Where can Study Abroad lead you?

Curious where study abroad could lead you?

Watch this page to learn more from our past Study Abroad students and where they are now. Students will share how their experiences have led them to explore careers changes, country changes and more.

Aparna Balakumar

2018 Washington DC Placement Program

"I applied to the Washington DC Placement Program in 2018 because it seemed like a wonderful way to combine my political, media and communications interests in one of the global center’s of power, while getting credits that contributed to my degree over summer break! I could never have imagined how pivotal the 9 weeks would be when it came to helping gain career clarity, make lifelong friends, and be exposed to panels, professors and trains of thought, which would help me stand out and have the confidence to apply to my first job post-graduation in the USA.

"Today, I work at Fenton Communications in Los Angeles, which is a social change media agency. We work solely with progressive clients – non-profits, foundations, philanthropies and activists – who share our vision for a just and sustainable world. My placement through the United States Studies Centre, at the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development in their Public Affairs and Media Branch, prepared me two-fold. Firstly, I gained the communications experience to understand the nuances of strategising, engaging and implementing media campaigns and product launches in a competitive American market. I also made the industry connections through varied events on Capitol Hill, including a panel on harnessing social media for NGO’s at Twitter HQ, which broadened my international network and was useful in securing my current role. As a Media and Communications graduate from the University of Sydney, my time in DC was transformative. I had the chance to partake in the Women’s March outside the White House, be taught by CSPAN producers rushing to class after interviewing political figures (giving us inside knowledge on Hillary Clinton and President Trump), and even had the world’s best roommate who remains my best friend living nearby in LA now.

"If you are even thinking of applying, go for it – I never thought I would be living in California after graduating and getting to combine my passions for elevating progressive causes through the media with my love of storytelling, and yet here I am! My clients are taking on the world’s toughest challenges in human rights, social justice, environment, education and health – and I get to spend my days helping them with their messaging, media outreach and press engagements. I credit the DC program with equipping me with the confidence to go for it. You never know where you might end up!"

If you want to hear more about Aparna's internship while she was in DC, you can read her testimonal here.