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Every student on exchange at USYD who is doing an internship for the semester is enrolled in ARTS2600. The purpose of this course is to help students adjust to the work environment in Australia, learn about the positive effects of cross-cultural competence in the workplace setting, and encourage self-reflection to enhance the learning process. Throughout this unit, we must attend five workshops, aimed to give us more knowledge and resources regarding communication skills and critical thinking, and allow space for us to verbalize our internship experiences. I just went to my first workshop last week!

Workshops are intentionally an intimate setting, with just 14 students per class, and each workshop session is led by the same professor. Last week, we discussed what we’ve noticed in terms of similarities and differences between working in Australia versus working in our home cultures. We also reviewed Kolb’s Model of Reflection, which nicely segued into the importance of keeping up with a reflective journal—a continuous assignment for us all throughout the semester. At the end of the semester, when looking back on our journal entries, we will be able to measure our progress and growth from start to finish and reflect upon what the internship experience taught us.

I am incredibly grateful for the opportunities my internship has brought me thus far. Even though classes have been in session for just 4 weeks now, I have worked over 60 hours and have loved every minute of it. My first day on the job was the first day of orientation, when I got to give 2 presentations to 800+ exchange students regarding ways to combat culture shock and make the most of their study abroad experience. From that presentation alone, I have had so many people recognize me on the street, in class, or even in elevators, which has allowed for me to get to know so many more people than I would have otherwise, and create so many new friendships. Ever since that first day, I have been tasked with a wide mix of jobs, whether that be recruiting students for the Global Exchange Society, assisting at Global Citizenship Award sessions, taking over the university’s social media accounts, networking at Sydney conferences, interviewing current exchange students, or even grilling at the Mates Abroad event. No two days in the office are the same, which certainly keeps me on my toes in the best of ways. I look forward to every Monday and Thursday, because that means I get to see my boss and work on my professionalism while contributing to this campus community in a meaningful way!