This article was written by Megan Bryant, an Online Marketer for StudentJob UK.
A little over a year ago, I was offered the position to work as an Online Marketer at Netherland’s largest recruitment agency, YoungCapital, to manage their UK website (known here as StudentJob).
In 2018, I packed my bags, ventured off to the capital and began my new chapter. I didn’t really know what to expect. I had been to Amsterdam a couple of times before and instantly fell in love with the city. The narrow streets, energetic community and rich culture were enough to keep me excited for months before my departure.
What most people don’t tell you about Amsterdam is the utter frustration of finding long-term legitimate accommodation. Scammers, ridiculously expensive rooms and low supply can deter many people away. Unlike others who had to sofa surf for two months, I found a room with ease.
The most challenging experience so far is dealing with IKEA flat-pack furniture. Never in my life have I had to deal with such confusion and bafflement. I had to furnish my entire room, including the bed to I had no option but to do it. I appreciated their universal instruction book, but the lack of words made me want to throw the bed frame out the window.
With the IKEA furniture assembled at the cost of my sanity, it was now time to start my placement.
Starting my placement
For me, I felt very relaxed. I had a good feeling about the company and I was in frequent contact with my predecessor, so any prior doubts were quickly removed.
On my first day, I must have been introduced to around thirty people and there was no chance of remembering everyone’s names. Although a large majority were also interns, meaning it was easy to build common ground with colleagues.
The YoungCapital building was then undergoing renovations, but flash forward to 2019 and oh my! I feel incredibly spoiled by this company.
We have the coolest kitchen, delivering the finest hot food five days a week (well better than what I cook), we have a small gym too, which has actually encouraged me to be more active. Miracles can happen.
Anyway, going back to my initial experiences, it was the same mumbo jumbo you receive at any company. Lots of reading and lots of training.
Personally, it took me several months to get confident with my role as an Online Marketer. With me, I like to take my time with things to ensure what I am doing is right.
Working as an Online Marketer introduces many diverse tasks. You’re expected to think logically and creatively. Looking into data to spot any opportunities or upcoming trends with your audiences, to writing fun blogs about how to spend your Valentine’s Day as a singleton.
On the other hand, I have also been involved in the recruiting process to hire new interns, giving me a great insight into HR.
I have handled many projects and was also responsible for changing our social media image on Instagram, which has been truly satisfying! This placement year abroad has encouraged me to grow professionally (sometimes) and mature in every sense of the way.
Living abroad on your own
In all honesty, if you have lived away during your university years, then you have covered the hardest part.
I am aware that there isn’t much of a culture difference in the Netherlands and I am blessed that every single Dutch native can speak perfect English.
Depending on what you like, there is a community out there for everyone. The nightlife in Amsterdam is phenomenal and truly inclusive, which is what I like. You are introduced to a free-thinking community, which makes your transition into a new country, far easier.
What I will take from this
As I come to the end of my placement year, I know full well that I wish to work outside of the UK. For me, the work/life balance is crucial in maintaining happiness and productivity. And in my experience, I did not receive that in the UK.
Doing a placement is essential in understanding the real work and to grow. Not only do you learn an array of skills, but you learn how to work with all walks of life too!
I can’t believe I’m saying this but I feel far more prepared for my final year at university. Heck, I am actually excited to write my dissertation (I say this with great naivety).
Has this given you inspiration to find a placement? Check out StudentJob’s vacancies now and be inspired!