I envisaged the summer of 2016 to be like any other, going back home, missing my uni friends and working in a pub for months on end, bored out of my mind and wishing for September to arrive so I could head back to Cardiff. Little did I know that attending a career’s fair would result in me jetting off to Hong Kong in the summer for an internship, but that’s exactly what happened!
I was always worried that English Language was too broad of a degree and I would be stuck on finding any opportunities that fit, but, that’s ultimately the best reason for having such a broad degree, you can go into anything!
I knew that there were opportunities to study, work and volunteer abroad at Cardiff Uni and thought… why the hell not?! I got in touch with the Global Opportunities Centre (GOC) and applied for a marketing internship in Hong Kong. This wasn’t the only internship available- there was the same internship up for grabs in Madrid and other volunteer and work opportunities in Fiji and Thailand, just to name a few…
I’m guilty for being that person that always says ‘well I won’t get it’ and at the beginning that is exactly what I thought, I study English Language in the fantastic ENCAP school here at Cardiff and didn’t know the first thing about marketing. Good news – internships are the stepping stone in to any industry and you don’t need to be 100% clued up on the industry you do an internship in, that’s the sole purpose of one! The GOC were so helpful in giving me guidance into what I put in my application form and interview and I eventually got accepted! About 8 of the interns were from Cardiff Uni as well as a lot of students from other universities all over the globe.
I had so many questions before going – how can I afford this? Will I always be working? Is there any point in doing an internship? This wasn’t a paid internship, but don’t let that bother you. The university help with funding (you heard me right), in fact the internship itself was entirely funded by the university, I only paid for flights and of course food and drink and spending money. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not cheap, but it’s affordable and worth it.
Of course, we all want to boost our CV’s and land our dream job, and volunteering, studying and working abroad is a fantastic way to do this! Using your time at university to improve your prospects will go a long way. It’s a great experience to mention in job interviews and applications. This marketing internship was great in terms of learning and working but it also gave me an opportunity to see another part of the world I never thought I’d see and a month was a great length of time to truly immerse myself into the culture, and a wonderful culture at that.
THE INTERNSHIP – I was working in a wellness and performance industry, of which I knew nothing about! I was made to feel so welcome and I was a huge part in helping, changing and diversifying their website and company! I actually knew more than I thought I did, turns out, being able to write and communicate with people was invaluable. Hong Kong’s working hours are LONG (10am-7pm) but this internship definitely wasn’t a case of ‘all work, no play’. I did so much on the weekends and in the evenings after work with the other interns.
Marketing is a super competitive field so I wanted something that would give an edge over other job applicants. Working in a city such as Hong Kong was exciting, full of innovative and dynamic opportunities, and very business-centred.
We explored in the only way we knew how… organising our own boat party, yachting, wining, dining and immersing ourselves in our new, busy, business, cosmopolitan concrete jungle we called our home. We dressed up fancy for a night at the races; even taking an overnight stay to Macau (the Las Vegas of Asia) – amazing doesn’t even cut it. We even got to attend a company visit to Bloomberg and carry a briefcase in fancy business clothes, like the city, goal-focused girl I always aspired to be.
If you’re reading this before coming to uni, and stuck in the rut that is sixth form, or if you’re currently at uni and pondering the idea of interning, working or studying abroad… I’ve got two words for you – DO IT. It might sound cliché, but it really was a life changing experience and one that I highly recommend to each and every one of you.
Warning: soppy third year post – come out of your comfort zone, travel lots, learn and enjoy because you’ll blink and uni will be over.
Sarah Wren (Third Year English Language Student)