It's never easy making the most of the university holidays, especially the four month long summer break. We all know people who do amazing things and come back to university in September and make the rest of jealous with their stories. Well, this can be you.

Instead of working out whether it would be best to work a summer job, go travelling or gain some career related experience, why not combine these things by working or volunteering abroad. Not only is it incredibly fulfilling, you can see other parts of the world and meet lots of different people while doing it.

I know! It sounds great in practice but it can be difficult to find which opportunities are really worthwhile for you! There a lots of programmes and companies offering very similar experiences, so it is important to do as much research as possible before you commit. To help you out, we've compiled a list of advice and ideas on how to get the most out of working or volunteering abroad.

Internships in Global Cities

The best way to get a real feel for a global city is to work there. Working in the holidays may sound like a bit of a drag, but if you are doing it in one of the greatest cities in the world it can't be that bad! With top graduate jobs being highly competitive, employers are looking for candidates who have done work experience and internships. So instead, of doing it around where you live, why not look for an opportunity abroad. Not only is it a great way to explore a new city, it actually looks better on your CV. Working in a new culture means you'll learn more, gain invaluable experience and it shows potential employers you can adapt well to new experiences.

There are lots of companies offering internships abroad, so it's worth taking a look around. For me, City Internships is a great place to start as they have a broad range of internships in many different cities. 

With City Internships the intern recruitment process is really simple, as you are connected with internship programs in London, New York, Los Angeles and Hong Kong. Plus, they make sure that all participants improve their career prospects and become more commercially and culturally aware.

The City Internships global internship program will open your eyes to international opportunities, you’ll meet inspiring people from across the world, develop a strong professional network and learn skills that will fast-track your career.

Interested? Apply for their internships HERE!

American Summer camps

An opportunity that all of you probably would have heard about. America has approximately 12,000 summer camps running and they need staffing! You'll be involved with the day-to-day running of the camp, whether it's assisting or instructing in activities or working behind the scenes as support staff. The great thing is that there are opportunities open to everyone, you'll be working as part of a truly international team and you get paid to go to America!  

Camp America is the biggest provider of opportunities and the most well-known brand. However, there are a host of other companies that do slightly different packages, so it's always worth having a look around. Each company has different packages, but they usually include an initial fee which pays for the admin and the costs of getting there. Then when you are working at the camp, you will be paid a wage or allowance as well as getting accommodation and food provided.

Teach English Abroad

With the English language in high demand all over the world, there are lots of opportunities for young people to travel abroad and teach English. This is an amazing opportunity for anyone, but will be especially useful if you plan to teach as a career. If you study languages at university you are especially in demand but anyone can get involved! Positions range from more casual unpaid placements (with free accommodation, food, etc.) while you travel to paid classroom teaching.

To teach English abroad it is important that you plan ahead. You need to get a TEFL (Teach English as a Foreign Language) qualification. This does involve an initial cost, but most of the courses are taught online so you can fit it around your studies. Plus, the qualification will give you more access to teaching opportunities and you are likely to be paid more if you are qualified. So overall it is definitely worth having. This article is really helpful and gives you all the information on TEFL - CLICK HERE! 

Most of the opportunities are in Europe and Asia but you can find teaching positions in most countries with a bit of searching around!

Being part of a Society that Volunteers

At university you have the ability to get involved in pretty much whatever you fancy. However, due to the vast number of societies, the charity and voluntary societies often get over-looked. These societies and university affiliates will offer a wide range of opportunities for you to travel abroad and volunteer in projects. 

Furthermore, by really getting involved, you could be the one who is organising these voluntary/charitable projects, which would be an invaluable experience. Not only would you meet lots of similar minded people being part of the society but you could have a real impact here and abroad.

For example, members of Amnesty Southampton have been to Syrian refugee camps to understand the problems and help out in any way they can. When we caught up with them, they were planning more projects abroad and are really encouraging everyone and anyone to be part of it!

If you still aren't sure about joining a charity or voluntary society, this article may help convince you!  


Beijing and Shanghai are two of the biggest business cities in the world and there are always opportunities out there to do internships. From work in international to local businesses, working in China can not only be amazing for your development, but looks great on your CV. Around your internship you will have the opportunity to explore China and experience their culture. Internships are often paid or, at least, you'll be given expenses, so it is the perfect way to travel with minimal costs while boasting your employability.

Speaking to Emma, a recent graduate, who did a 2 month internship with a law firm in Beijing, she told us how impressed she was with the range of work the firm gave her, which enable a really good understanding of the Chinese business environment. The internship was completely international and demonstrated she could not only work in a new environment but also with a plethora of people.

There are lots of different opportunities out there for British students and recent graduates in China, so it is best to have a look around. Gi2C group is a good place to look and they have placed over 3,500 young people in a wide range of positions, since their launch in 2008. You can start your application process with them by clicking HERE.

These are just 5 of the ways you can work or volunteer abroad as a student. If you have had a great experience abroad, please get in touch and let us know about it!

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