Sydney Pre-Departure

What to Expect

What/When to Expect Emails with Key Information Before You Depart
What to Expect During the First Days
What to Expect When You are in Country FAQs
What Your Parents/Loved Ones Should Expect FAQs


What/When to Expect Emails with Key Information Before You Depart

Your Program at a Glance Email: This email will be sent about a month before you depart. It will include a calendar of your schedule for the term. Course schedule, break dates (if applicable), and some excursion dates will be provided as well as information about logging into CANVAS, your learning management system.

CAPAcket: This email will be sent to you about 2 weeks before you depart, it will contain:

  • Housing information (roommate assignment and address)
  • Instructions on how to travel from the airport to your accommodations
  • Internship placement (if applicable)

Read more about when to prepare what under our Checklist section.

What to Expect During the First Days

The first few days of any student’s experience abroad are often the most daunting. What will it be like? How will I find my way to my accommodations? When will I start classes? The CAPA Sydney Team will work with you to ensure that the transition is as seamless as possible, but it is completely normal to feel anxious about this new stage in your life. You might experience higher or lower levels of homesickness relative to your peers. You might feel immediately elated in your surroundings, or feel initially uncomfortable with them. Don’t compare your own personal adjustment to that of the people around you – there is no “normal” way to transition into studying abroad. DO use your resources, however, to ensure that you are speaking with CAPA student advisors, and even professional counselors if you are having a hard time coping.

Arrival at a Sydney Airport:

  • Collect your luggage.
  • Go through customs and immigration.
  • Travel to your accommodations – the CAPAcket will outline how to get to your residence/homestay from the airport.

Arrival at your Residence:

  • A CAPA team member will check you in.
  • You will receive your “Landing Gear” – this packet of information will outline important details such as your schedule over the next few days.
  • You will be given a housing orientation to provide you with important information about your residence.
  • You will take a walking tour around your local area. Our CAPA Sydney Team will point out the closest train station, pharmacy, grocery store, and other points of interest.
  • The rest of the afternoon is yours until the next morning. Try to stay awake until at least 8 PM, even if you’re exhausted from the overnight flight. This will help you to fight jet lag.

Arrival at your Homestay:

  • Head to the CAPA Sydney Center for your homestay orientation.
  • You will receive your “Landing Gear” – this packet of information will outline important details such as your schedule over the next few days.
  • Your homestay family will pick you up from the CAPA Sydney Center and take you to your new home in Sydney.
  • Your homestay family will be able to answer questions about the neighborhood.
  • CAPA staff will call your homestay family to make sure you have arrived safely and see if you have any additional questions.

Orientation (first few days after arrival):

  • Mandatory Orientation sessions – covering topics such as academics, your internship, cultural expectations, health, safety, and more.
  • Internships – Students participating in internships will find out when their internship interview will be. It will usually be scheduled several days after arrival.
  • Arrival reception – After the orientation period, the reception will mark the beginning of your time abroad!

First full week:

  • Internships – Internship placements will commence for many students that week (usually first Monday), pending a successful interview with the internship site.
  • Courses will start a few days after arrival (usually the first Tuesday).

Slowly but surely you will ease into the rhythm of being abroad. You will feel comfortable and want to begin to explore further. Challenge yourself to stay in Sydney. Save your international travels for a post-program tour, and don’t fail to truly experience this incredible city for the length of time that you have. Many Australians can spend their whole lives discovering Sydney, it’s important that you take full advantage of the time that you are given.

What to Expect When You are in Country FAQs

Where is the CAPA Sydney Center?

The CAPA Sydney Center is located on the TAFE NSW campus, in the neighborhood of Ultimo. Not only will you be on the Ultimo College Sydney TAFE campus, but you’ll also be located very near to other university campuses in bustling and lively Ultimo and surrounding neighborhoods.

