Live, work, and play in a city where even your worst days will feel like a Saturday afternoon at the beach. Sydney has an unusual blend of both professionalism and down right laidback lifestyle charm that brings a smile to your face even if you find yourself shoveling manure. Luckily for most, there will be no manure shoveling -- unless you find yourself studying wildlife eating habits (which is a very possible scenario). Sydney truly has just about everything you can imagine; it starts with the amazing Australian Aboriginal history, which evolves into what you see today: a flourishing city with a festive atmosphere.
But, why should you choose to intern in Sydney? With its vibrant culture, amazing wildlife and booming business sector, there are practically limitless opportunities to explore your personal and professional career options. Just pick your passion and Sydney will help you pursue it!
Business and Marketing:
If you follow the money trail down-under you will likely end up somewhere in Sydney’s CBD. Sydney plays host to the Australian stock exchange and is one of the epicenters of Australasia region where it represents almost every major business sector.
If one is looking to gain a hands-on experience in various business fields then look no further. Major US companies such as Johnson & Johnson, Proctor and Gamble, Unilever all have business divisions in Sydney and post internships on their websites.
Arts and Fashion:
When thinking about studying arts and fashion, Sydney is typically not the first place that you would consider on your priority list for internship locations. In reality, Sydney has a steady growing fashion and arts industry with well-known designers and artists emerging from its city walls. Just take a walk down the streets of Darlinghurst or Paddington. Oxford Street is decorated with small boutique shops and art galleries housing some of these world famous artists. Global Experiences has a number of internships in the fashion industry.
If visual and performing arts is your stroke of life, then check the following list:
- Mercedes Benz Fashion Festival: This is a week-long fashion festival put on by Mercedes Benz. It is a great place to get involved and build relationships with industry contacts. Even if you are not in a role of organizing you will still be able mingle with leaders who are.
- Museum of Contemporary Arts
- Art Gallery NSW
- Sydney Festival
- Sculpt by the Sea
You will find that though Sydney is not Paris or Milan, it still can hold its own in the global fashion and arts scene.
There are tons of music festivals in Sydney, so if you take any liking in music, event planning, marketing and promotions, then you can find many for profit and non-profit organizations looking for people to assist. One such festival is The Newtown Festival, it is put on by a non-profit origination that supports the local community.
Public Relations and Media:
There is no shortage of traditional Australian events like huge cricket and rugby matches, the annual gay and lesbian Mardi Gras as well as music festivals and fashion week. With these events, come opportunities to gain professional experience and meet others in your field.
Though Sydney is the largest city in Australia, it still has a very large wildlife population just outside of its doors both on land and in the sea. If wildlife studies are your preference, then head for the Blue Mountains, Taronga Zoo, and Koala Park Sanctuary or reach out to one of the many wildlife conversation groups in the Sydney region.
"Plan to fail, never fail to plan". Just getting over to Australia is a great accomplishment, but if you want to take the internship experience to an Epic level, it is best to do the heavy lifting before you go. Whether you are going with a program or on your own, set obtainable realistic goals. Take time to think about what you want your resume and experiences to reflect. From there, work backwards by setting high level goals and the proper steps that it will take to achieve these. The more time you spend on planning, the smaller the hurdles you will encounter, allowing you to run laps around Sydney and ad miles to your resume!
When and Where to Look for an Internship:
There is no better time than the present - but keep in mind that Sydney is in the southern hemisphere - our summer is their winter. There are tons of programs you can pursue, but make sure that you are able to take advantage of major networking events, proper planning will help ensure this.
Cost of Living in Sydney:
Warning! It is not cheap to live in Sydney, but still very do-able. Check out Numbeo for a more realistic break-down of living expenses. The closer one lives to the inner city, the more you are looking at paying for accommodation. Shared living is highly recommended for those seeking to live within the city. There are some reasonably priced areas near the CBD that one should consider when searching for accommodation. Here are some suggestions: Newtown, Darlinghurts, Surry Hills, Balmain, Parramatta.
A paid internship would be ideal, but there are opportunities to earn extra income without too much distraction from your overall goals. Some places to look are retail, hospitality and tutoring to help supplement your income.
Check these websites to get started:
Side note on safety: Do not get too concerned about crime and safety. Sydney is one of the safest metropolitans in the world. Just use common sense and you can eliminate 95% of all dangerous situations.
Work Culture in Sydney:
- Meet and greats in the morning are common and the norm.
- Promptness and respect are expected and given in return.
- Smiling seems to make the day that much easier.
- Many of the work place customs you find in America you will likely encounter in Sydney. When meeting people, give firm handshakes and make direct eye contact. Don’t be afraid to take time and get to know your fellow colleagues. Organizational structures are less hierarchical and sharing a cubicle next to your supervisor may be common.
YES, Aussies speak English – BUT there will be situations where all you can do is shake your head and awkwardly grin in hopes that you might be able to pick up context clues into what in the world someone is saying. Don’t worry, because unless you have a degree in Australian gibberish this is totally normal and will take some time to get used to. Even Aussies know that their vocabulary, accent and slang can be a bit confusing. Check the Australian Governments page dedicated to Australian slang– hopefully one can avoid the feeling of a Jedi mind trick being played during ones first conversation with a Sydneysider.
Australians are a down to earth group of people that emphasize the value of building relationships. It is not uncommon to be invited for lunch or drinks after work with coworkers. One will come to notice that most networking opportunities are during informal situations such as drinks after work (possibly during work on early Friday afternoons) or invites to footie games (rugby). If one is looking for more networking or socializing opportunities a great place to begin is meetup.com. This website is well established in the USA and steadily growing in other regions of the world.
When it comes to networking one will notice the extra step goes a long ways, but try not to be too pushy- Americans tend to have a reputation of being a bit aggressive. Here are some additional websites to assist you in growing your network BNI Australia, The Women’s Network, Couch surfer, and the usual suspects – Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin. Don’t forget to also use third part connections such as your program director and alumni.
Work and Labor Laws in Sydney
There are several different classifications of internships ranging from vocational work placement to unpaid college course-work internships. Each specific classification has its own laws employeers and interns should be aware of.
Without boring you with to much lengthy legal verbatim please check out Fair Work to get more information on minimal wages and other work and labor related laws to be aware of.