Posted in Intern advice, Uncategorized, Written by Britt

The importance of travelling and working abroad

I’m sure you’ve heard everyone say it, but travelling really is an amazing experience. This is particularly the case if it’s coupled with something meaningful, for example getting involved in a programme that gives back to the community or equips you with valuable work experience.

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Last summer, I travelled to China to teach conversational English skills to 7-10 year olds at a Chinese summer camp. I can honestly say that it was the best experience of my life. After I had completed my placement, I travelled around China with some of the other summer teachers – we went to Beijing, Shanghai and of course climbed The Great Wall!

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Although such experiences are truly incredible, many volunteer/work programmes can be pretty expensive and I did have to save up for a while in order to be able to afford it. That said, the university do offer bursaries to help students fund their placements (depending on the rules of your department). For instance, I’m in the Arts & Humanities Department and I received a £500 bursary from the university which essentially paid for my return flights to China!

These things are often planned in advance so I am not suggesting that you try and get yourself onto a summer placement before uni starts! However, it is something to think about for next summer and, if you’re sure it’s something you want to do, you can certainly start saving early.

I suppose the purpose of this blog post is to encourage you to be brave. Save up, take a deep breath and go out there and see the world!

Posted in Uncategorized, Written by Britt

Part-time work and transferable skills

SUMMER is finally here, yay!!! Exams and essays are done and it’s time to relax and take a break from all things uni.

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Whilst it is very important to enjoy yourself over the summer, it’s also a great time to get some work experience. This doesn’t necessarily have to be a summer placement or internship – though these are great ways to get experience that is specific to a certain field. However, part-time work in sectors such as retail, hospitality and care are also fantastic opportunities to develop those all important ‘transferable skills’ that graduate employers are always talking about! Here are some of the skills part-time work can equip you with:

  1. Working under pressure. This is particularly the case in shops, bars, pubs and restaurants as these places tend to be pretty busy over the summer period. You will learn how to keep your cool in fast-paced, high-pressure environments, proving to employers that you’re able to cope with the demands of the working world.
  2. Motivation. Nothing says ‘I’m motivated’ like making yourself go to work when the temperature is in the 20’s and all your mates are sat outside at the pub. Whilst this may seem a bit rubbish at the time, it will show employers that you’re driven to succeed as you’re willing to work over the summer period when many others aren’t.
  3. Communication. Most jobs involve some level of communication, whether this is with customers, other team members or in writing. Being able to communicate effectively is a vital skill in our modern world and one that is highly desired by many graduate employers.
  4. Problem solving. Maybe someone has received the wrong meal, a member of staff has phoned in sick or just everything seems to be going wrong on that particular day. It is your job to assess the issues and come up with a reasonable solution so that the working day goes as smooth as possible. This shows that you can think on your feet and don’t simply panic whenever there’s a problem!

I hope this has inspired you to think about the part-time job opportunities that are available to you over the summer period! So, go out there and look for some work – you won’t regret it!