Extra-curricular activities and work experience
Going to university is a lot more than just studying for a degree, it is about life experiences too: maturing; becoming independent; learning to adapt to new people; settling into new environments; managing your money and learning to balance your priorities and responsibilities.
You have loads of opportunities and new things to try out when at university that can help you develop as a person and that you can use to enhance your CV. Examples of these opportunities are covered below.
Work experience can come in all sorts of shapes and sizes - a Saturday or evening job, part-time work, a summer internship or a volunteer placement. It is invaluable for many reasons other than earning some much needed money:
- Working in different places and undertaking different responsibilities will help give you some idea of the types of jobs you like, or don’t like, when it comes to applying for a job once you’ve graduated.
- Work experience gives you loads of skills - in each job you’ll learn new skills, or develop ones you already have. This is great for when you start handing out your CV as you can show examples of when you used your initiative, were organised, or worked as part of a team. Even if it is just a part-time or holiday job, you will still be developing useful skills.
Relevant work experience
The graduate job market is extremely competitive so relevant work experience can help set you above the rest.
As a linguist you have lots of opportunities to get some relevant work experience - paid or unpaid. Even if you aren’t sure which career path to follow just yet, undertaking a range of language based work experience will be really beneficial to you and help influence a later decision.
Visit the university’s career service to see what the university has to offer in the way of mentor schemes or language teaching assistant placements. The university’s volunteer strand of the career department may know of language based organisations where you could help with simple translations or work on writing content for a website.
Even hotel, restaurant or retail work experience could see you putting your languages to the test when serving clients/customers as an ad-hoc interpreter.
When you go on your year abroad, you have the choice of where to go and what to do – you could use this opportunity to apply for a job in a field of work that you would like to gain some work experience in - not only will you improve your language skills but you’ll also be getting some vital work experience.
Clubs and societies
"Being a member of a club or society is a real CV booster"
At university, there are lots of sports clubs and societies that you can join. Doing sport and exercise is great for your mentality as well as your fitness levels, and joining a society is a great way to meet new people who share similar interests or hobbies. Being a member of a club or society is a real CV booster, being on a club or society committee is even better.
There are plenty of language related societies out there that you can get involved in. They are normally weekly café meetings to have a good old chat while practicing your langauges and include social nights - themed, celebrating national holidays or just partying and having fun like the locals would. With European and international students coming to study in the UK, there are often native speakers in the societies as well.