Get set: Summer 2010

It’s the Christmas holidays, and despite the fact that this is doubtlessly the laziest time of the year, I tend to lapse into panic, fretting over the question: so what exactly I am going to do next summer?

Firstly, my adventures have to be either cost-neutral or money-earning. I am fed up of asking parents, ‘Please, can I have some more?’, and thus any travels have to be offset by the earlier earned money. Secondly, a summer has to be a learning experience in itself – I would hate it if the only memory from the summer were hung-over mornings spent waiting on tables at the local restaurant.

Below is a short list of work-related summer offerings. If you have more ideas/suggestions that were missed here, please leave a comment in the box below.

Camp America

Remember ‘Parent Trap’ with Li-Lo? Do you want to check out what happens at ‘Band Camp’? Yes, you too can be the part of the great American childhood experience by working as a counsellor or activity specialist at a summer camp in the USA. You will make BFFs (Best Friends Forevah) within minutes, you will munch on chocolate doughnuts for breakfast and be haunted mercilessly by those cheery songs (R-E-D, on our way to victory!). After two months’ work, you will be $1,000 richer and probably have many unforgettable memories. What’s more, after having got to know your fellow counsellors, you’ll never need to pay for a hotel in America again.

Work for an MP

This gem of a website is a must for anyone considering a career in politics or non-governmental organisations. Opportunities for internships are posted daily, so whether you fancy doing research for an MP or you’d like to volunteer with The World Hepatitis Alliance, all tastes are catered for. Most of the posts are unpaid, but come with expenses allowances. Needless to say, they’re all very competitive. 

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London Citizens

Baskers did it. Barclay did it. So, if you want to be the next OUSU President, you should do it too. At the London Citizens Summer Academy, you tackle violence in East London, work on the Living Wage campaign and integrate migrants and asylum seekers into a happy society. In short, you will be organising communities. Get ambitious.

StudyChina

A government sponsored three-week program sending UK undergraduates to China. You pay for flights, they pay for language, Tai-Chi, calligraphy classes; trips to visit local curiosities and most importantly, accommodation. A fantastic opportunity to get to know the far East.

European Volunteering Service

I’m not sure if it’s because of most Britons’ inherent Euro-scepticism, but EU-funded projects do not get much interest. Pity, because if you manage to get through the administrative framework, they can provide experiences you will treasure for a lifetime. The European Volunteering Service provides opportunities for 19-30-year olds to undertake expenses-paid volunteering tasks in an EU country. It’s perfect for those who want to practice their French while doing something useful like working with local youth groups, or help out with the organisation of a film festival in Netherlands.

TravelAid, OSCA, ODA

“The whole university is made up entirely of head boys and girls who were sports team captains, play piano to Grade 8 standard, speak ten languages and spend their free time saving the world.” Even though OUSU cites this statement as an Oxford myth, some people really take to heart the ‘save the world’ bit. That is why each year we have hundreds of students building shacks and teaching kids in third world countries.

Internships

(www.milkround.com, www.wexo.co.uk)

If you really feel the urge to jump into the real world, milkround and wexo will be the first points of call. Milkround provides comprehensive listings of all graduate recruitment companies. £12,000 at the end of summer? Tick. Soul sold irrevocably to an investment bank? Tick. In contrast, Wexo contains an impressive database of companies recruiting for work experience positions. From ‘airy fairy’ PR industries to James Caan’s Hamilton Bradshaw, it is now extremely easy to apply for short-term positions.

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