You will be able to have access to all program resources in one place. In the Center, you’ll find your classrooms, CAPA staff offices, free Wi-Fi, and a student lounge with computer and printing facilities. You’ll also have access to the Sydney TAFE NSW library and will find lots of campus green space to hang out on between classes. The central location of both the apartments and the CAPA Center make exploring the city very accessible; you can walk to the Sydney Central Train Station in less than 15 minutes. You’re also a short walk from Chinatown, Darling Harbour, and many shopping areas.

Who is the local staff?

CAPA Sydney Team staffs the CAPA Center in Sydney. They are true experts in their field, and you’ll find them to be a great resource on many Australian subjects – from the best place to buy Aboriginal art, to directions to the closest train station.

Are there internet facilities? Should I bring my laptop?

There are computer facilities with wireless internet access at the CAPA Sydney Center. There are many internet cafes throughout the city. Either of these options should suffice to keep you in touch with friends and family at home. Wireless internet access is available within the student residences, but you will need to pay a monthly fee to receive access. Please be advised that the computers at the CAPA Sydney Center, as well as at many internet cafes, are set up for basic web surfing and may be a bit slower than what you’re used to. Downloading television programs, for example, may not be possible.

Bringing your laptop is a personal decision. CAPA does not require the use of a laptop for anything. Be advised that if you do bring a laptop, you may want to purchase additional insurance. In the event that it breaks, is stolen or lost it will only be covered up to a maximum of $250 through the CAPA included insurance.

What will I eat?

Sydney is an international city, and you’ll find foods and flavors from all over the globe, particularly Asian food which is of a very high standard and low cost. If you are living in an apartment or a residence, you will be responsible for your own meals. In addition to the many supermarkets, there is a plethora of fresh food available, in particular seafood. Try and venture beyond the norm and visit your local butcher, green grocer, or fish market.

Most Australians enjoy a breakfast on the run during the week. You will find a number of familiar favorites including bacon and eggs (though they might be cooked quite differently to home), however cereal and toast are more common during the week. Lunch is a little later than in the US, usually around 1pm. Dinner is normally a family affair between 6-8pm, and is usually the largest meal of the day. With the many diverse cultures and backgrounds in Sydney, you should be able to find a wide variety of foods at a wide variety of times.

Please be forthcoming about any dietary restrictions you might have on your CAPA application, especially if you are living with a host family. CAPA will always do its best to accommodate these needs, but be advised that you may need to purchase some grocery items yourself if they will not be used by the host family.

When can I travel and what are the holidays for my program?

Please speak with your Study Abroad Advisor at your institution or your CAPA Program Manager for the specific dates of holidays, semester breaks, and long holidays during your program. Since these vacation dates can be subject to change, we suggest that you not make any lengthy travel arrangements until you arrive in country.

Your weekends can also be used to travel. Australian train and bus systems are extensive, though with the large distances you may have to travel can be quite time consuming. Discount flight carriers have also grown in popularity and are a convenient way to cover Australia’s vast size. It is important to bear in mind that these flights aren’t always reliable and have rigid luggage weight limitations.

How will I get to know the locals?

The CAPA Sydney Center is not affiliated with a university in Sydney and you will not be taking classes with local students. You will, however, find that CAPA’s My Global Education program will provide you with many opportunities to immerse yourself in local culture. Additionally, the CAPA Sydney Team can recommend a number of individual opportunities, such as volunteering, that you may want to get involved in overseas. Ultimately, the study abroad experience is as rich as you want it to be. The more you put into it, the more you will take away.

How can I find out more on how to prepare?

The US government has created a very useful website for students preparing to study abroad. It contains information on obtaining travel documents, staying healthy and knowing what to do in an emergency, safety tips, how to find the nearest embassy, how to vote while overseas, and more. Visit their website.

What Your Parents/Loved Ones Should Expect FAQs

Read about one CAPA parent’s expectations for study abroad by clicking on the image above!

I haven’t heard from my student in awhile, should I be concerned?

