If you’re looking for a way to give your CV a boost, and you want to get away from your country for a while, you might want to look into doing work experience abroad. It’s a great way to explore a different culture while helping you develop skills in your chosen area. It’s also a great way to show to prospective future employers, who are likely to be looking for someone that stands out and who can effortlessly adapt to different environments.
There are a number of companies to choose from offering placements all around the world, whether it be sports based with companies like Camp America, or a medical placement with companies like Gap Medics, by researching online you’re sure to find a company that offers a placement in your field. The world really is your oyster, but there are also many other things that you need to keep in mind before packing your bags! Here are a few extra issues to take into consideration.
1. Health & Safety
As with whenever you’re working or studying abroad, it is important to take care of your health and make sure you are safe. When you’re on a placement abroad, you’ll be of no use if you get sick! If travel insurance is not already included in the price of the placement you choose, then you will need to make sure you get yourself some insurance that will cover you for the length of your stay.
It’s a good idea to pack a little first aid kit, so you have it on hand should you need it. Things like plasters, painkillers, anti-sickness and water purifying tablets, and an insect repellent are all useful to have to hand. Make an appointment with your GP to discuss any possible vaccinations you may need to take before you go the country you are traveling to. You may need vaccinations, booster shots or malaria tablets, so it’s important to check.
2. Research the Company Or School
Just because a company’s website looks legitimate and they have a few positive testimonials, does not mean that they are the amazing company they look. It’s a good idea to check message boards or online forums for information on companies. Ask the company for an email address of someone who has been on your placement previously, so that you can ask them about any queries or worries you may have.
Similarly, for people who study abroad, it is crucial for you to do research on the school or university to know about different things like credit requirements, dorm situation, the culture of the school, activities, and costs. The website of the school usually provides a lot of information, even a page specifically for international students who study abroad!
3. Research the Country
It’s important to appreciate what you’re getting yourself into before you book a placement or go to study abroad. You need to make sure that it is generally safe for tourists, or if there have been any problems or conflicts in that area recently. Check with the company whether staying in special accommodation with other volunteers, or whether you will be with a host family? Will you be able to travel on public transport alone, or will the work placement provide you with transportation?
Do some research on the nightlife, restaurant, shops etc.? It’s also a good idea to check up on any cultural customs and local law to avoid accidentally insulting people or ending up on the wrong side of the law.
4. Hidden costs
Placements will vary in cost depending on the country you are going to, the length or you stay and the type of work experience you will be undertaking. It’s important to remember that occasionally placements include extra costs associated with them, that may not be in the advertised price. Some companies, for example, won’t include, flights, but may include insurance, while some may include food and drink and others not. Other costs associated with the trip will have to be taken into consideration as well, such as visas, and spending money.
Make sure you read through all of the t&c’s carefully and try to speak to a representative about what is included and excluded from the price before you book a placement, to avoid any unexpected expenses.
There are a number of things to consider, but don’t let this put you off – there are so many good things about studying abroad that you shouldn’t let little things putting you off! The most important thing is to do your research and make sure that you keep yourself safe.
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