Richard is now an International Development Manager
Richard studied International Management and French at Bath University and spent his year abroad (13 months!) on a work placement at Barclays France, training in international account openings, French loans and mortgages in their office on the Champs-Elysées in Paris. He graduated in 2008 and is now working as an International Development and CSR Manager back in Paris.
"My year abroad has had a great impact on my career. It was also the most enjoyable, intense and rewarding experience of my life so far. Learning business French, understanding the french management culture (and most importantly french people!) was just the base of my learning experience. The international exposure is so important in building your self-confidence, it is remarkable how much you learn about yourself, your own country and cultural differences when abroad. I have learnt to work effectively in the French language, but also with more confidence and precision once back home in the UK (imagine spending a year selling in French, when you come back to the UK it becomes a lot more easier!).
After a first experience in London as a headhunter, I was recruited at a French international company in Paris, engaged in International Development and CSR. I recruit, retain and train a team of 8 international interns and full time employees, promoting CSR evaluations in the supply chain. Now a manager, I could not have done this without my year abroad experience.
My year abroad helped give me that international experience dimension, helped to improve my French radically, and helped me to build a network of friends and professional contacts. I regularly promote the importance of a year abroad to students when recruiting, but also when I meet younger professionals looking for the next step. It is without a doubt one of the most important factors of how to differentiate and sell yourself in an increasingly difficult and challenging job market."
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.