Katherine Yau, Sydney Internship

Bondi BeachI traded my summer for winter this year and thus began the adventures abroad in Sydney, Australia! If you’re on the fence for studying abroad for any reason, just DO IT. This summer I saw the best sights, met great people, and enjoyed the Australian accent.

My program was the Sydney Internship Program, and I interned at The Festivalists, which is a nonprofit arts and culture organization sponsored by the City of Sydney. The Festivalists mostly coordinates film festivals and specialized events at museums. As the Marketing and Sponsorship intern, I helped the coordinator do market research, develop mailing lists, and I even got to watch 13 of the movies they were going to screen at their upcoming film festival! Alongside my internship I took EC464 “The Pacific Rim – Economic and Political Orders,” and every class was like story time. Professor Mack is great and very worldly. Combined, the class and the internship kept me pretty busy, so plan your weekends with purpose to optimize time for exploring!

Although the culture shock was not as intense as it would have been in a non-English speaking country, studying abroad definitely broadened my perspective. It was neat and sometimes challenging to see the nuances in culture and lifestyle. Australians definitely have their lingo; you’ll hear “good on ya” for a job well done or hear cookies referred to as “biscuits.” (p.s. Eat lots of Tim Tams.) Don’t be surprised if strangers just strike up conversation with you, or when a car stops about an inch away from you as you’re crossing the street. Turns out, the buttons you push to cross the street are actually useful. Overall, though, it was humbling to learn that the American way is neither the only way nor the superior way. In Australia, I became the “foreigner.” I never got used to being asked where I’m from because I had an “American accent.” These experiences are subtle, yet meaningful, and they can only be found abroad.

Living in the city was great; to me, Sydney is this awesome fusion of European, Asian, and even American cultures. The BU Sydney Centre, where you’ll be living and taking classes, is so close to major stations, Sushi Hub (definitely go here), and even the grocery store. Definitely explore the “must sees” of Sydney, such as the Opera House, botanical gardens, and the museums, but don’t forget to spend time in the suburbs. Glebe, Surry Hills, and Darlinghurst are where it’s at. You’ll lose track of time as you explore the quirky eateries, hip bars, and unique boutiques that these suburbs have to offer.

Oh, and one final thing: make the trip up to Cairns, which is where you can find the Great Barrier Reef. It’s a must-see, and Cairns will make you fall head over heels for Australia. And definitely, definitely do Uncle Brian’s Rainforest Tour when you’re up there. You’ll see the beautiful rainforest, splash in waterfalls, and sing car-trip songs until you lose your voice. It’s the most fun I’ve ever had in one day!

I picked Australia because I wanted to see some amazing nature sights, experience a cool city, and because I thought to myself, “I’ll probably never get another chance to go to Australia!” However, now that I’ve been to Australia, I know I’ll be going back someday. Pick Sydney, and have safe travels!

Sheena Chatterjee, Sydney Management Internship

Rubix Cube AustraliaInterned at The Iconic, Spring 2014:

I was an Online Marketing Intern at The Iconic, the number one online fashion retailer within Australia. One big project I worked on was working with the Marketing and Creative Team to design a campaign that announced the firm’s new partnership with Nike. I worked on the brainstorming of activation points, selecting advertising agencies to create copy for the campaign, and creating cohesion throughout all parts of the campaign. I also worked on post-sales reports, showcasing to clients what advertising package they chose with the firm, and how product placement on the website, in the magazines, and on the blog helped their online sales.

I Learned: I learned that there is a balance to be struck between work and play. In Australia, people define the office as a place for work and home as a place for relaxation. I admired how Australians did not make their entire life about their work career. I hope to instill some of this mentality into my own life.

Secondly, I learned to appreciate what I have at Boston University. I spent one semester enrolled in The University of Sydney, and the resources made me realize how much I have at my disposal back at home. At Sydney Uni, their electronic library database is limited and the number of books stocked was a smaller quantity than BU. Furthermore, lecturers are not very involved with their students and I relied more on myself and the tutorial leaders for information on the class. Also, the campus is not a straight line, so definitely not as easy to navigate as Comm Ave!

