Gain valuable industry experience with social justice internships

11 February 2021
Work experience with a positive social impact
The Social Justice Placement Program partners with leading organisations in the social justice sector to give postgraduate students the opportunity to gain real-world experience working on projects designed to improve the lives of individuals and communities.

Based in the School of Social and Political Sciences, the Social Justice Placement program offers postgraduate students a unique opportunity to engage with experts in the field and dive deep on a topic or issue, while working on campaigns and projects that benefit humanity and the world around us.

Placements require a minimum of 140 hours (20 days) and are usually completed part-time during semester. In some instances, internships can be arranged outside of semesters if they suit the partner organisation.

The Social Justice Placement Program is available to students enrolled in the following degrees:

- Master of Development Studies
- Master of Human Rights
- Master of International Relations
- Master of International Security
- Master of Peace and Conflict Studies
- Master of Public Policy

Comprised of two linked 6-credit-point units of study, the program offers work experience with a variety of local and international organisations. Students have previously interned at World Wildlife Fund, NSW Service for the Treatment and Rehabilitation of Torture and Trauma Survivors, Childfund, People With Disability Australia, Australians for Native Title and Reconciliation, and at the United Nations in New York.

Helping girls in Africa overcome barriers to education

Kasey Syverson interning with The Cova Project

Master of Development Studies student Kasey Syverson.

Kasey Syverson, The Cova Project
Master of Development Studies

A passion for achieving environmentally sustainable solutions to inequality led Kasey Syverson to take up an internship with The Cova Project, an Australian charity that provides safe sanitary care to girls across Africa, by donating reusable menstrual cups and delivering personal development education.

Girls in sub-Saharan Africa have reported missing up to a quarter of their school year due to menstruation, so these sustainable solutions help overcome the barriers that menstruation poses to education, employment, and community participation.

“The most rewarding aspect of my internship has been the opportunity to make a direct contribution towards a cause which positively impacts individual’s livelihoods, while also addressing larger structural issues such as gender equality and women’s rights. This work has given me the chance to apply skills I learned in the classroom to a real-life initiative I am deeply passionate about”, says Kasey.

I was able to gain valuable hands-on experience working with corporate partners, creating social media campaigns, interviewing industry experts, and preparing key documents for digital campaigns. It was such a rewarding experience.
Kasey Syverson

As a United States citizen studying at the University of Sydney, the experience has been a positive challenge: “Studying abroad has forced me to step outside of my comfort zone while also giving me opportunities like the work placement, which has helped to inform and further establish my position on issues I deeply care about,” she says.

Developing a framework for effective climate change negotiations

Kaustubh Bhakay internship with Global Greens

Master of Public Policy student Kaustubh Bhakay.

Kaustubh Bhakay, Global Greens
Master of Public Policy

Back in India, Kaustubh Bhakay worked for an NGO delivering government and privately funded conservation projects, but recognised that if he wanted to realise his dream of working in a multilateral organisation on environmental conservation he would need to upskill in public policy and gain international experience.

“Interning with the Global Greens gave me insight into working in an international organisation. In the lead up to the 2021 UN International Climate Change Conference (COP), I got the opportunity to work on a research project examining how Green Parties around the world can ensure effective engagement in global climate change negotiations,” explains Kaustubh.

The Global Greens is a partnership of the world's environmental movements, Green parties, NGOs, foundations, think tanks, institutes and Individuals working cooperatively to implement the Global Greens Charter.

My industry supervisor leveraged her contacts and was able to connect me with experts who had extensive experience in international policy making. Having worked at the United Nations and other international organisation, their insights were very helpful and it was great experience for me getting to deal with stakeholders at that level.
Kaustubh Bhakay

Campaigning for gender equity in the Asia Pacific

Nathalie Pinson internship with the Asia-Pacific Greens Federation (APGF)

Master of International Studies student Nathalie Pinson.

Nathalie Pinson, Asia Pacific Greens Federation
Master of International Studies

For Nathalie Pinson, who is specialising in global migration and has an interest in political and social issues in the Asia Pacific, the Asia-Pacific Greens Federation (APGF) was a perfect fit.

The APGF is an alliance of national Green parties, social and environmental organisations from countries across Asia and Oceania. Working in a global federation gave Nathalie access to leaders in the APGF Women’s Network, who played a vital role in supporting her while she developed and completed a solo research project.

“During the four-month placement, I researched gender equity and women’s political participation in the Asia Pacific, culminating in an 80-page report. I really enjoyed the opportunity to put my knowledge and areas of specialisation to use, while getting valuable insights from experts on the ground,” says Nathalie.

The Social Justice Placement program is available through SCLG6923: Social Justice Vocational Project Design and SCLG6913: Social Justice Vocational Placement units of study.

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