By PCF Summer Intern Olisana Mariner
A law student at Waikato University, Ana Tupou dreams of affecting positive change when she returns to her home country.
The 28-year old, who hails from Tonga, is one of 15 interns selected for the Pacific Cooperation Foundation (PCF) Summer Internship Programme.
She has been interning at Auckland Council as part of a team working on legal compliance.
Ana had aimed to get an understanding of what it would be like to work in another country other than Tonga, and also within a large organisation.
Summing it up, Ana says the experience has made a huge impact on her.
“Yes, the building is fancy and resources are amazing, but I was blown away by how much the organisation respects and cares for staff’s wellbeing.”
Having witnessed how Auckland Council interacts with staff and rolls out projects, the law student is determined to take what she has learnt back to her home country.
“The leadership skills and team work is almost unbelievable,” she says.
“From day one I felt like a part of the team, and with that came responsibilities.”
When asked whether or not the internship has met her expectations, Ana says the opportunity has given her more than what she originally expected.
“This internship has definitely prepared me for getting into the workplace.”
The law student had specific goals when she started the internship –she wanted to challenge herself with new things, meet new people and learn new processes, skills, and about working in a team.
She has kicked these goals, she says.
When Ana completes her studies next year, she hopes to return to Tonga, and implement some of the innovative systems and processes she has learnt during her placement.
“I’ve seen how much relationship building and transparency is crucial in the organisation,” she adds.
Ana recommends future interns and student peers to make the most of opportunities such as the one provided through PCF’s Summer Internship.
“What you put into the internship is what you get out of it,” she advises.
“If you sit around and do not volunteer to do new tasks, whether it be related to your study or not, you will not get anything out of it.”
Ana has found her time at Auckland Council to be an eye-opening opportunity and encourages those who are interested in the programme to trust God, be open-minded and not lose sight of the end goal.
The Summer Interns will finish at their respective host agencies today (February 17) before returning home to find work and enjoy the remaining weeks of their holiday with family.
Visit http://pcf.org.nz/summer-internships/ for more information about PCF Summer Internships.
(Main picture caption: Anna Tupou, centre, with her Auckland Council hosts Laitisha Kovaleski – left – and Manoj Ragupathy.)