Keeping on top of your career when abroad

Life whilst you are is abroad may seem to be a world away from the realities of life at home.  At home, you’re studying hard, a barrage of deadlines is forever looming, and slaving at your part time job is a chore. Abroad, life just seems to dance to the beat of a different drum – the days seem longer, you have less commitments and the world is seemingly your oyster. Knowing that a daunting final year at uni in some cases, promises of an impossible workload and immeasurable stress levels await, it’s tempting to see your 16 hour a week YA timetable as the calm before the storm. Spending your afternoon chatting to the Italian waiter absolutely counts as valid language practice. Who could possibly resist an afternoon stretched out on the beach in the South of Spain, or wandering around the Latin Quarter in Paris? Why deny yourself life’s small pleasures? There’s no doubt that these are all parts of your time abroad that you will remember fondly. Living for the moment is all well and good, but with so much time on your hands, why not invest it in yourself? We girls at Scriptoeris are all about defining the decade – so my question to you is what can you do today to kick start your tomorrow?


Having a break from the hum drum is refreshing and taking a step back from your home routine can be a golden opportunity for some self-evaluation. Not to start alarm bells ringing, but next academic year you’re going to be graduating…the real world is going to come knocking very soon. Looking to the future is necessary but it doesn’t have to be overwhelming and it doesn’t have to be scary. When you have this conversation with yourself, it is most likely that you are going to feel one of two things. 1. You have a career in mind or a goal which you have set, but you don’t quite know what it takes to get there, or, alternatively, 2. You don’t know what you want to do at the end of higher education and the thought of deciding on something concrete makes your stomach turn. Whether you’re the former or the later there is no need to stress, where else could you find the answers other than here on Scriptoeris?


So my gorgeous number ones, congratulations to you you have already taken a big step towards defining your decade! You have chosen a career or a postgraduate possibility and that’s fantastic! Now all you need to do is do whatever it takes to get there. I always say that the best way to climb a mountain is to get going – who wouldn’t take a head start in a race if they were given the chance? That said, the best way to manage a goal as large as this is to break it down in to bite size chunks. Tackling some of your mini-goals is the start of your climb.


Grab a blank sheet of paper and write your goal on the top and get ready to start arrowing. What do you need to get to get that job interview or a place on that dream course? Are there grade filters for applications? Are there module prerequisites? Would experience in the field put your CV leagues above the rest? If you want to do a post grad course in international relations, maybe that final year module on the European Union and global governance could be just the ticket. What steps can you take today? Why not email the relevant lecturer and ask how you could prepare for their module? You could be walking in to your first lecture with a wealth of background reading (all gained from your sun lounger, of course). If your chosen career is in the education sector, relevant experience in the classroom could be invaluable. If you’re on Erasmus, why not offer to help out with conversation classes in your native language in the relevant uni department? Not only big points on your CV but an amazing way to meet new people and make lasting contacts. Lots of people also forget that their ‘Year’ abroad actually spans eighteen months. Lots of major firms and institutions run summer internships – do some research, grab the bull by the horns and get your application in. Who knows who you could meet!


My lovely number twos don’t fret – the best is yet to come for you ladies. Being undecided is not the end of the world!  So for now you’re not sure what the future holds but there is one subject that you are an expert on: YOU, exactly as you are right now! This is where you need to start. A glass of wine in a quiet café and a blank sheet of paper is all it takes. Look at where you are right now, what you’re passionate about and what your strengths are. Make a massive brainstorm, be generous to yourself: don’t downplay your achievements and assets- a little bit of self-love goes a long way, because, let’s face it, if you can’t be your own biggest fan then no one else is going to be! Look at your end result…what kind of paths could you follow which could incorporate all of these things? At the end of the day, living the dream is having a life where you can say that you do what you love every single day. Careers aptitude tests are also a fantastic way to see where your skills could take you, the results always make interesting reading! Broaden your horizons; don’t let opportunities pass you by – being a jack of all trades for a while could lead to some life changing experiences!  Who knows when that eureka moment could hit you!


When all is said and done, finding your way in the world is never going to be easy. The best you can do is be prepared, take things as they come but never feel defeated – in the words of Mary Poppins ‘You can move a mountain, if you use a larger spade’.


Life is out there waiting, go and get it!