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Being a Straight Talk Intern with Oxfam in 2022

Canberra, Australia: Eve Bilsborough pictured at Parliament House during the 2022 Straight Talk National Summit.

In July of 2022 I received a call congratulating me on a successful internship application with Oxfam Australia. The placement could not have been any more ideal. Following two years of COVID-19 lockdowns, organisations now offer hybrid/remote opportunities which are great for individuals who, like myself, do not live directly in a capital city and may not have easily accessible transport to them.

The induction was quick, easy, and full of support. I have felt welcomed from my first day, all the way up until my last. Within two weeks of joining the team at Oxfam I had the opportunity to travel to the capital of Australia as an Evaluation Intern for the 2022 Straight Talk Program. This week symbolised a great kick-start of my time with the amazing and unforgettable team within Oxfam Australia, but also the culmination of my International Studies degree, which some may know, leads to many opportunities in Canberra. This was a great experience, and by far the favourite aspect of my placement.

I was exposed to the workings of an NGO, the behind-the-scenes, fast-paced, and at times chaotic makings of an event, gained insight and experience with networking, had the opportunity to meet my team in-person, had the opportunity to meet with countless strong individuals, build meaningful relationships and learn about others. I was able to see the success of a large event (also taking into consideration this being the first event since the pandemic, so practising flexibility and resilience was a must) complete with generous, knowledgeable, and supportive people. This was an eye-opening experience that empowered me, and has stayed with me since, giving me guidance and clarity towards my future aspirations.

Putting theory into practice was equally as interesting and important. This occurred when I was able to aid in the collection and analysis of research regarding women’s experience of the event. This is something I found quite rewarding and exciting as I was able to put theory and knowledge learnt in my degree into practice – an opportunity which is rare while studying! I felt supported and mentored throughout this journey as I have been able to gain personal confidence in myself and communication skills throughout this time with weekly team meetings and the addition of meeting with my manager and head evaluator. I found this particularly helpful as this is not something that is really practiced in classes, but more something you learn over time in settings like this.

Overall, this experience has been more rewarding, interesting, and enjoyable than imaginable. I was welcomed into a diverse, inclusive team who have offered nothing but kindness and mentorship to me. I have gained insight into what it is like to work in a team which has given me knowledge into what I may expect when applying for employment after graduation. I also built on skills where I worked collaboratively and individually. Completing this exposed me to an array of individuals who have changed my perspectives on life, and who I may not have never had the opportunity to meet had I not been in such a great team.

This internship gave someone who has not had much opportunity in her life, the opportunity of a lifetime. I recommend interning with Oxfam to anyone who is interested, as I complete my time here I feel grateful, hopeful, ready and able to face my next steps in life, whether that be through my career, education or personal endeavours.

If you would like to learn more about Oxfam Australia’s Straight Talk program, find more information here here.