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A student guide to having fun at York – and getting a job

Amy Moss arrived on campus at the University of York in autumn 2010 as an 18-year-old fresher from Essex fearful, occasionally tearful and with, by her own admission, far too much luggage.

Amy Moss (left) and Bartek Wytrzyszczewski (front) worked as social organisers on summer courses organised by the University of York's Centre for Global Programmes – just one of hundreds of paid and voluntary work experience opportunities on offer for students at York
Three years later she leaves with a 2:1 BA degree in Social and Political Science, lots of great memories – and confirmation of a dream job.

Amy says her happy days on campus and her job hunting success are thanks to the varied volunteering and work experience opportunities she tackled at York alongside the academic work.

“Of course the academic work is important, but in the current economic climate, it’s equally important to have evidence of team working and leadership skills – and that’s what York is really good at.

Getting involved

“I got amazing support from my academic tutors and there was enough flexibility in the system for me to tailor my studies to what I was interested in. But it’s only by doing volunteering and getting involved in student and community events that you can demonstrate team working and leadership skills. I’d say to any new students to get involved because that additional experience is really important when it comes to an interview.”

Amy managed to combine studying with voluntary work at Nightline, the University’s confidential student telephone listening service. She also helped organise the 2012 York Carnival community event and worked as a student ambassador talking to groups of schools pupils from disadvantaged areas to encourage them to apply to university.

Alongside a packed volunteering programme, she found time to develop an idea for a social enterprise company, a project she plans to develop in her new job as Student Union Volunteer and Social Enterprise Co-ordinator at the University of Reading.

Having fun

Of course the academic work is important, but in the current economic climate, it’s equally important to have evidence of team working and leadership skills – and that’s what York is really good at

Amy Moss

“I also had great fun when I was at York and for an 18-year-old, that’s important. The college system meant it was really easy to meet people. I arrived feeling a bit shy but by the end of the first day, I was having a good laugh.”

York’s college system also appealed to Polish student Bartek Wytrzyszczewski who enjoyed his time on campus so much, he is staying to complete a Post Graduate Certificate in Education.

Bartek graduated this summer with a first-class degree with distinction in Languages and Linguistics and he hopes to teach modern foreign languages.

“The University has an orientation programme for international students. We arrived one week earlier than British students which was really helpful because it gave us time to sort out formalities and attend welcome meetings with staff.

Making friends

“The college system meant I was making friends as soon as I moved in. I was also really impressed with the campus and the city of York. I thought it was great to have the contrast of Heslington Village near the campus where people farm hens and cattle and then a ten minute cycle in the opposite direction, there’s a lively city centre with hundreds of pubs, clubs and restaurants.”

Like Amy, Bartek was an enthusiastic student volunteer at York including work with the York Students in Schools project (YSIS) and the York Festival of Ideas. He also used the language skills gained as part of his studies to help primary and secondary school pupils and worked as a part-time teaching assistant teaching English as an additional language.

“After three years I realise how much hard work I’ve put into my degree, work experience and my social life and how it has all paid off. That’s why I plan to stay in York for a while – I feel it has become my home.”

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