Working abroad for a year



Before going to university I didn’t know exactly what job I wanted but knew that I wanted to study further. I was the first in my family to go to university and after studying languages at A-Level decided to take Modern Languages at university because this is what I enjoyed. I thought that which university I went to would be a big factor in my future plans and so compared courses through the university league tables. I made my decision after talking to an inspiring German teacher to whose former university I decided to go to.

I spent a year abroad as part of my degree course during which I really began to consider my career. I felt that this year made me grow up a bit more as I dealt with completely different things. All through university I had different jobs to earn some extra money but only took action to help my career when getting back from my year abroad and starting the final year. I went to recruitment days and had a look at different companies that might do graduate schemes speaking to these employers asking what they looked for in graduates which was very helpful.

This meant that I was confident enough to apply for graduate jobs in my final year, although I thought it was quite difficult to balance final year work with applying for all the graduate schemes. Despite applying for these jobs and feeling that I would be able to get one, I decided to take a year out and go to China to work. I found this year to be beneficial in helping me decide what I wanted to do as it gave me space away from everything, away from the pressure and meant I could come back and have more of an idea of what I wanted to do.

After returning from China, I attained a graduate job as a Higher Education Graduate Trainee and believe that my year out in China was the reason behind my success. I am working in the medical sciences field, which is completely different from my degree, but feel confident in doing this because of my experience. I was initially nervous about this change in field, and thought I would have to work really hard to fit in but I am very satisfied in this position.

Looking back, I feel that my university experience has made me more employable, but I am unsure if the degree really suited me as I now understand that I prefer the practical aspect of work. It is important that currents students do not put pressure on themselves as it is easy to feel pressured in that environment and to apply for any graduate job and so I feel it’s better to wait a bit longer until you know what you want to do.