Credit points


Campus offering

No unit offerings are currently available for this unit


IMPORTANT: This unit is subject to a strict application and approvals process. Students who have at least completed 100 cp of study from the Global Studies double degree will be considered. Only students who have received formal Faculty approval for their proposed internship can enrol in the unit. 

Unit rationale, description and aim

The Global Studies International Internship is available, subject to a formal application and approval process, to Global Studies students who wish to undertake an international work placement as an alternative to study abroad for their compulsory international semester. The aim of the unit its to support students to plan for future study and career development in a globalised world, building cultural awareness and global competency (i.e. students' capacity to effectively interact in a globally interdependent world), and allows them to experience the environment of a real workplace and how needs are identified and resources are allocated to achieve organisational objectives. Such an approach works to ensure that students develop important transferable skills in an area of employment that relates to their academic studies and enables them to work effectively, both as an individual and as a member of a team, to achieve organisational goals. Throughout the international internship students will be able to apply the knowledge, understanding and skills that they have acquired at university to the workplace, and to integrate classroom and work-based learning through practice and reflection.

Learning outcomes

To successfully complete this unit you will be able to demonstrate you have achieved the learning outcomes (LO) detailed in the below table.

Each outcome is informed by a number of graduate capabilities (GC) to ensure your work in this, and every unit, is part of a larger goal of graduating from ACU with the attributes of insight, empathy, imagination and impact.

Explore the graduate capabilities.

On successful completion of this unit, students should be able to:

LO1 - Describe accurately the aims, objectives and operations of the international internship organisation (GA5, GA8) 

LO2 - Demonstrate an awareness of their own culture and that of the country that they will visit (GA4, GA5, GA7) 

LO3 - Apply relevant transferable skills and knowledge to work based tasks and activities connected to the international internship (GA5, GA7) 

LO4 - Demonstrate use of initiative in dealing with issues or problems relating to the international internship (GA6) 

LO5 - Critically reflect on the cultural, practical and skills-based learning experiences of the international internship and consider how these experiences fit with and contribute to personal, academic and career objectives and development in both short and long term (GA4). 

Graduate attributes

GA4 - think critically and reflectively 

GA5 - demonstrate values, knowledge, skills and attitudes appropriate to the discipline and/or profession 

GA6 - solve problems in a variety of settings taking local and international perspectives into account

GA7 - work both autonomously and collaboratively 

GA8 - locate, organise, analyse, synthesise and evaluate information 


The exact nature, activities and emphasis within each internship including virtual internships will vary with the nature, location and context of the internship and the aims, objectives and operations of the internship organisation. All internship students (including virtual internships) will need to complete: 

  • The internship application process, including documentation review and approval 
  • Pre-departure or pre-vitual internship cultural awareness training, organised by ACU and/or the internship organisation or approved third party internship provider as appropriate 
  • Pre-departure or pre-virtual internship briefing(s) on the internship organisation, student welfare (including health, safety and wellbeing, culture shock, reverse culture shock and vicarious trauma), travel logistics, financial assistance, insurance, emergency procedures (including International SOS registration), student code of conduct, and assessment tasks and criteria. Briefings will be organised by ACU and/or the internship organisation or approved third party internship provider as appropriate. These briefings may be in the form of online modules. 

During the placement, all international internship and virtual internship students will maintain: 

  • Regular attendance in accordance with the work hours agreed with the academic supervisor and internship organisation 
  • Regular contact with their academic supervisor to discuss student wellbeing and issues linked to the internship  
  • Regular contact with their assigned supervisor in the internship organisation to allow the supervisor to provide regular feedback to the student on the work they do 

On completion of the placement and return to Australia, or on completion of a virtual internship all international and virtual internship students will need to complete an evaluation of their internship.  

All internship organisations or third party internship providers must provide written guarantees that the internship organisation will: 

  • support internship students through relevant training and guidance 
  • provide students with a safe and secure environment in which to carry out the internship 
  • set students appropriate workplace tasks and activities 
  • monitor student progress and provide regular feedback to students on the work they do 
  • comply with legal and statutory requirements regarding the workplace 
  • provide written feedback on the student’s performance on the completion of the internship  

The academic supervisor will provide academic and pastoral support to internship students for the duration of the unit, they will liaise as required with the internship organisation or third party internship provider, and they will provide guidance to students on the assessment tasks connected to the international internship. 

