The Good and the Bad: My Internship Journey (Part 1)

I was always that student that freaked out in tutorials when everyone else would talk about all their experience they had in the industry. In my second year of uni, I decided that I would join my peers in my interning journey. With bright eyes and ready to conquer the world of PR, I started my very first internship experience.

I went in on my first day with the expectation that I would gain an abundance of knowledge and experience. Sure, I knew I would probably have to make some coffees and maybe do some admin tasks, but I didn’t care because my resume would thank me later on. Boy was I wrong.

I interned at this agency for three months, where the most important task I did was clean the showroom. I was not taught anything about the industry or daily operations, rather, I was used as an unpaid receptionist. At the time, I didn’t have the confidence to speak up for myself, or have the knowledge that this company was acting illegally. At the completion of my internship, I vowed that I would never ever work in the field of PR because it had been completely ruined for me.

Step forward two years. I am sitting in one my media classes and my tutor started talking about intern legal rights. She spoke about how to seek ethical experiences, and how to stand up for yourself if you feel like you are being exploited. GAME CHANGER.

I saw internships in a new light – I understood what questions I needed to ask at the initial interview to determine if the internship would be a structured programme or not, and most importantly, I knew that if I felt I was being exploited, there were strategies to overcome this.

Read more about my internship journey in Part 2

Written by Ekala Tarei


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