All too often, there is a great deal of confusion that exists between the classic student gap year and an overseas placement. While both may involve international travel and offer you an opportunity to see various locations across the globe, however, there are huge differences that will impact on how you plan and execute such a trip.
While you may spend the months prior to a gap year excursion stocking up on sun tan lotion and organising viable motorcycle insurance, for example, securing and preparing for an overseas placement is far more taxing. Despite this, this type of placement offers a rewarding and affordable way of seeing the world, while also helping you to build towards a brighter academic and professional future.
Preparing for your Overseas Placement as a Student
With this in mind, travelling on a student placement seems like a far more sensible and prudent way of expanding your horizons. We have already touched on the fact that this requires careful planning, however, so let’s take a look at the key considerations that will help you to realise your travel, financial and career goals: –
Prepare your CV with Great Care and Detail
This is your first and arguably most important step when pursuing an overseas placement, as you are likely to face competition from like-minded students and academics. This means that you must take time to create a compelling and informative CV for scholarship, and one that reflects your academic achievements and fundamental career goals.
Similarly, it is worth using this document to showcase the unique and favourable aspects of your personality, as this can help you to stand out and afford you a competitive edge among similarly qualified candidates. Focus heavily on any previous volunteer work you have done, for example, and do not be afraid to seek out professional advice and guidance when writing your resume.
Be Prepared to Comprise between Professional and Recreational Goals
As we have already said, gap years can be hedonistic affairs during which students enjoy trips that take in the length and breadth of the world. In this respect, gap year students are in control of their own destiny and can create an itinerary that suits their personal travel goals (within their budget, of course).
While placement students will be subsidised to some degree in terms of their travel and accommodation, they will have to compromise and be prepared to see less of the world during their trip. Along with work and academic requirements, their placement will be a far more rigid trip that requires an entirely different outlook and philosophy. It is important to recognise the benefits of such a trip, however, and prepare mentally for the experience prior to embarking on your placement.
Remember to Organise your Travel Insurance
While your placement is likely to be subsidised to some degree, there are other considerations that you will need to take care of independently. One of these is travel insurance, as this is an often overlooked consideration that you will have to take individual responsibility for. This is important, as it will protect you against any illnesses or accidents that you may experience while overseas.
You should look to organise this quickly, but start by checking with your bank account provider to see if you have travel insurance included as part of your membership package. If not, compare the market as soon as possible to identify the best deals, as this allows you time to find the right option for you.
Also, make sure that you take all of your required documentation with you overseas, as this can help you to avoid any unnecessary delays in accessing coverage.