How international internships can change your life

Student in red shirt sits on a red rock and studies laptop

Karis Erceg always wanted to change the world, which is why she chose to study International Aid and Development at Murdoch University.

From internships that aim to preserve the natural environment in Indonesia, to working in ecotourism in Vanuatu and now settling in Broome, Karis has wasted no time seeing as much of the world as she can. And it started with an International Aid and Development degree at Murdoch University.

“The world is too large and there is too much beauty to see to just stay in one place for too long,” Karis said.

Currently working as a Visitor Interpretation Officer at the WA Department of Parks and Wildlife in Broome, Karis completed her undergraduate Bachelor of Arts , double majoring in International Aid and Development and Community Development in 2016, before going on to receive first-class honours in Asian Studies in 2018.

With a strong interest in Indonesia, during her time at Murdoch Karis had the opportunity to spend two and a half years abroad in Java, where she contributed to the expertise in the development sector and undertook a hands-on approach to understanding real-world issues. It was this career-shaping hands-on experience that helped Karis get to where she is today. 

It all started with her course on International Aid and Development at Murdoch University, the only place who offers a Bachelor of Arts degree in the subject. It was this opportunity that interested her along with the university’s culture.

Karis enjoyed her time on the Murdoch campus, especially the welcoming, down-to-earth feel about it.

“Both my father and sister studied at Murdoch and only had positive things to say. I was interested in the International Aid and Development course that I had not seen at other universities and after chatting with lecturer Allan Johnstone on the phone about the course, I immediately felt compelled to enrol.”

During her studies, Karis benefitted from the New Colombo Plan scholarship, which allowed her to study and undertake internships in the Indo-Pacific region. This scholarship is just one of the many ways students at Murdoch can take their degree beyond the classroom and into the real world.

Real-world experiences

University isn’t just about studying on campus. It’s about making the most out of your experience, taking on internship opportunities and broadening your cultural horizon. Which is why Karis was thrilled with all the opportunities presented to her during her time at Murdoch.

Karis says the opportunity to undertake part of her studies in Indonesia, while being supported by Murdoch staff at home, gave her the opportunity to intern at various organisations and experience development in a real-world setting.

In Indonesia, she interned at three development organisations in Bali and one in North Sumatra and took part in the ACICIS Student Exchange Program, which allows students to complete some of their studies in the country with course credit. By working in several paid, volunteer and internship positions, Karis changed her outlook on the world and was able to explore her thinking beyond the classroom.

Karis’ experiences included internships at Business Export Development Organisation (BEDO) in Bali, Sumatra Rainforest Organisation in Indonesia, Jaringan Ekowisata Desa in Bali and Yayasan LINI in Bali. In addition, Karis worked as an Interim General Manager at Okeanos Vanuatu. The variety and quality of her hands-on experiences provided Karis with a unique global perspective she brings to her role in Broome.

“Having completed three semesters and my honours research in Indonesia, I was able to get a much better idea of development on the ground. I found that when I graduated, I had a more realistic idea of what to expect in the workplace.”

Murdoch is a place where you can be yourself, dive into your hobbies and interests through your studies and make friends.

Karis believes her greatest achievement while studying for an international aid degree in Perth at Murdoch University was all the life-changing experiences she had abroad.

“The hands-on experience was invaluable to my career. I would say that living in Indonesia changed me both on a personal level and at an academic level.”

Are you ready to help evolve the world around you? Explore a career in International Aid and Development.
Posted on:

3 Nov 2021

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