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Work Experience

My heart is pounding as I make my way from Hanoi Airport to my hotel in the front passenger seat of a car that is speeding along a highway and darting haphazardly through traffic, at times centimetres away from a collision. Looking into the distance through the hazy air I can see the bright lights of Hanoi city looming closer and the reality of living and working in a foreign country for a month slowly begins to dawn on me.

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Did you know that the University of Sydney Union has its own impressive art collection? Well, neither did we! That is, until we applied for the amazing opportunity to manage the collection.

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We’ve all been told that when it comes to securing an internship or job, often it’s not what, but who we know that makes the difference. For those of us who are a little shy or self-conscious though, the task of networking can feel intimidating, if not somewhat contrived. But it doesn’t have to be...

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Whether you want to cultivate a career in criminology or Chinese relations, or have aspirations in art curation or architecture, the Postgrad Expo this Saturday 31 August is the place to start.

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Bill Gates, Oprah Winfrey, Anderson Cooper, Stella McCartney, Steven Spielberg, Tom Hanks.

What do said multi-millionaires have in common? Before they ascended into the upper echelons of the world’s most influential people they were – brace yourself – interns.

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Thinking about a summer scholarship?

This time last year, I toyed with the decision of whether to pick up a second casual job or apply for a research scholarship through the Sydney Medical School for the majority of my summer. I chose the latter, and spent around 8 weeks working on the writing of a meta-analysis investigating the links between hormonal factors and the risk of developing oesophageal cancer.

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It’s not everyday you’re given the opportunity to present your findings in an international conference – especially as an undergrad student – but I’ve just returned from presenting at one in New Zealand about improving the experience of first-year uni students.

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As part of my engineering degree, I have to do 3 months work experience with an engineer in the industry this summer. I was really worried at the start of the year – how will I get an internship position? What if I miss out? I’d heard stories from friends saying that they’d put tonnes of applications to companies, only to be rejected by a lot of them...

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This week I spoke with four extraordinary young alumni, Emma Collenbrander, Katerina Kimmorley, Monique Alfris and Jamie Chivers, who joined forces in 2012 with a mission to eradicate energy poverty in India through their social business venture, Pollinate Energy.

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Popular Masterchef contestant Kylie Millar has just completed her Master of Physiotherapy at the University of Sydney, and took time out from her busy schedule to do a quick Q&A with us:

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I’m Megan. I’m a third-year Commerce (Liberal Studies) student and intern at IBM and I enjoy living life at an unsustainable pace. I micromanage to do lists, I’m a coffee aficionado and I’m strongly opposed to grammatical incorrectness.

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Where can your medical studies at Sydney Uni take you? Brooke Sachs (pictured) is a stage three medical student based at the Royal North Shore Hospital, founder of the rural youth mentoring initiative ‘Avenir’, and the Vice-Chair of the Australian Youth Forum Steering Committee. Despite this daunting workload, she’s made time to do a quick Q&A with us!

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Where can your nursing studies at Sydney Uni take you? Travis Brown joined a group of fellow students who spent part of their Christmas break working in hospitals in Vietnam, and we’ve asked him about the experience.

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Where can media and communications studies take you? Eleven of our intrepid students have embarked on international journalism internships after securing prestigious fellowships. Kira Spucys-Tahar is the first Sydney Uni student to be sent to The Indian Express in New Delhi, and we’ve asked her about her experience so far:

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An interest in science fiction and history – and the influence of some inspirational teachers – put Benjamin Pope on a study path that’s taken him around the world.

Now back at Sydney Uni after completing an exchange year at the University of California, Berkeley, where he conducted research with a Nobel Laureate and travelled to an observatory in Hawaii to work with world leaders in astrophysics, Ben has received a University Medal for his honours thesis and is about to start his PhD. “The example of those who've taught me has cemented the importance of nurturing the individual interests of students and helping them find the right field to kindle their excitement”, says Ben, but he didn’t start out with a career in astrophysics in mind.

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I'm doing work experience in Cambodia.
Just a regular day travelling from the home to office through Phnom Penh.
(Note: Video may contain evident of post Oliver! the Musical hype)

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As part of my final year research thesis, I’m joining up with NGO “Engineers Without Borders” to find some creative solutions to third world sanitation. With over 1/3 of the world without adequate safe sanitation, I think it is shame that the human race has gone to the moon and back but we can’t figure out a way to safely get rid of our poo.

My thesis will mainly focus on sanitation solutions for floating villages in Cambodia.
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So it's July holidays!
It's time to do stuff I didn't have time for during the semester.
One of which is look for summer work experience.

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I’ve just finished a month with the ABC on an internship with Triple J Television. It was great, but hard work! The team for “Hack”, a youth current affairs show is only 2 people...plus the intern . There’s a week to find, research, shoot, edit and get a story to air. Although often quite stressful and rushed, this was a great way for me to have to learn every part of the process of making a current affairs program.

My favourite part was going out shooting. We got to interview fashion magazine editors, rugby league players, doctors, government officials, academics, shop assistants and various other people. We also got to film just background shots of various ideas, so got to go to NRL matches, fashion exhibitions, shops, and so on! This meant every shoot was completely different, and the variety was great! Getting out of the office was also a good thing!

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I am in Korea!!
I arrived here two days ago and I will be here until the end of February, completing an internship for my degree as a journalist at The Korea Herald, in Seoul.

Seoul is an amazing city. Everything stays open all the time, the people are really friendly and have been so helpful, the food is incredible and yesterday we got snow (if you've read any of my other blogs, you'll know how excited I get about snowflakes!).

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A motorbike’s carrying power should never be underestimated. Minutes after touching down in Phnom Penh I was marvelling at the acrobatic precision of a young boy twisting and turning a giant truck fender through the pulsing traffic. A family of five whizzed through the streets on their ‘sedan’. One man, while talking on his mobile, sat taking notes in a book wedged between himself and the driver. Others were loaded up with colourful fruit, veggies and produce from the markets, bags hanging from every nook and cranny.

Zigzagging through the city, life was loud and unabated. But street 264, a quiet bougainvillea and Buddhist Watt lined haven, was my final port of call. After months of dreaming, planning and anticipation I was suddenly ‘Gemma from the Phnom Penh Post.’

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Nine to five

21 Dec

With the semester’s marks and those long awaited UAIs now out in the open the academic year is well and truly over. Empty and devoid of the bustling student masses, only a few souls are left meandering through uni’s maze of blue gauze construction passageways.

By now I’d usually have clocked up a good few days at the beach lazing around enjoying the nothingness that makes summer holidays so delectable. This year, however, I spent the first three weeks of my break doing an internship at the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) Asia-Pacific office.

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‘All you need to do is make your way towards the journalist as quickly as possible’. There was no need to worry. It was only one of the single most important press conferences in the giant showdown that was APEC, and I was the microphone girl.

I spent much of last week swanning around the International Media Centre at the Sydney Convention and Exhibition Centre.

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Part time work. Where would we be without it? In the past six years I've been a barista, child minder, kitchen hand, waitress, bar girl, administrator and picture framer. These hours have gone a long way to allaying financial responsibilities, maintaining lifestyle and fostering dreams of travel. Apart from the obvious monetary incentives, jobs whilst at school and uni have exposed me to new people, skills and ways of
experiencing the world.

One problem. I have completely neglected the value of good old fashioned industry related work experience.

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Someone once told me that work experience was something we deigned to do, rather than being the job we'd die to do.

Embarrassingly, this was my attitude when I began a week's work experience at a regional newspaper.

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Everything you ever wanted to know about uni but were too afraid to ask....
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