World Education Services
Summer vacation for college students in the U.S. typically lasts three to four months, which gives students time to recharge and work on self-development. Although many international students staying in the U.S. complete summer internships, there are plenty of other ways to invest in your future without if you do not have one. Here are some activities you can do this summer if you do not already have an internship lined up:
- Build hard skills: Practical in-demand hard skills include, (but are not limited to), data analysis, foreign language proficiency, computer programming, and planning/project management. You can take free online courses on webpages like edX and Coursera or institutions like Stanford, MIT, and Princeton University.
- Earn money for the school year: Having a summer job could help you save money and manage expenses for the fall semester and beyond. You can look into regular part-time roles or seasonal positions that you would have only during the summer.
- Focus on professional development: Update your resume and start drafting general cover letters that you can tweak for every job application. If you want more hands-on experience, shadow someone in a field that interests you. If you want to explore professions further, set up informational interviews through your school’s alumni network or other contacts you may have.
- Look into future opportunities: It is not too early to think about fall activities. Start looking for research or internship positions if you can fit them into your schedule. Some internships or research commitments might even offer financial compensation or college credits. Be sure to look into those details as well.
- Prepare for fall courses: Obtain textbooks, review syllabi, and see if you can get a head start on readings. The semester will get busy so any progress you make in advance will go a long way.
- Meet with university advisors: While students may not be at school, advisors still work during the summer even if they have different hours. You can also make appointments with your school’s offices such as career services, international student services, academic advising, and department heads for your specific major. Look for summer-oriented programming as well.
- Explore the United States: The U.S. has diverse landscapes and attractions. Use your free time to explore different regions or cities. Many universities even offer discounted bus tickets or trips. Take advantage of all the travel opportunities you can.
- Volunteer: Volunteering has many benefits, including meeting new people, becoming acquainted with local communities, serving others, and developing your personal and professional capacities. Use sites like Idealist and VolunteerMatch, as well as your university’s resources, to find an optimal opportunity.
- Prioritize your well-being: The school year is hectic and will take some adjustment. Make sure that you take care of both your mental and physical health in the summer so you are able to start your fall semester off strong.
- Share your story: Consider becoming a WES Student Ambassador and contribute a blog post. This is a great opportunity to get published and gain exposure on a major website by sharing your study abroad experiences with students worldwide. Contributors can earn gift cards and other awards.
Justine D'Souza works as a Credential Analyst for the Evaluations Department at WES. She holds a B.A. in French with minors in International Business and Political Economy, Organizational Leadership, and Planning and Public Policy. She has experience teaching in both the U.S. and France and has been passionate about international education since her youth.