Rusne's 4-year University Journey
My experience of moving to another country for uni, finding part-time jobs, volunteering opportunities, travelling around the world, and doing a placement year. The 4 years that I’ve spent at uni were full of experiences that not only benefited my CV, but also gave me real-life insights and experiences that made this journey exciting and full of memories.
Moving to another country
I moved to the UK when I was 18 to study Event Management at Coventry University. I moved with two other girls who I didn’t really know so it was a daunting move that made me feel lonely and scared at the time. On my first night here, I remember texting one of my best friends back home asking what am I doing here??? Trust me, the first night was the hardest one. I cried myself to sleep, re-thinking my life decisions, but then tomorrow came, and in the morning light, the excitement came too!
Finding part-time jobs
I got my first part-time job a month after moving to the UK. The best advice I’ve got given was that to find a job quickly, print your CV, then go and hand it out in places where you want to work. I know at the moment it may not be possible because of the pandemic, or some places won’t accept your CV and will tell you to email it instead, but it’s still worth a go when you can! My first job was at a restaurant and I was there for almost two years and only left when I secured a placement. After the placement, in August 2020, during the pandemic, job search was definitely much more complicated. Since I was employed by thefutureworks on my placement, they tend to reach out to me when they have relevant opportunities available. At the end of August I got a call about the ResLife opportunity, I applied for it and got it! So, if you’re looking for a part-time job, my recommendation would be to: go hand out your CV’s in the local places when you can and sign up for job agencies so they can reach out to you if there are suitable opportunities available for you!
As my degree is Event Management, volunteering opportunities at events are pretty essential when it comes to my CV and cover letters. Most of the volunteering opportunities that I’ve found were provided in my course groups (which they still provide on AULA) and the companies I ended up volunteering for were Coventry Blaze and Coventry Cathedral. There are other opportunities that you could find now – Coventry City of Culture events, Ricoh Arena or CUSU. Keep an eye on the official websites, your course updates and connect with relevant people on LinkedIn.
The FBL Employability Team (now the Talent Team) was the key in finding a placement for me. They have partnerships and exclusive opportunities with companies so often your only competition can be just your course mates! In my second year, I had a placement advisor who helped me tailor my CV to specific opportunities, checked my cover letters, and helped me prepare for the interviews too! It has been an invaluable help from the team that not only landed me a job but also taught me a lot of skills too. So my story of securing a placement is….
I got an interview for an events company and I was so excited about it, I went to my placement advisor for two interview meetings to make sure I’m ready for it. In the end, it went great, I got a second interview/chemistry session where I visited the company’s offices, worked with the team for an hour, got to know their software and day to day operations, and then went home. It took them a month to decide between me and another person and I didn’t get the job. By now, it was the start of June, and I lost my hope that I’ll get a placement. A week or so later, I got a message from my placement advisor saying that there’s an events assistant role at her team (the FBL Employment Team) and that I need to apply in the next two hours to be considered for it. The process was fast – I tailored my CV and wrote a cover letter in record time (I had only two hours after all), got an interview a few days later, and then got a call an hour after the interview to confirm I got the job. This opportunity was completely unexpected, and it was all thanks to my placement advisor who got to know me when I was applying for a different job. If you’re looking for a placement, my advice would be not to give up – I was so upset when I didn’t get the job that I wanted but, in the end, it worked out even better for me! So, make sure you connect to people, talk to every possible employer, be nice to receptionists when you go for an interview because you never know who has any kind of pull in the decision of hiring.
Travelling around the world
Students are often thought of as always broke young people who have to survive on noodles or beans on toast every night. There were some days like that, yes, but that was definitely a minority. I didn’t have a student loan or any type of financial support from my parents either. I moved here with 700€ on my card (the money that I earned working in a nursery for two months back home) which lasted me only until I first got paid. So how did I have the money to travel? I worked. I worked in a restaurant which meant I ate for free there quite a lot; my course had about 15 hours a week so I worked 16-30 hour weeks and I managed to save enough money to go on quite a few trips! At the end of my first year, I took a train to Paris. At the start of the second year, to celebrate my boyfriend’s birthday, we went to Dublin for a weekend getaway. At the end of the year, we organised a road trip with a few friends and went to Scotland for a week. During my placement, I had a chance to see New York which was my last trip because of the pandemic. In between all these trips, I also took flights to go home quite a lot and went to Amsterdam with my course too (this was paid by the course but hey, the bars in Amsterdam that I visited were nowhere near cheap)! If you know how to save money that you earn, act smart when it comes to getting the best and cheapest deals on flights/trains/hotels, you can see the world while you’re at uni!
Written by: Rusne
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