Unfortunately for parents, many students get so caught up in the whirlwind of being abroad that they can be a little slow to keep in touch. Please keep in mind that this is normal and shouldn’t raise any immediate concern. Many families find that e-mail is the preferred method of communication as it enables the student time to respond when it fits into their busy schedule.

Also, keep in mind that when your student contacts you to talk about a problem, they can often forget to follow-up. If your student expresses concern or unhappiness about a conflict or a dilemma, it may be a good idea to let a day or two pass and then contact him or her to make sure that all issues have passed. If the problem persists, be sure to keep in touch and monitor the mood of your student. If your student begins to behave uncharacteristically, this may be cause for concern and he or she should be encouraged to contact the CAPA staff in-country.

Students are encouraged to discuss any problems they might be having with CAPA staff. While many parents want to know everything affecting their student or may wish to help them resolve their problems, allowing students to be an active participant in any resolution enables them to grow in terms of independence – one of the primary goals of study abroad.

What else might I need?

There’s never really any way of predicting everything you could need while your student is abroad, but some precautionary measures can make everything easier.

  • Keep a photocopy of your student’s passport on hand. If it gets lost, having a copy of this will expedite the process of getting a replacement.
  • Keep a photocopy of any credit cards your student is bringing. Again, in the event of an emergency, this information can be useful.
  • Make sure you have an active passport!! Should there be an emergency and you have to travel overseas, it is imperative that you have an active passport on hand!

Discussing Safety with Your Student

Guardian

CAPA has created an official study abroad safety app, Guardian (available via Android and IOS devices), which can be downloaded by students to use as a resource that will help ensure that they have a safe and healthy experience abroad. With the use of Guardian, during an emergency CAPA staff can send notifications to students, and when students check in, CAPA staff are informed of their safety and location.

Travel Logs

Another feature of Guardian is the Guardian travel log, which prompts students to log in their travel details when they plan to travel outside their program city. This information will be used by CAPA to determine their whereabouts in the event of an emergency. If you can, encourage your students to keep you and CAPA informed of their travel plans.

What CAPA does in the event of an emergency

We understand that when anyone travels abroad, there is always the risk of an emergency incident occurring. In the case of a crisis, CAPA has a crisis communication plan and teams in place to lead the plan, track students to confirm their location and safety, and relay this information to their home institutions.

We work together with Docleaf, a professional crisis response organization with over 15 years of experience in global crises management and communication support to determine a plan of action while providing us with around the clock support for dealing with a student emergency or large-scale crisis.

In the case of an emergency, CAPA prioritizes ensuring student safety first, therefore we don’t directly notify emergency contacts unless there is a reason to be concerned about the student’s whereabouts. We strongly encourage students and their parents/emergency contacts to be in touch with each other throughout the program and request that students immediately notify their emergency contacts in the case of a crisis.

During a crisis, CAPA will continuously update our website and all social media pages. We encourage parents to follow us on social media channels and save the link to our website in order to receive periodic updates on the status of students abroad. If CAPA has a reason to be concerned about the safety of a student, we will take the necessary steps to reach out to parents/guardians.

What can we (parents) do before our student departs?

As parents, we know just how important it is to you that your students are safeguarded during their time away. There are a few things that you can do to help us ensure that your students remain safe and in contact during their time abroad. You can:

  • Encourage your student to keep in touch with you throughout their time outside of the United States
  • Ask your student to provide you with their up-to-date local contact information at all times (international number, email, CAPA center number)
  • Talk with your student about immediately notifying you in the case of an emergency, accident or other serious mishaps
  • Ask your student to share any other contact information with you, such as text app username, skype, social media information, etc.
  • Have a conversation with your student about the locations they plan to visit while abroad and encourage them to provide you with a list of the places and dates that they will be away.

 

My Global Education

CAPA’s unique My Global Education Program was developed to offer you, the student, a unique opportunity to make decisions about how you will learn about culture according to how you enjoy learning.  Compiled by local CAPA education abroad advisers, the calendar offers a menu of different activities, events, volunteer opportunities, lectures, visits, and self-directed tours to help teach you the most about Sydney.

