Internships

The “What I Wish I Knew about Education Abroad” List for Students

Share Button

study-abroadAs the semester comes to an end, the majority of us are focused on surviving finals week and getting home for the holidays. However, many students, myself included, are preparing to spend time studying abroad for a few weeks, or even a semester. Although I am now very excited for my trip, my education abroad journey has not been all smooth sailing. There are a million and one things I wish I had known when I began planning my trip abroad. Here are just a few tips that I hope will make the process a little easier for anyone who is considering education abroad.

START EARLY: I repeat, do NOT wait until the last minute to start planning your trip (like I did). Although it’s not impossible to plan an education abroad trip last minute, it is definitely more difficult. If you are at all interested in studying abroad, go meet with an education abroad ASAP. Different programs have different requirements. It is absolutely never too early to get started!

 
Decide where you want to go: One of the most important education abroad decisions you will make is where to go. One of my majors is Spanish, so I chose to study in Seville, Spain in order to complete the requirements for my major. Many colleges offer many areas of stud. But, you need to think about which cultures and experiences will benefit you the most academically. No matter where you go, you will have a great time and make awesome memories, so make sure it’s going to pay off towards your degree.

Find a friend: Chances are, you know someone who has studied abroad in the past. Use them as a resource! Don’t annoy them of course, but ask them to get coffee or lunch with you someday so that you can ask them questions and advice.

Don’t let money stop you: If you’re anything like me, you may be hesitant about education abroad because you think you can’t afford it. Surprisingly, my semester abroad is going to cost me less than a semester at my home university. Now, this may not be the case for everyone. But I promise, education abroad fees include A LOT. And, you can usually apply any scholarships, loans or grants that you receive at your current school to education abroad fees. There are also TONS of scholarships available to students who want to go abroad.

Although a good GPA, campus involvement and leadership experience are all important aspects of an impressive resume, education abroad gives students an advantage over the rest. Employers and graduate programs love seeing that a student has studied abroad. Not to mention, I have never spoken to a student who regretted their education abroad experience. Have any questions or suggestions of your own about education abroad? Let us know in the comments section below.

Am I Successful Yet?

Share Button

The keys of success

Many students look forward to college being a time to have fun, get a degree and pave the way to a successful future. However, nowadays becoming successful after college is more difficult than it was for our parents’ generation. The “glory days” of college now seem to be filled with stress, self-doubt and an overwhelming sense of impending failure. Okay maybe impending failure is a bit dramatic, but you get my point. Our generation no longer has to just get a degree to be successful. We are required to have leadership experience, thousands of volunteer hours and tons of internships before graduation. The truth is, college is an amazing, and hectic, time in life. As students, we just have to learn how to build our resumes while having fun.

None of us know what we want to be when we grow up: Most students are unsure of what they want to do with their lives until they actually get some real world experience. So go join a club or attend an internship fair with a friend. These are great ways to get out of your dorm room and have some fun, while also seeking out potential career paths that may interest you. They will also give you something to put on a resume, while learning about future job possibilities outside of a classroom environment.

No one’s life is as easy (or awesome) as it seems on social media: While here, I’ve noticed a common pattern among students at my university. People love to share every detail of their lives on social media just so EVERYONE knows how awesome their life is (whether it’s actually that great or not). So, rather than obsessing over how cool your classmate’s awesome weekend of volunteering looks on Instagram, go out and make some fun, and resume worthy, memories of your own!

Just relax: It has been drilled in our heads since birth that being successful means having the most, doing the most and sleeping the least. But let’s be honest, college is a very short time in our life that we should really learn to appreciate. College is a great time for self-exploration, and learning, so get out there and learn! Don’t stress yourself out about having the most impressive resume at your University. Instead, figure out what you like and get involved with causes and organizations that help foster your interests. If you take the time to check out new clubs and meet new people, your resume will eventually build itself.

The best advice I can give to anyone in college is to forget your future. Do the best you can right now. Do and try everything you can. If you do this, I promise your future will be brighter than you can imagine. If you have any other suggestions or advice to give, don’t be afraid to tell us!

Things to Work on This Summer (Besides Your Tan)

Share Button

As the semester is ending, the only thing on my mind is summer. While I wish I could spend my summer lounging around, the sad reality is that I can’t. This summer I’ll be working part-time, working two on-site internships, as well as blogging for eCampus.com. Maybe you don’t want to spend your summer like me, but there’s something everyone can do to be productive during break. The following are my recommendations for ways to have a productive summer break.

enjoying the sun

1. Work. Working allows me to save up money so I don’t have to work as much during the school year. If working part-time is the only thing you’ll be doing this summer, then you’ll still have plenty of time to relax and hang out with your friends.

