01 Oct 2020
Posted01 Oct 2020
October in Wollongong and Spring has sprung. Reflecting on my time with LEI during my final month as an intern, there is much I will be taking away, not least being my first experience of working in an office. This introduction to working in International Development has left me with a new-found confidence that it is a path I want to pursue. The benefit of having been involved in a variety of different projects with LEI is that I have been able to pinpoint those areas in which my interests lie. I am leaving LEI with a much clearer and focussed idea of which path of specialisation I wish to follow. This is no easy task as I have found so many of the areas exciting and ultimately interconnected.
For the benefit of others intending on starting an internship, or similar position, I have compiled a list of advice based on my experiences:
1 Ask a lot of questions, even when you think they might make you sound stupid or inexperienced. Not only will you learn, but it is also beneficial to those around you to know if something needs further explanation. Often, within a close-knit team of high-level specialists, it can be easy to assume knowledge or terminology on a subject. By asking the question, you are showing that people outside of their bubble may be alienated by specific jargon or acronyms.
2 Make the most of the resources around you, including the people you are working with. You are only in this position for a short period, so you must get everything out of it that you possibly can. Seeking careers advice from the people who have ‘been there’ and ‘done that’ I found particularly beneficial.
3 Make clear what you are interested in and which direction you want to pursue your work. This can turn up leads for future useful contacts, exciting and current source material or even a workload more weighted and customised to your expressed interests.
4 Don’t be anxious about the work you produce. Sharing early on can help to catch problems quickly and ensure you are moving in the right direction. This can save a lot of time and effort, not to mention that feedback is an integral part of growth as an author.
Next year, it is my intention to commence my postgraduate study in Environmentally Sustainable Development. But before then, I am now seeking new work and further work experience. The time spent working at LEI is opening more doors for me. It is fuelling my self-confidence in seeking out new opportunities. Thank you once again LEI and all whom I have worked with these last 4 months for having the patience to impart some wisdom to me during this invaluable and enjoyable experience. See you down the road!