With My Global Education in Sydney, you and your new CAPA friends will be able to:

– Visit La Perouse to learn about boomerangs
– Take the coastal walk along Sydney Harbour
– See the night sky from an Aboriginal perspective at the Sydney Observatory
– Go explore Cockatoo Island
– Attend the Melbourne Cup

– And many more!

You will have the opportunity to choose from a range of activities with varying styles of presentation. This allows you to pick a session that speaks to you and your way of learning.

My Global Education
Click on the image above to read about Kristina Worm’s experience at a My Global Education tour of the Sydney Opera House!

What will I be able to do with My Global Education?

CAPA presents a My Global Education Calendar to all students and faculty.  The events, reflective sessions, and activities listed are designed around significant academic themes such as Diversity, Social Dynamics, Globalization and Urban Environments.  Participation in these activities will give you an intelligent, well rounded, and in depth view of Sydney and Australia.

Some CAPA professors integrate My Global Education activities into their courses and assessment, so that you may have an opportunity to reflect upon, write about and present your experiences. My Global Education is also an excellent way to develop areas of interest that may be extended into an application for the CAPA Record of Achievement.

Inclusions

Internship Placement

Optional 3 to 6 credit-hour internships are available for all students in any major field of study at no additional cost.

Housing and Meals

Students live within commuting distance of CAPA Sydney in homestays or shared apartments. Homestays include breakfast and dinner with the hosts.

Local Transportation

Sydney transportation pass, known as an Opal Card, which is good for travel on the buses, trains, ferries and light rail in the central metropolitan area.

Excursions

A full day to the Blue Mountains, and an overnight stay at Sydney's Taronga Zoo (which includes a night safari, sleeping in tents, and unique behind-the-scenes experiences).

Student Events

Social events including an arrival reception, mid-term dinner (semesters only), and a farewell ceremony.

My Global Education

My Global Education is CAPA’s unique learning immersion program which blends local culture and top-notch academics into the experience of a lifetime for our students. A proven education program that combines theme-based learning with unique cultural experiences turning Sydney into your classroom.

Insurance

All CAPA students receive our medical, travel, and accident insurance. You can review this information under our Living Abroad - Health section.

CAPA Services and Support

The CAPA Sydney team is available throughout your program to assist and support you. Students can also contact the 24 hour emergency cell phone for any urgent situations outside of office hours.

Housing

Students may have the option of living in shared student apartments/residences or homestays depending on their specific program. Check with your CAPA Program Manager to confirm which housing options are available to you.

*Please note that any changes you would like to make to your housing preferences (e.g. roommate requests) must be communicated directly to your CAPA Program Advisor within 60 days of your program start date.

Student Apartments/Residences

Homestays

General Information


Student Apartments/Residences

Apartments are located in the Sydney neighborhood of Ultimo, just south of the Sydney central business district. The central location is a great jumping point for exploring different areas of Sydney and is positioned well for travel to classes at the CAPA Sydney Center and travel to internship sites throughout the city. Within the neighborhood students will encounter two major shopping malls, Victoria Park, a couple university campuses, and will find themselves very near to Chinatown.

Standard requirements:

  • Located within walking distance from the CAPA Sydney Center
  • Single beds
    • Sheets, blankets, pillows are included aside from top sheet
  • Kitchen equipped with stove, refrigerator, basic cookware and utensils
    • Cutlery, kettle, toaster, plates, bowls, pans, pots, Tupperware, tongs, ladle, strainer, cutting boards, glasses/mugs, carving knives, bread knife, can opener included
  • A bathroom with shower
    • Towels included
  • A place to store your clothes whether it be shelves or a closet, as well as a desk
  • One iron and ironing board in each apartment
  • Internet access for general browsing, not meant for heavy downloading and uploading or streaming (not as reliable as in US)
    • Each student is provided with 15GB of data per month
  • Coin operated laundry within the apartment (budget $8 per week)
  • No landlines are available

