Finding work abroad after graduating

Olivia Burns.jpg

At the start of my final year at Essex I had no idea what I wanted to do after my degree. So many of my friends were in the same boat. Post-grad life was looming but if you ignore it, it’s not a problem, right? I spent my third year abroad in the US and as amazing as that was I couldn’t wait to get back to Essex and catch up with everyone. Final year got off to a great start and I got settled right back in to life at Essex. Uni work was going well, and I was having fun but every now and again the thought of my graduation brought me back down to earth. University doesn’t last forever. It was something that I didn’t like to think about. As a master procrastinator, I could just put it off until I really had to do something. I’d looked at jobs and grad schemes, even started a few applications, but nothing stood out to me. I gave up for a little while, until I saw Essex Abroad post about a job vacancy all the way in Hong Kong.

Yes, I did a year abroad, but Hong Kong would be nothing like America. This was something completely out of my comfort zone. It wasn’t like the other jobs. I didn’t even think twice about applying. I sat down and did my application in an evening. All that was needed was a cover letter and a copy of my CV. I worked hard and tried to make sure everything I had written was relevant to the job. Whilst it was initially the idea of working in Hong Kong that attracted me, the job itself was right up my alley. It was working as a Visiting English Tutor at Lingnan University, which is one of Essex’s partner universities. I had been looking at teaching English abroad for a while but wasn’t sure about teaching kids, so this was perfect! I submitted my application and a couple of days later I had a Skype interview.

Luckily I’m not the kind of person who dislikes interviews but even if I was I had no reason to be. My interviewers were great and mainly just interested in the type of person I was and why I wanted to work in Hong Kong. We ended up talking about football and chips! Just a day later, I checked my email in a lecture break to see that I’d been offered the job! I happily accepted and after that came all the admin that comes with working abroad.

Olivia Burns 2

I was sent a lot of documents that I had to fill in and mail back, including my visa application and contract. On the whole, it was a pretty easy experience. The HR department at Lingnan was great and mailed my visa over to me and then I booked a one-way flight to Hong Kong!

I have been here now for just over two months. So far I’m having a brilliant time, the people I work with are from all over the world and it is so rewarding when students engage in lessons. At times it’s not easy but I’ve always liked a challenge! I’m provided with a furnished apartment on campus, so I just roll out of bed and go to work. I work from 10:30am to 6pm which means I can have a lie in. Hong Kong is also a beautiful city full of so much life. It’s a great base to explore the rest of Asia too. I spent a weekend in Taipei and now I’ve just booked a trip round Japan for New Year.

I would not be where I am now if it wasn’t for the opportunities I had at Essex to grow and develop myself, not only academically, but in terms of employability. If you’re thinking of working abroad, the one thing I have to say to you is to just go for it. It is nerve-wracking but it is so so worth it!



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