After receiving endless rejections in the UK, I decided to broaden my search and started to apply for internships abroad. In June, I received an HR placement offer where I would be working for a SME called Optimy located in Brussels, Belgium.
With only four weeks to secure everything, you can only imagine how stressed out I was beginning to feel. It suddenly sunk in that I would be moving to another country and I didn’t have very long to prepare. In those four weeks, I needed to find housing, apply for student finance and pack to move to another country which I found overwhelming.
But by immediately informing Careers and Placements about my placement offer, they gave me a link to a website which past students used to find accommodation. They also provided me with a list of current students who were living in Brussels and on placement at Optimy. This really helped as I was able to contact them and they were able to guide me through the things which I needed to know about Brussels. I also got my student finance application checked by The Hub to ensure that my loan came through in time.
This leads to my advice to UTILISE ASTON and their services. If I hadn’t, I wouldn’t have felt prepared to move to Brussels. If you don’t ask, you will never get their help and access to their resources. They will also be able to put you in contact with other students who are going to the same country/company. Knowing someone else beforehand makes it easier as you will all be in the same boat. It is also reassuring to know that you are not alone.
My year abroad was full of adventure, travel and new experiences. I was exposed to different cultures and languages which allowed me to be even more open-minded. It pushed me out of my comfort zone and allowed me to develop skills which I wouldn’t have got from just staying in the UK. It was also the perfect opportunity to meet other international, like-minded students and network with a wide-range of individuals.
The thought of doing an international placement may seem daunting but this is a year which you will never get back again. The world is your oyster!
Written by Hina Aziz