Expect to…

  • Share a bedroom with other participants on the CAPA program
  • Give common courtesy to your roommates and apartment (space issues, noise level, sleep schedules, etc.)
  • Have a longer/shorter commute to your internship (if applicable) than others
    • Average Sydney commute is 90 minutes
  • Gain a genuine understanding of the city itself through exploration and understanding
  • Have a different apartment layout/style than peers
  • Be responsible for purchasing basic toiletries and housekeeping supplies (toilet paper, soap, etc.)
  • Practice common safety guidelines
    • CAPA’s primary focus is your safety and the neighborhoods have been fully vetted but this is still important since you are living in a city

You will receive your address, roommate information, and neighborhood description about 2 weeks before arrival.

Homestays

Living with a host family is one of the best ways to immerse into the Sydney culture. The homestay setting will provide you with a place to call home, receive phone calls, as well as do homework and laundry. In addition, you will have a link to the local culture and customs. Though they are compensated for providing a homestay, the families are genuinely happy to welcome international guests into their homes. Australian homestays are located within Greater Sydney generally in more suburban areas outside of the city center.

Standard requirements:

  • Double or single bed with weekly change of linen
  • Closet
  • Dresser
  • Desk
  • Chair
  • Lamp
  • Two meals per day provided (breakfast and dinner)
  • Washer and dryer

Please refer to your specific program inclusions regarding potential roommates. Note that even if private rooms are included in your program, there may be other CAPA students or other international students within the same homestay but in different bedrooms.

Expect to…

  • Live in a home that may be smaller and older than what you’re used to
  • Share bathroom with other members of the household, host family provides linens and towels
  • Have a diverse host family, there are no set norms and great variations
  • Be respectful of your host family and inform them if you will be late for or miss a meal and share any dietary restrictions
  • Speak to your host family about laundry arrangements
  • Have a weekly internet fee of $10 that is arranged directly with your host family
  • Have a longer commute to classes at the CAPA Sydney Center than others
  • Live in suburban areas that are predominantly serviced by buses rather than trains
  • Have a longer/shorter commute to your internship (if applicable) than others
  • Pay for any homestay phone usage to the homestay family; we suggest students use their local mobile number to make calls

You will receive contact information as well as a brief description of your host family about two weeks before your program’s start date. Australian host families are carefully screened, interviewed and regularly visited. The homestay coordinator has a personal relationship with all of the families and selects them with great care. Rarely is it necessary to make a change in your housing arrangements; however, the homestay coordinator is available to assist you should you have any issues with your family.

Tips on Making a Good Impression

Students who have lived with host families in Sydney have passed on these words of wisdom for you:

  • Spend your first day getting to know your host family, they are welcoming you to their family and excited to host you
  • Bring an inexpensive gift with you from your home state for your host family
    • Candy, calendar, photo book on your state, t-shirt, small knickknack, etc.
  • Inquire about “house rules” for use of the television, phone, bathroom, washing machine, kitchen, as well as locking up at night during the first day or two of your arrival
  • Occasionally offer to buy some laundry detergent as a gesture of good will
  • Ask host family if they need help with the dishes or taking out the garbage
  • When given your house key, ask about preferred curfew hours
    • Remember: if key is lost, you will be responsible for replacing the keys and the corresponding locks.
  • Keep your room clean and presentable
  • Keep an open mind with food, try everything at least once
  • If there are dietary restrictions, tactfully talk to your host and recommend an alternative that can be easily accommodated
  • Offer to pay for your fare on outings, especially to sporting events, restaurants, movie theaters (cinema), etc.
  • Respect the privacy of the family by not asking about their religious, political or philosophical beliefs; let them be the first to bring up such topics

Coming and Going from your Host Family’s Home

Although there is no specific curfew, simple courtesy requires you to notify your host family when you will be home late. They feel responsible for your welfare and will worry if they do not know what time you plan to return. If you arrive home after 10:00 pm, be very quiet and avoid disturbing the family.

