Australian Parliamentary Internship Leads to Student Ambassador Post

By Purnell T. Cropper | October 19, 2010

By Marykate Torley ’11

Joe Carp ’11 interned with an Australian member of Parliament, attended the President of Indonesia’s address to the House, met the Syrian Ambassador to Australia, and attended the official opening of the Embassy of East Timor. Now he’s been named an Australian Student Ambassador by Study Australia.

Carp is a senior Political Science major here at Arcadia University. From February to June 2010, he studied political science and had an internship in the Federal Parliament House in Australia at the Australia National University.

“I chose Australia because it was some place I always wanted to go to and explore.  When I found out there was an internship program there, it had fit perfectly into what I wanted: an incredible internship to increase my skills and classes to further my education.  I chose the ANU because it is internationally known for its political science and international relations programs and I wanted to be surrounded by students like myself but yet in another culture.”

While he was abroad, Carp received an e-mail about becoming an Australian Student Ambassador. Though he had a strong resume and great recommendations, what Carp said really made the difference in his application process was the phone interview he did in July, when he was able to discuss all of the work he had done in Australia.

“I was an intern for a member of Parliament (MP) at the Federal Parliament House and completed a semester-long project with an oral presentation. I also took two classes at the Australian National University (ANU). I attended the President of Indonesia’s address to the House, I met the Syrian Ambassador to Australia at the Embassy of Syria, and I attended the official opening of the Embassy of East Timor as well as heard the President of East Timor speak at the ANU.”

Carp was invited to be an Australian Student Ambassador, and he is now one of 34 student ambassadors in the North America chapter of the Study Australia ambassador program, run by AusTrade. Training for the ambassadorship included a weekend at the Australian embassy in Washington, D.C.

“My responsibilities as a student ambassador are to promote study abroad in Australia as well as obtain degrees (undergrad and post-grad) in Australia. I will promote studying abroad in Australia by holding events throughout the year (at least 2 per semester). I am signing up for the study abroad fair in November, and I am currently still figuring out what to do for a second event this semester. Anyone who is interested in studying abroad in Australia is welcome to come to the events this semester and in the second semester.”

Carp’s fondest memory of Australia “was spending the weekend camping at Jervis Bay and seeing the beautiful beaches including Hyde’s Beach, which is known for having the whitest sand. It was also the first time I learned how to surf!”

And as far as advice goes for anyone’s first time studying in Australia, Carp says, “Work hard but remind yourself to take a step back to look around you and see what Australia has to offer.”

The Student Ambassadors, who were jointly nominated by their North American and Australian institutions to serve in the program, will organize two events per semester that promote Australia’s unique and prestigious opportunities for study abroad. Events can range from exhibiting at study abroad fairs, to Australian movie nights, to giving presentations on Australia.

“Student ambassadors have first-hand experience of studying in Australia and are well-placed to be advocates,” said Brendhan Egan, Trade Commissioner at the Embassy of Australia. “They are an excellent resource to students considering study abroad opportunities.”

About the Australian Student Ambassador Program: Student ambassadors were chosen based on the strength of their nomination from their North American and Australian institutions and a telephone interview. They must be organized, articulate, professional, passionate about Australian higher education, and have experience or an interest in event planning. Before embarking on the program, they gathered in Washington, DC for a briefing on their roles, responsibilities, and event planning training.

Profiles of all the 2010-11 student ambassadors can be found online.

The Australian Trade Commission, based at the Embassy of Australia in Washington, DC, is responsible for promoting study abroad in Australia, as well as assisting US and Canadian institutions develop linkages and partnerships with Australian institutions. The Australian Trade Commission manages a website designed to provide North American students with information about studying and living in Australia at