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The Process I went through to get my American Placement

Applying for placements at Surrey is a process similar to applying for University. Most students secure their placements via an open market process, having applied to various roles advertised on Surrey Pathfinder. As a Biosciences student applying for international placements I experienced a slightly different process. Your application is considered for the positions that you selected by the relevant faculty members. This is different for each subject.

The reasons I wanted to do my placement in America

  • More opportunities in my industry
  • Research that I am interested in
  • I love to travel and have wanted to see more of the country ever since I first visited 10 years ago
  • I wanted to reconnect with an American friend
  • It is mainly English-speaking which I knew would make my transition much easier
  • I also knew the culture and way of dress to be similar which was a bonus and something to consider if you are going elsewhere.

How to apply internationally

An international placement has a shorter deadline so, if you are interested you want to get prepared as soon as possible. The postings for international placements are presented on a second portal, Surrey MoveOn which allows you to filter by country. The format was more informal, usually advertising using word documents or emails sent out that alert you to new placements. There was also information from students that had gone on that placement previously and what projects had been worked on previously although these change from year to year. These placements are often at universities and involve academic research and likely to be unpaid. This is really important to consider as sometimes the placement provider doesn’t give you a lot of information. In fact, I walked into my placement hardly knowing anything about what was to be expected. In this case, it helps to be flexible and allows you to really work on adaptability.

Kim dressed in lab gear for a Women in Leadership and Science Booth at Packapalooza. NC State's Annual freshers event

Packapalooza 2018

Completing your international application

The application involves submitting a CV, cover letter, a financial breakdown and your choice of 5 placement options. Alongside this I had to provide justification for applying to each destination. The faculty looking at your application work really hard to connect you with anyone at your target institution if you know where you want to go. It may sound daunting but you will be provided with information on how to complete the application and there are a number of talks that you should definitely attend during second year as they provide you with lots of information on applying and assessments you are expected to complete whilst you are on placement, which everyone has to do, international placement or not. As well as finances and language opportunities.

So do your research, get prepared and if you want to go abroad: risk it! If you don’t get it you can apply for domestic placements which have a much later deadline. If you want to go on placement only you can make it happen.