If you are going to be away overnight or for the weekend, you must inform your family in advance. Do not arrange meetings with your friends or classmates at your host family’s home. If you are dating, please do not invite your boyfriend/girlfriend to come to your room. Do not invite guests to stay for meals. Remember your living situation is not a hotel; you are considered a member of the family and should not only be respectful but also caring and courteous of your host family at all times.

General Information

Overnight Guest Policy

No overnight guests are allowed in CAPA housing. The CAPA staff will be happy to provide you with a list of inexpensive options for your friends or family.

If you are living in a home stay, please be advised that most host families prefer that you not have guests at any hour of the day. Please be courteous of this, and plan visits with friends at locations outside of the home stay.

When arranging visits from friends and family members, we suggest that you utilize the services of STA Travel. STA Travel can assist you in finding lodging close to the CAPA center, or your own housing, and within specific budgets. For more information, call STA at (800) 224-0371.

Gym Information

  • Apartments
    • Urbanest has a gym at each of their accommodations that are available to students staying at Urbanest free of charge.
    • Equipment includes cardio, pin-loaded and free-weights.
  • Homestay
    • Please ask for recommendations from our CAPA staff upon arrival.

Advice for Adapters and Converters

Housing Before and After the Program

Students are not allowed to stay in CAPA housing before or after the program dates. You are encouraged to travel before or after the program but would not be allowed to utilize CAPA housing.

Academics

How do I register for classes?
Where will I take classes?
Who will I take classes with?
When will I find out my course schedule?
How will my internship schedule work with my course schedule?
When will I be in class?
What is the attendance policy?
What do I do if I’m sick and can’t attend class?
What books and supplies do I need for class? Should I buy these ahead of time?
Who will be my professors?
Will we have field trips?
What is the teaching style?
How much out-of-class work will I have?
When will I get my grades?
What do I do if I have course accommodations at my home institution?
Who do I talk to if I have more questions about academics?


How do I register for classes?

You will receive an email from our CAPA Registrar asking you to submit your course preferences about 90 days before you depart. The course preferences survey will also ask for back-up courses which are needed in the case of courses being cancelled or filled. You should fill out the registration carefully and make sure you include any important notes. Once you submit your course selections, you will not receive a confirmation email. We will notify you if we did not receive your course survey, as it is due 70 days prior to your program start date.

Where will I take classes?

Your classes will be held at the CAPA Sydney Center in Ultimo. It is easily accessible by foot (for those staying in the nearby apartments) or via train and bus (for those staying in homestays).

Who will I take classes with?

You will be in class with other CAPA students from colleges and universities around the USA. Our student body is diverse, giving you an opportunity to engage with students from many different backgrounds. Our classes are intentionally designed for American students living and learning in Sydney.

When will I find out my course schedule?

You will find out your course schedule approximately a month before the program starts. You can make changes to your schedule during the first week of the program.

How will my internship schedule work with my course schedule?

Your course schedule will be set first. You will meet with your internship site supervisor to set your internship schedule based on your availability. We do our best to facilitate whole days for your internship, however this is not always possible.

When will I be in class?

Your classes may run between 9:00am to 8:30 pm, Monday through Friday. Business courses have 3.5 hours face-to-face classes; all other courses have 2.5 hours face-to-face classes plus 1 hour online contact with other students and your professor. We try to avoid classes after 5:00pm and Fridays, but again, this is not always avoidable. In the summer, classes meet more often to fit in the full course into fewer weeks.

What is the attendance policy?

CAPA has a mandatory attendance policy. Attendance is taken at the beginning of every class. Unauthorized absence from class will result in a reduction of the final grade and potentially a failure for the course.

What do I do if I’m sick and can’t attend class?

