Honours internships open new horizons
ACU Bachelor of Arts (Honours) student Fazal Ullah recently completed an internship at Oxfam Australia – one of the real-world learning opportunities offered as part of the 12-month program.
Fazal worked with the First Peoples Program at Oxfam’s Straight Talk Summit in Canberra.
“Straight Talk is a program that connects Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women with the political system and builds the capacity of women as change makers,” he says.
“I was part of the team working to deliver the event and I’m working on a quantitative data analysis of the program, using the skills I learnt at ACU.
“My internship was really engaging and empowering. If I were to describe my experience in one word, I would say ‘inspiring’.”
Fazul’s honours thesis looks at opportunities for diaspora organisations in international development. After finishing his honours, he intends to embark on a PhD to further pursue this research while working part-time with an international development organisation like Oxfam.
Fazal Ullah in Canberra.
Over 12 months of specialised study, ACU arts honours students receive academic mentoring and real-world experience.
The internships give students the chance to undertake independent research, hone their communication skills and critical thinking and start building professional networks. They have interned at organisations including the Australian Jewish Archives, the Clunes Booktown Literary Festival, and creative placements in theatre companies, recording studios and art galleries.
Plenty of opportunities
Bachelor of Arts (Honours) graduate Jarrah Pearce, who also completed a Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Global Studies at ACU, interned with the Annerley-Stephens History Group in Brisbane. She produced a book for primary school children, looking at how play and games have changed over the past century.
“I wanted to find a way that I could use the history skills that I developed through my degree,” Jarrah said.
“I decided to research what the life of a child was growing up in the area – something that was also a good way to get younger people involved and interested in the history of their area.”
Jarrah’s book covers games like cats cradle and skipping that have been passed down across generations of children, to old-fashioned games that had been lost in the mists of time.
“Hearing the stories from the people that I interviewed was such an interesting experience. They got so excited… it was like they were back to being a kid again and remembering how much fun it was.”
Jarrah is hoping to do an industry PhD and take her research further.
“I don't think I could have done a PhD without having done the honours internship, just because it really gives you that real world experience of dealing with people and different organisations,” she said.
Fellow arts honours student Lauren Impey interned at the North Richmond Community Health Centre in Melbourne.
She got the opportunity to delve into the centre’s photographic archives – creating a catalogue to help tell the story behind the organisation.
“Their mission is much more than just health work. It's also community advocacy and social justice,” she said.
“I found every picture fascinating. They captured migrant communities in front of the local housing towers, and you could see their relationship with their homes, schools and the gardens.
“I also loved the photos of people making artwork and artwork being a form of advocacy and bonding. There were large-scale projects that involved migrant women from more than 15 different countries, and the art helped them explain their culture and advocate for better policy around things like housing and immigration.”
For Lauren, the internship was the first time she’d done hands-on archival work – an experience that was life-changing.
“It's a completely different experience working with archives – I saw how history is important outside of universities and libraries,” she said.
“I learned so much and the internship gave me a lot of confidence. Now I can put that on a CV and say ‘OK, I've got these concrete skills’.”
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