Unpaid Internships and International Students

You’ve finally found the internship of your dreams. It offers you the chance to get hands on experience working with professionals. It sounds great! You are about to hit the ‘apply now’ button but as you read the last paragraph in the job description, “THIS IS AN UNPAID INTERNSHIP.”, you’r heart stops.

The frustration of finding a paid internship that is suited to you is a common dilemma among all students. Even for domestic students, unpaid internships are not ideal and pose many financial hardships. There are many hurdles and hardships that come with unpaid internships if you cannot afford them, things such as grocery shopping and living expenses can make life very hard and stressful.

Thousands of international students within Australia struggle with daily life and completing an unpaid internships adds to the adversity. Not only are they required to pay their university fees up-front with much higher costs, they do not get student discount’s on transport and they are legally only allowed to work a maximum of 20 hours per fortnight.

The legal system also becomes an implication for international students. These particular students need to require a student and/or work visa that allows them to intern in Australia. Different conditions apply based on the length of the internship; how many hours a day and days a week you can intern, whether you are allowed to earn money and so on. When applying for internships, international students need to understand and follow the law.

Because of this law, International students are technically paying to apply and complete internships. Visas these students need to apply for can be very expensive. An ex- UTS student spent $1600 on a non-refundable visa, waited a month for the application to be processed, only to be told she was not successful.

Our aim as a student imitative is to raise awareness about the hardships both international and domestic students face and to highlight the struggles of unpaid internship confronted by individuals from low socio economic backgrounds. We want to hear your stories as a student who is doing it tough in an unpaid internship, or who has completed an unpaid internship which has had a major impact on your financials and wellbeing.

 We want to make you heard, so speak up!

Comment in the section below or on our Facebook which can be found on our home page of WordPress (or click on the link)!

An organisation, named GradAustralia has published a great article for international students where they provide tips and advice on looking for jobs within Australia. Informed Interns, highly recommends reading this and clicking around on their website to find more information which is very helpful for all students!

Written by: Alysha







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