January 2015, I left my home town of Adelaide on a 1500km solo road trip to Alice Springs, to commence my Aurora internship with Ninti One, via the Aurora Internship Program. This long drive took me two days, with a night’s stay at the infamous ‘Coober Pedy’. I arrived in Alice Springs overjoyed and very happy when I was given the keys to my delightful accommodation. After settling in, I spent some time familiarising myself with the town itself, but felt a little anxious as I had heard so many negative comments about safety in Alice. However, this was unwarranted, as being sensible and respectful in this town will keep you safe.
My internship was not alone, as I was undertaking it with another Aurora intern. This was great for moral support, and eventually a touring buddy and friend whilst in Alice. I had already sussed out where Ninti One was situated, and it exceeded my expectations—this would eventually include the organisation and the people I have had the pleasure of working with. My supervisor clearly outlined what roles I would be undertaking, which was to: compile and modify a module containing details about the various remote Aboriginal communities Ninti are associated with. This is information for the Aboriginal researchers who travel out to the communities to undertake surveys, and is a reference to services available in that area. Working on these profiles was a great way for me to learn about various communities. Other projects included sourcing models of research which could assist the existing Aboriginal Community Researchers, and a literature review (shared by my intern colleague) on disability programs in remote areas. My highlight was being able to travel to a remote community with the researchers. Although visually quite shocking, I felt a stronger passion to work towards Aboriginal social justice issues. Unfortunately, this was my only community visit, but hopefully there will be further opportunities in the future. There was the odd administrative task to undertake, but I had no problem with this, as my role was so varied.
I felt part of the Ninti team and appreciated for my contribution. This internship made me realise that I am a very capable person. I have been able to apply my academic studies into the work environment, and that felt rewarding. I left Ninti One and Alice Springs with a very heavy heart. This experience has been personally and professionally enriching. Never once did I feel exploited, in fact, quite the opposite, I felt like I was part of a team who was contributing to better the lives of our First Peoples.
Applications for the winter 2015 round of internships are now open through 27 March at http://www.auroraproject.com.au/about_applying_internship and more information can be found at http://www.auroraproject.com.au/aurorainternshipprogram