I am in my third year of studying civil engineering at Cardiff University. I was fortunate to obtain an IAESTE internship (run through the British Council in UK) to train with Nishimatsu Construction in Japan from July-September 2003 in the face of strong competition. Whilst in Japan, Nishimatsu paid me a salary to cover living costs; and I had to cover the travel costs (that luckily came from another academic award!).
It was a tremendous experience and proved a fantastic opportunity to gain real practical experience with one of the world’s leading Civil Engineering Contractors. It was a unique chance to see from the inside, a country subject to more mistaken preconceptions than any. I will strive to develop the skills I learnt and treasure the memories of the places I visited, and the warmth of the friendships made. I have only one regret – I managed to sleep through all the earthquakes!
I am an advocator of the huge personal benefits one can get from living and working in different cultures. I really encourage anyone thinking about doing something similar. Working allows you to meet many people at many levels that tourists often miss out on! Good luck.
Finally, as the IAESTE member countries organize placements on a reciprocal basis, they are continually looking for places in UK companies to host top foreign undergraduates, indirectly allowing UK students to study overseas. Typically places are for summer vacational employment in companies in the fields of science, technology & engineering. If any OF knows of potential UK host companies, I would be very grateful if they would contact me asap!
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