Congratulations to all who have made it through the tough examinations period! And for those who are in their last few days, you are almost there!
Following the exams, we all have plans to sleep (and sleep and sleep), soak up the sun and enjoy the long days. There have been some pretty sunny days in London the past week (and I have to admit I was sort of missing the clouds with that scorching heat that made walking horrible [but tube rides were even worse]). Yet after all that fun and relaxing, an emptiness seems to come back… What am I supposed to do with all that time now?
While the summer is a great time to relax in a park, travel (more daylight allows for more exploring!), it is also a great time to for learning (yes, there is always more learning to be done) and exploring your interests. For those in their penultimate year, it is also a good time to try out some jobs you might be considering after university.
For myself, I will be doing a wide range of things this summer, and I hope being able to try out a variety of jobs will widen my perspectives and give me a clearer idea on what I would like to do after university!
I headed to Belgium two days after I finished my exams to reward myself. Together with two friends, we explored Brussels, Bruges and Gent. We had chosen Brussels as it was easily accessible by Eurostar, and there was a Eurostar sale with it being just £29 for one-way! We then did two day trips from Brussels, to Gent which was just a 30-minute train ride away from Brussels, and Bruges which was a 1-hour ride away from Brussels.
Following my internships (to be elaborated on below), I will of course be heading home to meet friends and family, and of course to enjoy all the dearly missed Singaporean food (friends, you have to stop posting Singaporean food on Instagram/Facebook/social media).
I have started my first internship, which is with Singapore’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs in London. I have always been interested in international relations and politics, so an opportunity to work for my country in a city I love was basically the best of both (or three) worlds! I have signed an acknowledgment of the Official Secrets Act, so I won’t be able to divulge anything much, unfortunately. It is definitely interesting working alongside knowledgeable and seasoned diplomats and I am learning so much every day, be it in functional or political work.
My second internship to follow my one-month stint at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs will be with a consulting company in London. Well, consulting is one of the trademarks of LSE students, so I had to give it a try! Problem-solving and creative thinking is also a good challenge I appreciate, so consulting seemed like a logical industry.
I will update on my experiences at the end of the holiday period (so stay tuned), but the opportunity to experience both civil service and private sector work is invaluable in itself to me. I’m sure it’s a question on many of our minds – where can we best develop and best use our talents? I hope that at the end of both internships, I will have gained a clearer idea on which sector best suits me!
In addition to work, I will also be conducting ethnographic research in Hong Kong as part of the LSE Anthropology Department’s Summer Ethnography Project. With an extremely generous grant, I will be examining cage homes and ‘luxury’ cage homes in Hong Kong, which has a severe housing crisis. This is also a career option, as it would also shed some light into the career of an academic or PhD student.
It is a short 3.5-4 months of holidays, but I’m glad I have managed to fit in a variety of things that will keep the summer exciting but also a period for me to learn more about myself and hopefully come to a decision about a path after university. Hence, I would definitely suggest for those currently thinking about summer jobs or holidays to consider various industries and even places that make you step out of your comfort zone!
Here’s wishing everyone happy holidays and I would love to hear what all of you have lined up for the summer (including recommendations for TV shows, hidden gems in London, etc.)!