Erasmus+ Funding for Graduate Traineeships – 2018 Application open, deadline 1st June

ErasmusPlus-KA1_traineeships_1Erasmus+ is the EU’s programme for boosting skills and employability through education, training, youth and sport. Queen Mary University of London participates in the Erasmus+ Programme and will supply funding to a limited number of students for a traineeship in Europe.

Students in their final year who are planning on doing a traineeship (internship/work placement) outside the UK but in Europe (see list of Programme Countries) after they finished their studies can now apply for an Erasmus+ grant to help towards their living cost.

This is an excellent opportunity to gain international experience and to give your CV a competitive edge!

Why take part?

There are many reasons and some of them will be personal to you:

  • Gaining and improving a range of skills that are desirable to employers, including communication across cultural boundaries, self-management, independence, confidence, adaptability and self-reliance
  • Developing a global and cultural outlook, a quality highly sought-after by current employers
  • Building up a network of valuable contacts
  • Improving your (existing) language skills

Continue reading


Thinking of taking a gap year after graduating?

pexels-photo-346885Taking a “gap year” either for self-fulfilment or career development can reap rewards. In a recent survey, 37% of employers believe it increases people skills, and 35% agreed a year out helps people adapt quickly to new situations.

To make the most of it, make your time out count:

Why take a year out?

Going abroad provides a chance to broaden your horizons, discover new cultures, and is a great way to network and make new friends. Picking up a language and teaching English are also motivators for some. Remember, taking a year out is not just about travelling – you may want to stay in the UK to pursue your passion for music for example, or volunteer for a while.

What about my career?

Activities undertaken on a year out can boost skills sought by employers, and can give you space to work out what you would like to do in the longer term.

If you’re undecided on what you want to do next, make sure you do some thinking before you go (or come and speak to one of our Careers Consultants!). A gap year is a great opportunity to pick up some work experience in an area that interests you.

Continue reading

The Chinese Job Market

chinese flag

On  Friday (not so unlucky) 13th, I was sent to a conference at Senate House to aid with my project of writing guides for international students who are thinking of returning to their home country after they have graduated from Queen Mary. The Association of Graduate Careers Advisory Services (AGCAS) and The British Council helped to shed some light on how to increase job search support for Chinese students currently studying in the UK but returning to China for work. For me, these were the top five points that I took away from the afternoon:

Returnees have a distinct advantage – but brush up on your knowledge of the Chinese job market.

Chinese employers consider the following attributes particularly advantageous if you have studied in the UK:

  • A high level of fluency in the English language
  • Experience of the international world and understanding of cross-cultures
  • Ability to create and maintain international networks
  • UK universities are more internationally renowned

However, those who have studied in the UK may have less experience in Chinese industry and less knowledge of Chinese investment and finance than domestic students. This can be remedied by getting the relevant experience through internships and research in your degree.

Finance, Government and Politics and IT are the most common industries for returnees to enter into.

These are the top three most popular industries for returnees to enter into, with Cultural Creative Design and Education and Scientific Research coming in at fourth and fifth.

The IT industry is currently going through an unprecedented technological change. In particular, the e-commerce market has drastically expanded, with nearly a 50% increase in its market size over the last 2 years. Investment in start-up businesses in the mobile internet industry has also increased since 2013.

There are other locations than just Beijing and Shanghai.

Although the majority of returnees relocate to ‘The Big 4’ (Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Shenzhen), second tier cities have also benefited from China’s economic growth. As a result of this, second tier cities are becoming more and more attractive for graduates as they hold similar opportunities but with much lower living costs.

Hone your CV and interview technique.

  • Make sure your CV and cover letter are tailored to the position and company that you are applying for.
  • Research the company and industry and state what you want to achieve from it.
  • Highlight any relevant experience you may have, such as internships and any research you may have focused on in your degree.
  • Emphasise any other transferable skills you may have, with evidence of where you have got that skill, such as passion, innovation, learning capacity, interpersonal skills, problem solving and time management.

Have an idea for a business venture? You can always start one.

Entrepreneurship has faced a boom in China over recent years, especially after the development of mobile internet. Financing for all stages of a business has become more accessible, particularly with an increase in Angel Investment in the last 2 years for business ventures. Enterprise is more of a culture in China, and these are the main features you should focus on:

  • Have a strong team
  • Have an attractive product
  • Have a clear business model, including revenue opportunity
  • Consider the size of the market, incorporating sales volume and possible users
  • A healthy cash flow, covering between 6-18 months
  • A healthy shareholder structure
  • Understanding of financing

If you’re developing a product in the UK, make sure that it is tailored to Chinese consumers and that you have a strong understand of the Chinese market.