I was surprised to find: I was surprised to find myself homesick. I’ve been lucky enough to travel to a handful of countries, but only on brief vacations; however, I believed that six months would be too short a time to be abroad. I was so ready to experience abroad life that I did not even consider missing anything back in America. As much as I didn’t want to believe the “Adaptation Curve” shown in the information session before going abroad, it is very much accurate.

The Hardest Part: It was very hard to understand the grading at Sydney Uni. In the United States, each assignment is graded as if we start out with 100 points and you are deducted points for your mistakes. In the Australian grading system, you start out with 0 points and are awarded points based off of how the teacher feels you completed the assignment. To give an idea of what is normal in Australian grading, most are awarded between a 70-75, and 85 on upward is considered great. Rubrics are not as detailed as at home, and grading tends to be a bit more subjective.

Also, dealing with the withdrawal from American pizza. Believe me, you will miss it. A lot.

The Best Part: I loved being able to truly call Sydney my home. I used my weekends to explore all the different neighbourhoods of Sydney with my roommates. I found different eateries, bars, secret graffiti, shops, etc. We came to find our favourite spots as well as constantly stumbling upon new establishments opening up every week. I really felt comfortable navigating the city both on foot and via the city transportation. I honestly feel like I got to know Sydney even better than I know Boston!

My Tips:

  • Definitely save up your money. Sydney might be more expensive than you were anticipating. Plus, I’m sure anyone would get the itch to travel, considering there are so many wonderful places to visit! Budget your money accordingly!
  • Get out into the city and explore! There are so many neighbourhoods and establishments to explore! People in Sydney are very friendly and there are so many people to meet. Get out there and have fun with the city and its people.
  • Wear sunscreen at beach all the times. There is a huge hole in the ozone layer right above Australia. Even if you think you are immune to sunburn… trust me, you’re not.
  • Enjoy the flat whites and TimTams as long as you can.

Tally Sternberg, Sydney Management Internship

Created with Cycloramic by Egos VenturesInterned at a small investment firm, Spring 2014:

I was an investment analyst at a small firm. I was given a lot of responsibility and had the opportunity to work hands-on with clients and projects, which, especially as an intern, is extremely valuable.  I was lucky enough to work on a wide range of projects, but one of the biggest was that I worked with an Australian cookie manufacturer that was hoping to expand their brand internationally.  I was able to communicate with the client professionally, develop an investor presentation, and coordinate and participate in funding meetings. The opportunities and skills that I gained from this internship have been amazing and I am so happy that I was able to work at such a great firm.

I Learned: I saw firsthand how business has truly become international. Almost every project that I worked on in my internship involved two or more countries.  I think that being able to work with people and businesses from different countries and cultures is very valuable.  I also learned that Australia is a lot more relaxed when it comes to the office.  Businesses are still extremely diligent, organized and hard working, but there seems to be less overall pressure and stress in the office.

I was surprised to find: That not everyone in Australia is a surfer. I know that seems odd, but I had this weird vision going to Australia that everyone is at the beach all day, when really life is more similar to the US, especially California.

The Hardest Part: I think that the hardest part was being 10,000 miles away from home. It can be sometimes be difficult coordinating calling home because of the 16-hour time difference. BUT that being said, I never really got homesick because I was in such an amazing place.  The beaches, beautiful weather, and nice people made being so far so much easier.

The Best Part: This was hard to narrow down.  I sincerely loved every part of my experience in Australia, but if I had to choose, I would say that meeting Australians was probably number one.  They are so nice and welcoming and it’s not by coincidence! Living in such a beautiful place with gorgeous weather year round made me a lot nicer too!

Why I Picked Sydney: I was really torn on where to study abroad, but I think that what made the difference in my decision and many other Sydney Management students’ decisions was that you should go somewhere that you wouldn’t normally have the opportunity to go.  If we are being realistic, many of you will have the opportunity to visit Europe at some point in your life; however, what are the chances that you will travel around the world to Australia? Probably pretty slim. Take advantage of this amazing study abroad opportunity.  Let’s look at the pros:

  • Living near the beach.
  • Getting credit for MANAGEMENT classes that actually go towards your concentration.
  • A full time internship: working 5 days a week lets you get to know your coworkers a lot better.
  • Living among Australians: as a whole they have one of the nicest, most laid-back cultures I’ve ever encountered.
  • Facetime, Skype, Whatsapp, and Viber all exist, so you won’t have trouble getting in touch with family and friends at home.

