Are you an undergraduate student who has just arrived in Australia or a postgraduate trying to find some connections related to your field? Regardless of that, if you are an international student, you are probably wondering how to get work experience here in Australia or how to get to know what businesses here are like.
Well, this semester I was lucky to have been selected for the new Work Integrated Learning program for international students called OZ-EX. It was a great opportunity for me to meet new people, connect with the industry and work on a real-world case!
At the beginning of the program, each student was assigned a company and case to work on in a team of four to six people. I found it quite interesting that each team had a leader who was in charge of the group and a communications officer responsible for showcasing the experience on Instagram and communication with the client. The whole project is for one week, but believe me, your team can go through so much in just one week and make this experience a memorable moment of life!
I had to work on a utility review project for student accommodation SCAPE together with four other people from Hong Kong, China, Iran, and Saudi Arabia. First, we had a preparation seminar for all the teams where we learned about building successful teams, resolving a crisis in the teams and project management in order to have a productive week ahead.
I was a communication officer and was in charge of Instagram posts for our team to show what we did. I found it interesting because in this way each team could follow each other and see their everyday experience. My team also worked closely with our mentor Scott who showed us around the building, explained how the utilities work in SCAPE and gave us the tasks for the final presentation at the end of the week.
My team worked hard for five days in order to deliver a presentation with the analysis of the current situation with utility usage and the recommendations for improvement. Nevertheless, we were also having fun during the short breaks because this student accommodation is really nice and has amazing things among which are a cinema room, a game room, pool table, and table tennis.
At first, I was a bit disappointed with the project because it does not directly relate to my field of study, marketing. However, it turned out to be really cool. Maybe one week is not such a long period of time, but I learned what it is like for a business to manage such a big student accommodation building as SCAPE, what costs they have to face and what the possible solutions of saving energy and water are in order to allocate the resources for the development of the events and living conditions for students.
Besides, it’s a really good opportunity for networking as well. At the end of the program, we had a chance to talk to all the mentors from all the companies who participated in this placement. Another great thing is that this placement could be done for a credit towards the studies. All in all, I’m really glad I accepted this challenge and got out of my comfort zone to meet new people and engage with Australian businesses! Remember, being an international student gives a lot of chances to explore and challenge yourself, just don’t be shy and try! Who knows what exciting opportunities each new day will bring us!