CPSA case study: Making the most of your year abroad 

Susannah Latham, Final Year BSc Politics and International Relations student and Career Peer Support Assistant

Many students embark on a year abroad as part of their degree. We all have different reasons for choosing to do it: for some, it’s the excitement of a new culture and country, while others are keen to learn at a different institution or use the year to work or to improve their language skills.  

Whatever your reason for doing a year abroad, it can be a great opportunity to gain valuable skills and work experience, making yourself stand out when applying for jobs in the future.  

My Volunteering Experience  

As part of my Politics and International Relations BSc I studied for a year in the USA, at the University of Maryland. I had the flexibility to study a broad range of topics, ranging from art to climate change, and loved the freedom I had to learn in a new environment. 

But for me, my year in the US was about a lot more than just studying. I wanted to make friends, travel, and take advantage of new opportunities.  

Just like when I was a new student at Bristol, I attended a Freshers Fair, where I learnt about the student groups on campus. Joining a club or organisation on your year abroad is not only a great way to make friends, but also unlocks a whole variety of new opportunities. Having previously been involved with Oxfam in Bristol, I became a committee member of the Oxfam America Maryland Club, and helped organize fundraisers, concerts and campaigns.  

Activism may not be your thing, but from sports to social clubs, every university has a whole host of ways for you to find something you are passionate about – my advice would be to just go for it and get involved! 

Balancing Work and Life During Your Year Abroad 

In my second term, I decided to get a job working at the University diner, as I wanted to feel part of the university community and earn money for my travels! Visa restrictions and opportunities to work vary depending on your year abroad, so it may not be an option for everyone, but this job gave me valuable catering and customer service experience which was useful for finding part-time jobs back in the UK, and has often been a talking point in interviews.  

You may decide that you don’t want to volunteer or work on your year abroad, because you are there to learn, have fun, and live in a new country! This experience in itself is good for an application, since it can help you demonstrate your ability to adapt to a new environment and communicate with people from around the world.  

Remember that when you are applying for jobs it is about making the most of the experience you do have, so whatever you get from your year abroad, be sure to tell future employers about it, as your unique experience may be what gets you your job! 


Author: Susannah Latham, Final Year Politics and International Relations BSc student and Career Peer Support Assistant

This blog post is one of a series produced by our Career Peer Support Assistants, our fantastic team of current Bristol students working part-time with the Careers Service. Look out for further CPSA case studies coming soon!  

CPSA case study: Taking a year out after your studies 

Sid Taylor-Jones is an MSc Education student and Career Peer Support Assistant (CPSA).

I remember handing in my dissertation in third year, and feeling amazingly relieved… and then the panic set in. What do I do now??  

Before going to university, I had dreams of becoming a video editor. But after three years of developing that skillset and getting practical experience, I wasn’t sure if it was what I wanted anymore. I didn’t know what to do.   (more…)

Explore the world – it’s still possible!

Are you yearning to experience different cultures and meet new people?

Flags of the world
Image by Gordon Johnson from Pixabay

Whilst worldwide travel might not be on the agenda right now, it’s still possible to make intercultural connections, through learning and engaging, right here.

Discovering what the world has to offer starts with tapping into local opportunities that could lead to big adventures in the future. (more…)

Have you heard of Student Circus? Our time-saving jobs portal for international students

Are you an overseas student, looking for work in the UK, but short on time?

We know there are lots of competing demands on international students’ time. Often juggling both independent and group assignments, and this year, adjusting to doing this remotely online. In normal circumstances adapting to a new culture, city, and education system presents enough to be getting on with. On top of all this, is the task of finding graduate work. This can be time consuming as an international student. From getting to know the UK jobs market to understanding the graduate visas available. Not to mention choosing roles you have an interest in and feel you could contribute to.

International student job portal, Student Circus, advertises internships, placements and graduate jobs across a range of sectors and company sizes, from start-ups to large multinationals.

Photo by Luke Chesser on Unsplash

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8 reasons why you should do the Bristol PLUS Award!

As the new academic year starts, we are so excited to welcome you all back and *drumroll pleaseopen the Bristol PLUS Award for registration!  (more…)

How COVID-19 is impacting graduate recruitment around the world

You may have seen articles in the UK press about how coronavirus is affecting the UK graduate job market.  Broadly speaking it’s a mixed outlook, with some sectors like hospitality badly affected whereas others, like healthcare and social work, are more robust. You can read a useful summary on Prospects.

Photo by MOLPIX

At Bristol, one in four of you now are from overseas, so we’re actively using our relationships with global recruitment platforms and employers to collate information on job markets outside of the UK.

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Chambers of Commerce: the successful job hunter’s best kept secret

What are Chambers of Commerce?

Chambers of Commerce are membership organisations which businesses can join to access services to help them grow and play a part in their local business community. They exist around the world at the local, regional and national level. Bristol Chamber of Commerce is run by Business West. You can easily find Chambers for your nearest home town or city, or home country, by searching online. For example, “[name of city] Chamber of Commerce.”

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It’s the start of Student Volunteering Week today!

Student Volunteering Week is a national event, with Higher and Further Education Institutions across the country using the week to celebrate existing student volunteers and to encourage more students to start volunteering.

This is the 19th year that Student Volunteering Week is taking place, but student volunteering has a long and rich history dating back to university missions in the 19th century and support for the unemployed in the interwar period.  If you’re interested in finding out more about the history of student volunteering, check out this video

Student Volunteering – a short history from adifferentdrumproductions on Vimeo.

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Why employers love global experience

Are you planning an adventure this summer? 

 

 

 

 

 

(image from Pixabay)

You may be about to travel, volunteer, work or study abroad and you’ve probably thought about what you’ll gain on a personal level. But have you considered the employability gains too? The two things aren’t mutually exclusive! What you’ll learn from personal challenges will positively influence your ability to perform in the workplace – enabling you to listen, communicate, adapt and solve problems. 

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Christmas time off: who gets the most?

Christmas is, of course, a time for merriness, too much food, and presents, and after a busy autumn term we at the Careers Service have begun to turn our thoughts to the holidays.

In particular, we’ve been considering the time off we are about to enjoy – but then this got us thinking: how does Britain’s time off compare to other countries?

via GIPHY

Do others get less time off? More? Or maybe none at all?

We did some research (read: used our favourite search engines) and decided to share the Top 3 countries ranked in order of their time off over the Christmas and New Year period.

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