Luc Durrett, Sydney Management Internship

Luc Australia ScubaInterned in consulting with Happily Organised, Spring 2014

I arrived in Sydney, Australia on January 8th to start my two-month internship downtown just a couple days later.  The company I worked for was called Happily Organised, which is a business organising consultancy founded by and comprised of only one person, who became my mentor through the first two months abroad.

Although the office was officially in the Central Business District, over half of the days were spent traveling to client locations either to meet them for the first time and hear about their technological or workflow problems or to revisit clients paying for ongoing projects.  For one recurring client we visited weekly, the work consisted of sifting, reorganising, and simplifying the client’s Customer Relationship Management system, which is a web-based application integrating contacts, calendars, and email.  For each other client, though, there were an infinite number of ways to resolve business organising concerns. The challenging, and perhaps most engaging, part of the job was effectively communicating technology-based solutions to people who generally were not all that tech-savvy.

The client-facing position was not only an invaluable work experience for future endeavors, but also exposed me to a large sample of Australian ways of life, lingo, and perspectives through the clients with whom I worked.  Another aspect of the internship opportunity—which I wouldn’t have preferred any other way—was working in such a small organisation/start-up.  Immersion in every client account gave me exposure to and experience with many skills that are proving their worth already during my first month back in the US.  While the expectations and level of responsibility were quite high, it served as the perfect first step to understanding the work-life perspective in Sydney prior to starting the semester at University of Sydney.

Luc Australia BeachMy advice to anyone planning to study in Sydney (or anywhere abroad, for that matter) is to explore everything about the neighborhoods in which you’re living and working.  There are so many hidden gems to be found: shops and cafes on back alleys, small events known only to locals, and anything of the beaten path.  The mid-semester break trip I made to the Great Barrier Reef was a solo vacation, which turned out to be a huge turning point in my perspective during my time abroad.  Traveling solo encourages (and almost necessitates) your mingling with locals and fellow travelers, finding friends, and taking part in spontaneous adventures.  During that mid-semester break, I even became friends with a potential business connection for work in Sydney after my senior year of undergraduate studies.

Do not pass up the opportunity to get involved with the campus life and organisations.  Not only does it provide a good environment in which to meet Australian students, but it also can lead to your discovery of lesser known places to see and things to do.  If you remain as mentally and socially open as possible,  the study abroad internship experience in Sydney will be the time of your life.

Roshni Patel, Sydney Internship—Hospitality Track

Australian BeachInterned in revenue management at Hilton, Sydney, Spring 2014

I studied in Sydney, Australia on the Hospitality Track as I am pursuing a dual degree with both SHA and SMG.

Internship: I was the Revenue Management Intern at the Hilton Sydney and concentrated in their Food and Beverage operations. One of the main projects I had was to develop a SWOT analysis for their five food and beverage outlets. I also worked closely with the Assistant Director of Revenue Management to help develop Excel templates that would help forecast F&B revenue and covers more accurately as well as identify need periods for potential marketing opportunities.

I Learned: I’ve always placed a high priority on academics, but studying abroad showed me how to balance both life and academics, having fun while working hard. I found that learning another culture is just as important as learning in the classroom. I’ve realized that my perspective on life has changed, and I now remind myself not to stress over the little things and am better at enjoying life in the moment.

Also, studying abroad opened my eyes to a new world of different perspectives. Living in the USA, we often get caught up in our own lives and view work, life, and many other things with a perspective similar to that of our peers’. We forget that there are billions of other people living their lives just a little bit differently than we do, people who have different priorities in their lives than what we’re used to. Although it seems like common sense, the realization is hard to come by unless you experience a new culture first hand. The realization that there is so much more to life than just going to college or work is very important nowadays, particularly in a world as global as the one we live in today. There is so much to learn on this planet: its people and their cultures.

