Marisha Sieradzan, a fourth-year Arts/Law student at the University of New England, is finding her four-month internship at the Australian Consulate-General in New York an invaluable preparation for her chosen career in international law.
Within a few weeks of her arrival, Marisha (pictured here in New York) met Ernie Dingo at the New York screening of his film Bran Nue Dae, South Australian Premier Mike Rann and Robert Thomson of the Wall Street Journal. She has been working continuously with the Consul-General.
“The work has been extremely interesting,” she said. “So far I have done a lot of research in relation to the media, as well as writing reports, attending meetings, and showing support at events with an Australian theme. For example, one of the primary schools in Coney Island built a Sydney Opera House out of Lego as part of a youth support program. I attended as a representative of the Consulate-General to show support and give the children some information about Australia.”
“One of my projects here,” she explained, “is to promote the internship to universities around Australia – especially regional universities that may not have the internship/exchange opportunities enjoyed by city universities. Through my efforts, the Consulate-General is now partnering with a number of Australian universities that are willing to provide scholarship opportunities – and academic credit – for their students who are successful applicants.
“This has been an extremely exciting achievement for me because it will give other students the chance to have this amazing experience.”
“Much of my work is media-based,” Marisha said, “though I am also gaining some great experience in international relations, consular services, visas and passports, and political relations. The internship has taught me to value something that most Australians don’t usually think about – the importance of our relationships with other nations and the fruits that these relationships can bear.”
“As I want to practise international law when I complete my degree,” she said, “this internship is invaluable – but it is also suited to students of politics, journalism, communications and media, and international relations.”
So far, Marisha’s weekends have been filled with activities such as visits to Times Square, Wall Street and Central Park, as well as dinners in Soho. “I have also attempted to do some shopping,” she said, “but the shops are so big that you need a whole weekend just to get through two or three.”
Marisha, who comes from Port Macquarie, has been living in Armidale as a student. She’s finding living in Manhattan very different. “New York is full of diversity,” she said. “There are so many different types of people here, and you can gain access to anything you want at all hours of the day or night.”
She is due to return to Australia at the end of August.