Another edition of the story time series, as part of my university degree, I went on an integrated placement year where you usually have the choice to work and study abroad. I worked abroad. I know people who went to as far as South Korea or even in London for their placement. An integrated placement is like an internship that you undertake for a certain number of months and you get paid. Well, in theory you should get paid but there are also unpaid internships as well.
As I studied International Business, there was a focus on the international aspect of the placement and I was fortunate enough to end up in Budapest, Hungary. I know one of my friends went Brussels in Belgium, another fellow student went somewhere in America to study and I know of someone who studied in France. Now, you are thinking a black person in Hungary. Is she lost? My friend, let me tell you there are quite a few black people in Hungary, don’t let the Hungarian fool you even though it is solid AF to learn.
I worked but I knew people who did a study placement ranging from 6 to 12 months in universities mostly across Europe and outside Europe. Their experiences shaped them as the person they are today.
I worked in recruitment for a year and even though it was difficult AF I made it through. My placement was unpaid, and it was a #lestruggle. Erasmus, you da real MVP! It turned out to be one on the best experiences on my life to date and it will always be a fond experience. Just because it is unpaid, doesn’t mean it is worthwhile. You don’t have to be motivated by money even when you are a broke student. Experiences are a much better lesson.
Why was it difficult? I had to get use to a new country, new surroundings, food, currency, language, people to name a few. Everything was foreign to me and I am not even Trey Songz. Also, it was that difficult because even though I researched Hungary, Budapest and my company as much as I could, it never prepared for the real experience and being in Budapest 1036. It was so difficult that I was considering changing my placement to study for the other 6 months of the year. It was really that deep for me!
My placement job was one of my first real jobs, I was far away from home not even Birmingham haha and I had real responsibilities that I had to deliver. Mate my delivery within the first 3 months was like Amazon Economy. It was going nowhereee. It took me agesssss to get into the role, understand my responsibilities and perform to the standards I was expected to, and I even surpassed them. Being an English-speaking intern in a non-English speaking is major key business. Anyway, it was a #Lestruggle but I got through and didn’t want to leave by the end and would gladly go back to Budapest on holiday!
Being be able to go on placement year, it has massively helped me gain interpersonal skills, such as time management, goal setting, routine and organisation as well as valuable work experience which helped gain my job today and it always looks good on your CV when you have graduated.
How to survive an internship and/or placement, I hear you asking, well here is 9 things that I think will help you;
- This is my Mum’s tip – Make sure that you know where the nearest doctors, dentist and hospital is just in case in you have a medical or health incident you know where you get treated and make sure you have insurance or a EHIC.
- Make sure you research the Uni, location, workplace culture and make sure you don’t get mugged off, everything is contract based and verified by the Uni, so you know what you are getting yourself into. I did a lot of research on Budapest, uni/student culture etc.
- Get a hand of the public transport so you know the buses, trams and metros and how to get around and get to Uni or work.
- Take it as a learning experience, travel and get involved in as many things you can – Ask questions and attend as much meetings as possible
- Don’t be huffing and puffing like the 3 little pigs when they ask you to do basic tasks like basic admin or fixing the printer, you are an intern/placement student and you must start from the bottom.
- Make contacts and build your LinkedIn profile, you don’t know who you will end up being in contact with.
- Complete all your assignments if you are studying and travel with your new students.
- Keep in contact with your manager and university if you have any problems so it can be resolved, speak up if things don’t make sense or you need help as you need to know what you are doing to get the best out of the task or assignment. – communication is key.
- Get a reference from your placement opportunity so once you have in the position of graduating.
You don’t have to necessarily get a placement, a summer internship or a 3 to 6 to 9 month internship will give you a great insight into the workplace, life lessons and work experience. You’ll never know who you could meet and where they might take you. Work hard. In silence and let the success be your noise! I just had a friend that did his placement back in Uni and now he has got offered a lucrative job at that place! #luckybish #heworkedhardforitthough
Well, hopefully you can gain a wicked internship or placement for Uni which will be worthwhile and if not at least a experience.
Peace until the next time,
This Girl Can Write, A