How international students can make the most of their summer during Covid-19

It’s finally summer in the UK, and many of you will be thinking of how you will spend your break from university this year. A year that has been full of challenges for most people, meaning there may be some apprehension towards a summer break during the uncertainty of Covid-19. While summer plans may have changed for many international students, it’s still important to take time to relax and recharge after the pressures of studying from home and adapting to a new way of life. Your summer break is also a good time to reflect on this past year and use some of the life lessons learnt in the first half of 2020 to help you achieve your personal goals. We’ve put together some ideas to help you get started…

What can you learn?

You might be feeling the toll of learning from home for so long, but, having a goal for your time off could also help give you a sense of achievement. Is there a module of your degree you’ve struggled with so far, or a topic you know is coming up next term that you could try to tackle? Don’t forget, you can choose to learn in the best way for you. If you feel like you’ve spent a lot of time by yourself recently, try to study with a friend (following safe guidelines set by your government). This could be a video study session or a socially distanced one, anything interactive. If you’re a visual learner, try to find relevant videos to support your learning. Check out the support from your universities international team or Global Centre. There will be an array of support for your learning, wellbeing and culture provided by a dedicated team of staff who work with international students every day. Perhaps you could join a language café and add to your skills while meeting other students from your institution.

Is there relevant work experience available?

When you finish your degree, you’ll be ready to begin your graduate career, but this doesn’t happen overnight. The best way to prepare for your first job is to start while you’re still at university. One way to prepare is through experience for your industry. Now while things have changed in recruitment this may be difficult, but there are steps you can take. Build your network to include employers from the companies you’re interested in working for. By doing this you will not only understand more about the company but be in a position to make contact about virtual work experience positions, shadowing or other work you could do remotely. Our colleagues at Coca-Cola European partners suggest that “Relevant experience is always a good start, but many students can’t get this until they graduate. However, they can attend online classes and webinars, and highlight any extracurricular activities, interest groups and seminars they’ve attended. They should check the skills needed for the role and build their CV around it, linking their personal qualities to what they want to achieve in the future…Fitting in with a company’s culture is another major factor.”

Where can you include some you time?

While working towards your degree and career are important, so is taking time for yourself and recharging your energy so you feel able to take on new challenges. Start by thinking of fun Covid-suitable activities you can do as lockdown restrictions start to ease and try to include time each week for the things you love to do. Take some time to reflect and review this past year, what has gone well and how can you improve certain aspects for next year.

This year hasn’t quite gone to plan for anyone, but it’s how you deal with situations and learn from them that can show your resilience. If you’re finding things difficult, try to introduce things into your life that will support your wellbeing such as mindfulness and exercise.

For more tips, careers videos and blogs, see our GradLink Covid resource page where we’ve collated specific information to support international student employability.

By Jen Garmston Published: Jul 20,2020