150 hours with our Education and Inclusion intern

Photo of VEC professional intern Sinem Sahin.

Sinem Sahin from LaTrobe University is undertaking a 150-hour professional internship at the VEC.

At the end of August, university undergraduate Sinem Sahin joined the Education & Inclusion team for a 150-hour professional internship that will run until early November. Her workplace supervisor, James Fiford, caught up with her for a chat.

What are you studying at university?

I am currently in the fourth year of my degree, studying a Bachelor of Laws/Bachelor of International Relations at La Trobe University. Over the years, my subjects have concerned various areas of law, sociology, politics and global affairs. I enjoy the flexibility of my degree and I find there to be a good balance, as sometimes law can be more demanding than international relations (content wise). This semester I am undertaking an internship with the VEC as part of my professional competence subject, for my International Relations elective.

What led you to apply for the internship position, and why were you interested in working with the VEC?

I was alerted about an internship position at the VEC by one of my subject coordinators. I became interested in the position when I read that it involved research relating to democratic participation and civic engagement with people who typically face barriers to enrolment and voting. The opportunity to gain practical experience in research, as well as to learn and see what the VEC does, appealed to me.

How have you found working at the VEC and what are your main tasks?

Interning at the VEC has been a great experience. It is different to what I had expected. I expected the work environment to be strict and more formal, I think partially because I wasn’t familiar with an office setting, as this is my first internship. Instead I observed the VEC work environment to be busy but very friendly and welcoming. My experience so far has been very informative and eye-opening. Not only have I learnt about the VEC and the democratic engagement of young people, but also about voting and electoral participation in general. My main task is working on a literature review of electoral and civic engagement resources from other countries, in order to compare the VEC’s Passport to Democracy program with equivalent programs elsewhere. This information will be used in the program evaluation currently underway to enhance and improve Passport to Democracy.

What are your career aspirations? And what has working with the VEC helped you learn and/or want to seek further information about?

Career wise, I am uncertain on whether I want to pursue a career in law or international relations. I think that I would enjoy working somewhere that related to both of my study fields, such as human rights law. Working with the VEC has helped me realise that I am interested in undertaking further study, such as an Honours degree, as I have particularly enjoyed the research aspect of my internship.

If you’d like to express interest in undertaking an internship at the VEC, please contact hrmailbox@vec.vic.gov.au.