Expectations vs Reality: Interning for an Australian Start-Up

This week marks my second full month of working an international internship at a market research company here in Sydney. I anticipated this experience for many months, so it is very exciting to reflect on my first few weeks and analyze the differences between my expectations and reality of Snooper’s workplace environment. 

The largest difference I did not anticipate was the overall size of the company. Although I knew Snooper was a start-up prior to embarking on the trip, I was not aware the company contained only ten employees. This was a bit intimidating at first because my supervisors explained my workload as a marketing intern would be comparable to that of the full-time employees. On my first day, I received full access to Snooper’s social media pages, website editing software, and back end data banks for the entire company. This was a little overwhelming initially as I have never received that level of authority at my previous internships in America. However, I have since learned to accept this opportunity as a privilege to prove myself as an up and coming marketing professional and contribute to the overall success of the company. My colleagues show me the same level of respect as the full time employees which is a true testament to the “mateship” mentality in Australia; all employees are seen as equal since corporate hierarchies are not prominent in Australian work culture.

Another difference in my internship I was not expecting is the level of multiculturalism present within my workplace. Working at an Australian based company, I anticipated working with a team of native Aussies, however this is hardly the case. In fact, not a single employee at my internship is from Australia and rather come from countries around the world including France, Belgium, and Brazil! This gives me the opportunity to learn more about other foreign cultures aside from Australia and their respective ways of doing business. Although English is the main language spoken at my company, my coworkers also tend to communicate with each other in their natives languages. Not only will I leave this internship with practical digital marketing experience, but I will also take away the few lines of French and Portuguese that I have picked up!

Overall my experience in my internship thus far has been extremely positive. The days I go to work are the highlights of my week! Australians are very friendly and laid back in their approach of conducting business so each day at my internship is extremely enjoyable. Although transitioning into a foreign workplace can be intimidating, as long as you approach the situation with an open mind and willingness to learn, partaking in an international internship in the best way to truly immerse yourself into another culture!