Australia Groupat HarborWhat Surprised Me: How much culture Australia has. It may not be as diverse as the States or be considered a melting pot, but the lifestyle is still very distinct. I was surprised at how difficult it can be to understand Aussies even though they are speaking English. They also have many slang words, and it can feel overwhelming trying to keep up at first.  For example, their language is different. They have slang words for everything from afternoon (arvo) to breakfast (brekkie) to McDonalds (Macca’s).

Hardest Part: I think the hardest part to deal with was how expensive Sydney was. It’s so easy to fly through your budget because you want to do everything and try new things, and everything starts to add up very quickly. It definitely helped keeping a budget and keeping track of all my expenses.

Best Part: Queenstown, New Zealand. I also went sky diving and bungee jumping (Nevis Bungy) here and it was one of the best things I’ve ever done in my life.

Another amazing part was the scenery of Sydney; there are lots of coastal walks and beaches to go to, so make sure you take advantage of them, especially in the during the summer months (towards the end during fall semester and the first few months during spring semester).

My Tips: 

  • Keep a budget! It will help you space out your spending appropriately.
  • Shop at Coles for money-saving grocery trips.
  • Take out is a few dollars cheaper than actually eating at the restaurant.
  • Take advantage of the weather in the first few months and with your long weekends. It gets much harder to do things in April, especially with the weather and working full time and taking a class.
  • Use backpacker’s world or other backpacker travel agencies for your trips! They give pretty decent deals, especially when going with a group of friends.

Jana Amchin, Sydney Management Internship Program

Jana Australia KangaroosInterned at L&A Social Media and studied Marketing at The University of Sydney

Internship: I was an intern at L&A Social Media during my first two months in Australia. L&A is a small business that specializes in social media strategy and implementation. The company helps brands to use social media effectively on a daily basis in order to grow their communities. It was an extremely creative environment, which was what really intrigued me. As an intern, I helped to find and create content for an assortment of social media accounts. It was fascinating to learn over time what the followers of different brands are interested in. I had an excellent time working with the L&A team, and I definitely learned a lot. It was great to get some experience in the social media field since it plays such a huge role in business/marketing nowadays.

I Learned: Interning and studying in Australia taught me that it is possible to mix business and pleasure. Australians have the perfect balance between work and fun. I found that people you work with aren’t simply your coworkers, and other students in your lectures aren’t simply your classmates. From my experience, everyone there really seems to make an effort to become friends. Aussies love to go get a drink and socialize after class or leave the office early for a Friday “arvo” beer. It was nice to be immersed in a culture where life doesn’t only revolve around work. Having a good time is also important!

What Surprised Me: Sydney is very diverse. I had no idea how strongly influenced the city is by various Asian cultures. Chinatown and Thaitown are two of the coolest parts of the city (and also have some of the best food)! One of my favorite things to do was go to the Asian market to buy all sorts of exotic fruits and veggies you would never find in America! Australia is not all beaches and surfers as I originally thought. It’s a country with a mixture of all different types of people with all different lifestyles, which makes it a very unique experience.

Hardest Part: The Sydney SMG program is longer than other study abroad programs due to the Australian school year. Classes start in the beginning of March and finals end in mid June. Therefore, while all my friends back at BU were finishing their courses and making summer plans, I still had half of my semester left. It was difficult to focus on my schoolwork when everyone back home was already done. However, the hardest part was leaving Sydney at the end since I really came to love it there!

Best Part: Since the program was a bit longer than others, I really feel like I had the opportunity to explore all that Sydney has to offer. I got to know the city and all of its neighborhoods (my favorite is Surry Hills!) so well because it was my home for six months. My roommates and I took advantage of every spare second we had to try out new restaurants, cafes & bars, attend the numerous festivals held in the city, and of course travel. For me, I would say that the best part of my study abroad experience is knowing that I made the most of my time there. When I came back home I had checked everything off of my Sydney bucket list!

