Journalism requires a special set of skills and knowledge, especially of the culture you are in. The pages her re designed to help you navigate challenges of an international internship in the media.
When you work as a journalist in another country you will soon discover that what we think is news is of little interest to the local audience, and similarly issues that we think are boring are hugely fascinating to locals.
It is really important when working in another culture to be guided by your supervisors about what is and what is not news. Do not get upset about it. It is just different. Not wrong. But it will be difficult to get used to.
Remember that as an intern your job is to observe and learn, not to tell the locals how to do journalism in the Australian way.
Around the world, media organisations are slowly seeing an increase in female participation, particularly at the entry level.
However, support for women in the workforce is not always the same in other countries.
Women may find themselves outnumbered and on the receiving end of some stereotypical behaviour and attitudes. But not always. Sometimes it is the men who cast a lonely figure in an office.
If gender is an issue that worries you, do some research on gender issues in the country you are considering working in.
Our research has found that interns have not found any difficulties in working in other countries, even in very religious nations. However, it is important to consider the place where you are working and think about adapting your behaviour where appropriate. It does not hurt you to cover your shoulders, or avoid alcohol for a month.
And if you do respect local religious customs you will find that people will be more welcoming and friendly towards you.
As the saying goes, ‘the world is your oyster’. There are universities and employers and projects in almost every country in the world so you are limited only by your imagination, University schedule and, of course, money.
The Australian government is currently encouraging students to spend time in Asia but Europe and North America continue to be popular destinations. When you are considering which country to go to you may like to consider Asia because of the great opportunities that are available to Australians and the relatively low cost of living. Europe and North America are much more expensive and there are many more students seeking opportunities in these countries.
Many parts of the university are encouraging students to do paid or unpaid internships overseas. Talk to your course coordinator about countries and places where internship agreements already exist or if you have a contact or a new idea, you can also suggest these to your course coordinator. As international internships take some time to organise you should do this at least 6 months before your proposed internship date.
The best way to impress an internship host is to be prepared for the internship. For a journalism intern this usually means by taking along a notebook filled with story ideas.
Past interns have a range of advice about the kinds of things people should do before they walk inside an international internship organisation.
Tips from job experts also include learning what you can about the workplace before you get there (right down to team photos that show the workplace dress code). It is also recommended that you do a practice trip to the workplace, thus ensuring you have worked it all out properly and are there a little ahead of time on day one.
Our experience to date is that these are not major issues for interns. Nevertheless, occasions do arise while living and working overseas where they can become so. Talk to as many people with experience of the host country as you can. Do your own research. Be prepared.
Australians who have an Asian background often find they can have advantages, and disadvantages, when interning in Asia.