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UC students get a taste of Thailand

Vanessa Lam

24 September 2015: A group of six University of Canberra undergraduate students have had the experience of a lifetime while doing a recent four-week internship in Bangkok, Thailand as part of a Faculty-led program.

The students from the faculties of Business, Government and Law, and Arts and Design travelled to Bangkok during winter as part of a Work Integrated Learning program, where the students undertook a full-time internship with a Thai company. 

Students completed their internships in the areas of public relations, advertising, journalism and law.

Third-year law and commerce student Kate Smith completed her internship at Watson Farley & Williams, an international law firm that provides legal services to its clients from offices around the world.

"I really enjoyed my time at the firm. It was a great experience because I'm currently working for a large organisation in an in-house legal council team so it was very different to work for a private firm. I found it to be great exposure to develop a different set of skills and a way of looking at things," Ms Smith said.

"It was also great getting to meet different lawyers – Thai lawyers and lawyers from the UK as well – so it was a great mix. There was a lot to learn from different people."

While in Thailand, Ms Smith was able to work in both of the law firm's corporate and litigation practices, where she reviewed contract documents, did legal and market research and created pitches for clients.

Ms Smith also had the opportunity to develop her Thai language skills and said it made her realise the importance of sound communication skills in the workplace.

"I felt that it was very valuable to take the time to learn some [Thai] basics and even to start to build enough [language skills] that you can communicate within a workplace," she said.

The 22-year-old said she would absolutely recommend trips such as this to other students who are considering going on similar programs.

"It's a great way to get an experience of the world whether it's of another country or language or practical experience like this internship," she said. "It's one thing to be studying family law or refugee law but it's completely different when you're out in the workplace and you're actually doing the legal work. If anyone has the opportunity to go on this type of trip I'd say make the most of it and apply."

This is first time the program has run in Thailand and it was a joint initiative between the University's Student Engagement unit and the faculties of Business, Government and Law, and Arts and Design.

The program's coordinator and Work Integrated Learning consultant Erin Stacey said: "The program is a great way for students to enhance their global employability skills by gaining experience in an international workplace.  It also gives our graduates an edge during peak recruitment times."

Jade Chapman, who is studying a Bachelor of Commerce/Bachelor of Communication in Public Relations, completed her internship at SPARK Communications, an independent public relations company.

During her internship she was involved in drafting press releases, conducting exclusive interviews and the management of events.

"I got to attend media launches for different clients such as ActionAid, the New Zealand Embassy in Thailand and the sports brand Under Armour. I also provided assistance with media releases for these events and helped write different newsletters and Q&A's for other clients," Ms Chapman said.

The 24-year-old said she really enjoyed experiencing the Thai culture and learning about the different aspects of how a bilingual communications company works.

"Doing this internship has helped me understand how all my previous studies actually relate to the workplace.  I was able to learn a lot about public relations since the agency was relatively small, which allowed for easier contact with the managers who were always willing to help," she said.

To find out more about Faculty Led Programs visit our website.