Ready for their careers, Brazilian students return home

20 May 2015

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When João Paulino de Carvalho came to Australia to study for a year he never expected to get an internship with a global cosmetics company. A Pharmacy student at the Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Norte, he was looking forward to getting some workplace experience to compliment the laboratory skills and scientific knowledge he had already developed. His internship placement with L'Oreal provided the perfect synthesis:

"At L'Oreal I got the chance to work at the Active Cosmetics Division, where I acted as a Scientific and Education Assistant – meaning I had to work with scientific data and evidence in order to respond to queries from doctors, patients, pharmacists and other professionals regarding the use and safety of our products. This required an extreme amount of research on a daily-basis, and the knowledge I gained from that was invaluable."

Positive experiences similar to João's were played out across many of the nearly 200 internship placements organised from 2012-2014 by Monash Professional Pathways (formerly Professional Pathways Australia or PPA). A careful matching of students' background, interests and needs to potential internship host companies led to rewarding placements for the vast majority of program participants.

The Brazilian students were largely in health, engineering and science degrees, with a smattering of architecture, design and other disciplines. As a result, their placements were spread across a diverse range of organisations, including some in Sydney and Tasmania. 

Host companies and organisations included well known health and research institutes such as Baker IDI and Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre. Engineering students interned at companies including Ford Australia, Transfield Services, Pacific Hydro and Altus Traffic. Science students went to organisations such as CSIRO, NICTA, CSL and Vic Forest.

Highlights for the students included being granted a high level of responsibility and autonomy in order to complete their tasks and projects. They enjoyed the informal atmosphere of the Australian workplace, and many of them remarked on the fantastic support and mentoring they received from their host company supervisors.

Host companies were impressed with the interns. Feedback such as the following from OMC International was not uncommon: "Our intern quickly integrated into the team, assimilated the concepts of his assigned project, and displayed the high quality technical skills that were reported of the Science Without Borders students".

The positive impact of the program is best illustrated by the actions of Dr Fabrice Huvelle of Bombardier Transportation, who was able to refer the interns he hosted to Bombardier's operations in Brazil, recommending them for employment on their return home.

For Monash Professional Pathways, the program offered the opportunity to vastly expand the number of health, engineering and science based internships and host company relationships. This led to the creation of over 70 new internship positions, with new host companies or existing hosts. The internships and host companies sourced for the Brazil Scientific Mobility Program now represent a valuable resource to place students from the Study Melbourne Internship Program and other programs.

Congratulations to all who were involved in this great initiative. We thank the host companies who supported the development of the interns and we wish the students well in completing their studies and progressing into their careers.

Overview of the SWOB Program

Students placed

2012 – 10

2013 – 83

2014 – 101

Disciplines placed

  • Health 
    • Biology, Biotechnology, Dentistry, Medicine, Nursing, Nutrition, Occupational Therapy, Pharmacy, Veterinary
  • Engineering
    • Aerospace, Chemical, Civil, Computer, Electrical, Environmental, Industrial, Materials, Mechanical, Mechatronics, Mining, Production
  • Science 
    • Chemistry, Earth Sciences, IT, Physics
  • Other 
    • Architecture, Design, Journalism, Visual Communication