My Tips:

  1. Travel as much as you can! Explore Australia- there are so many beautiful places to go within the country. (I was lucky enough to go to the Whitsundays, Cairns, Melbourne, Tasmania, Hunter Valley, and the Gold Coast. I also went to New Zealand!) They were all fabulous!
  2. Make a checklist of everything you want to do, so you can budget your time and money wisely!
  3. Take advantage of all the cultural offerings in Sydney. Because of the city’s diverse population, there are so many different things to see and do!

Gabrielle Arons, Sydney Internship

Gabrielle Australia KangarooInterned in Marketing at fashion retailer The Iconic, Spring 2014

Internship: I interned at The Iconic, an online retail company similar to Asos. The Iconic opened about three years ago and was the first company to bring online shopping to Australia. I primarily worked with the search engine marketing team to support their advertising efforts through campaign management and performance metrics to increase brand exposure. More specifically, I used Google AdWords and Google Analytics to optimize search results and advertising placement.

I Learned: I learned that I could survive without the physical support of my close friends and family in a place completely different than anything I knew. I had never even moved myself into my BU dorm room by myself, and now I was moving myself to another continent. I also learned to be more adventurous! I went scuba diving, bungee jumping, and surfing, among many other adrenaline-filled activities, none of which I would have done had I not gone to Australia.

What Surprised Me: While Australians do speak English, it is a very different English than I expected. A simple task like ordering coffee became a whole new skillset. Considering I chose to study abroad in an English-speaking country, I was surprised to learn that communicating with Australians would be harder than I expected. I was also surprised to see how expensive everything is in Australia. The cost of living is significantly more expensive, and minimum wage is much higher than in the states. So while many Australians make more money than Americans, they also must spend more to live.

Hardest Part: The hardest part of my abroad experience was my internship. I was not completely thrilled with my placement; my boss didn’t have much work for me to do, and some days we didn’t communicate. I had to learn how to adapt to a different work environment and reach out to other employees to make the most of my abroad internship. In the end, I learned a lot about what I wanted in a workplace and about the Australian work culture, all of which is highly valuable work skills to move forward in my career path.

Best Part: The best part of my abroad experience was the fact that I got to live in a country so far away, something that I will never do again. Australia is not an easy place to get to from the states, and the truth is that, for a long time, I will not have the chance to go back. Many Americans never make it to that side of the world. I considered doing a study abroad program in Europe, but decided that I’ve seen many European countries on vacations because it is easy to travel to. An Australian vacation takes much more planning and time because it is hard to travel to. It truly is a once in a lifetime experience.

My Tips: 

  1. Be prepared to spend a lot of money. It’s expensive to live there!
  2. Either bring your own sheets/pillows, or buy them there.
  3. Bring toiletries, and then throw them all out when you come back to the states. It will open a lot of room in your suitcase for souvenirs!
  4. Unlock your iPhone and bring it! You will appreciate having data.
  5. This might seem obvious, but only bring the amount of luggage you can carry by yourself. You’ll have to navigate huge international airports on your own, so make it as easy as possible for yourself to carry luggage.

Jimmy Luo, Sydney Management Internship

Jimmy_SMGCrewInterned in Marketing at fashion retailer The Iconic, Spring 2014

Internship: I interned at The Iconic, Australia’s leading online fashion retailer. As an intern in the marketing department, I worked specifically in the areas of search engine optimization (SEO), conversion rate optimization (CRO), and business intelligence. Most of my work involved manipulating and making sense of large datasets in order to make strategic decisions at the online and business operations levels. One of the major projects I took on involved using a software called Optimizely to conduct A/B testing across the entire website. Using the findings, we were able to redesign and implement a more modern website, thereby leading to greater traffic and revenue uplift.

I Learned: As cliché as it sounds, I learned that Australians truly have a work-to-live, rather than a live-to-work mentality. It was common among employees to hit the pub during midday for a drink or two before finishing up the last few hours of their day. Additionally, the lunch breaks were long, very long. I was encouraged to take off 45 minutes to an hour for lunch as opposed to the American workplace, which usually limits lunch to 15 to 30 minutes, at least from my past experiences. At my workplace, a “standup” was also held at the end of every week. The standup was the company’s social get-together. It was a great way to just kick back and have a couple of beers with some mates.