Interning in Europe


The summer holidays are a great opportunity to do an internship in Europe. But as well as sorting out your flights and accommodation, you need to be aware of a few other things…

  • Internship Agreement/Convention de Stage

Depending where you are going to do your internship, some countries require the employer to have you sign an internship agreement. This is most common in France (the Convention de Stage) and Spain (Convenio de Colaboracion) but can apply to other European countries too. Employers are required to have this document because of issues of pay, insurance, government compliance etc. The main thing you need to know is what documents, if any, your employer needs. Careers & Enterprise has an internship agreement which you can access from our website:

If you are a student at CCLS, they have their own forms to use. For further information, you can contact Charlotte Rushworth at

  • Start early

If your employer needs an internship agreement, this might take a little while to process – you need to sign things, they need to sign things, we have to sign things…there’s a lot of signing to be done! Also, if your employer does not accept our internship agreement and wants us to sign their own form this can take longer as our staff check the legal implications. Bear in mind too that staff at QMUL have busy schedules – so the sooner you clarify what you need to do and come speak to us in the Careers & Enterprise Centre, the quicker you can be on your way to an awesome internship!

  • Check for how long you are classed as a student

It sounds obvious but QMUL can only sign documents saying you are a student here if you are still a student – which means we can only sign for the internship up to your graduation ceremony date.

  • Check your visa

If you are an international student studying in the UK with a visa, you need to know exactly what you can and cannot do when it comes to work. For example, if you are a Postgraduate student, you are generally classed as a student throughout the summer holidays too; if your visa restricts the number of hours of paid work you can do while a student, you will not be able to do a full-time internship during summer. If you are not sure what your visa terms are, check with Advice and Counselling who are legally able to give you information on what you can do.

And remember, we’re here to help. This may all sound a little daunting but it’s really not and we can help you. So if you have any questions, even if you’re just thinking about interning abroad, come and have a chat with us.

Finding summer jobs and work experience in the USA

Think it’s impossible to get work in the USA?  Getting an internship or summer job in the USA is actually very feasible through a J1 Visa. For this route you need to get a sponsor.  Employers are rarely sponsors – they are usually third parties.  The USA Embassy J1 Visa website gives full information about finding a sponsor for the J1 Visa.  You can also use brokerage services, such as Parenthese, who will support you through the process and obtain your J1 Visa for you for a fee. 

Once you are accepted by a third party onto their J1 Visa programme, you then have to find your own internship/summer job.  Isn’t it hard to do that as a foreigner I hear you say?  No!  As long as you can reassure the employer in your cover letter that you have your visa sorted and they don’t have to do anything, then you are an equal candidate with American students.

Your work on a J1 Visa needs to be connected to your degree programme.  As a new graduate you can stay up to 18 months, and for First and Second year students you can stay up to 12 months.  Typically it takes 3-6 weeks very active searching to find a paid internship and 2 weeks to find a summer job.  And when I say active, I mean a good couple of hours a day!

US flag

There are lots of unpaid internships out there, but ignore these: you have a legal right to be paid and it is possible to secure a paid internship! Not all adverts state whether they are paid or not.  If you aren’t sure then use to see if the company has previously paid interns.  If you don’t know whether they are offering you a reasonable wage then use this website to compare wages across different companies.  Take into account your living costs too: living in New York for your internship will be much more expensive than living in another part of the USA, so your wage needs to cover that!

So where can you look for opportunities? Simplyhired, Vault and Linkedin are just some places you can look for internships.  Speculative applications also have a high success rate in the USA. For summer jobs which are outdoors look on Coolworks and you’ll find that they often provide room and board for you.  Otherwise you can use and select the ‘USA/CA’ button on the right side of the page to look for housing in the area of your job.

