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Completing an internship with the World Surf League

Industry placements are motivating and inspiring experiences designed to give students valuable professional experience and a taste of their future careers. As the Official Higher Education Partner of the World Surf League (WSL), Bond University provides students with exclusive access to internship opportunities with this globally recognised and respected organisation.  

Michaela Wilson is a Bachelor of Communication / Bachelor of Laws student who completed a remote internship with WSL in the wake of COVID-19. Michaela’s remote internship enhanced her industry knowledge and professional connections – all from the comfort of her own home. Since completing the 12-week remote internship, Michaela is still discovering what her future career looks like, but with the skills she learned during her WSL internship, is better prepared than ever to make a lasting impact in her chosen industry.

Keep reading to hear Michaela's story in her own words. 

Michaela Wilson, a white woman with blonde hair, smiles at the camera with nature in the background

Behind the scenes of my internship with the WSL

I remember the first time I was asked about my career plans, I was in Grade 9, and I didn't have an answer. While some of my peers were confident about their career path and direction, I wasn’t yet certain what my future would look like.  

I chose to study a Bachelor of Communication / Bachelor of Laws at Bond University to enjoy the best of both worlds and grow my knowledge in more than one field. I’ve always loved writing, researching, and developing strategic and informed arguments, but my passion for creative expression and journalism has also been very apparent throughout my life. Despite having an unclear vision for my career when deciding what to study, the engaging, creative, and challenging subjects offered in Bond’s combined communication and law degree have helped me build confidence in my skills and future career path. The dual degree allows me to pursue multiple interest areas at once, while simultaneously broadening my job opportunities.  

Pursuing the WSL internship

I’ve always been taught that internships and placements are equally as important as the theoretical knowledge you learn in the classroom. During my second year at Bond, I decided to listen to my teachers and peers’ advice and began researching internship opportunities that would give me the chance to apply my knowledge and gain relevant industry experience.

After completing a digital design and communication subject, my teacher reached out to me during the 2021 December holidays to share details about a WSL internship and suggest that I should apply. The internship was a digital asset management position, which involved working alongside the WSL photography coordinator, maintaining online databases, creating shot lists for photoshoots, and preparing metadata templates.  

Initially, I felt that the position wasn’t exactly what I was looking for, but after researching the business and gaining a better understanding of what the role entailed, I realised that working with a communication team at such a successful and established organisation was a unique opportunity, and from there, I was nothing but excited and motivated to secure the internship. Fortunately, the application process was seamless, and I received an overwhelming amount of support from various Bond staff members who helped to prepare me for the experience and answered any questions I had about the internship.

Completing my WSL internship remotely

Due to the COVID-19 restrictions, I swapped the office environment for the comfort of my desk at home! WSL had to temporarily close their Gold Coast office as a result of the pandemic restrictions, which meant all their staff, including me at the time, were working remotely and using predominantly online-only methods to communicate with one another. While I was looking forward to immersing myself in their office culture, I was still able to connect with all the wonderful staff members virtually, and I must admit that working remotely had its perks!

The 12-week internship was a rewarding experience that taught me an array of valuable skills that I will apply to my degree and future professional placements. I especially loved that each day looked a little different and presented new challenges. Some of my tasks included utilising new software platforms, liaising with current and prospective clients, and organising photo libraries. Working closely with communication experts, some who I would consider to be the best in the business, allowed me to gain invaluable skills and industry experience.  

Being exposed to the inner workings of a global organisation also permitted me to learn more about the day-to-day transactions of an international business, and improved my understanding of the efforts and dedication required when contributing to a successful, large-scale company like the WSL.

Ultimately, the WSL internship reassured me that I was pursuing the right degree, and encouraged me to explore the boundaries of my comfort zone and consider opportunities that I didn't know existed, or mightn’t have previously considered.  

My advice for students undertaking an industry placement  

An internship is the perfect opportunity to explore different skills, discover more about your career interests, and gain exposure by building industry connections.  

Almost three years on from undertaking my internship with the WSL, I'm still perfecting my answer to the question ‘what do you want to be when you're older?’. Now I am older, I've learned that success doesn't need to be linear, nor does it need to follow the exact path you mapped out in Grade 9. There is so much time to learn more about your potential career path while you’re in university, and from my perspective, there’s no better way to do so than by getting your hands dirty and immersing yourself in your chosen industry through a placement or internship. 

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