We get it. You’re ploughing through another year of studying and all you can think about is how to make the most of your time off over the summer.
On the one hand, you want to have a real break – maybe head toward sun, sand and sea – but, on the other, you have the nagging feeling that you shouldn’t waste time on a standard summer vacation, which won’t help you find the perfect job at the end of your course.
And it’s a valid concern. According to EY’s Managing Partner for Talent, only 10% of students are optimistic about securing their dream job when they graduate. It’s important that you use your time wisely and do something of value over the summer.
An internship is a great way to gain solid work experience and we can’t deny that it looks great on a resume. However, these opportunities can be few and far between and often don’t tick as many boxes as a properly organized travel experience.
Travelling overseas is a great option for those who need a break from the books and a change of scenery for a few weeks but want to do something of value.
Make your resume stand out
Not only can travelling give you more confidence and life experience for the next year of college but, by choosing the right kind of experience, you can add meaningful weight to your resume, to help you stand out and secure that all important job at the end of college.
These are just some of the benefits of spending time abroad this summer:
1. Gain global knowledge for your future profession
Travel can take you to so many interesting places where you can get cultural and practical experience and incorporating some volunteering into your trip is valuable. Perhaps you’ll end up living with a family of doctors in China or teaching music in Nepal.
Think about what you want to do longer term and what will help you gain relevant experience. Do you want to work in the medical profession, become a teacher or a professional photographer? Research what type of program will be right for you and use that as the starting point for planning your summer trip!
2. Give something back
One of the most popular options for students is to volunteer but any kind of overseas experience can help broaden your horizons. Corporate social responsibility is so important in today’s business community and being able to show your future boss that this is something you’ve already taken an active role in can help you stand out from the crowd at interviews.
Doing something meaningful, that has a positive impact on a community, is a great asset that you’ll carry with you for the rest of your life.
3. Grow in confidence
We know that going on a trip to an unknown place, with strangers, is a big step to take and heading to the beach with your friends is a lot easier.
International projects break down the barriers and give everyone in the group a focus, so there isn’t time for awkward silences or any chance of becoming bored and you’ll make friends for life.
And if you can handle building both relationships AND the challenges that visiting a new country entails, you can cope with anything a job throws at you!
4. Learn a new language
It may be that you learn a language you’re unlikely to use in your day to day life or job, but it shows a desire to learn new things and a commitment to a project, both of which are attractive personality traits for a future employer.
Language immersion programs are a great way to get out of your comfort zone and test yourself and it’s easier to do this in a group where you can practice and support one another.
5. Increase your skillset
There are so many skills your will use both consciously and unconsciously when visiting a new country. You will need to demonstrate resilience, adaptability, independence and potentially how to handle difficult situations.
All of these assets will make you a stronger, more socially confident individual which in turn will help when you start job hunting.
Bonus: Have a fun summer
By going somewhere different, you get to have a complete break from the stresses of work and academia.
Spending a few weeks in another country will allow you to travel and volunteer but you can also explore, swim in oceans, get up close and personal with incredible animals, make friends, learn new skills and enjoy the local beer!
It’ll mean you’re fully refreshed and motivated to work hard once you start back at university. And if you’re feeling more driven, you’ll do better academically – which will also help you land that dream job. Win-win!