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Summer Break Planning: Using the Time to Build Your Future


With summer vacation only a few months away for numerous students, many of them are already looking ahead to the few months they will have free from studying, teachers, exams and homework. Typically known as the time to relax, party and have fun, more and more students are choosing to use the time constructively and arm themselves with valuable skills that will help them prepare for future careers. Whether it be working, volunteering, or doing a trial internship at home or abroad, Summer Break is a terrific time to build the marketable skills employers value.

“As a career and employment coach, and having worked with employers for years, I learned that there are core attributes that will make job seekers more competitive in this global job market,” said Patricia Martin, Training Consultant Manager at International Career Studies, a company specializing in overseas learning programs and international internships. “These include excellent communication skills, the ability to work with diverse populations and knowledge of another language. It’s the reason more and more youth are seeking international exposure of any sort because international experiences build all of these skills.”

Travelling abroad has proved to be an excellent way for teens to build or enhance skills and meet new people. It’s also an excellent way for teens to break out of their comfort zones and expand into adulthood with healthy new world views and attitudes. But travelling for education or work skills enhancement over Summer Break may not be right for everyone. Students should ask themselves very important questions such as:

  • What are my current and long term goals? E.g., learn a new language, travel, gain work experience, make business connections, get more training, etc.
  • Outside of school, what have I done to ensure I will be competitive in the job market?
  • What can I do to make myself stand out in the job market?
  • What unique opportunities can I pursue that I can add to my résumé?
  • What are all the steps I’ll need to take to get from here to my dream job?
  • What qualifications will my dream job require?
  • How can I gain hands-on career-related experience in the workplace?
  • What is my motivation for pursuing the career path I am currently on? What is my reward at the end of it all?

Students should also be cautious about any organization or agency they work with. Some questions to explore include:

  • What do the fees cover?
  • Are there local emergency contacts?
  • Is the trip supervised by a qualified leader?

Going abroad provides cultural knowledge, possible language training, career related experiences, and a unique global perspective that will be sure to impress future employers.

For more unique educational travel opportunities that go beyond your typical classroom setting, ensure you visit your school’s career services offices, visit the library and pull travel guide books such as the Lonely Planet series, and most importantly, talk to people who have the job you want in the future to see what they did to get to where they are.

If you still need help narrowing down your career options, contact a reputable service provider in order to get some solid advice and information about the international learning options available.

Contributed by:

Patricia Martin
International Career Studies

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