“It’s been such a terrific experience and it’s helped shape my perspective."

“You quickly realise you’re doing work that will actually help an organisation grow – you’re making a difference.”

Aspiring humanitarian lawyer Helena Trang, 19, is on a mission to make difference in the world – and she’s just completed an internship that aligns perfectly with that goal.

Helena did a three-month McCusker Centre internship with WA’s new Museum of Freedom and Tolerance, an innovative initiative designed to promote social cohesiveness free of racial and religious discrimination.

“It’s not actually a physical museum at this stage but rather a series of programs that use art, research, storytelling and other tools to promote cohesiveness and combat some of the negative public perceptions that exist mostly due to prejudice,” Helena explains.

“It’s basically a different setting for the debates and stories we mostly now see via the news.”

Helena’s work with the museum was fully immersive and diverse, encompassing social media planning, extensive research and working with key stakeholders.

“It was actually my first time in an environment external to the university, so that was both scary and exciting,” she says.

“Skills wise, I was on a steep learning curve, but it’s a different kind of learning to what you do at uni. There’s no rubric, no set tasks. It’s not about ticking boxes – it’s about being effective and finding the best ways to do that.

“I had the opportunity to speak to a lot of influential people – very different kinds of conversations than I normally have!

“It’s been such a terrific experience and it’s helped shape my perspective about what I’d like to do in my career beyond uni. I’m very focused on becoming a humanitarian lawyer and working to defend people’s human rights.”

Helena says she highly recommends the McCusker internship opportunity to other students.

“There are just no negatives to this,” she says. “You might think you’ll end up doing small, insignificant tasks, but the reality is most not-for-profit organisations are really stretched and will fully utilise students’ skills and perspective.

“You quickly realise you’re doing work that will actually help an organisation grow – you’re making a difference.”

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