Bethany Francis9 December 2020
School of History, Archaeology and Religion
Where did you go?
Qingdao, China. I worked in the legal department of an animations company.
What motivated you to take up a summer programme?
I was motivated to take up a Global Opportunity because I wanted to move out of my comfort zone and explore different cultures. I thought that the best way to fully immerse myself in a new country/culture was to work and live there and Global Opportunities gave me the best opportunity to do that.
What were your top 3 highlights from your time abroad?
It is hard to fit so many amazing experiences into three highlights, but I will give it a go.
- Number 3 would be all of the friends I made while I was there, I have made friends that I will have for life.
- Number 2 was the leaving drinks that my host company organised for me on my last day. My manager and a couple of people from the office took me out for lunch and afterwards the whole office brought me a cake and said goodbye which was very touching and made me feel very valued within their company.
- Joint Number 1 would have to be hiking up the holiest mountain in China, mount Tài, in the Shandong province and toboggining down the Great Wall of China.
What was your biggest challenge? How did you overcome it?
My biggest challenge was the language barrier as I did not speak the language which made me very nervous about how I was going to be able to communicate with my host company and with the locals. However, I managed to overcome this challenge as Global Opportunities organised 2-hour language classes each week for all students. This made me far more confident to try and speak Mandarin with my host company.
How has your placement been beneficial to your studies at Cardiff University or your future career?
My placement has been extremely beneficial to my studies and future career as it has made me far more open to saying yes to new opportunities. This has enabled me to have great work experiences that I otherwise would not have had, such as working in the Welsh Government etc. I am more confident in my own abilities and am more willing to push myself out of my comfort zone which has also helped me in putting myself forward for jobs and career opportunities.
What is the one thing you wish you’d known before you left?
I wish I had known how much fun I was going to have. This may sound cringey, but I was so nervous before I left and almost didn’t want to go so if I had known how amazing the experience was going to be I would have been more excited to go.
What would you say to a student that was unsure about spending a period abroad?
It is something I believe everyone needs to do, it goes so quickly and is such a short part of your life but is one of the most rewarding experiences you’ll ever have. You will gain confidence, amazing memories, great friends and work experience that will look incredible on your CV.
What are 3 things to do in Qingdao?
- You must try beer in a bag, Qingdao has many stalls that serve a litre of beer in a little take-away bag.
- St. Michael’s Cathedral, built by the Germans during World War II
- Visit the beautiful Shilaoren beach.
Please sum up your experience abroad in one sentence.
The most incredible experience.
What are you looking for?
We're looking for enthusiastic students who are currently abroad, or are soon going abroad, to share their experiences and write for our pages!
If you're interested, get in touch by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org