How to make the most of your summer holidays (even without an internship!)
The summer is a time to relax, spend quality time with friends and family and maybe use some of that extra time to tick things off your to-do list. As a student, the summer is also a great opportunity to earn some money and gain valuable work experience. The most obvious way to get both is through an internship, preferably at a big firm, with a renowned reputation. These internships aren’t easy to come by and often need to be arranged months in advance. So, there are plenty of reasons why come to the end of June, you don’t have an internship lined up and consequently feel like your upcoming summer won’t be productive or contribute to building your CV at all. Fear not! I am a strong believer that although the name of an industry leader on your CV can go a long way, there are plenty of other opportunities that will allow you to gain often very different but equally important experience. And even if it seems unrelated to your chosen career path at the time, who knows how it might benefit you in the future.
So, here is a list of ideas for activities and opportunities you could fill your summer with to earn some spending money, gain work and life experience and most importantly, to have fun!
Coaching / Teaching
Are you good at a sport and enjoy spending time with children? Then coaching might be a really fun way to earn some money. The same goes for teaching art and/or music. Get in contact with your local club or school and find out what the possibilities are. Another fun alternative could be to apply to be a summer camp leader somewhere, maybe even abroad, where they often need English speaking staff.
Tutoring is often a very lucrative, flexible and relatively easy job. Use social media to offer your services and find clients or, alternatively, register with tutoring platforms like ibelites (IB tutors). When tutoring young children, it’s usually possible to combine it with babysitting, which, if you enjoy spending time with kids, is, of course, another good way to build up your working hours (add in some household work and you might be able to increase your rate too 🙂 )
Freelancing is a great way to put your particular skills to use and earn some money and experience in the process. There are many freelance platforms out there (eg; Upwork, or iFreelance, where you can create a profile for free and offer your services (eg: translations, computer coding, designing, photo editing and a lot more).
Back home in Switzerland, many businesses like stores, beaches, restaurants and cafes need temporary staff members to help out during the busy summer months. Waiting or sales work is always very valuable experience, as you learn to work under pressure, engage with clients, behave professionally and pick up new skills quickly. These are qualities all employers greatly value so, even if you don’t have much experience yet, ask if they will hire you anyway. You’ll never know if you don’t ask!
If you are desperate to earn that spending money, then volunteering probably isn’t the way to go, but it will certainly help you gain work experience and can be very fun. Volunteering doesn’t necessarily have to be humanitarian work in a country far away. Working at a nearby music festival or at an animal shelter are also fun choices. You can also choose to target your volunteering work in the area of your future career by specifically going to law clinics for future lawyers, hospitals for future doctors, election campaign offices for future politicians or farms for future vets etc.
Travelling costs money and you can’t exactly put it under your experiences on your CV but it is definitely very fun, opens your eyes and teaches you important life skills! So, if you can afford it, travel to cities you’ve never been to before and learn as much as you can about the places you visit. And if your friends or family can’t come with you, don’t let that stop you – just go by yourself!
To summarise this up a little, I think the most important thing to remember is that you should never reject an opportunity because it doesn’t seem to be directly related to your future career. All experiences are valuable and the more well-rounded person you can become at a young age, the better! And lastly, it is the summer so remember to relax and have fun!