In terms of a personal learning experience, I learned to manage my budget wisely, especially while studying abroad in a country like Australia, where most things are twice the price of that in America (including alcohol). Because traveling was my priority, I had to make some sacrifices. My groceries consisted mainly of home brand labels and I cut back heavily on unnecessary items like junk foods.

What Surprised Me: I was very surprised to learn how lightly I could pack for my travels. On all the various trips I took around Australia and parts of Asia, I carried a single Swiss Gear backpack that held about a week’s worth of clothing max. I learned to leave behind unnecessary items and just unplug myself from technology while traveling. Personally, I think traveling is about being in the moment, and by carrying only necessities, I was truly able to do that.

Hardest Part: The hardest part of studying abroad in Australia was definitely trying to fit everything I wanted to do under my budget. Unfortunately, I didn’t get to do everything on my bucket list. Fortunately, I got to visit all the places that I prioritized highly. It’s not always feasible to visit everywhere, but I think with careful planning and budget management, traveling to the places you want to visit most is doable.

Best Part: The best part of going through the Management Internship Program was definitely being able to “live abroad” rather than just “study abroad.” Unlike the Sydney Internship Program, the management program allowed us to study at the University of Sydney. Being able to study at an Australian institution was not only a great change in setting, but also it was a great way to interact with Australian students and learn more about their culture. From working in an Australian company to studying at an Australian institution, I felt like I was actually living abroad for 6 months.

My Tips: The best tip I can give to those in the management program is to just take in every moment. The six-month program starts to feel a bit long around month 5 and the anticipation of returning home starts to kick in, however, my best advice is to just fight that feeling of wanting to leave. Be in the moment as much as possible because like everything else, time seems to fly by quickly in retrospect. A couple of points I think are important to highlight:

  • Walk a lot – it’s the best way to see the city.
  • Appreciate the coffee and avoid Starbucks while you can.
  • Get away from your BU friends and surround yourself with Australians.
  • Hold back your pride a bit and don’t be that loud and obnoxious American.


Alexis Chin, Sydney Internship

Sydney_SkyDivingInterned in Finance, Editing, and Film with the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, Spring 2013

Internship: I worked at the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (or The ABC) which is the only public, national broadcasting network in Australia. For my internship, I moved around the company every week, shifting from one department to another in order to gauge a better understanding of the company as a whole. I worked with the financial department, looking over various reports and accounts; with news editing, where I assisted in editing raw news stories using a software editing program Aurora; and with the news field crew, where I went out on location to report various breaking news. I also assisted with camera operation for television shows, with ABC Radio, with Master Control (the central unit of the company responsible for putting shows on air etc), with Promos where I helped create various short videos to advertise television broadcasts, and with setting up cameras and lighting for interviews.

I Learned: I had never been employed at such a large national corporation before, so getting to be a part of it was mind-blowing! It was great observing how each department carried out their separate tasks and then brought them all together to produce the final output for television and radio.

In terms of Sydney itself, before arriving there, I never realized what a cosmopolitan city it really was! There are so many cultures and ethnicities that make up the bustling city, and the people all manage to live their daily lives in such harmony. I learned that Sydney is not just about the Opera House and the beaches. There is so much history behind it starting from the very first settlement with the Aboriginals to hosting the Olympics!

Comparing/Contrasting My Work Experiences: The approach to work is a lot more relaxed in Australia, but work still gets done efficiently and on time. The dress code is also a lot more casual.

Australians have a strong belief in the equality of people regardless of job ranking. Their attitude towards interns was very new and refreshing to experience. They give you way more responsibility in the workplace rather than just using you to fetch coffee. As a result, they make you feel like an important asset to the company. Australians always make time to laugh and chat. They are extremely friendly and want to know what you want to do rather than just dishing out work to you. Another important fact: Morning and Afternoon Tea are mandatory for the Aussies!!! Make sure you sign up for gym membership with all the cookies and Tim Tams you’ll be eating!

Hardest Part: I honestly don’t have anything to say for this. I had the most amazing experience of my life and worked with some of the friendliest and most welcoming people! I would return in a heartbeat!

