Ideas for a 4-month summer between degrees
Replies: 13 - Last Post: Mar 10, 2013 11:25 AM Last Post By: james2020
Mar 3, 2013 6:37 PM
Ideas for a 4-month summer between degreesI am finishing up my bachelor and will (likely) start my Master degree the next September, thus a 4-month summer doing whatever I like. However I am quite unsure of what to do with it. Right now I have several options to spend it wisely:
1. Explore Eastern Europe and the Baltics, take the train from Moscow to Beijing (3 months)
2. Enroll in a language summer school (possible candidates: France or Belgium for French, Guatemala for Spanish)
3. Participate in a volunteer program.
I am leaning toward option 2 and 3 since I want to add some experience to my resume. The problem is I am having a hard time finding quality programs in language immersion or volunteering.
Any suggestions or ideas? Anything is welcome.
Mar 4, 2013 1:49 AM
1If you really want to build your resume you would be far better off getting some kind of placement/work experience/summer job in the field you hope to go into. If you are looking to go into business Arabic or Mandarin may be more useful. I don't really see how French would improve your job prospects, unless you want to teach French or have a specific reason to learn it.
Same with volunteer work. Employers are going to take someone that did a 4 month placement in a work environment similar to their field over someone that went out to Africa to build houses for 4 months.
Personally I would take option 1. Go out and have some fun now, because in the future once you start a full time job spending 4 months just enjoying yourself and travelling is not going to be as easy.
Mar 4, 2013 9:00 AM
2I agree with james, an internship is more likely to help your career if that is what you want.
Responses can only be a as good as the info you provide to work with ambassador. Without knowing what career you are referring to, how can anyone really suggest anything in particular to you?
You also have to make up YOUR mind (not ask others what they think) as to whether you want to further your career plans or just go on a vacation.
Mar 4, 2013 10:23 PM
3You could combine a bit of both by taking a Spanish course in Guatemala for, say, one month, then traveling around Central America the rest of the time. OK so you won't get a formal qualification out of it, but you'll definitely brush up your Spanish skills, and have something to show for your endless summer that can be put on your resume.
The mechanics couldn't be easier, you can just turn up in Antigua (or other places) and start a course, there are hundreds of language schools. Negotiate a discount when you arrive. Homestays (which your chosen language school can arrange) are great value and you'll be immersed in the language right from the start. I studied at Ixchel Language School in Antigua, had a great time and learned lots of Spanish.
Mar 5, 2013 12:54 AM
4I don't really see how French would improve your job prospects, unless you want to teach French or have a specific reason to learn it.
Really? I completely disagree on this. Of course it depends on your chosen career but in a world which is increasingly global I think having another language extremely useful whether it be French, Spanish or something else. And I think that an employer may look at 2 candidates and think, well, that one did 2 months work placement doing photocopies but this one speaks another language. The experience can easily be caught up with, learning a language not so much.
That's just my thoughts - but again, depends on what career you go into.
Of the three options I'd agree with dominic's suggestion. Go to Guatemala do a course for 6 weeks and then travel a bit.
Note - I'm not saying doing work placement is not useful. It is, very useful, but I think having a foreign language better.
Mar 5, 2013 3:40 AM
5The world is increasingly global, but that global language is English. I have been in conferences all over the world and it is just expected that English will be used. I also have friends working in China that had could speak no Mandarin when they started. Even if a second language is important to the OP's chosen career, employers are going to be much more interested in some kind of formal language qualification. While I agree that immersing yourself in a language is a far better way to learn a language, employers are just going to see a resume and put someone with a formal qualification above someone that "did some classes while they were on holiday" (I know this is not the case but it is how it may be seen).
For what it's worth I have a formal qualification in Spanish and did an internship related to the field I wanted to go into during my masters. I can say without a doubt that the internship has been far more important to getting jobs (scientist), in fact I have been told by supervisors to not even bother keeping the Spanish qualification on there.
OP - can you tell us what career you hope to go into as this would help.
Mar 5, 2013 6:41 AM
6Rather than arguing whether a language is better than an internship, why not wait till the OP returns and says what career s/he is talking about.
If s/he is a planning on being a nuclear physicist, an internship at CERN will be better on a resume than a language. If on the other hand s/he plans to manage a hotel then a language is probably better. But it's all speculation unless we know what career. So why bother arguing with each other.
Mar 5, 2013 1:18 PM
Mar 5, 2013 3:49 PM
Mar 5, 2013 11:21 PM
9agree with many of the posters above. i dont know your field but unless you can volunteer in a genuine way (ie an internship) in your specifoc field, it isnt going to do your prospects much good at all. and unless you have specific skills and quals then rocking up as basic skivvy for a well building project is pointless. i wont get into the ethics of all that here.
remember, soft skills of travelling (language, cultural exposure, etc) are always good on a cv.
to be honest mate if you have the funds, id strongly suggest just enjoying your four months in a couple of se asian or south american countries. plenty of time for all the hard work and career reality when you get back and graduate!
Mar 5, 2013 11:24 PM
Mar 7, 2013 2:18 PM
11Thanks for all the ideas and discussions....
As for the career aspect, I have close to 2 years of quality internship experience in engineering (meaning that the stuff I did is identical to typical responsibilities of a junior engineer out of school.
In fact, the internship experience led directly to my decision to pursue master degree even though I am already secured for employment after graduation.
Thus this summer, with some savings in hand, I do want to take time off, but in a meaningful way.
Mar 8, 2013 5:16 AM
Unsure what kind of engineering you did, but if it was along the lines of buildings etc, I have a suggestion for you.
I recently did some volunteering abroad with Original Volunteers. They're an extremely flexible and cheap volunteering company with links around the world, and there are opportunities to help or even completely build schools/community centres etc (depending on need) by yourself.
When I was in Ghana, one guy who was there at the same time had spent 6 months there previously designing, funding and building a school by himself (with help from other volunteers and locals). He had returned again to continue his work in the community he had built his school in.
I am suggesting this as I thought maybe this experience may be something great on your resume to enhance the skills you currently have, if your work is in the building side of things (I'm aware there are lots of other types of engineers!).
Just something to think about anyway :) Have a fab time whatever you end up doing! 4 months to travel and explore is a luxury, enjoy!!
Mar 10, 2013 11:25 AM
13Given the fact you already have secured employment I would advise you to just go and enjoy yourself for 4 months. Who knows once you start the job when you will next have 4 months to travel again, make the most of it now.
I'm not sure how you define meaningful? Do you mean make a difference to someone elses life? Learn a new skill? Is travel just for your own personal enjoyment meaningful enough?
Just through travelling you will pick up some language skills, get to experience other cultures, improve social skills etc. anyway.
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