When you are sending off your CV remember that it needs to be one page, with no photo, no age or marital status. Do list your modules and grades.  In your cover letter and CV to help employers, use the American lingo: ‘classes’  instead of ‘modules’; ‘grade’ instead of ‘mark’; ‘resumes’ instead of ‘CV’; ‘scheme’ instead of ‘internship’.  They will ask for your GPA (Grade Point Average).  The Fulbright Commission can help you convert your UK marks to USA GPA: Your cover letter needs to outline your J1 Visa status. Parenthese offer a sample cover letter. Going Global has lots of information about working in the USA, including on writing cover letters and resumes, and interviews.

Abi Sharma

Careers Consultant, Careers & Enterprise Centre

My Experience Teaching English Abroad

Avenesh Mahtani is a QMUL Alumni, having graduated from the School of Business and Management in 2010. Avenesh has previously written about his experience of working and studying at the same time. In this post he tells us about his work as a teacher in Germany teaching English language and Business English to adults.

Qualifications: In addition to having a Bachelor’s Degree, it is necessary to obtain a TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) qualification. The most recognised qualification is the CELTA (Certificate in English Language Teaching to Adults), which is certified by the University of Cambridge. This course is offered by colleges globally and can be completed as a 4-week full-time course. The CELTA is a very intensive course that helps those with little/no teaching experience gain an introductory teaching qualification. The CELTA helps new teachers prepare by getting them to teach students on a regular basis throughout the 4-week programme, where trainee teachers are monitored by qualified trainers, who then provide feedback. The CELTA is assessed through 10 observed lessons and 4 assignments, which focus on grammar, vocabulary and methodology.

The Bachelors: I have been able to build on my CELTA with my Bachelors in Business Management. As many students desire learning Business English along with the English language, the degree I obtained from Queen Mary has proved to be valuable, as it has allowed me to teach various business topics, such as Marketing, Human Resources and Finance, which are often very popular topics among those learning English for their jobs.

Living & Teaching Abroad: For many, the CELTA is a passport to the world. Having studied German at school and university, I recommend learning at least the basics of a foreign language before moving abroad. Although I am not required to speak German as all the teaching is done in English, it is helpful to know your host country’s language to get through the daily challenges of life. Teaching English as a lingua franca i.e. a common language between non-native speakers has become a big business and there is a big demand for native English speakers globally. In Germany, the majority of my students learn English for their jobs, with education and travel being the other two main reasons. My students hail from various backgrounds, which has allowed me to meet so many diverse people, some of whom have become friends upon completion of their courses.

Skills Development: Teaching helps develop a variety of useful skills, including presenting, public speaking, people management, leadership and motivation. A key part of the job is being able to motivate your students when they feel they are not making progress. Being able to encourage them to meet their goals is an important part of the job and can help one improve problem-solving skills, while forcing you to think on your feet. Additionally, having been the senior teacher at the school for some time, I was able to train and develop new teachers, which helped me become a better teacher.

Having spent a large part of my 20s teaching, it is a great experience. It is one that I can recommend to those looking to develop their skills and like working with diverse people. Although it is not the best paid job, it does provide a great sense of job satisfaction seeing students achieve their goals, knowing you have played a part in that and those are memories and experiences that will remain for a lifetime. Add on the skills development and acquisition of a foreign language, it is a job that is definitely worth experiencing.

Is the World Cup making you want to visit Brazil?


Or any of the other countries participating, for that matter? Then why not look at finding a job or internship abroad. Not only could you have a great time experiencing another culture (and climate!) but you could build valuable skills for your career. Having a global perspective is one of the key traits which employers value in their staff, for example.

If you want to work abroad, GoinGlobal is a great place to start your research. The information on the website is provided by specialist researchers who live and work across the globe. You can access the full range of resources it has by going through our website and using your QMUL ID to log in.


If you are not sure where you want to go abroad, you can have a look at the country guides to get an understanding of what kind of work is popular in that country. You can look at employer/industry trends, find out about financial considerations and start to learn about the cultural differences of working in another country. It even shows you how to write a CV for another country or what interviews can be like outside of the UK.

If you already know where you want to go or what kind of company you want to work for, you can use the employer guide feature and the job search to start finding work. Increase the hits you get by also doing job searches in the local language.

If you are going to be on holiday or doing some studying abroad, you can also use GoinGlobal to find out about careers fairs and networking events, or even find part-time or temp work .

And a top tip: if you create a personal account, not only can you save information so that it is quick to find later, but it means that you can access the website even when you are abroad and potentially unable to log in via the QMUL website.

If you have any questions about GoinGlobal, or about working abroad generally, than you can always come and talk to us.