International Experiences – Gemma Doyle

At De Montfort University we place great emphasis on employability and are determined to produce truly global graduates. That’s why we have launched #DMUglobal, offering the majority of our students the chance of an international experience during their studies.

Look out for more international opportunities in 2014/15, which we’ll be revealing later this year.

Fashion Buying and Marketing student Gemma Doyle, 21,  has been working for Puma in Bavaria, Germany. She spent four months working in the product development department for the sports clothing company. Find out what her working life is like in the interview below.

Can you describe a typical day?

I would get up and get ready to catch the bus for 8am, get to work at 8:40 and check my email to see if my colleagues had asked me to do any tasks such as collect a parcel for them, update some clothing styles for the new collection or check the new season’s clothes for quality of workmanship. We’d all go for lunch at 12 and I’d meet my friends for lunch in the canteen. At 5:15 I’d catch the bus home, meet friends for a drink, do some shopping in town or go straight back to my shared flat, cook dinner and relax.

How do you think you’ve benefited from having this overseas experience?

I have got to socialise with people I’d have otherwise never known, learn about different countries and cultures and really get to know my local area, as opposed to only being there for a week on holiday. 
I have also improved my career options I think; future employers will see I’ve worked abroad for a well-known company, so will think I’m a good candidate. I have to take 2 placements for my course and I secured my second placement very easily as I’d had this experience, and the interviewers were impressed that I’d moved abroad on my own, without any help.

Anything you wish you’d known before you went away?

Just worry less about the language barrier, as I didn’t speak any German. But I found the locals so welcoming of an English speaker and happy to help with directions and things.

What are the best and worst bits about living abroad?

The best things are making life-long friends and learning about different cultures and traditions. I was also very inspired by the people I met who had travelled more than I had. I also liked that every weekend was like being on holiday! As I was only there for a short time, I made the most of every day to learn new things and visit new places.

The worst bit was the organisation I had to do to move over there, such as finding accommodation and travel insurance, etc. But I was glad I’d sorted everything myself because it makes everything in the future seem easy! I also believe that the more effort you put into something, the greater the reward and this is definitely true for living abroad. 
Also, it’s tough to live away from friends and family, but with the internet it’s a lot easier to maintain that connection.

Do you think this will increase your employability chances?

As I said before, companies are impressed that a student has worked abroad as it shows confidence and initiative. Colleagues told me how much they’d benefited from having an international brand on their CV too. I also think a placement year will improve my university work when I return to finish my final year, and getting into the routine of working long hours every day is useful to prepare myself for working life after university.

Now you’ve done it, do you think you will work abroad in the future?

Absolutely! I would love to work in different countries now I have more confidence in working and living abroad.

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