2. Intern. Internships are the best way to get experience related to your field. Unfortunately, many internships don’t pay, so doing one in the summer can allow you to work without trying to juggle school and work too. But the important thing about internships isn’t the money; it’s getting real experience. Internships are also a great way to gain pieces for your professional portfolio. If you don’t know where to start looking, check out internships.com (that’s how I got this position)!

3. Volunteer. There’s nothing more rewarding than doing something good. Countless organizations take volunteers, especially during the summer. Volunteering is a way to do something you’re passionate about outside of school.

4. Study abroad. If there were one thing I wish I could do, it would be to study abroad. While it may be pricey, there are options to take care of the finances. There are numerous national study abroad programs, and your school may have its own study abroad program. Learning or working in a foreign country is a great resume enhancer.

5. Personal improvement. If the above don’t seem like your thing, you at least owe yourself some “me” time after a long semester. Start a new fitness routine, read a book, or take up a new hobby. There are endless ways to spend your summer. You don’t want to waste three months with nothing to show.

There is nothing wrong with relaxing for a few days after finals and enjoying the sun, but it is important to have a plan. The longer you sit around, the harder it will be to get back on schedule.  What are your plans for making this summer the best it can be?

A Quarter Life Crisis: Now What?

Share Button

Now that you’ve discovered (or are on the path to discovering) your passion, it’s time to make it happen.  This might seem like a daunting task, but try taking things one step at a time.  If it’s something you already know a great deal about, you’re already off to a fantastic start.  However, if you’re anything like me, you might not know much about the field you’ve decided to pursue.  Here a few ideas that will get you headed in the right direction and will send you on the way to becoming a happy (and successful!) professional.

1. Find a mentor.  Finding someone in your desired profession, who can teach you everything he or she knows about that field, is perhaps the most valuable step you can take.  Maybe you have someone in mind you can talk to, or maybe you have to start from scratch like I did.  When I decided that photography was something I was interested in, I simply emailed a wedding photographer and asked whether she might be interested in meeting with me to talk about her profession.  It was scary putting myself out there, but I quickly found that people are very willing to help.

2. Get an internship.  While internships usually mean unpaid work, the experience you’ll gain in the end will make it well worth your time and energy.  This will also give you a chance to “test-run” your possible career.  Maybe you find that you aren’t in fact crazy about it, but at least you won’t make the same mistake twice!

3. Teach yourself.  We live in a world of YouTube and self-help books, so take advantage!  There are so many tools available to us that our parents didn’t necessarily have when they were preparing for their careers.  Start by simply “Googling” your career of choice and you’ll find countless websites, articles, and blogs, where professionals in that particular field share their success secrets and stories.  Head to the nearest bookstore and pick up a book that talks about your potential career in detail.

4. Make connections.  I’ve only been working in the photography industry for a few months now, but already I’m making awesome connections and meeting new people all the time!  Each photographer I meet offers new insights and advice for aspiring photographers like myself.  So don’t be shy! Get your name out there, shake as many hands as you can, and welcome their advice with open arms!

Big Girl Pants: Not Taking On Too Much

Share Button

Club fairs, internship offers, classes and part-time jobs are all beginning.

It’s easy to sign your name to a bunch of club newsletter lists, but eventually, you’ll have to make some choices as to what you want to follow through on and which you don’t.

I am a perfect example of taking on too much. I always knew I didn’t want to regret not doing something. I played collegiate field hockey, pledged a sorority, worked at the study abroad office, actually studied abroad, lived in a sustainable living facility and kept up with multiple internships and part-time jobs.

Looking back, there is nothing I wish I did, aside from maybe relaxing a bit more.

Half way through your college experience, you might feel as though your responsibilities and commitments are gobbling you up. I am not condoning running from responsibility, but one way I started over was through the National Student Exchange. I realized I had a lot of commitments and I no longer was too happy. I realized as a 20 year old, I didn’t need that much stress.

I made some phone calls and prepared a trip with the National Student Exchange. I figured out that a school 3,000 miles away had the courses I needed and was cheaper for me to go to. I got to relive some study abroad moments (packing for four months in two bags, meeting new people from all over the world, exploring a new area). I am a proud alumna of all of the organizations I was apart of while at my home school back in New Jersey. Now, when I have a few hours in between classes and internship work, I get to explore California with new friends. I scheduled courses into my schedule that make sense to my academic career that I wouldn’t be able to have done otherwise.

If half way through your college years, you feel as though your life is more stressful than you can manage, go over to your school’s study abroad office and check out if they participate in the National Student Exchange.

If you don’t have this as an option or traveling isn’t for you, be honest with yourself and with others about how much you can take on. Exploit your opportunities; go out there and do stuff; but be sure to take some time for yourself too.