Wednesday, 12 July 2017

MY PLACEMENT ABROAD STORY: Highlights, Regrets and Moving Home.

Hi guys,

I am late posting because it has taken me and still taking me a while to settle back into UK life. This post is a sentimental one and hopefully useful for anyone going on a placement abroad.

My placement abroad journey started 4 years ago, it was when I was going to university open days and asking my one and only question, anything related about the placement abroad we get in 3rd year.

Now I have completed my placement abroad, I wanted to write about the highlights, regrets and any advice for students who are thinking about doing a year abroad or those who are about to go on their placement year.

So far, I haven't cried... yet. So I hope you enjoy, find it fun, interesting and hopefully useful.






I study Events Management in Bournemouth, it is a 4 year course and the 3rd year is your placement year, where you work in the industry.

I always knew that I wanted to do a placement in Spain, I have been learning Spanish for the past 14 years and it has been a goal to work and live in Spain.

I applied for over 100, yes you read that correct 100 Events Placement applications within the UK. I had 3 interviews, 1 didn't take place due to being told a different location and the other 2 were down to "lack of experience". I don't think it was the main reason, but the competition was so tough and there was a lot.

Come May, I was literally the only person in my course along with a couple of other students without a placement so I just kept applying just to show I was working hard. Then I came across "Online Marketing Assistant" for Waytostay in Barcelona. Waytostay is an apartment rental company who rent short-term holiday apartments across Europe.



I have always wanted and had a part of me that was interested in working in the Tourism Industry and Online Marketing has always been something that I wanted to specialise in. The chance to live and work in Barcelona just screamed out to me as it is my dream.

I applied on a Friday, got an email on the Monday to schedule a Skype Interview for the Wednesday. Had the interview, went well and I got offered the job a few hours after and I had 3 WEEKS to move.

So I finished 2 assignments, booked an apartment, flights, hotel, filled out Erasmus Funding, Placement Forms and Student Finance forms, hopped on a plane and was out of England.

So there I was, living next to the Sagrada Familia, working in a new job and starting a very unknown but beautiful adventure. I was very much oblivious to how great my year would turn out.




HIGHLIGHTS

Meet new friends

I met and can honestly say, the most incredible and supportive people I have ever met. My first best friend was a girl called Rikke, from Denmark. We spent our weeks finding new restaurants, going to nights out and visiting all the famous landmarks. I met people from all over the world, but the ones I love the most are my 2 best friends, Emily and Sabrina. The 3 blondes from England stuck together and partied and explored the world away.

You make friends for life!

Favourite memory? Singing Shakira on the metro with Emily at 5.30am




Improved Spanish

I already spoke Spanish, well I thought I did. There is one thing learning a language in your home country and learning it in the actual country where the language is spoken.

I first noticed how everyone spoke so fast, but also spoke Catalan. Once I surrounded myself around locals and only spoke in Spanish and soon was able to speak in confidence to anyone.


Improved Confidence

Before my placement abroad, I lacked so much confidence, I didn't really see anyone and I was a shell of myself. I knew I had nothing to lose moving and that it would be a great chance to start my year over and reinvent myself.

I have become so much more confident in myself and others have noticed. Everyone has told me that I haven't shut up about Barcelona!

I used to worry about what people thought of me, whether that is dancing in a club, going out without make up and talking out loud. Now I will dance like a loon, go out with no make up and talk to anyone.

Being in Barcelona with other students, makes you want to make the most out of that year and have no regrets.


New Career Path

I always thought that I would be in Events, purely because I loved going to concerts. I soon realised that Events wasn't for me.

I learned so much about Online Marketing, things I thought I would never know and I was able to learn as I went and practice.

Soon in my placement abroad, I wrote all content for my website's blog, handled their social media improving all statistics and got more bookings. I also got 2 job offers in SEO to help the company and teach them and got to collaborate with 2 companies, 1 in Rome and 1 in Barcelona.




Travel

Most people on their placement abroad or study abroad, have lots of time to travel. I unfortunately didn't, I worked a full time job Monday through till Friday and unlike others I didn't have a big salary but that didn't matter to me.

I have always wanted to go to Rome, I had been learning Italian and I am part Italian and Rome was the perfect place to start. It looked beautiful and worth a visit so I saved ALOT to spend my week there.

Apart from getting bed bugs, I made friends for life, got to throw 2 coins into the Trevi Fountain and ate numerous amounts of Carbonara and Gelato!



You Me At Six

I had 2 goals in life, living in Spain ... check! My other one is meeting my favourite band You Me At Six. They are an English rock band, who I have been a huge fan of for over 7 years. I have always wanted to meet them and tell them how their music has got me through hard situations but never was able to.

I went to see them in concert in Barcelona, they were incredible and at the end I finally got my dream to come true and I met them all! They are all such lovely guys and Josh didn't mind me blabbering on!

Best night of my life!



REGRETS

I have absolutely ... NO regrets over my placement abroad. I can honestly say that I have no regrets, none at all, it was a life changing experience!

The only thing I think everyone most probably will experience when they move back home, is that they think should they have done more? But in reality, I did everything humanly possible. I visited Park Guell, Mountain Tibidabo, Sagrada Familia and Rome. I spoke Spanish and learnt Italian. Ate ridiculous amounts of tapas, drank too much Sangria and partied the hell out of Barcelona!




PS: something for you students, the nightlife is INCREDIBLE! So read my post on the Best Nightlife in Barcelona!


MOVING HOME

I have been home for 12 days now, and I can confirm that I have not settled back or got a routine at all. It too me 10 days just to unpack my things.

It has been amazing seeing all my friends and family, but I will not lie to you, after my placement abroad it has been hard to adjust.

I am in denial, I am sad and I do not know what I am doing. People have warned me, who have been away for 3 months that they found it strange. I was away for 13 MONTHS.

So I will get back to you all on that next time!

Also my Instagram scrolling is getting a bit too much.




Placement Abroad Tips

I do plan to do a post on advice for students doing their placement abroad, but here  are a few to get you going. They are how to have an incredible experience.

- Embrace it: You are there, living there for only a short period of your life. You are there as a student, go experience the culture and make some memories.

- Don't be afraid: Whether it is moving to a new country, meeting new friends or not speaking the language. You are all in the same boat. It is a new country, don't know anyone and know a little of the language. Now is the time to learn and be brave.

- Stay longer: I was meant to leave after 10 months, but luckily I was good with my money and budgeted so I stayed in Barcelona an extra 3 months.

- Go out of your comfort zone: Do things you never thought you would. For me, that was riding a motorbike and getting involved in public holidays, I became more confident.

There will be a more useful post including things about loans, accommodation etc.




I hope you all enjoyed that sentimental post about my placement abroad in Barcelona.

I had the most incredible time, I cannot put it into enough words of my time there. It is something that I recommend to EVERYONE to do.

I have also decided on my next destination, it is... LISBON! So any tips on the city, are welcome!

See you next time...

Mol xo
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