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

Mode/Attendance Pattern: This unit is composed of an international internship of between 10 and 12 weeks’ fulltime work that is typically undertaken in the semester period. The internship is normally undertaken outside of Australia, to ensure that students complete an extended period of immersion in a different country and culture and have the opportunity to develop and practice a range of important cross-cultural competencies. In exceptional circumstances students may be allowed to undertake the internship in Australia. These exceptions operate as per section 5.6 of the Academic Regulations.  

In exceptional circumstances outside of the control of a student such as a global pandemic or conflict, a student can undertake a virtual international internship. The virtual internship regulations are as per an international internship and is expected to be of 10 to 12 weeks duration and typically undertaken in the semester period. The internship hours must be equivalent to a 40 cp requirement, and in cases of a reduced virtual internship load, students will have the option of adding (a) an additional virtual internship, or (b) an approved study abroad/exchange unit of study.

Central to the internship is the concept of authentic experiential learning: the internship allows students to participate actively in their own learning, gaining and applying knowledge and skills to ‘real world’ work activities and tasks and reflecting through thoughtful analysis on what they have done and how they have done it. Through practice and refection, students become ‘deep’ learners and develop a range of transferable skills and new understandings (linking ‘new’ and ‘old’ knowledge). Students ‘learn to learn’ on their own (i.e. independent learning) and learn with the help, support and guidance of others (i.e., cooperative learning). Experiential learning opportunities extend beyond the workplace environment: students will also be encouraged to reflect on and learn from the opportunities and challenges linked to living and working in a different culture to their own. Compulsory pre-departure training and briefing modules offered online are designed to help students navigate successfully the transition from domestic student to international intern (including how to recognise and manage culture shock and vicarious trauma), and equip them with the tools to engage in meaningful reflection.  

The internship organisation will provide workplace support, instruction and feedback to students throughout the placement as per guarantees made by the organisation (or the third party internship provider on behalf of that organisation) at the application stage. The nominated academic supervisor will provide academic and pastoral support throughout the unit. Students will undertake a critical reflection as their final assessment task. This reflection is designed to allow students to reflect on the internship/international experience and to compare their internship and international experience with their everyday lives. Students will also be asked to complete a post-experience evaluation that will afford staff the opportunity to identify any issues with the internship itself as well as identify students who may be experiencing symptoms of reverse culture shock or vicarious trauma.  

Assessment strategy and rationale

A range of assessment procedures will be used to meet the unit learning outcomes and develop graduate attributes consistent with University assessment requirements. The assessment tasks and their weighting for this unit are designed to demonstrate achievement of each learning outcome. To pass this unit, students are required to submit and participate in all assessment tasks. 

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning OutcomesGraduate Attributes


Pre- Internship 

a) Signed student internship agreement 

b) Faculty medical consent form indicating approval for travel signed by qualified medical practitioner (if appropriate) 

c) Current Working With Children Check (if appropriate) 

d) Registration of trip details with ACU- recommended emergency service (e.g. International SOS) (if appropriate)


Post Internship 

a) Satisfactory report from Host Organisation on student’s performance in the Internship 

b) Internship evaluation 



GA6, GA8

Organisational profile and cultural awareness 

The purpose of the assessment task is to prepare students for working at their host organization in a new culture 


LO1, LO2 

GA4, GA5, GA6, GA7, GA8

Application of knowledge and skills 

The purpose of the assessment task is to help students identify how the work that they are doing applies the knowledge and skills learnt in their course and to demonstrate how they are dealing with challenges they face. 


LO3, LO4 

GA5, GA6, GA7 

Critical reflection 

The critical reflection enables the student to think holistically about the experience and how it will contribute to their personal, academic and career objectives. 




Representative texts and references

Sides, C.H. and Mrvica, A. 2007. Internships: Theory and Practice. Baywood Publishing Company, Amityville, NY, 166 pp. 

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