Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Guest Post: An Intern Down Under

This guest blog was written by Shayna Dunitz, a junior at Ithaca College, a fellow Intern Queen intern with me and a Spring 2011 study abroad student at the University of Sydney. She had an unique experience abroad when she interned for Emergency Architects Australia. Shayna shares her experiences interning in another country and how she was able to balance getting ahead and exploring Down Under.

When I first made the decision to study abroad in Sydney, Australia I was not thinking about an internship at all. I was barely even thinking about classes. All I had in mind was the beautiful beaches and amazing city. However, when given the option of an internship through the University of Sydney, I began to really consider it. As a sophomore, I still hadn’t had an internship and I knew I would be coming back to New York too late in the summer to get one. I wasn’t sure what I would be doing in the fall, and there were a couple of options that I was actually interested in. I decided to go ahead and send my resume and cover letter in for the event planning internships they offered and I haven’t regretted it once.

I was offered the event management internship with a non-profit called Emergency Architects Australia (EAA). Established in 2005, EAA provides architectural advice, planning, project management and building support in South East Asia and the Pacific Region to communities who have suffered natural disasters or the effects of conflict and who are seeking to reduce avoidable damage from foreseeable extreme events. Over the course of the semester, I planned 5 different events, the biggest of which was a cocktail party for our sponsors. This was also the most challenging because it had never been done before so I had no background, and I had no clue what vendors to contact in Australia!

I learned so much from this experience, both in the field of event planning and about living and working in a different country. I worked in a small, casual office where it was often just my supervisor and I and maybe another intern or volunteer. I interned one full day a week, which fit in perfectly with my school schedule and I was still able to travel and explore on the weekends. My internship was also in a different suburb than my apartment, so I was able to get familiar with another area and with using public transportation. With regards to event planning, I organized a couple of small workshops and meetings, and the large cocktail event. I was in charge of everything from contacting to vendors, securing venues, creating invitations and organizing RSVPs. As a result, I became very comfortable sending “cold emails” (and extremely family with navigating Google). My first internship experience with Emergency Architects Australia will always have a special place in my heart and I look forward to visiting Australia again and stopping in to say hello!

Thanks Shayna for sharing your internship!