I was halfway through my Master of Peace and Conflict Studies degree at the University of Sydney when I heard about the Aurora Internship Program. I have always been looking for a placement that could either provide me transferable skills to work at a nonprofit or enable me to apply my academic knowledge. When I knew that this program provides an opportunity to be placed at a nonprofit that focuses on the Indigenous sector, I quickly applied.
The National Centre of Indigenous Excellence (NCIE) was one of the organizations I wanted to be placed at. NCIE is a social enterprise that aims to develop capabilities and create opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander youth. It is located in Redfern, Sydney. The suburb has historical importance to the Indigenous community in Australia. I was excited when I was offered a placement at this organization for five weeks in the summer.
During my placement, I was assigned substantial research tasks that both challenged and excited me. I was tasked to build a social impact measurement framework and a stakeholder analysis. Both tasks involved extensive literature reviews, online research, and discussions with the key staff. I acquired new knowledge of this, and I got to apply some of my research skill to build the report. During the process, I also obtained an understanding of challenges faced by the Indigenous community in Australia and how a nonprofit works. And since this is one of a few professional experiences I’ve ever had, I was also exposed to professional communications and work ethics. The placement gave me new insights and knowledge about working with a nonprofit organization.
Another exciting part of my placement is that I got to witness cultural and community events held at NCIE. One day, I attended the opening ceremony of the Festival of Indigenous Rugby League. Another day, I watched a small proceeding to change NCIE flags. It involved all of the staffs and the children, too. From what I gather, NCIE does not only work as a standalone organization. It is also a part of Redfern community. Families spend their time at NCIE to attend different activities. Young Indigenous people enroll in job preparation training and get employment at NCIE’s enterprises. Indigenous businesses and organizations can also use NCIE’s facilities. Interning at this organization made me feel that I am not only working for NCIE but also for the community it serves.
The Aurora Internship Program has brought me to NCIE, and I am grateful for this opportunity. I acquired new knowledge and skills throughout the placement that I can hopefully use to pave my career at nonprofit organizations. I got to also apply my research skill and my study about cultural competence. I highly recommend this internship program.