My name is Maddy Stimac, and I am a fourth-year student from Toronto, Ontario. I study Global and International Studies with a specialization in Global Development and a minor in Anthropology at Carleton University in Ottawa, Ontario. I decided to pursue an internship with Global Experiences for the completion of my university degree and figured it would be a good way to acquire the real-world experience I lacked in my field of interest. For my internship, I chose to go to Sydney, Australia and was lucky to secure an internship with the United Nations Association of Australia in the New South Wales division under the Human Rights pillar.
Why did I decide to do an internship?
When contemplating university degrees, I was intrigued by the bachelor of Global and
International Studies at my school (Carleton University) because of the many opportunities they
provided abroad. Specifically, the internship option with Global Experiences caught my eye as I
thought it would be a great way to garner real-world experience in my field of interest. I also felt
as though this opportunity would equip me with the skills necessary to succeed in the workforce,
and I loved how individualized the internships were with many options for both the type of work
and location. When I saw Sydney on the list of destinations, I knew I wanted to be there! I have
always wanted to travel to Australia, however, being from Canada it is quite a long trip, so I only
wanted to go if it would be for an extended period of time. Furthermore, Australia is widely
regarded as a leader in international relations and humanitarian aid making it an ideal location
for my desired line of work.
My dream has always been to work for the United Nations, so when I was offered an internship with the United Nations Association of Australia (UNAA), I knew I had to jump on the opportunity.
Being in this professional environment alongside experienced individuals in the
field is an incredibly valuable opportunity to have. It allows you to network alongside people
with similar interests to those of your own and really helps you decide what aspects of the field
you like or dislike.
What were my expectations for this internship?
When I first signed up for this internship, I didn't really know what to expect. I was registered for a virtual internship, so I was anticipating that I would spend most days by myself when the rest of the interns went into the office. My internship with the UNAA exceeded all expectations and was very inclusive by inviting me to in-person conferences, meeting at local libraries to do work, and planning team lunches for me to attend. This provided me with a great sense of belonging that I feared I would lack in completing my internship remotely. From a more work-oriented perspective, I expected to really enjoy the tasks I was given as the work being completed by the UNAA is something I am very passionate about myself. As
previously mentioned, I study international relations at school and often talk about the United
Nations, so this internship was so surreal to me. I feel like finding an internship that you are
passionate about makes you eager and excited to get out of bed every morning to complete your
work, and I think that is the key to success.
What does my everyday life look like?
Throughout the duration of my internship, I knew I would be working remotely, and although I was skeptical of this at first, it ended up being amazing and I wouldn't have it any other way. Working remotely provided me the flexibility to work wherever I wanted, allowing me to explore many different parts of Sydney that I may not have got to see otherwise. Typically, my day would begin with waking up and deciding my work location for the day. Oftentimes, I would explore different libraries, and I particularly enjoyed working at the University of Sydney campus. Around lunch, I would either meet up with coworkers or fellow interns, every day trying
a new local Sydney spot. After work, all of the interns would get together. Whether it was staying in to watch movies, or going on a walk downtown, we loved to hang out with each other. I can’t stress enough how important it is to get out and try new things!
What have I learned?
I have learned so many valuable lessons and skills during my internship with Global
Experiences. I think one of the most important things I have learned is independence. Moving
across the world is an incredibly big commitment, so to be able to do that alone is a great
achievement, however, I have also had the responsibility of caring for myself without the help of
family or close friends nearby. Not only has this improved my independence, but also the
confidence I have in myself. Seeing myself succeed in a new position at a new job in a new
environment is not always easy, so knowing that I was able to do it makes me feel as though I
can do anything if I put my mind to it. Having said that, this experience has made it clear that I
am still learning, and it is okay to fail as long as I try my hardest. I have also found this
internship to be very valuable in terms of communication and networking as you meet so many
other interns through global experiences, as well as an abundance of professionals in your line of
work with similar interests.
Overall takeaways and advice to future interns?
The biggest piece of advice I have for future interns is to say yes to everything! There is a
well-known saying “you don’t know what you have until it's gone”, and I think that correlates
very strongly to this internship experience. When the internship is done, you don’t want to be
stuck looking back thinking ‘I wish I had done that’
You need to take advantage of every second!
I also believe that internships, such as the ones offered by Global Experiences, equip you
with advantageous skills that you may not acquire otherwise. In many fields of employment, it is
difficult to garner professional work experience as a young individual, so these internships really
give you a leg up when applying to future jobs. I also think the abroad aspect of these internships
is super beneficial. Traveling allows you to experience cultures and ways of life that may be
dissimilar to your own, in turn, making you more appreciative and understanding of the lives of
others. Not only that, however, you also get to experience these things alongside your best
friends. On these internships you meet so many new people and form so many lasting
connections that will stay with you for life - I think that is one of the most valuable takeaways!