Sarah GunnHi, I’m Sarah and I am the Employability Project intern for this semester. This is a quick post to let you know a bit more about myself and the aim of the project over the next coming weeks.

I am a final year student studying American Studies with Music. You may think this is an interesting combination and in fact there are only two of us on the course! I think being a part of this project while still studying myself gives me a greater understanding of the needs of the students, especially in regards to thinking about career paths. I wanted to be able to contribute something to this project as I know exactly how it feels to not have a clue about what you want to do after you graduate, and I think that being prompted to think about it earlier in your degree is never a bad thing.

For my year abroad, I attended the University of Oregon, which is found in the city of Eugene, in the state of Oregon. I chose this university mainly because it was not particularly a mainstream choice, it wasn’t too urban, and the scenery looked fantastic.

For me, Oregon did not disappoint. The atmosphere of a large campus college was addictive and I met some life-long friends, jumped in with both feet, and challenged myself both socially and academically. White Water rafting was a personal highlight for me, an experience which, was run by the outdoor program on campus! I also went to watch American football in a 49,000 seat stadium (that’s right, that was the audience for the college games), and I visited some stunning landmarks including a redwood forest and Crater Lake.

My experience in Oregon, along with the connections I made, led me to an internship over that summer in California. As well as being able to extend my visa for a couple of extra months, the position filled my CV with valuable experience. Not only does it look impressive but, for recent graduate job interviews, it really helped me to provide examples for those dreaded competency based questions. Also, mentioning to a potential employer that you have some work or volunteer experience abroad is always a plus.

March 22nd is the date to keep in your diary for the AMS Student-Alumni Connections event. It will give second years the chance to hear more stories about how the year abroad has been invaluable to final year students and alumni alike. Hopefully, you will leave with a better idea about how you can improve your employability potential while you are away whether that is through a society, an internship, volunteering, or maybe taking a class that you wouldn’t have the chance to at UEA.

I really hope you enjoy looking at the contents of this blog, and if you are an AMS alumni or final year student looking to make a contribution, please do not hesitate to send an email to amsconnect@uea.ac.uk or follow us and send us a tweet at @amsueaconnect

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