In summary

  • Swinburne student James Pappalardo is encouraging other students to seek work experience overseas following a six-week internship in South Korea.
  • The internship provided James with valuable insights and experience in the workplace, and with a foreign culture.
  • With financial assistance from the Swinburne Abroad program and the New Colombo Plan (NCP) James was able to smoothly transition into his internship.

Bachelor of Design (Communication Design) (Honours) student James Pappalardo is encouraging Swinburne students to consider the opportunities offered through Swinburne Abroad to study in Asia.

After completing a six-week internship in Seoul South Korea as part of his studies, James was able to develop new skills and expand his career goals while gaining credit towards his degree.

Forging new pathways

James completed a design internship at Sharemelon, a design and marketing agency in Korea from January to February 2023, where he also had the opportunity to expand his marketing and market research skills.

James said that his time with Sharemelon had broadened his horizons and provided valuable experience.

Sharemelon base their design on market research, and this is now a skill that I can take into my future career. I'm also considering how I can apply those skills to my future employment. When I apply for jobs, I look forward to highlighting my internship experience,” he says.

Swinburne’s International Internship (Design) elective allowed James to undertake a six-week internship in South Korea.

First steps abroad

James encourages other students to explore Asia as part of their studies through Swinburne’s Study Abroad program, describing the culture as a mix of familiarity and new experiences.

"When I was in Seoul it reminded me so much of Melbourne. My advice to students considering a Study Abroad program is don’t be afraid that it will be too different because you can find a lot of things that are similar. But also, if you're looking to step out of your comfort zone, Asia is a great option. It was both familiar and challenging,” he says.

As an added bonus, James said that he had made some lifelong friends from his time in Korea.

"I'm still friends with all of the people I went away with, as well as other European student interns at my company. I’ve stayed in contact with my Korean friends because I want to meet up with them when I go back next year. I’m also continuing my language studies because I want to learn it as a second language.” he says.

The experience of living and working in Korea saw James make new friends and ignited his appreciation of Korea’s language and culture.

Financial support and programs available

When completing an overseas program through Swinburne Abroad, eligible students can receive an OS-HELP Loan of up to $8,817 that can be added to student HECS-HELP debt.

The New Colombo Plan (NCP) is an Australian Government grant that is also available to eligible students studying in the Indo-Pacific region (including Asia).

James said he received NCP funding because he chose to undertake language training before his departure.

“Receiving NCP funding improved my experience, it gave me the opportunity to take a language course and because it was all paid for, it gave me a lot of motivation to learn. As a first-time traveller it helped me pay for my passport, flights, the program cost and living expenses. I didn't have to rely solely on my savings, so I was thankful for that,” he says.

Get in touch with the Swinburne Abroad team to find out how you can take your degree overseas.

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