Oi, my name is Sander van de Riet, I'm the new media intern at New Beach, Byron Bay. I am a 21 year old 'Dutchie' from a small town in the south of The Netherlands called Hoeven. I am a 3rd year student in International Media and Entertainment Management at Breda University of Applied Sciences. Currently doing a 20-week work-placement at a creative marketing agency called New Beach in Byron Bay, Australia, as a media intern.
"Byron Bay..? So you are not going to Sydney to do your internship?!"
- everyone I know (2019)
Australia is a huge and varied country filled with natural wonders. From the Great Barrier Reef to the outback, making it the perfect country for an international internship for many students. Byron Bay, however, is something on its own. It is without a doubt the hippie epicenter of Australia, if not the world. People travel from all over - typically in their run-down campers, to experience the no worries, chilled out, slow pace of life that Byron is known for.
The town is home to an alternative community that rebels against the status quo 9-5 lifestyle. Byron culture searches for a deeper and purer existence. It is this very honest and free-living nature that attracts unique visitors from all over the world to this town. Doing my internship at New Beach seemed like the ultimate destination to feed my need for adventure while enhancing my resume, getting my credits and improving my (surfing) skills.
The working culture of Australia and The Netherlands are very much alike. However, the major difference is that Australia has a slightly more relaxed way of doing business, whereas 'time is money' is the golden rule in Holland. The Dutch prefer to get right down to business and skip the small talk. Planning a meeting at least a month ahead of time is quite common. Profound planning is half the job in Dutch eyes, whereas Australia follows a more, ‘drop in and have a chat’ mentality. I never know who and when someone could walk through the door but the team are always ready to go.
In the office here, I get to work in a beautiful environment for an absolute legend of a boss who took me under his wing. The New Beach team make sure I make the most out of my internship, both in-and-out of the office. I have the opportunity to wear so many hats everyday. Working on clients SEO, editing videos, taking notes in meetings or doing a photoshoot solely on my own. As a media intern these are all the tasks I could wish for since they all are incredibly relevant to my courses in Holland, including making good coffee!
The team really do make me feel like I am part of the family and I am really proud of that. My biggest achievement yet is not an amazingly-edited video or effective well put together media plan. It is getting to know the staff in the office and how they all ended up here. As colleagues they all became best mates and that definitely led to many of my great experiences here with them all at barbies and footy games.
Australia offers a lot of things that most other countries can’t which is why there is simply no place like Byron Bay. Byron Bay feels like coming home to a place I have never been before. Whilst I’m halfway through my internship, reflecting on the lessons and skills I have learnt so far I’m also looking forward to what’s still to come. If there is one lesson I will take with me to Holland so far it’s that work is important; but NEVER more important than the quality of life and balancing the two is crucial...and ALWAYS make sure to wear sunscreen when surfing!