Year-long placements: the decision between going abroad or gaining a placement in the UK

21 January 2019

Hola! My name is Ananya and I’m a BSc Accounting & Finance student, currently on my year-long internship in Madrid, where I’m working as a business developer in an international British school, King’s Group.

I know that applying for internships, work experience and part-time jobs, all whilst being in full-time education can be challenging. In this blog, you will find a useful list of places to look when feeling lost and then I will discuss my experiences of job applications and what made me decide to work abroad. 

  • Use ‘myAdvantage’

This is such a helpful tool that the University has to help their students. I found my internship through myAdvantage and I would most definitely not have heard about it otherwise. It is easy to get sucked into the whirlwind of big corporations, but there is a world beyond these companies. Do not say no to a company just because you may have not heard of it, always do your research.

  • Attend a WBS CareersPlus Drop-in session

The careers team at WBS are very good at looking over your CVs and Cover letters. I cannot keep count of the number of times I showed them my cover letters and since these drop-ins are only for WBS students and not the rest of Warwick, you get more time to fully discuss your work compared to the Warwick wide drop-ins.

  • Request One-to-One meetings

Last year I was asked by PwC to attend an assessment centre only a couple of days before the actual event. The assessment centre also involved a case study interview, which was a new concept for me. I managed to book a meeting with Hilary in the WBS CareersPlus team who talked me through the interview process and provided me with some wonderful resources to use the weekend before the assessment centre.

  • Email the WBS CareersPlus team with queries

After the application hurricane came to an end, I was left with two jobs, one in Spain, and one in Network Rail. This decision was incredibly difficult for me. Whilst no one can make your decisions for you, including the careers team, they were able to provide me with presentations and statistics of positives and negatives of working abroad, which was very helpful to my decision making.

Why did I choose working abroad?

I decided to work in Spain, despite not knowing the language, and trust me, a GCSE does not mean you are basically fluent! (I had to learn this the hard way) Luckily, my role does not require Spanish and I am able to work in English, but I am taking this year as an opportunity to learn Spanish whilst I am in the country.

A big factor when deciding to come abroad, to be completely honest, was Brexit. I was not sure how easy it would be to work abroad once we left the EU, so fear was quite monumental! However, moving this aside, personally, I was interested in working abroad after university. Being a third culture kid, moving internationally away from family and friends was not the scariest part, and neither was not knowing the language. But I do understand that for some this would be terrifying. But meeting new people and making friends is far easier than you may think. There are many people who come abroad for many different reasons, to work or study as part of their degree and here in Madrid, I have met many people who have come here to teach English. Many of them were in the same boat as me, not knowing the language and not knowing anyone else here.

Secondly, the job I am working in as a business developer seemed interesting to me before and has now become part of my dream profession. When working abroad, being in a job you truly enjoy becomes very important; you spend a lot of your time at your job so the company and your colleagues become a key part of your life.

I wanted to work abroad rather than study because this was not just about getting an international experience; it was also about understanding what I want to do when I graduate. Graduation and entering the “real world” was honestly a terrifying concept to me before my year abroad. Imagine the Grim Reaper in a graduation hat and a suit! But I am so glad I took this year out to understand more about myself and what I want to do because now not only has the Grim Reaper in a graduation hat vision disappeared,  but I am actually starting to look forward to graduating and working

Your motivations will be completely different to mine and so will your journey but if I was to give one piece of advice it would be to make the most out of the careers team; I honestly cannot recommend them enough.

I would be more than happy to discuss any of my experiences in both applications and working abroad please do not hesitate to contact me on my LinkedIn profile.

Good luck! (Buena Suerte!)

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