It is widely assumed that taking a year out from studying drives focus, engagement and encourages the development of ‘well-rounded’ students. The question is, what really benefits university students? The ‘placement vs. year abroad’ divide effects all establishments. We spoke to two students to get their views, we’ll let you decide which route is better!
Placement – Sarah Dean
“Being a travel fanatic, I’d always wanted to do my university placement year abroad. The thought of being able to work or study in a different country was so exciting and gave me a sense of independence that I didn’t think I would get by staying in the UK. Despite my best efforts, I was unable to find something overseas that really stood out. The word ‘gutted’ comes to mind!
After months of searching for the right placement, I came across applications for a position on the marketing team at a local business.
From numerous conversations with different people, there seems to be mixed thoughts on how valuable a placement year can be. I’ve been in my role for 5 months and I’ve already learnt so much, maybe even more than I learnt in lectures and seminars. I’ve studied business since college and marketing has always been a big part of the subject right through to university but it’s only now that I’m realising what a broad topic it actually is.
The best thing about the placement so far is the amount of responsibility that I’ve been given. Many people hear the word ‘intern’ and instantly think ‘coffee maker’ – I’m far from that! From my point of view, the advantages and benefits of doing a placement year are endless. Not only am I able to get hands on with marketing, but I’m learning about what it’s like to work in an international company. As someone who has always wanted to own their own business I can say that this experience has been invaluable.”
Study Abroad – Hannah Hardman
“When I was little I went on numerous holidays to France, in particular to the region of Savoie and the Rhone-Alpes to ski. I fell in love with the scenery and the way of life and have always wanted to go back. At university I had the opportunity to take an ERASMUS year abroad in my 3rd year of university and one of the possible universities I could study in was the University of Savoie-Mont Blanc in France. I couldn’t believe my luck, I applied as soon as I could!
The months leading up to my departure for France I was extremely excited and rarely felt nervous which surprised me. Saying goodbye to my sister at the airport was very hard but as soon as I arrived in Chambery I knew it was where I wanted to be and I have not felt homesick or looked back since. It is the best decision I have ever made, my confidence and independence has grown every day and I have made myself so proud in my abilities to overcome the daily struggles of living abroad.
The best thing about taking a year abroad is meeting other students from every way of life, it makes you realise how big the world is and how you should say yes to every experience possible. My only worry about choosing a year abroad over a placement is having a lack of professional experience after I graduate. However, because of this year I am not sure if I want to continue down the route of my degree, I would love to come back here and become a mountain sport instructor.”
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