June 9th 2017 at 3:54 am
“That’s what appealed to me about this internship – it’s not just about boosting your resume. I can actually do something that helps the community.”
Second-year marketing and HR student Anushka Lakhwara has been volunteering most of her life, having grown up in India and witnessed the vastly different levels of privilege there.
“I used to teach at blind schools, do charity work at an aged care home, work with under-privileged children – it’s something I’ve always done and it’s part of me.
“So when I moved to Australia, I looked around for opportunities to volunteer here too.
“The McCusker Centre internships immediately appealed to me (because) it’s not just about boosting your resume. I can actually do something that helps the community.”
Anushka chose to work with Be Friend, an organisation that helps bring together people who might otherwise – through disability or isolation or shyness – not easily have opportunities to make friends.
“Be Friend appealed to me because it’s quite different and its purpose quite unique,” Anushka says. “A lot of people for all different sorts of reasons don’t get exposed to environments where they can easily make friends and end up feeling very isolated and alone. It’s really heart-warming to see an organisation tackle something so relevant and basic.”
As Be Friend’s marketing intern, Anushka was responsible for all of the organisation’s social media to help boost engagement and overall profile.
“I tried different projects – doing short interviews, making videos and infographics; just seeing what works and what doesn’t. I was really surprised to see what a huge difference can be made in a short amount of time. We really boosted engagement and reach and there was a lot more interest at event sign-ups.”
Anushka says the experience has been extremely fulfilling. “Going in, I didn’t know what to expect, but I had an open mind. I certainly didn’t think I’d learn as much as I did.
“It impacted me to my core. I’m not a confident person, but this experience really showed me that most people are inherently nice. It got me thinking about people who don’t make friends easily; how relationships and friendships are so important.”
Anushka says she recommends the McCusker internship opportunity to others.
“I definitely recommend doing an internship and my advice to students is to choose one that aligns with who you are; choose the organisation more than the project itself.
“We’re all busy, but if you want to do something, you make time for it.”