Telling people that you’re doing a PhD can provoke a wide variety of reactions, ranging from the flattering to the mildly offensive. While people are often impressed by the idea of (eventually, hopefully!) ‘becoming a doctor’, others are sceptical about just how much ‘real-world’ experience you can really get within the cushy, ivory-tower world of academia. Many of my friends – themselves having graduated years ago, or skipped university altogether and gone straight into the ‘real world’ – are certainly, understandably bemused by my still clinging onto the identity of studenthood, semi-jokingly questioning if I am ever actually going to leave university and get a (so called) real job.
Thanks to the NWSSDTP Internship scheme, I had the opportunity to undertake a placement at the Australian Council for Educational Research (ACER) in Melbourne, Australia. ACER is an educational research organisation with a long history in addressing learning across the life span and research expertise in national and international surveys, assessment and reporting, and research to inform educational policy and practice. ACER has also long been one of the contributors responsible for the implementation of the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) in Australia and internationally. The PISA survey is of particular interest to me since I am using data from this assessment to investigate the measurement of the collaborative problem solving construct, and therefore, when searching for potential places to undertake a placement, I felt that ACER would be a great fit for me.
‘Far from the dreary PowerPoint presentation given by a flip-flop wearing, surfboard wielding stock image life coach I had expected, this interactive workshop led by professional coach Will Medd was both eye-opening and immensely rewarding’.
My internship has already made an impact on my PhD research and my future career, and gave me experience of working with official projects regarding migration. In terms of my PhD, my internship provided four inputs for my research: census data related to international migration, the opinions and comments of experts in South American migration, knowledge about South American migration of the professionals who work in CELADE, and experience of working with official projects regarding migration.