Internships in Australia for Master’s students

This article covers everything you need to know about pursuing an internship as a master's student in Australia, including legal regulations, types of internships, and how to find the right opportunity.

Internships in Australia for Master’s students
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Apr 25, 2023 08:53 AM
Australia is ranked second among the most desired study destinations in the world today for several reasons. The society is generally accepting and multicultural, the universities boast of global-standard education and the country offers a superior-quality lifestyle with opportunities of settling down in the country after graduating. Some of these reasons must have influenced your decision on applying for your master’s in Australia. Now that you have taken the plunge and currently pursuing your master’s in Australia, you would most likely be looking for an opportunity to pursue an internship in Australia. In this article, we will tell you everything you need to know about doing an internship in Australia, including:
  • Things you need to figure out before looking for internships.
  • Various types of internship opportunities that are available.
  • How and where you can find the internships that you are looking for.
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Generally, almost all master’s students look for work opportunities during their studies. As an international student in Australia, your rights are protected by the law of the land. However, some restrictions should be adhered to. You should be aware of these rules and regulations.
  • With a valid student visa, you are eligible to work for up to 20 hours a week while regular classes are in session (during semesters).
  • The 20-hours-per-week restriction does not apply if you are working voluntarily at a non-profit organisation with no remuneration in cash or kind.
  • The 20-hours-per-week restriction does not apply if your course has a mandatory internship component.
  • According to the Australian laws, there is no legal limit for the number of hours you can work for during official school vacation period.
Usually, master’s students pursue full-time internships during their summer breaks when there are no classes. You can take up part-time internships during semesters too, as long as the work hours adhere to the legal restrictions. It is a great way to supplement your finances. You should check with your schedule and ensure that you have the time and energy to invest in an internship. More importantly, doing an internship should not distract you from your primary goal of studying.

Will a student internship in Australia benefit me?

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Engaging in any kind of internship or part-time job during your studies in Australia will improve your overall learning experience and complement your education. Internships will benefit you in several ways:
  • Even if you have worked before, your work experience in Australia will add a lot of value to your CV when you apply for full-time employment after studies.
  • Internships are excellent learning grounds for you to apply your knowledge, experiment with new ideas and test your abilities in real-world situations.
  • If you plan to settle in Australia after your graduation, doing an internship will give you all the confidence you need both as a student and a professional.
  • Being an intern gives you access to experts in the industry and enables you to create valuable professional networks that will help you succeed in your career.
  • Most importantly, you will experience the Australian workplace environment first-hand and learn to adjust to workplace demands and etiquettes accordingly.
Then again, an internship should not take up the centre space in your student life, which is why there are limits to the number of hours that students can engage in non-study related activities. Here are some things to consider before you start applying to internships.

Why do you want to do an internship in Australia?

First and foremost, decide why you want to do the internship. Are you doing it for the money or the work experience? Do you want an internship in Australia that will help you advance in your career, or do you wish to explore different career options? Are you looking forward to interning at a small firm like a start-up where you can pick up multiple skills or at a large organisation where you can transition from being an intern to a full-time employee? These are some of the internship options available that you need to decide on depending on what you seek.

1. Paid vs Unpaid internships

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The problem with finding paid internships is that the company is investing in training you. You should be able to bring a strong set of skills that will contribute to the organisation and be able to convince them of the value you can add. If you aim to urgently make some money to cover for costs, casual jobs are perfect. Jobs like waitressing, bartending, car washing do not require specialised skills and are easy to find. Such odd jobs are perfect for making quick money. If money is not the problem and you wish to spend your time productively while adding extra experience to your CV, you can do unpaid internships. Voluntary internships help build your resume and will prove beneficial when you apply for better opportunities in future.

2. Career growth vs Experimenting

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If you have chosen your career path, you should look out for skill-specific internships, but if you are undecided on the exact job, you can try voluntary internships that allow you to test the waters. A good time to experiment with internships is during your first semester at the university when the pressure of finding a full-time job soon is not too heavy. Towards the end of your graduation, internships should be taken more seriously and seen as stepping stones for a long-term career in the organisation or at least within the same field of work.

3. Corporate Giants vs Start-ups

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Interning at well-established organisations significantly increases your chances of gaining a full-time position at the company. On the other hand, if you are looking to test a lot of skills in a short period, small firms and start-ups are ideal. Internships at tight-knit organisations usually lead to higher job satisfaction and a steeper learning curve.

4. Internship Programs

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You have the option of undertaking paid internship programs where you pay a fixed fee for the learning experience. In such cases, your work is part of your traineeship, and you pay the organisation for giving you the internship opportunity and for guiding you through the process.

How to find the right internship in Australia?

To find an internship you want, you should first polish up your resume and relearn the skills you have long forgotten. Also, make sure that you have an honest and genuine cover letter explaining your interest in the organisation. Depending on what you are looking for, here are some options available that will help you find the best internship for you.

