What can I do this summer? Volunteer, work, travel the choice is yours.

Traditionally it’s the time of year we all try to make ourselves feel better by making plans for summer holidays.  You definitely need a break from studying over summer but there are lots of options depending on what you want from your time off.  Here are some places you could start…

I need to earn money

  • Internships & vacation schemes : depending on what year you are in the options vary but they are normally paid and will give you experience in a business that will be useful for any future applications even if its in a completely different line of work. Think of it as testing out career options while getting paid. (Advertised in semester 1 and early semester 2) www.manchester.ac.uk/careerslink
  • Summer jobs: Often working in businesses where extra summer staff are needed, resorts, tourist areas,  summer camps, play schemes, hotels, sports & leisure etc in the UK or overseas. (Can be advertised at any time – it is also worth contacting any businesses you are interested in speculatively)
    You may also find one off jobs in local businesses looking for students for specific projects or roles these are often advertised late spring or early summer when an opportunity arises.

    Use CareersLink to search for summer jobs and internships
    Use CareersLink to search for summer jobs and internships

I need to get experience for a specific career

  • Internships & vacation schemes: These are usually with larger organisations and may be advertised well in advance Semester one and early semester 2. Some companies will take successful interns onto their graduate scheme so it can be a great way to get a foot in the door. Don’t worry about getting trapped in just one company though, you can take your experience elsewhere or even to s different industry it it doesn’t suit you.,
  • Speculative applications: Not all sectors will have official schemes especially creative, not for profit or small businesses so you may have to contact them speculatively to find out if there is an opportunity for you.
  • Volunteering: if you want to work in the charity sector /international development, or will be applying for medicine or teaching you will probably need voluntary experience. Some paid opportunities may also be available.
  • Language skills : How about a summer school arranged through the University?

I need to gain some general skills & experience to improve my CV

If you have had little experience before then you may need to spend some time over summer gaining skills and also using the time to work out what you like & dislike. Both will help you when it comes to applying for your next role.

  • Volunteering A great place to start, you don’t need to commit to something lengthy at first, you will meet new people and gain some good transferable skills straight away. Once you know what you like or what skills you want to gain you can look for specific types of opportunities.
  • Summer jobs  Lots of different types of work available – if you’re going home for the summer ask family members or friends to look around for you. Think about what skills & interests you can demonstrate so that you can make a strong application.
  • Part time jobs are a good way of gaining skills and some cash to pay for that holiday! Over vacation times you can be more flexible or take on more hours too.

I want to go abroad

  1. Do you know the country or region you want to go to? Check out Passport careers for information & opportunities around the world.
  2. Do you speak a language?
  3. Do you have an activity or role you want to get involved in?
  • Summer jobs: It’s not summer everywhere – what season is it where you want to go, ski or summer season?  Is it a tourist area – will there be attractions, bars, cafes hotels needed staff? Do you have local contacts who can help you?
  • Volunteering: the volunteering team have partnered with some trusted overseas organisations to provide you with opportunities. plus information on how to stay safe if you are finding your own opportunity.
  • How about TEFL or TESOL? Teaching English as a foreign or second language? A TEFL summer school can be a good way to start, you may need to do a qualification before you go so have a look around at what meets your needs and budget.

I want to do something completely different

What does different mean to you? New people, new places, not study, adventure, something creative?

  • Volunteering: there are so many different opportunities that you are bound to find something to stretch you or appeal to your creative side.
  • Internships & vacation schemes: You’ll spend the summer working with new people learning a completely new job, possibly in a new town.
  • How about learning a language with a summer school arranged through the University?
  • You could take language classes locally or perhaps learn coding or take up a sport / fitness activity or hobby that will help you keep mind and body healthy for the future.
  • Working holidays: If you know you want to travel and are going to be going for a full summer you may be able to fit in some work to help with costs and also pick up some skills.  Check the visa situation – can you work?  How long does it take to get a  visa? Start making contacts and investigating options before you go.  Once you are there you may find further opportunities – just make sure you are safe, employment law and rights are not the same all over the world.

That’s all very well but I can’t afford it!Roll of money

We can’t pay you to take a holiday but if you have found some unpaid experience or need help with travel costs for volunteering or internships we may be able to help. See our work experience bursary and check out the other funding opportunities too.


Any questions you know what to do – talk to us 

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