by Bradley Timms, University of Canberra Intern 2019
I was lucky enough to participate in an internship with the Canberra Walking Festival of 2019, as part of my ‘Events and Tourism Management’ degree. In this blog post, I will be discussing the benefits of the festival from different aspects including international walkers, walkers from other regions of Australia, Canberra walkers, volunteers and my own experience as an intern.
Throughout my time with the walking festival, I spoke to multiple people from North America and Europe. When I asked those walkers why they decided to travel all the way to Canberra, many of them said that they came purely for the event itself. They spoke about the chances it gave them to experience scenery and landmarks that were completely different to anything they were used to. They also loved how friendly the volunteers and fellow walkers were, which gave them a great opportunity to socialise. For these reasons, I would strongly encourage international walkers to experience the Canberra Walking Festival.
People coming to the festival from other regions of Australia had quite similar motivations for checking out the festival. Many of these walkers just purely loved the joy of walking and this was an opportunity to check out Canberra landmarks in a structured way. Because of this, I recommend Australians come to Canberra for the Walking Festival.
From the local Canberra walkers that I spoke to, a common reason that motivated them to get involved was the socialisation aspect. The chance to meet people from other countries and regions of Australia was a positive experience for them. The festival had even brought international walkers from previous years back multiple times and it was a perfect opportunity to catch up with them again.
Volunteers were a huge part of making the festival run as smoothly and effectively as it did. Some of the benefits of volunteering included the chance to experience the walks before the main participants of the festival, as well as the opportunities to socialise with fellow volunteers and walkers. Many volunteers spoke about how they had been working with the same people at the festival for multiple years. While working on volunteer duties, people still got the chance to socialise with walkers and its for these reasons that I would strongly encourage others to volunteer at the festival.
I decided to participate in the festival as part of my university degree, in order to experience organisation in the lead up to an event, the practices happening during an event as well as the aftermath of an event. I was able to experience all these things through research of the event, collaboration with other volunteers, helping with setup, preparing profiles, marshal activities, registration activities and marketing for future events. While all of this was excellent experience for the events industry, I also achieved many other benefits such as the chance to experience one of the guided walks. Through this, I was able to see many Canberra landmarks which I had never even heard of before. Some of those Landmarks will be shown below. Because I was given many opportunities to experience multiple aspects of what was involved in running an event, I would strongly encourage future university students to participate in this festival as their internship. I would also encourage anyone else in the events and tourism industry to experience the festival through volunteering or as a walker. In conclusion, the main reasons why most people enjoyed the event were the chances to socialise with people from all over the world and to see the landmarks and scenery from Canberra. For me, I received both of those benefits but also got the chance to experience an event in a way that will be helpful for the progression of my degree and career. For all these reasons, I would strongly encourage people to get involved as a walker, a volunteer or as part of a university degree.