1. Internships at the university

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Research internships are usually granted to exceptionally bright students who have proven records of academic excellence. Most university research departments require smart students who have basic knowledge and can assist with the research process. You can check on the university’s online student job portal or simply approach the departments you are interested in with your resume and ask if they have open positions for student interns. Your university will also have job boards that list opportunities for student jobs. While looking for internships, your university should be your first point of search. Research assistant jobs under the university come with many added advantages, including flexible work hours.
Australian Internships is one of the most reputed internship program providers who have tied up with many leading Australian universities. You can visit their website to find the ideal internship options that match your profile.

2. Networking with students

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Talk to your peers and seniors from university and ask for suggestions about finding a part-time student job or internship. People are usually eager to help fellow students. If you know someone who is currently doing an internship, do not hesitate to ask for recommendations. In most cases, if you procure the internship, even the recommender gets rewarded in some way or the other.

3. Networking with professors and university faculty

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Get in touch with your university career centre, university student support centre and international student body. These offices usually know what job options are available for international students. They typically have a collection of brochures and booklets that will help you with your search for an internship. Maintain good relations with your professors. Their suggestions and recommendation letters will be valuable assets when you need to start your career in the country.

4. Job fairs

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Your university will have job fests and career days. Attend them to find out what kind of companies come in and what skills they are looking for. Always make sure that your documents (CV and cover letter included) meet the country standards, so you make it through the first round of eliminations. Apart from job fairs within university circles, there will also be career fairs in various cities that you can attend. Popular student hubs within the city will also have job boards where you can find local job vacancies that you can apply to.

5. Online job and internship portals

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There are numerous sites like LinkedIn, CareerOne, Indeed Australia, Seek and Adzuna that are dedicated to career seekers. You can also find internship postings on these platforms. As a student, you must take the time to hone your most marketable skills. Spending time on these career platforms can help you understand the skills that employers are looking for and prepare you accordingly before applying to internships.

6. Remote internships

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You may find it doubly difficult to find a suitable internship of your choice if your university is located away from urban centres where most of the organisations operate. In such cases, you can request for remote working internships depending on your field of work. For instance, if it is something to do with programming or design, you can always ask if a work-from-home option is available. Majority of the organisations agree to remote internships if the student has a record of efficiency and can convince the recruiters of his dedication to the internship.

7. Freelance work

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Australian law allows you to work as a freelancer with a student visa (Please check with your visa status and related legal specifications). You can find paid gigs online through sites like freelancer, Fiverr, Upwork, freelancer etc. There are also skill-specific sites. For example, you can find freelance work for roles in web development, content writing, graphic designing, etc.

8. Organisations dedicated for Internships in Australia

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Several organisations are solely devoted for internships such as AIESEC, CRCC Asia, AIP, CIEE etc. These non-profit organisations usually provide unique international internship programs that come with a fee. You can find their websites and do some research since some offer university credits for internships that you can do in major world cities like London, Paris, New York etc. Such opportunities can significantly help you both in your personal and professional development.

9. Companies you are interested in

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Look for industry leaders who can mentor you and do not hesitate to contact them. Make a list of 5-10 dream companies that you would love to work for. Follow your favourite organisations on social media platforms and keep yourself informed about what is happening. Large companies usually have internship cycles wherein active recruitment for interns takes place only during certain months of the year. Stay updated with any opportunities that will help you associate with the company in some capacity. Go to the careers page and look for opportunities that are in line with your skills and apply to them. If not, you can write to them with details from the “Contact Us” page and let them know that you are interested. This method works with smaller organisations.

10. Network on online platforms

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Do your research. Build contacts in the industry using career networking sites like Linkedin. Find people who are currently working at the organisations you wish to join. Most people are more than willing to share details about their recruitment process and experience at the company. Acquire company-specific skills that will help your internship application stand out.

Things to consider before accepting an internship in Australia

  • According to the law, there is a minimum wage that you should be paid if you happen to take up a paid internship.
  • You have to get a Tax File Number or TFN before you start your internship, so you pay the necessary tax and nothing more.
  • You should receive your payslip within one day of getting your remuneration. It is important that you keep an organised record of all the payslips you receive.
  • You should receive your payslip within one day of getting your remuneration. It is important that you keep an organised record of all the payslips you receive.
  • Odd jobs and casual work usually have shifts which allow you to be more flexible with your hours and manage it better.
  • Never accept to work beyond the 20 working hours per week that your student visa allows you to.
After successful completion of your master’s degree and internships, the next step is to look out for job opportunities in Australia. This article provides an overview of various job opportunities available in different fields in Australia.


Internships are excellent opportunities for you as an international master’s student to integrate into the Australian professional circle and gain in-demand skills that will help you achieve great heights in your career. This article guides you in procuring the right internship in Australia by providing tips, suggestions and pertinent information.

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