An internship with the McCusker Centre for Citizenship teaches you things that you could never find in a textbook, says University of WA student Mackenzie Bougoure.
The 21-year-old said her role as the Research and Policy Intern at the WA Network of Alcohol and other Drug Agencies (WANADA) was “one of the best learning experiences”.
“My perspective on alcohol and drug users and the issues they face has changed forever – and I will take that with me into whatever I do in the future,” she said.
“I found strengths I didn’t know I had from doing this internship.
“I learnt so much about how important it is to have empathy to better understand alcohol and drug users. It is about recognising that these communities need support, not judgement.”
During her 100-hour internship, Ms Bougoure reviewed and collated advocacy and research regarding key issues relevant to alcohol and other drugs policy, and developed position papers on key issues for WANADA to use for advocacy and community awareness.
The Wembley local said she was thankful to the McCusker Centre for Citizenship internship for helping her see how her degree could be applied in a real-life context.
“I saw how psychology and evidence-based research can be used to create government-based policy and service those who need it,” she said.
“At university, it’s all well and good to study and get good grades, but this internship gives you a holistic understanding of what is going on in our communities.
“The highlight was interacting with Aboriginal elders while I was at WANADA.
“They had such a holistic view of the person, which we sometimes forget to do. I learned the importance of integrating western medicine with Aboriginal practice.”