School is expensive, and studying abroad can be really daunting especially when it comes to money. With classes once a week it gives me a bit more free time than expected (at least for me I was shocked by the amount of time I have available to stream Netflix, but lets be honest time can be spent better). While you are in Europe you have easy access to a lot more countries than when you are in the U.S. so travelling is a great experience and overall fantastic. Not only does travel cost money but food and everything else is money as well. So for the people who are little more worried about expenses, have the free time, or just would like the experience, getting a job is an option. But if you are someone who has a lot of free time and does not want the responsibility of a job, volunteering is also pretty awesome too.
When you first arrive in Worcester you will be here about a week ahead of incoming freshman, this gives you a good opportunity to go out and look for jobs. Most summer help will have left their positions, and freshman will not be moved in yet, this is the best time to see what shops are looking for help while you are exploring your new home. Being as it is your first week in a new country your instinct might be to wait, but don’t, send in applications and talk to employees, the chances are if you get a job you won’t be starting right away and it takes a few days for managers to go through applicants. But keep in mind that you will be needing a bank account and cell phone when you get a job – both of these things most of us managed to get in the first week so you shouldn’t have too much of an issue.
Things you will need in applying for jobs:
- A CV (also known as a resumé)
- Proof that you can work in the UK (your visa)
- A National Insurance number (like a Social Security number in the US, there is help available at the University for international students to obtain this)
Volunteering is also a great option for people who want to get involved in the community but want fewer restrictions. Becoming involved within the Worcester community helps it feel much more like home, and going out and doing things helps with homesickness. There are a few places in Worcester that are run on volunteers, unlike jobs you do not need an experience, just a desire to help out. For volunteering, it is a bit like a job, you look for signs in the windows, talk to the shop manager, fill out an application, and then you will be asked to come back so you can be briefed on what you will be doing. Some shops such as; The Healthy Planet Free Bookstore, and Secondhand Charity shops will ask for a weekly commitment that you can decide when you can work. But there are other options that are not a weekly commitment, some students have volunteered at the Worcestershire animal rescue – now for someone who has a dog at home and misses her very much, this is an awesome idea. They were required to go through a training session, because they were working with animals, but once they completed that they were allowed to come when they were free and didn’t need to make a weekly commitment, although they did want to. There is also a website (as well as twitter) that is constantly updating on new volunteering opportunities (Worcester Volunteer Centre), which includes both one time, as well as longer termed commitments. And if you are not able to find something listed on the site, you can always go to the trusty backup, and Google it.
Both working abroad and volunteering abroad is a great experience, it shows future employers that you weren’t just visiting a place for the year but you actively became involved and made it your second home. As someone who is involved in volunteering while abroad, I think it is really fun and worthwhile. It is a great opportunity to meet people who grew up here and talk to them about their culture. I volunteer in a free bookstore, and I get to spend four hours every week talking to people about my culture and comparing it to theirs, which is something I never thought I would get to say.
-Bekcy & Hannah