Monday, 23 November 2009

Is it more difficult for an international student to get a work experience placement?

As part of my post-graduate course I am required to complete four weeks of work experience in a public relations position and I honestly believed that it would be difficult for me – an international student- to find a work placement.
This belief was mainly due to information I got from another international student searching for work experience in the UK. She has been studying in the UK for the past two years, and as a mandatory requirement for completion of her undergraduate, she was to get some work experience for two weeks in her required field. However, after sending out numerous applications, she was either not responded to or she was denied the job.

Let me explain also that her first language is English and she has been doing exceptionally well on her course, but somehow, she was denied several placements. She had explained to me that the main reason given for her being denied these placements was that she was an international student and may not ‘fit in’ well in the organisation. Well, this made me a little concerned about getting a work experience placement.

I was trying to understand why she wouldn’t ‘fit-in’ and was getting worried that I would be told the same thing.

I mean, being an international student myself, I know that there are significant cultural differences in terms of food, dress, speech and many other things, but does that mean that I am not suitable for a position? I honestly believe that an international student has a lot to offer. Although we would be there to gain experience in a particular field, the company that employs us can also learn a lot from us. They would be exposed to our culture and subsequently, differing thought-processes, and that way they would have a wider scope for ideas when brainstorming.

So honestly, I hope that if I am denied a work placement, it is for a reason other than my international status.

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