Living and working in a different country has proved an 'invaluable experience' for Will Cook.
The Advertising and Marketing Communications student from De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) is just back in the UK after a year-long placement in Amsterdam.
He wanted a role that would push him out of his comfort zone - and working as a marketing and communications intern with software solutions company Hexagon PPM has brought many benefits.
The 22-year-old said: "Living on my own was an invaluable journey of self-reliance and growth, and being in a foreign country threw me further out of my comfort zone.
"I think if you don't force yourself out of your comfort zone then you have no room to grow.
"My highlights were creating strong relationships with people outside of education and learning how much progress can be made in a small space of time."
Doing a placement has also helped Will decide what he wants to do in the future.
"I think the main benefit was funnelling my career aspirations into a specific job role that I would like to do when I graduate," said Will, whose duties included helping to organise campaigns, conferences and exhibitions, creating visual communications tools, and preparing marketing research reports.
"From the product I would like to market, to the soft skills surrounding it, it has been an incredible experience."
Will's industry year was supported through DMU's Erasmus+ programme, which is offered through university's overseas opportunities scheme, #DMUglobal. He was supported by his tutor throughout the process.
"My tutor helped point me in the right direction both academically and personally, and made sure I could progress in the business environment parallel to my studies," said Will, who still remembers the thrill he felt at landing the role.
"I was so excited to move to Amsterdam and get a taste of my future career."
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Due back on campus next month, Worcester-born Will believes the experience will also help his final-year studies.
"I have a new approach to work in general, and appreciate working 40-plus hours per week is totally manageable. I now feel like I understand how to manage my time outside of lectures and seminars," he said.
Will was originally drawn to DMU because of its location, degree options and placement opportunities.
"I loved how the campus was in the city centre, there was a great variety of courses that I wanted to do, and I really liked the level of encouragement for students to go out on placements," he said.
Will decided on a course that would enable him to use his creativity in a business setting.
"Advertising and Marketing Communications gives me the chance to do this," he added.
"I want to be able to get through to people by being different with my adverts and thinking totally outside the boundaries. A quote I live by is, 'Imitation is suicide', by Ralph Waldo Emerson."
Posted on Monday 5th August 2019