April 6, 2018, by Naomi Imms
Expanding My Horizons with an Internship in Beijing
By Kiera Rose, third year, animal sciences
Are you interested in undertaking work experience in another country, but worried about cost? The International Work Experience Grant can offer up to £750 to support you.
Designed to help students take up work experience opportunities they might not otherwise be able to afford, the grant will support expenses such as accommodation, travel and visas, living costs and vaccinations.
In this blog, we meet Kiera Rose, a recipient of the grant currently studying towards the final year of her animal sciences degree. Kiera completed her internship with Roots & Shoots in Beijing through the placement company CRCC Asia.
Can you give us some details of your placement?
I travelled to Beijing, China to work with Roots & Shoots, the flagship company of the Jane Goodall Institute China. Jane Goodall is the world-renowned primatologist, environmentalist and ethnologist and has been an inspiration of mine for years.
I worked alongside an international coordinator to support the diverse work of a conservation NGO. My day-to-day tasks included copyediting documents, developing infographics, and composing newsletters, promotional messages, and an annual report.
I also had the opportunity to support animal welfare lessons at a local school.
How did you discover and secure your placement?
I discovered the opportunity through the University’s bursary team who emailed out about scholarships available for the CRCC Asia programme via Generation UK. The latter programme is aimed at students in receipt of a maintenance grant.
After applying to the programme I had a telephone interview with the British Council, and later found out I’d been successful.
Before this I hadn’t had the chance, funding or confidence to travel outside Europe. I believed that travelling to China would push me outside my comfort zone and give me the chance to thrive in a completely new place.
What was your greatest achievement on placement?
My biggest achievement was researching and compiling educational infographics from scratch. These will be used to accompany a ‘companion animal welfare’ project in Beijing international schools.
What was your biggest challenge and how did you overcome it?
The biggest challenge I faced was the language barrier. I felt confident entering China, but found that applying the language in day-to-day life was much more difficult than I expected.
However, after time I realised that the key to picking up any language is practice. I tried to push myself to speak to as many Chinese people as I could and began to notice rapid improvement. Making an effort with other people encourages them to make an effort in return.
How will your placement help you get a job after graduation?
My internship experience allowed me to understand the variety of work that may be required of me in a future role in the conservation sector. I feel I’ve proved my ability to adapt to any task required of me.
Which three top tips would you give someone else thinking of doing a placement abroad?
- Be prepared for culture shock, which is natural and very common. On the other hand, immersing yourself in a new culture and customs helps you acquire new habits, and usually people are very understanding and welcoming.
- Make the most of every opportunity. Use every opportunity, including networking events, business training and extra work events. They will enrich your experience and provide invaluable skills to take away.
- Do your research. Researching the customs, way of life and etiquette of a country thoroughly beforehand is crucial to help you adjust to a new way of life and make a smoother transition.
Interested in pursuing work experience abroad? We have plenty of advice on where to look for opportunities and how to prepare before going.
Find out more about the International Work Experience Grant and how it could help you fund a placement overseas by visiting our website.