If you need to miss a class for medical reasons or for a family emergency, you must send an e-mail to let the Director of Academic Affairs and your professor know at least one hour in advance of your class or meeting. Within two days of the missed class, you must submit a doctor’s note to the Director of Academic Affairs, otherwise it will count as an unexcused absence. In the event of a missed class or field trip, it is your responsibility to contact your instructor and make up any missed assignments.

What books and supplies do I need for class? Should I buy these ahead of time?

Books and supplies are listed in each sample syllabus, which can be found on our website. CAPA uses online resources whenever possible to cut down on the number of materials you need to buy. We recommend purchasing most things abroad so that you do not have to carry them in your suitcase, and in case you add or drop classes once you arrive. However, some business course textbooks, in particular, may be cheaper bought in the United States.

Who will be my professors?

CAPA professors are local experts in their subject and hold terminal degrees in their fields. They all teach at major Australian Universities as well as for CAPA. Our passionate and diverse faculty are at the heart of what we do.

Will we have field trips?

Yes, and these are outlined in the sample syllabi found on our website, however we take advantage of seasonal events wherever possible so field trips are typically not finalized until closer to the start of the semester. Some courses have more field trips than others, depending on how much of the course content is found outside the classroom. Field trips include walking tours, site visits, museum visits, and other activities that involve travel and walking.

What is the teaching style?

CAPA courses are interactive and experiential. We incorporate traditional classroom, experiential, and online learning into a three-method approach to learning abroad. Some courses are more lecture-based than others; for more information, look at specific syllabi on our website. Australian faculty prefer an informal but respectful style of interaction. You may address them by their first name and as with most things Australian, the classroom is a relaxed, informal but productive learning environment.

How much out-of-class work will I have?

CAPA courses include homework, projects, exams, and research papers, similar to what you are used to back home. Some classes will also require online collaboration and contact with fellow students and faculty as part of your contact hour requirements. This online work must be done as attendance rules apply equally to online and face-to-face. For specific courses and their assignments, look at the sample syllabi on our website.

When will I get my grades?

Final grades are sent to your home campus four to eight weeks after classes end.

What do I do if I have course accommodations at my home institution?

Please notify your CAPA Program Advisor as soon as possible. They will be able to help you set up the accommodations overseas.

Who do I talk to if I have more questions about academics?

Talk to your pre-departure advisor or our registrar Sara Bularzik (sbularzik@capa.org)

Internships & More

Where will I be interning?
When will I find out my internship?
Will I get to choose from a couple of options?
What if I don’t like my internship?
How will my internship schedule work with my classes?
How many hours will I be interning each week?
Will I intern on nights and weekends?
What will my commute be like? Will my internship be located near to my housing or CAPA?
What do I need to wear?
What will I be doing?
Will I get paid?
What is the Global Internship Program?


Where will I be interning?

CAPA works with hundreds of different internship sites throughout our global cities. Your internship placement will be decided based on your interests and the information that you provide in your application, and the opportunities and needs presented by a potential internship site. You could be interning at a large company or a small start-up. You may be one member of a large team, or one of two or three people in an organization. Each experience is unique, and the skills acquired will be equally unique.

An interview via Skype before you arrive in Sydney or an in-person interview when you are in Sydney will be scheduled with your internship site. This interview is another opportunity for the site to get a sense of you. It is important that you take this interview seriously, and show a level of personal responsibility, commitment and interest in the organization.

When will I find out my internship?

You will receive your placement information approximately two weeks prior to the first day of the program, or closer to your departure. Because of the process involved to identify prospective sites to meet your goals and objectives, as well as gathering the information pertaining to resources, projects and day to day work allocated by the site to your internship, placement confirmation takes time. Receiving placement information later than expected does not indicate that you will not receive a placement – but all businesses and site supervisors are unique. We are not ablr to confirm a placement until we have received the details we need to comfortably do so, and every site operates within its own timeline.

Although awaiting placement details can be nerve-wracking, and even frustrating to some students, it is a reflection of the fact that a thoughtful process is in place. Your application is being discussed and posed to potential sites based on the information that you have provided, and not based on a slim list of internship opportunities that need to be filled. As CAPA has decades of experiences placing students in meaningful internships around the globe, be assured that you can trust the process.

