Year Abroad Student? 6 Quick Fixes for Your Internship Applications

Being on a year abroad is an unique opportunity to expand your worldview and experience a completely new life! However, if you’re interested in getting a penultimate year summer internship, there are also several inevitable difficulties.

Read ahead on what the most common 6 issues are, and how to solve them!

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  1. Lack of local opportunities – Get your prep work done. It’ll depend on where your destination university is, but by and large, the opportunities offered at UK universities are unparalleled elsewhere in the world. I definitely had a lot more opportunities to hear about different careers and pathways at my home university than abroad, so make the most of this resource whilst you can.

2. Lack of contacts or networking opportunities – Firm up your contacts before you leave, and get friendly with LinkedIn. Just because you’re going abroad doesn’t mean that you’ll disappear into the oblivion for a year! However, the distance can make it considerably more difficult to maintain your network and connections. Let your key mentors and connections know about your plans and don’t be shy to still reach out throughout the year!

3. Different university culture – Figure out what works best for you, and keep your end goal in mind. Again, this will differ from uni to uni, but due to the structure of the education system in Spain, my host university had very little focus on careers or skills development. It may be that you are expected to study and/or be examined in a totally different way than what you’re used to at home. Speaking from experience, it can be hard to remember what your plans were for summer back in the UK when you’re swamped in 218 slides on the philosophy of the history of the contemporary world in Spanish. Try to figure out your goals for the year early on and make sure that you prioritise these.

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4. More distanced from home institution and careers support – Make sure you’re aware of what services are available to you. Your university careers department will be able to offer you support during your year abroad and they’re only ever an email away. Don’t be afraid to use the resources available to you via phonecall or online!

5. Balancing applications with moving into a new country – Plan your time accordingly and don’t overwhelm yourself. This is definitely one of the hardest things in my opinion. The peak of internship application season hits year abroad students at the same time as settling into a brand new city, culture and world. Be kind to yourself and realistic about how many applications you want to do. You’re making a big life change and making sure you feel comfortable in your new city is far more important than stressing over relentless applications!

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6. Logistics – Get ready for video interviews. With the distance from your home institution, one thing you will almost definitely have to get used to is video interviews. Never done one before? Check out our best advice here. It’s also worth noting that some organisations may be willing to fly you back for interview, so it’s always worth reaching out to HR, explaining your situation and seeing what they recommend.

7. (BONUS) A positive to finish – Find out about the unique opportunities available to you this year! For example, if you’re an Erasmus student for 9 months, you are also eligible for an extra 3 months of Erasmus+ funding to take an internship in Europe over the summer. Your university may also have funding for short term study abroad/international internship opportunities, so it’s worth talking to your uni careers department.

Doing a year abroad is an incredible opportunity and it’s great to maximise all the options available to you in this unique year. I wish someone had told me these tips before I left, so I hope that these tips are useful.

For now, good luck and enjoy yourself!

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