be just as much of a learning experience as your time in the office.
Australia is a big country with a varied economy, increasing the chances of you finding the perfect internship that fits your career goals.
- Environmental Science Research: Australia is known for its unique variety of wildlife and ecosystems, which makes it a great place for those interested in zoology, microbiology, and ecology. Internships can be found at different universities and research labs across Australia. The experience you gain during your research will undoubtedly enhance your resume and background for future job, research, and schooling applications.
- Marketing and Public Relations: With internships in Australia available at top advertising, marketing, or public relations firms and departments, you will be able to expand your international work experience and knowledge. At your internship, you will learn through hands-on experience about creation, execution, evaluation, and transmission of various advertising media. Depending on your skills and interests, your tasks and projects could include promotions, sales, copywriting, or graphic design.
- Fashion: In Australia, young and upcoming individuals in the fashion industry are welcome and celebrated. As a fashion intern in Australia, you will be exposed to a variety of tasks and projects, including merchandising, showroom prep, design, production, social media, trend research, marketing, and PR. Whatever part of the fashion industry you are trying to break into, Australia is the place to do it.
- Information Technology: The Internet has definitely made the world a lot smaller. If you are looking into a career in computers or the web, international work experience is highly valuable. While interning in Australia, you can find opportunities for working on web design, social media, web development, programming, software updates, and systems engineering.
Planning Your Trip
When and Where to Look for an Internship:
Internships in Australia are available throughout the year and all around the country. It's important to remember though that if you're coming from the Northern Hemisphere, the seasons will be flipped. This means that summer for Australians actually runs from December to February.
More business-oriented internships will be found in major cities such as Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide, and Perth. If you’re interested in wildlife or environmental research, you may find an internship at the Great Barrier Reef or in Western Australia.
Visas for Interning in Australia:
In order to intern in Australia, you will need to obtain an Occupational Trainee Visa. This visa is specifically designated for visitors who wish to gain work experience in a structured workplace training program while in Australia. To apply for this visa, you will need your employer to sponsor and nominate you. Your employer must be a lawful Australian organization, a government agency, or foreign government organization. For more information, visit the website of the Department of Immigration and Citizenship. Be sure to pay close attention to the Eligibility and Obligations listed for both the sponsor and applicant.
Those from eligible countries may also qualify for a type of visitor visa called the Work & Holiday Visa which allows individuals between the ages of 18 and 30 (or up to 35 for Canadian, French, and Irish citizens) enter Australia for a year to work or intern.
Students studying in Australia are eligible to participate in internships or other paid work up to 20 hours a week during the school term and 40 hours a week during holidays.
Cost of Living in Australia:
With a large country such as Australia, the cost of living can vary quite a bit in different cities and parts of town. Overall, your cost of living will be higher in bigger cities such as Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide, and Perth - especially in the center of these cities. On average, the rent per month for a one-bedroom apartment in the center of a large city in Australia is about AUD$1,500. On the other hand, rent for a one-bedroom apartment in the suburbs averages around AUD$1,000. Popular websites to search for housing locally include Gumtree and Flatmates.com.au.
Be sure to check out the Endeavour Scholarship; the Australian Government's internationally competitive, merit-based scholarship program!
Work Culture in Australia:
- Etiquette: Australians are known for being very down-to-earth; they value sincerity, honesty, and modesty. A sense of humor is also usually helpful in Australian society. Greetings are casual and usually consist of a handshake and a smile. While it is common for Australians to greet each other with “G’day” or “G’day mate,” it may seem patronizing from foreigners. The Australian business culture is quite straightforward and direct.
- Language: In Australia, the main language is English. However, the Australian vocabulary, slang, and accent can take some getting used to. In fact, the Australian Government has a page dedicated to the history of Australian slang. The page includes how many phrases came about and some useful links to help you while in Australia.
- Networking: Since Australia has a relatively small population, relationship building is quite important. Networking in Australia is usually informal; it may occur during work hours or during lunch or dinner. However, there are also networking organizations such as BNI Australia and The Women’s Network.
Work and Labor Laws in Australia:
Internships in Australia are generally known as “work experience.” Be sure to watch out for unpaid internships; these are legal but must include benefits for you and commercial gain for the company, and may not last longer than certain periods of time in some regions.