On Wednesday 8th March, seven alumni who studied at the University of Hull as international students shared their experiences and insights with current students. Topics covered included making the most of your time at a UK university, how to sell your skills and experiences to prospective employers, and how to negotiate the visa system once you find a job. The insights on finding employment, transferring skills from the university course to a career and being persistent when applying for jobs were particularly valuable for everyone, regardless of their background or what line of work they wanted to go into after completing their studies, whilst the practical experience they had gained from working with employers to get visas in order to be able to work in the UK was also very useful.
The graduates who returned to speak were:
Chartered Cardiorespiratory Physiotherapist (NHS) Bobola Adeoye,
Business & Integration Arch Analyst (Accenture) Tomilola Agboola,
Graduate Mechanical Engineer (British Steel) Victor Azuka,
Collections Intern (Hull Museums) Kin Long Lok (Jason),
Audit Supervisor (RSM UK) Tomisin Olatunji,
Technical Support Analyst (University of Hull) Adujumoke Owolabi,
Renewable Energy Consultant (Everoze) Abdul Sotayo.
Below, the event organiser Tony Taylor from our Student Success team details some of the key points covered by the alumni:
Make the most of your time in the UK.
Most international students would love to find a UK internship. However, internships are competitive, and UK internships mostly run over the summer. They may not fit with term dates if you are a postgraduate student, which means that you may not be successful in getting an internship. The good news is that there are many other alternatives to internships that will still help you develop transferable skills.
Our alumni emphasised getting involved in extra-curricular activities and volunteering, which can show your ability to fit in, add value to wider communities and work on social issues that may be relevant to employers. At the very least, you will have fun, better understand British culture and build a network!
Be prepared to describe your skills and learning.
Employers in the UK might need help understanding why they should hire an international student or realise the quality of the education they are gaining. It is up to you to explain to them why you are the perfect candidate and why your studies have made you a great future employee. Consider how you will show your studies so employers can understand them. Are you experiencing new methods of teaching? Simulated business projects or work-based assignments? Group work? Critical thinking? How would you describe your course to show your new learning, ideas and professional development? How can you explain your degree to employers? If not, our alumni strongly recommended attending careers workshops organised by Student Futures and achieving the Hull Employability Award to become confident in making job applications.
Believe in yourself and keep searching and applying until you are successful.
You don’t need to worry about getting sponsored as an international student. The Graduate Visa is flexible and allows international students to stay in the UK to look for work. Be prepared to stay in the UK and do a more casual job whilst you continue to look for a professional role. Another feature of the Graduate Visa is that no professional level or minimum wage is required for a job. This means you could find a casual job to earn money while you continue applying for graduate jobs.