Best Part: Getting the opportunity to be in studio and actually use one of the cameras on set to film a t.v. show, despite my lack of experience, was probably the most fulfilling and career-changing experience for me. Also, meeting Jason Mraz as ‘part of the job’ was just another one of those unexplainable, unbelievable experiences that I still can’t believe happened.  Meeting new people from fellow co-workers to backpackers and hearing their life stories was always exciting. Each new person I met gave me the inspiration to want to see more of the world. Furthermore, being in Sydney gave me the opportunity to travel in and out of Australia to see some of the most breathtaking places I will ever see in my life. From Melbourne to Adelaide to the Great Barrier Reef, Port Stevens, the Blue Mountains, Auckland, Queenstown and Fiji, I definitely had the most action-packed semester of my life!

It would also be remiss of me if I did not mention the amazing Aussie cuisine. Meat pies are awesome. Make sure you try a Tiger Pie! You will also become a coffee connoisseur with the 5,000 types of coffee they have available.  Lastly, I must say that being in Australia has turned me into a complete adrenaline junkie. From scuba diving to sky diving to climbing the Sydney Harbour Bridge to cage diving with Great White Sharks, there are so many opportunities to get your adrenaline pumping, and each experience just kept getting better and better!

Aishu Challa, Sydney Internship

Interned in clinical information systems at St. Vincent’s Hospital in the Department of Microbiology, Spring 2013

Internship: I worked at St. Vincent’s Hospital in the Department of Microbiology in Sydney, Australia. My internship was geared towards medical research and clinical information systems. I created a database for the doctors that allowed them to easily enter multiple patient admissions and drug level monitoring and other information. By creating a simple form format and directing buttons for various functions, I made the system easily usable for anyone within the hospital.

In addition, my second project involved using both Oracle and Excel (Pivot tables) to generate reports on the budgeting on patient laboratory tests over the past two financial periods. I presented the reports to the heads of the various departments as well as the manager of the Department of Microbiology.

My third project involved creating a presentation for the head of the department.  Since the microbiology research doctor provided guidance to physicians in various other departments about what antibiotics were effective in treating patients, I was asked to review patient data and records to assess what influence advice given by the microbiology research doctor had on the antibiotics and treatments  chosen. The data identified the progress of patient treatment within eight hours of the call of advice.

I Learned: One thing I learned from my experience is the ability to learn about a new organization and guidelines unique to the country. There are many regulations unique to hospitals in Australia that I was able to educate myself on and apply to my internship projects.

Another thing I learned from studying abroad was various perceptions of the world including the United States. It was fun being able to travel to different cities and meet people from the entire world and broaden my knowledge on global issues and even on my home country.

Comparing/Contrasting My Work Experiences: A few differences I noticed from the beginning to the end of my internship, in comparison to my previous workplaces included the internship focus, work environment, internship wrap up.

Day one of my internship, my supervisor/boss asked me what I would like to do rather than handing me random busy work. He asked me what I would want to do that would help me. I found this very influential and helpful.

Throughout my internship, my work environment was very casual and laid back. Most of my coworkers took two or three breaks during the day but never missed a deadline. They were very social and often encouraged me to take breaks in order to be more relaxed and high-spirited. Past internship experiences have been quite rigorous and stressful, which I often found intimidating and uncomfortable.

Lastly, during my internship wrap up, my boss and supervisor focused on accomplishments and my efforts, but not on my abilities but on how I helped the department’s success. They also spent a lot of time asking me for advice on how to improve the internship experience for following students which I thought was very impressive and interesting.

Hardest Part: The hardest part of my experience was making sure you balanced your school, work, and social life. Sometimes living with friends and discovering a new city can distract you from your main purpose of education and work. I wouldn’t say that balancing was a problem, but it was definitely a factor in your daily life. My biggest advice: stay on task and you can pretty much do anything and everything you want!

Best Part: The best part of my experience was meeting people of all ages and making long-term friendships. It was such an eye opening experience and learning from other’s viewpoints on numerous things is always entertaining and informational. Also, having great local connections helps with finding the best places to visit and receiving good recommendations. I still maintain contact with my Australian friends, coworkers and even the friends I made within the BU Sydney program, which is awesome!