Interning Abroad: Sailability in Gold Coast, Australia

Jessica Nguyen is a student at Arizona State University and is an ISA Featured Blogger. She is studying abroad in Gold Coast, Australia

Colorful boats lining the dock. These are some of the boats that we take out sailing every Tuesday.

One of the great opportunities offered through studying abroad in Gold Coast, Australia is the option to complete a community internship. This opportunity exists at Griffith University and involves completing 50 hours of service with one of the university’s partners. There are a wide range of partners and internships to choose from including business, medical, environmental, and more. The variety of partners available is meant to accommodate students with different majors and interests. Although most students select internships that relate to their pursued career field, each student has the freedom to choose any field they desire.

Having this opportunity available to me was one of the reasons I chose to attend Griffith University. I was so drawn to the idea of completing an internship abroad because I saw it as a chance to immerse myself in Australia’s culture by having exposure to multiple lifestyles and people through the internship rather than being exposed to only university students. I would also be able to get experience working abroad by learning the differences in conducting business and proper etiquette. Another incentive for completing an internship abroad was being able to gain experience that was related to my major. Because there was so much real life applications available, I saw it as an opportunity to apply knowledge from my degree to a real working organization and get experience in my future career.

Clients on the sail boats. Here are some of our clients enjoying their Tuesday sailing trip.

The internship that I am completing is with a local, non-profit organization called Sailability. This organization is present over many locations in Australia and in many parts of the world as well; The specific organization that I worked with was in the Gold Coast. The purpose of the organization is to serve the disabled community by taking disabled people out for a sailing trip every Tuesday. This service can have several different meanings for each client. For some clients, it’s a way to get out of their normal environment: either their care facility or wheelchair or away from city life. For other clients, sailing can be an opportunity for them to see past their disability. Many of the participants can feel as though there are limitations placed on their life because of their disability, and Sailability makes it a goal to let their clients see beyond those limitations. Their mission statement is to empower individuals and inspire “freedom on the water regardless of ability.”

During the completion of my twelve weeks with Sailability, I was able to support a great cause to empower the disabled community in addition to meeting all of my goals prior to the internship: immersing myself in Australia’s culture, applying knowledge from my degree, and gaining experience working abroad. Overall, I learned a lot through the internship and encourage all incoming students studying abroad to look into completing internships abroad, especially students that will be attending Griffith.


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