WHY YOU SHOULD EMBRACE AN INTERNATIONAL OPPORTUNITY
We asked our very own International Opportunities Officer Inez Janna Summers all about how she came to work in the international field, and why she encourages others to take part in international activity across the globe.
Hi Inez! Tell us a little about yourself.
Hi, I’m Inez, and I am the International Opportunities Officer in the International Opportunities team. As a team, we look after International Exchange, Erasmus+, the Study Abroad Programme, Internationalisation at Home and summer schools.
What initially attracted you to working in international opportunities?
I have Dutch heritage, and my first job after school was working in a hotel in Germany, which was great fun. I then went on to work in France, Switzerland, Australia, Belgium and I’ve studied in France as well as part of the Erasmus+ programme. I completed my master’s degree in Belgium, so I’ve always had international involvement. My university career has always been internationally focused, too.
I think that everybody should have the opportunity to take part in some kind of international experience, whether it’s two weeks away, a semester or even a full year working or studying abroad. I feel passionate about that, I just think it’s so fantastic.
Why should our students take part in a study abroad opportunity?
It gives you more confidence in the challenges you might face on a day-to-day basis. From my own experience, it made me feel more confident because I’d navigated these challenges by myself. There’ll be culture differences, there’ll be language differences, but it will really broaden your horizons.
The question is not why should you do it, but why shouldn’t you?
What advice do you have for both students considering studying abroad and students wanting to come here?
Push yourself, do your research and speak to your school about the options available to you as different programmes will have different ways of taking part. What my team can talk about is how to set you up and support you through the process.
For students from universities abroad, we want to let them know that they are part of an international university and we would love to have them here. It is a very welcoming city: it’s very diverse with lots of nationalities.
If you can do it as part of your studies, it’s so much better. We know that some people might miss their friends, but they’ll still be here when you get back.
Our team have a wealth of experience studying abroad and can help with the process. You can do amazing things with Erasmus, and we have the funding for it: make sure we use the money while we still have it.