Why working in a Summer Camp will boost your CV
Your university will have no doubt told you to 'make the most' of your time abroad. Hearing something so frequently at every meeting you go to, is somewhat irritating. Yet this is one piece of advice that you really should pay attention to. Before you know it the time has flown by quicker than you can say 'homesweethome' and the hard work of fourth year has begun.
Not all 'year abroads' are language orientated, and, even if they are, many of us forget that learning a language isn't the sole benefit of having a year out. There are so many other things you can experience that will not only enrich you as a person, but allow you to help and work with others.
Wondering how to fill your time?
I spent my summer pre-year abroad in sunny Rhode Island for 3 months working in a summer camp and I will be doing the same this summer.
The question is, why do it?
Academically, why is it a good idea?
1. You will become responsible.
You are the adult, the authority figure. You will look after other peoples children in potentially dangerous situations (e.g. sailing, or rock climbing.) You will be responsible for the small yet important things, such as making sure they have enough sun cream or insect repellent on. Even if teaching or child care bears little significance in your future career, potential future employers will admire the trust that your camp employers put in you.
2. You can become a leader.
Many opportunities are available; from program heads, division leaders, specific program directors etc. Each camp is different, but express your interest in a leadership position when applying, and you never know, you might be exactly what they are looking for. This is perfect experience for any future managerial or supervisory jobs, as well as simply portraying your strong and confident personality.
3. You will be creative.
This does not necessarily mean painting and getting covered in glue (which most definitely will happen at some stage) It also means being put in situations that you never normally would be, and having to think outside the box. Being put outside your comfort zone and having to make an activity interesting for both 7 year old boys and 15 year old girls is a lot harder than you think, and these experiences will test you in ways you have never been tested before.
8 months in a foreign country is amazing. As we all know, your year abroad in general is highly valued by employers. But why not take it further? Do something unexpected and build onto the independence that you have already shown. Employers will see your CV and see just how much you packed into your time abroad.
5. Long hours.
Whether working as a counsellor with children, or taking on a job in the kitchen or offices, you will work for long periods. You will have given up your summer to put in a lot of your own time investing in other people, instead of just travelling and lying on a beach somewhere. What does this say? You're a hard worker.
And the final thing to mention....
You will have so much fun. It will be one of the best summers of your life, you will meet even more international friends (you really can never have enough!) and you get time on your visa afterwards to travel! You can see the sights, get a tan and improve your CV while you're at it!
If everything I have said hasn't already got you asking 'where can I sign up?' type 'Camp America' into Google and get started (today!)
To find out more about Elissa's year abroad experiences, check out her blog!