Will I get to choose from a couple of options?

No, you will receive your final placement details once your interview has been scheduled. Each site has taken the time to assess organizational need and allocate projects and resources to take on an intern.  If we allowed you to choose from a number of placements, any site unchosen would then not receive an intern to focus on these tasks. In time, fewer sites would want to host interns given the logical frustration of such a process. In other words, if you had the capacity to choose from several sites, ultimately the opportunities available to you would have already been significantly limited.

What if I don’t like my internship?

If you have concerns about your placement after receiving your placement description, we encourage you to articulate these to your program advisor so we can discuss them with you. It is important to remember that a placement description is a one page document that does not and cannot capture the full experience of the placement. All students are expected to participate in the interview with their prospective site so as to better understand the reality of the placement, and the day to day expectations. If you have significant concerns about the suitability of a site following this, we would encourage you to discuss them directly with the internships team on site. They will be able to help you to better identify solutions with the site itself.

Do remember that an internship will always have positives and negatives. It is unlikely that you will love every task assigned to you. You may even realize through your internship that you no longer want to pursue your field of study! These experiences are invaluable, however, and are a part of the learning you take away from the internship as a whole.

How will my internship schedule work with my classes?

Your site supervisors know that you are enrolled in classes, and will work with you to set up a schedule around your coursework. Please remember, however, that Monday through Friday are considered a part of the academic program. As such, it is expected that you could be interning on any of these days in order to complete your required hours.

How many hours will I be interning each week?

Most students intern up to 20 hours a week during the semester. The exact number of hours can vary from university to university depending upon credit requirements. You may find you are interning for more or fewer hours than a peer receiving the same amount of credit. Remember that you are participating in the internship to gain a distinctive professional experience. More time spent at your placement is likely to result in more responsibility gained. In 5 years, the amount of credit/hour ratio of your internship will matter far less than the number of bullet points you can add under the internship on your resume for responsibilities earned and skills gained as well as the international network you will have gained.

Will I intern on nights and weekends?

Most internships will have standard business hours, Monday – Friday, 8 AM – 5 PM, or 9 AM – 6 PM. Some opportunities could arise for unique activities on evenings and weekends that could be invaluable for your experience. You will learn more about these opportunities, if any, from your site after you arrive. Generally speaking, however, you can plan for a standard business schedule.

What will my commute be like? Will my internship be located near to my housing or CAPA?

Internships are located throughout our global cities and you can expect a commute of up to an hour one way. Bear in mind that this commute is typical for a city and some of our CAPA staff have a commute that is even longer than this. Hours spent commuting are not included in your required internship hours.

What do I need to wear?

Your placement description will include a specific dress code for your site. Many sites require some iteration of business casual: slacks, skirts, dresses, blouses, button ups, etc. With that said, you will not know the exact requirements of your site until you receive your placement closer to departure.

What will I be doing?

The types of projects and work each intern will do can vary quite a bit from site to site. Most students have a combination of projects and administrative work that will allow them to learn more about the field and industry in which they are working. Although the focus of your work should not solely be on small tasks, this is a reality of most positions and will give you a sense of the realities of the workplace. Students are advised to consider that responsibilities will grow over time in the placement. How you conduct yourself for the first few weeks of the internship can set the stage for your opportunities down the road.

Will I get paid?

Although students earn academic credit for the internship, placements are unpaid.

What is the Global Internship Program?  

The Global Internship Program (GIP) is a course required for all students participating in the internship.  It is a unique academic experience that provides students with the opportunity to discuss and analyze theories and models of work organizations in a cross-cultural context. It also creates a framework for personal reflection on issues related to professional development, using the internship experience as a vehicle for students to contextualize and discuss the wider significance of internship activities. You are automatically enrolled in the Global Internship Program when you register for the internship.


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