Hanna McGiven

Health/Medical Services
Summer 2017

After completing my Master of Arts in 2015 I wondered where to from here. I majored in social and cultural anthropology, a subject I loved but didn’t know where it would get me. I worked for my university for a couple of years as a disability support worker before deciding to move out of New Zealand to Australia. This is where I discovered the Aurora Internship Program. It was the first program I had come across that really catered to anthropology graduates. After applying there was a nervous wait to find out if I had got in. After being accepted I was excited to find out where I had been placed. I was lucky enough to be placed at the Victorian Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organization (VACCHO) in Melbourne. 

VACCHO is a peak body in Aboriginal health. They have member organisations which are Aboriginal community controlled health organisations which they support through their work. I was placed in the policy and advocacy unit at VACCHO. The staff within the department were absolutely lovely and always had time to answer my questions. My primary task whilst on placement was to write a literature review about maternity and early years of Koori children and the importance of culture to Aboriginal children. This project was great because I could utilize the knowledge I had gained at university and put it into use in a practical setting. It was fantastic to know that the work I was doing was going to make a difference to the organization. I really got a feel for the work the organization does during my six week placement and I also got to see how busy they are and how important the work they do is. I got to observe the policy advisors making submissions for funding for various projects and I got to attend staff meetings to see how the organization works. Both of these opportunities to observe were invaluable to me because I really got an education on how this sector works. I feel privileged to have got to spend time with the policy unit because I really got a sense of how much of a difference they make on a day to day basis.