International Experiences – Phoebe Forrester

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.

Student in Fashion Buying and Marketing Phoebe Forrester, 20,  has been working abroad in Holland as a buying intern for fashion company O’Neill. Find out what her working life in Amsterdam is like in the interview below.

Can you describe a typical day?

A general day starts with checking emails & attending meetings. After this i spend most of my time communicating by email/phone with suppliers from China/Turkey/Vietnam, etc. Communication is key within a buying office. Every day is different and I have not yet found myself doing the same thing day after day.

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

Improved elf-motivation, determination, general life skills, communication, independence, organisation and time keeping are just a few of the skills I have become stronger in. I think completing work experience abroad gives you so much more than doing work in the UK, as it gives you a life experience as well. It prepares you for the reality outside of uni, as well as the working world.

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

I think more advice from anyone who had been abroad would have been good as understandably, the first couple of months were quite challenging. I luckily received an Erasmus grant from uni but I didn’t know that until 3 months into my placement; knowing beforehand would have made my  financial situation a lot easier.

What are the best and worst bits about living abroad?

Living abroad is really exciting and has given me a fresh outlook on life. Being able to meet new people and do new things so easily has been great. However, there has been a language barrier at times and the very poor pay has made it hard when living abroad is very expensive. Even though I’m not far away from England missing home is harder when you’re a plane journey away instead of a train journey away. On the other hand, I’ve found it quite easy fitting into the Dutch lifestyle and how the community works.

Do you think this will increase your employability chances?

I believe it has increased my chances as I will be a much more competitive contender, compared to someone who has no work experience or even someone who has done experience in the UK, as moving abroad shows broader skills. It is an experience that cannot just be turned down and that is highly looked upon. 

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