Describe a typical day in the Sydney Oxfam office huh?
Well it wouldn’t be a normal morning unless, let’s call him Geo* makes those sitting around him giggle in their seats. He potentially has one of the most contagious laughs i’ve ever heard, which is heard on average around once or twice every sixty minutes. Think the joker laugh, minus the creepiness, although he has already asked Siobhan (young and blonde) to print this out and read it to him, so take that as you will.
Around midday there’s usually some banter between Jake and Siobhan, whom by the afternoon have usually teamed together and throw the banter in Kate’s direction. Later in the afternoon there’s usually a conversation between Geo and myself about the amount of stale mints I eat (which I should add were given to me by him) and throughout the whole day I’m given constant support, encouragement and direction from my mentor (and favourite) Melissa who on my first day told me that the dress code leans more towards the ‘casual’ in ‘smart casual,’ stating that footwear is optional. She also defends me when the Jake and Siobhan duo turn my way; always questioning what I’m eating, what glass I choose to drink tea from and requesting the strange (a shower photo shoot anyone?) Oh and did I mention we practice yoga in the office?
Yup, the Oxfam Sydney Office is a fantastic place to work.
In addition to the team who never fail to impress me, who work so hard and have their (bare) feet placed firmly on the ground, the substance of the work is fantastic.
As i’m sure you already know, Oxfam is predominantly concerned with making the world a fairer, more just, more sustainable place to live, so all of the work that i’ve conducted is in some way or another relevant to these concerns. On any given day I could be writing blog posts, gaining signatures for various petitions, participating in a photo shoot (yes, that’s me below!), tagging along to meetings with potential partners or having a ‘milkshake meeting’ (yep it’s exactly that-a meeting with milkshakes) to brainstorm the best ways to engage a youth audience with some pretty heavy topics.
In order to give you a better idea of what it’s like to be a volunteer/intern here at Oxfam i’ve been asked to answer some questions.
Tell us what you’ve been working on at Oxfam for the last little while;
Until recently I was mostly helping with the Eat Local, Feed Global public event called ‘Fast Food’ which was held on the 18th of September. It was a really great event to help design, implement and attend, and to see all of the hard work from everyone involved pay off so well.
What have you learnt?
I’ve learnt that flexibility and versatility are indispensable for an organisation like Oxfam, as there’s so many different ways to get involved and to put your unique skills to use. I also discovered what interests me the most and least. I won’t bore you with the details but basically i’ve known for a while now that ‘human rights’ is the general career path I would like to walk down but I hadn’t figured out any of the details. As a result of working for more than one of the teams here in the Sydney office and having more coffee chats than my heart can handle, I was able to really clarify a then quite cloudy area of my mind.
What do you like most about 3things and the Youth Engagement Program?
I really like the energy and the forever present can-do attitude. I also really love the feeling of being surrounded by like-minded people who come together to make and create real change.
What would be your advice to other people wanting to intern, either at Oxfam or other NGOs?
Without a doubt in this world-do it. Take advantage of any opportunity you’re given. It’s a competitive field with loads of capable people out there, so any extra work experience or networking opportunities you’re given, don’t let them slide by.
What are your 3things to change the world?
1. Encourage anyone who will listen to get behind a cause/campaign that they really believe in and to stick with it!
2. Starting regular conversations about what’s going on around the world to make some tricky issues understandable and known to everyone.
3. Dedicate my career to making the world a better place to live.
So in summary if you have the opportunity to get some inside experience at one of the most recognised and respected humanity organisations in the world, grab it with both hands and do.not.let.go.
Whichever team you work within, from the Youth Engagement Program (YEP) team to the Finance team, you’re sure to gain invaluable knowledge and network with some truly incredible people.
*Names have been changed in order to avoid any future interns/volunteers pre-judging the staff members.