Having just graduated with my double degree, I knew I wanted to continue my studies and undertake honours. But I felt I was lacking in the practical experience that often comes with anthropological work. I also knew that I wanted to work in the Indigenous and Environmental sectors, but again, I had zero work experience in this field. Upon discovering the Aurora Internship Program, I thought the skills and experience it could provide would be invaluable, plus it would give me a taste of what working in my field could be like.
I had little idea what to expect upon being placed in Darwin at the Aboriginal Areas Protection Authority (AAPA). But I was stoked with my placement. Myself, and a second intern who was also placed there, were tasked with the project of writing sacred site registration reports to be presented to the organisation’s board for approval. This involved a variety of undertakings including independent research, compiling missing information, analysing vast amounts of anthropological information, and report writing. Once the reports were completed, presentation folders for the board were created with all the relevant documentation. I found this work both challenging and rewarding. It felt as if you were contributing to something that extended beyond the undergrad essay at uni. The work we did had real-time repercussions. And it was great to have another intern with you with whom you could work through research issues or problems with.
As for fieldwork, I knew from my brief that it was not a guaranteed component. Admittedly I was a little disappointed at first, but everyone I worked with was so lovely and keen to get me out there. As a result, I ended up assisting one of the anthropologists out in the field as the photographer. It was amazing to be able to take part and meet one of the Larrakeyah elders – I could have listened to him talk all day. This, for me, confirmed that this is an area I would love to continue working in.
But the internship was more then just the work. It was also about the people I met. In the workplace I was surrounded by amazing people. They were all very welcoming and attentive in making sure I had settled in. They were always up for a chat and a laugh, occasionally hosting social events after work. Outside of the workplace, I became friends with some of the most incredible people and interns. All of the interns got on so well that we often would meet up for drinks after work and on our lunch breaks. Besides exploring Darwin together, we decided to stretch our wings a little further and explore some of the surrounding national parks. As a group we went on mini road trips over the weekends; bushwalking, swimming in natural freshwater pools, and cruising down croc-infested waterways. Sharing these experiences with a group of fun-loving, passionate souls has given me unforgettable memories!
Since completing my Aurora internship I have had people come up to me and ask if I think it’s worth applying for. My answer to them is always, ‘Do it! What have you got to lose?’ The Aurora internship was without a doubt one of the best experiences I have had the privilege to be part of.
For more information about the Aurora Internship Program check out their website: http://auroraproject.com.au/about-internship-program. Applications for the summer 2017/18 round will be open in August (exact dates TBC).