Thomas studied abroad in Darmstadt and now works for the Institute for Cultural Diplomacy in Berlin
The year abroad brought me closer to Germany and how life in Germany works (which I had no knowledge of before moving to Darmstadt as my year abroad). This was of paramount importance upon graduating from University, as I aimed my future job prospects abroad at NGOs and international institutions.
My first job since graduating is at the Institute for Cultural Diplomacy (ICD), where after a three month unpaid internship I was offered a paid position. My exact career path is naturally difficult to predict, but it has been a long-term plan of mine to aim for a job in the European Union. Feeling confident to peruse a in this career-area without the experience of my year abroad would have, at best, been optimistic. Being from the North of England, without any international connections or large amounts of financial support from my family, it is unlikely I could have financed, planned and completed a time studying and living abroad (especially in a non-English speaking country).
In short, the idea of being able to learn a foreign language to a level useable at any level of the job-market without having lived there for a significant part of one’s study is simply untenable. Furthermore the option of exchanges abroad (regardless if one is learning a language or not) offers the ability to develop life-skills that are hard to develop elsewhere.
At this point in my life, as a recent postgraduate working for an NGO in Berlin hoping to apply for positions within the European institutions, the year abroad was of vital, undeniable importance, which really made my degree scheme perfect for me. I truly feel it has put me in a position to choose the career-path I most wanted."
In partnership with the British Academy and University Council of Modern Languages (UCML) we gathered short reports from graduates on the importance that the year abroad has had for them, in terms of their skill set, their careers and their lives. These reports formed the basis of the Position Statement: Valuing the Year Abroad. Browse the reports below for inspiration, and select a tag within a report to read more on that theme.