As many students will know, the first term of an undergraduate’s final year is mad busy for graduate scheme and internship applications. It’s also when undergrads who don’t yet know what they want to do after graduation begin to panic and seek careers advice. All of this career stress, and we leave to spend this crucial term in Venice, away from key professional networks and university services. Are we crazy, or is it manageable? It may surprise you to learn that the Warwick in Venice programme recognises how important this term is and provides plenty of support for career planning.
At the end of second year, we had a careers advice session at the Warwick campus, where we were encouraged to start thinking about our postgraduate options, and to begin applying to desired schemes as soon as they opened in the Autumn term. When we arrived in Venice, our first weeks entailed a visit from our History Careers officer, where we were able to book advisory workshops with her, but also have one-to-one appointments with her to discuss any questions or thoughts we had. It was very reassuring to know that we were not being forgotten about by the folks back on campus, and that the History department remains invested in our future career aspirations. Those of us interested in the Civil Service were even able to meet the British Ambassador and other embassy staff in Rome! Many of the students here found the sessions very helpful to their decision making.
When it came to the more advanced stages of applications, things did inevitably get a little complicated. For those of us who had more of an idea of our future career paths, successful applications have entailed online tests, telephone interviews, video assessments, and assessment centres. Online tests of course are easy to work on whilst in Venice, but telephone and video interviews can be challenging if you can’t find anywhere private to do them. Fortunately, the Warwick palazzo often has a room free for students to use for this kind of thing, and I have even seen other students borrowing ties and shirts for video interviews!
If students are lucky enough to be invited to an assessment centre, this can be quite tricky. Our History tutors are very patient and understanding in letting us return to the UK for such interviews, or even is some cases to Brussels and other places. Financially, this jetsetting can add up. In most cases, firms reimburse travel expenses up to around £100, and can cover the costs of cheap accommodation near the assessment venue. Just keep the receipts handy and submit claims forms promptly. In any case, I think it’s best to have some funds to fall back on personally if you think you will need to travel for interviews during this term.
For prospective Warwick in Venice programme participants reading this, or History staff thinking about how to further help students in the future, career planning during the Venice term can be challenging, but it is not impossible. Of course, if you are dead set on a path, I would look into the application requirements beforehand, as some will require you to launch the application from the UK for security reasons. Students are definitely not left behind here in Venice and are given lots of support in thinking about their future and in applying for roles. Just remember, as personal advice, to set aside a little bit of money for potential interviews!
(Sorry this is pictureless, but I have no photos of my attempts at career planning!)
Charlotte Wilson, University of Warwick History Finalist