When faced with the prospect of working for an entire year during your year abroad, most people would run a mile. Especially after indulging for several years in the uni lifestyle of 10 hours a week, ‘non-obligatory’ lectures and the fact that nights out and hangovers are completely acceptable any day of the week. Yet contrary to popular belief, there can be huge benefits to spending your year abroad working and here I will attempt to show you why.
A year abroad can be an extremely effective way of boosting your CV with a variety of internships, yet at the same time allows you to keep your summer free if you do these internships throughout the year, something which other students would potentially have to sacrifice. Even if the internship is potentially in an area that is not your specialism, a year abroad gives you this flexibility to try out different areas. At first, it may seem daunting having to enter into a professional office environment, but I can assure you the benefits from an employer’s perspective are so worth it. You will develop such a variety of experience as well as preparing yourself for the working world.
2) No study!
One particular aspect I have really enjoyed of working is having the chance to not study and a break from constantly thinking about when my next deadline is. After 2 years of university, it can be so refreshing to step away from this for a while and thus when you go back to your final year, you hopefully feel fully revitalized! Yes, you may be working long hours but at least when you finish work for the day you are done and can enjoy an evening which is not spent in the library.
3) A sense of reality
As I mentioned earlier, as much as we would love to believe it is, the life of a university student is a highly falsified perspective of reality. Thus, as hard as it may be, getting yourself that 9-5 job can really help you understand what working life is like. I won’t deny my first few weeks I was coming home from work and having a nap after feeling so exhausted, but you soon learn to adapt. I have found as a result of this I have learnt a great deal of skills – time management, organizational skills and planning are all essential to coincide with working life. With my amount of free time being significantly reduced I hate to waste it as it feels so precious now, so I find myself organizing it to make the most of my weekends and evenings.
4) Language skills
Last but most definitely not least, the benefit it has to your language – after all, this is the reason we are abroad! Doing an internship can surprisingly benefit your language skills at lot more than you think. If you manage to find an office with native people you will find yourself being immersed in the language, something you wouldn’t have if you were studying. This also gives you the opportunity to develop friendships with native work colleagues instead of remaining within the very ‘English-speaking’ Erasmus bubble.
I hope these tips are useful and thanks for reading!