Being raised in Hunter Valley, Newcastle has essentially been all I have ever known for much of my life. Therefore, it has always been a dream of mine to live and work overseas. The opportunity provided thanks to the University of Newcastle and CRCC Asia to participate in an International Business Work Placement at the e-commerce menswear brand We Are Gentlemen in the United Kingdom successfully immersed me in the UK’s corporate and workplace culture, exposed me to a wide array of domestic and internationally influential people in business while providing me with a plethora of new experiences, learning opportunities and real-world experience.
Alumni Spotlight: Jack Biddles
Why did you choose this program?
What did your program provider (or university) assist you with, and what did you have to organize on your own?
CRCC Asia was a great helping hand; they assisted me at every stage of the internship. From helping me perfect my CV, scheduling Skype interviews with interested companies, visa applications, airport pickup, organizing accommodation and even providing me with a lift to the office on my first day with the included drop-off service. They few things left for me to do included booking flights, paying travel insurance, plan for my weekend tips and pack my bags - of course.
What is one piece of advice you'd give to someone going on your program?
The programs can be expensive, especially if you're going for 8-12 weeks; CRCC Asia also requires initial payments relatively soon after being accepted. If you are relying on an OS-Help Loan, grants or scholarships, it would be highly advised to have some savings or a credit card that could be used to pay the program organizers then use the OS-Help Loan or otherwise to reimburse you.
What does an average day/week look like as a participant of this program?
The average week was pretty spectacular. Each weekday offered new opportunities and learning experiences. Working in a start-up brand meant I played a direct role in the company's daily operation. I loved going to work every day and helping my boss to grow the company. The independence and freedom offered by living and working in the city center gave me the choice either enjoying Manchester's diverse food scene or cooking something for myself in the apartment's kitchen. On the weekend, I made it my goal to travel to as much of the UK as possible. During my eight weeks, I traveled to London twice, Liverpool and Birmingham, all easily accessible by train and public transport. The nightlife in Manchester is also very diverse and will be sure to entertain anyone.
Going into your experience abroad, what was your biggest fear, and how did you overcome it? How did your views on the issue change?
This internship was also my first time traveling overseas. The thought of traveling solo, let alone 14 hours away on the other side of the world, was exceptionally daunting. Thankfully for me, CRCC Asia assisted me at every stage of planning the trip and took much of this burden off me. If I ever had absolutely any questions, I simply had to send an email and I would be sure to have a reply within a day.
What's one last piece of advice would you give to other participants?
The last key bit of advice I would give to anyone is to make the most of the additional activities CRCC Asia runs during the trip. Most of them are run free and are a great way of meeting people, building friendships, seeing some unique locations and networking.