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An American dream

americaVicky Scott speaks to two students who have broadened their horizons and their CV working and studying in the USA.

Travelling the world is something many young people dream of doing. Some take a gap year to travel or some whip off after university before starting work to take the opportunity whilst they can! But travelling isn’t just about getting away since there are many ways - such as through Study Abroad schemes, internships and finding a job abroad - to travel and pick up some useful skills for when you get back.

Louise, Florida, USA

‘I chose to do a placement year as part of my International Travel Management degree, which was one year working and studying at Walt Disney World in Florida. It was full time work but we also were taught Hospitality and Tourism Management whilst we were there. Interviews were organized through the University but it was quite a rigorous process, one pre-screening interview and then a whole day’s interview in London. I chose this particular placement mainly because I'm a massive Disney fan, but also have always wanted to live in the States and experience the culture there.

I was based in Orlando and accommodation was provided. Disney were very flexible in letting us take long weekends off to travel so I took this opportunity to visit a number of places including Chicago, Miami, New York City, Los Angeles and San Francisco. Each place was amazing and so different from the other - I'd have to say Chicago was my favourite, it was very cosmopolitan, and it was my first experience of seeing skyscrapers so I found it pretty impressive.

What I really loved was having the independence to travel around the country with friends. As well as this, I worked with such a diverse range of people and that was probably the most important skill I picked up - it really benefits you in future jobs. I now have friends dotted around the globe and that’s something that can only come from travelling I think. I also probably came out of my shell more in the States than I ever have!

My advice to people thinking about travelling is to throw yourself into the experience. It’s easy to get homesick, but it will waste precious time. I think the best thing is to be as social as you can and be open to new experiences.’

Alex, New Mexico, USA

Alex is a current student in his 2nd year studying BA in US Studies and plans to travel to New Mexico this summer as part of his course.

‘I decided to go travelling abroad because I thought it would be a great experience to see new places and visit another country and see what it is like to live there. In terms of applying, I went through the study abroad office at the university. I just had to fill out a few forms and they sorted everything out for me. I am going to New Mexico in September for a year and I would love to visit places such as Vegas and California especially places like LA and San Francisco. I really want to get the whole experience and make the most of my time out there.

I suppose what I look forward to the most, is obviously the travelling aspect and seeing new places. I want to see how things are in another country whilst making some really good friends.

It’s going to improve my social skills. I will have to be more independent since I will have to adapt to life on my own without being able to run back home! My confidence is going to improve and I think I will be more self-aware and enjoy myself.

I would definitely encourage other people to go abroad since it’s a great chance to explore another country and live there too! ‘

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