Internships for a sustainable future
There is now an online portal to facilitate student internships across Australia and India to increase ties between the two countries. Internships hosted through the portal are primarily aimed at helping non-government organisations (NGOs) with work focussed on the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), developing skills in the growing area of corporate social responsibility.
Dr Ameeta Jain from the Deakin Business School spearheads the Australia and India SDG Internships program. She says the portal offers both virtual and face-to-face internship opportunities for Australian and Indian students to work on projects and build positive cross-cultural relationships that may continue through their careers.
‘Host organisations can post internships on the portal and universities can access these to find opportunities that are relevant for their students,’ she said. ‘The website also includes resources for organisations that are interested in offering internships, so they can better understand the options available and the benefits that hosting interns can bring.’
Dr Jain said smaller NGOs needed help but didn’t often have the resources to support internships opportunities. ‘The capacity for virtual internships is especially important in enabling us to connect with a wide range of collaborators across both countries.’
‘We saw how virtual internships worked well, in part out of necessity, during the pandemic. But they can also offer a low-cost option for students who want to build international experience and connections.’
(Left to right) Anita Barar, SBS Hindi. Dr Sushil Kumar, Consul General of India. Dr Ameeta Jain, FoBL. Jyothsna Rao, Indian Care. Manorani Guy, VicWISE.
(Left to right) Dr Sushil Kumar, Consul General of India. Dr Ameeta Jain, FoBL.
Deakin business analytics student Kelly is from the Gujarat state in India. Interning with the Goa Institute of Management, she worked alongside a Deakin student from a non-Indian background and saw it as a great opportunity to practice teamwork and help her partner with cultural insights.
‘I wanted experience that was practical to apply to the real world, and being from India, it was great to meet Indian clients and help them find solutions,’ she said.
“I helped my host organisation look at data to analyse progress around the Sustainable Development Goals, and I built new analytics dashboards. It was my first time working with data that wasn’t numbers, so it was a great practical experience to solve that problem.’
Kelly’s internship supervisor, Dr Divya Singhal from the Goa Institute of Management, said the internship program was a fantastic way to collaborate and learn from each other.
‘This program is beneficial at many levels. It provides participating organisations opportunity to network with each other, it can result in sharing best practices beyond the agreed project, and students also learn about other countries’ perspectives and situations,’ she said.
‘It is now seven years since the UN Sustainable Development Goals for 2030 launched. So, it’s the right time to understand how organisations have been able to make contributions towards these targets. Programs like this that are focused on SDGs are helpful in preparing future graduates.’