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. (more…)
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…)
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. Your Careers Service is using the week (8-14 February 2021) to celebrate your achievements in volunteering over the past year. However, we are also keen to remind you of the employability benefits to be gained!
Will volunteering really make me stand out to employers?
Absolutely! But don’t take our word for it – in this blog some of our Bristol PLUS Award endorsing employers explain exactly how they perceive volunteer work from their applicants, and just why volunteering is so beneficial for both you and the organisation you go on to work for.
My name is Maisie, I’m an ecology graduate. After months of writing up my thesis and being entirely screen-based during lockdown, I was feeling square-eyed, fatigued and longing to get out of the house. I especially wanted to be more involved in community and people-based projects happening around the city in response to COVID-19, so I happily took a COVID-19 SME Internship working for Bristol Food Union (BFU).
Read about the experiences of some of these students below.
Carlos Shanka Boissy Diaz – volunteering for the Green Impact Scheme from the Canary Islands
I am really passionate about sustainability so I applied to be an auditor with Green Impact in March. However, the lockdown came, and departments had to close their doors, which meant that I would not be able to audit in-person.
Luckily, The Green Impact staff team managed to transfer all our work online and it was extremely successful. I was able to interview the staff in the departments and review the work that they had done throughout the year virtually. It was really fun to have a chat with all of them.
I believe that now more than ever, other students should get involved in these sorts of opportunities. We are in a self-isolation bubble, where our minds are in more need of social interaction and our brains need different stimuli. Also, I feel it’ll be great for my employability, so, if possible, I advise others to stay active with volunteering from home!
Work experience is any opportunity which gives you experience of work, or the non-academic skills that will prepare you for work. It can be paid or unpaid experienceand is not necessarily related to your degree or your future career plans. This can include internships, summer vacation jobs, volunteering, insight events and shadowing as well as self-driven projects.
Good quality work experience should:
Teach you new skills including professional behaviours.
Highlight which skills you need.
Let you explore a career idea.
Connect you to people you could use as contacts in the future.
Are you a Student Leader, volunteer or coach in one of Bristol SU’s Sporting groups and societies?
According to Public Health England,students“with better health and wellbeing are likely to achieve better academically” So not only does being part of a sporting group or society increase those endorphins, connect you with people and develop valuable skills, it can help you succeed! This topic isbrilliantlyexploredintherecent Wonkhe blog: “Demonstrating the link between sports and student success”