NAME: John Beevers
DEGREE/EMPLOYMENT: Graduated from Leicester University in 2003 with a BSc in Geography. He now works in London as a consumer-insight executive with transport media sales company Viacom Outdoor.
Work Experience: John spent two summers in the USA working with children (Summer Camp USA). He then returned to the US with Bunac on its Work America scheme. During his time at university John also became involved in the Bunac National Committee, which works to promote and improve the scheme.
What was your motivation?
I’d started university in 1999 doing a French degree but I really didn’t enjoy it so I decided to stop and change subject. This left me with some time until the degree started the following year and I didn’t want to spend the summer at home. I’d been introduced to Bunac during freshers week and thought it sounded good. I’ve always been involved in working with younger children, working as a community sport leader. Working with Bunac meant that I could earn a little bit of money.
What did the application process involve?
As you are working with children you have to be interviewed. You then write application form with a personal statement which gets sent to the USA where the camps review your skills and look suitable jobs. You pay upfront application fee and visa fee. There is a standardised wage, out of which your flight costs are taken.
What did you do?
I worked at Camp Speers Eljabar YMCA in the summers of 2000 and 2001. I was involved in a range of different activities from helping with special needs children to lifeguarding. In 2002, I participated on Work America. Under that scheme I worked at a New York respite, the Young Adult Institute in Manhattan.
How did you sell the experience on your CV?
I found that my experiences enabled me to answer a lot of difficult questions, particularly competency-based questions. I could use examples like dealing with administration. I also drew on my work for Bunac’s national committee, where I was chairman from 2001 to 2002.
Did you enjoy it?
It was one of best experiences in my life and the friends I made then are still some of my best friends in London. You are really active and get the chance to try so many different things, including becoming a big kid again.
What did you learn?
After I got back from the camps I got involved in Bunac on campus and helped set up a club on campus marketing Bunac to other students. When I was elected to the national committee, I found myself visiting various universities to give talks, sharing my experiences. It got me thinking about what I’d like to do career wise and I realised that I enjoyed communication and was interested in media.
The friends I’ve made. And I expanded my horizons so much: my experiences inspired me to set off on big world tour after university.
There wasn’t really a worst bit but it was hard work because you are up from 7am and do get little time off and can be working until midnight. But it was all good fun.
Advice to readers:
Go for it! The USA doesn’t give many working visas so it is the perfect opportunity to go while you are at university. When you’re job hunting it gives you loads to talk about on applications and shows you are able to look after yourself, can take risks and are the kind of person who will get involved.
Get ahead with Bunac:
Established in 1962, Bunac is a not-for-profit, members’ club that organises overseas work and travel programmes. Bunac offers a varied range of affordable work and volunteer experiences worldwide to students and other young people. Programmes range from Summer Camp USA, to flexible work and travel programmes in Canada, the USA, Australia and New Zealand. Plus, volunteering programmes in Africa, Central and South America and South East Asia. Bunac’s programmes to the USA run between early June and early October each year while other programmes allow participants to travel at any time of the year.