I just recently finished my Fall internship in Australia through Global Experiences (GE), and overall I had a positive experience. I’m not sure if everyone that’s been through a GE program can consider their experience as life-changing, but I’m thankful that my personal experience was in fact life-changing, especially at a key point in my life. For me, I believe my experience was made life-changing because of factors ranging from the pre-departure professional development process and from the company that I interned for, both being provided by GE. I also felt like I needed a break from school. Let’s dive in.
The first thing I’d like to mention is the wonderful staff that GE has; I mostly interacted with Carlie Kidd, Brian Brinkman, Chrissie Friedrichsen, and Kiri Murphy, and I could tell that they helped me not just because it’s their job, but because they wanted to help me gain an amazing experience. They were all well-mannered to say the least, but they were also enthusiastic, responsive, and flexible. I initially signed up for the Shanghai Summer Program 2016, but I ended up wanting to change to the Fall Program, and then I wanted to switch from Shanghai to a different location (ending up in Sydney, AU). I was fortunate that they allowed me to switch so seamlessly.
Next, the pre-departure was pretty unique. While the pre-departure professional development process was filled with stuff that you could technically access and do on your own, it’s one of those things where there’s a slim chance that you would actually choose to do that stuff on your own (let alone, even hear about them) and you’re thankful that you did through GE once you understand and experience how it applies to your professional development. You have the opportunity to bring the valuable things that you learn from this pre-departure professional development process beyond your experience with GE, and you’ll most likely end up taking that opportunity. For your GE internship’s purpose, though, the pre-departure professional development process will make you very well-prepared.
One of my less positive experiences with my experience with GE was in terms of housing, and most of it was influenced by me. Because of my multiple switches mentioned at the end of the second paragraph of this review, I was late in entering the Sydney Fall 2016 program. The housing that was already chosen would only fit 4 guys, and the program had 5 guys including me, and being late to the program, I was chosen and accepted to be housed elsewhere from the people in my program. I ended up living in a single room at a college relatively nearby. Personally, I’m thankful that GE was still able to accommodate housing for me despite entering the program late. The single room allowed me to focus better, and it was definitely comfortable. The problem was that arguably a big part of the program is living with the other people in your program, and I was not able to do that. As someone who was initially hoping to be a more social person by building a relationship with peers inside my program, I was at a loss. The distance between my housing and their housing was far enough that, to me, it wasn’t worth taking the extra time to visit them and try and develop relationships with them. Instead, given my situation, I was comfortable just being by myself in a single room and directing my focus on doing exceptional work for my company. In many ways, but not completely, I was almost doing an individual program and not immersed in a group program. As a reminder to whomever is reading this, though, I did enter the program late, so I actually admired GE’s ability to think of an alternate housing solution for me in a short amount of time, and the housing itself was nice but I missed a lot of the valuable social element of my GE program experience.
So despite having a slight loss in terms of housing, I was able to make the most of my actual internship. I requested a General Business internship from GE, and I eventually interned as a Marketing and Research Intern. Not exactly what I requested and initially wanted. But instead, what I got was something better. One thing that I learned through this internship is that a title is just a title. Sure, Marketing and Research might sound a lot different than Accounting, Finance, Management, etc., but what’s more important than your designated title is what you actually do, and I did exactly what I was truly interested in while working for, and I almost can’t exaggerate this, an amazing group of people. I was able to prove my value in a business setting while working in an above-average work environment, and I really can’t be more thankful for the people I’ve met and worked with and some of the projects I’ve worked on. I’m glad that GE had this connection with the company I interned for, and decided to match me with this company. It was through this company that I took my first steps in a business setting, was able to prove to myself that I can work harder than I originally thought, and reconnected with what I actually want to do in my life.
In terms of the social events that were planned for our GE program, unfortunately I didn’t capitalize on going to every one of them. One of the events that I went to was pretty average, while the other few were good experiences. From my perspective as someone who was housed in a different location than my program members, these social events were the reason why I felt like I wasn’t completely in an individual program, and allowed me to connect to my program members to some extent.
The price of the experience was more on the expensive side, but I really can’t “complain” since I’m sure it takes a lot to give a lot. As someone who took a careful approach to my on-the-ground expenses during my program, I was a bit disheartened by the lack of travelling opportunities that I gave myself. I believe that, to get the most out of GE’s “experience abroad” side of the program, you need to be comfortable with not being frugal with your money while living in your destination or else you’ll miss out on a lot of great opportunities.
Summary of my GE experience:
The GE staff receives recognition from me for their wonderful personalities. The pre-departure coaching was exceptional and I highly recommend this process. My experience on the ground was positive overall; while my housing made it hard to get to know my program members, I was able to get to know most of them to some extent through the planned social events. My internship itself was life-changing through the people I met, the projects I completed, and joy I had going to work for my company every day.
In short, while I can’t comment on how the complete social experience is through GE, I can definitely say that my internship experience was life-changing.
Thank you, Global Experiences, and I hope future participants of your programs can enjoy their internship experience as much as or more than I experienced mine!