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Careers and Global Opportunities

Why a placement year abroad is worth it

As her year working in France winds down, Francesca Morelli is leaving Paris with new friends, new skills and new confidence.

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I’ve made it to the six-month mark on the year abroad timeline. My placement lasts a total of nine months, and despite how hard I’ve found the last six months, I’m scared and a bit sad at the thought that it is all coming to an end.

‌ Leaving with happy memories

I’ve had some real once-in-a lifetime experiences. I got to see Ireland beat France in overtime at the Six Nations in the Stade de France (which is like 20 minutes from my house!). I got to see the Grand Place in Brussels light up in time with Sia’s Christmas album. I’ve partied in a techno club ON the Seine- that’s right- it’s a boat. I’ve seen the Eiffel Tower sparkle from a rooftop bar overlooking Paris with a cocktail in hand. I’ve lived with girls from Prague, the United States, Taiwan, China, Columbia, Argentina, Brazil, Mumbai, Denmark, and Turkey.


Boosting my CV

In my new world of ‘professionalism,’ I’ve helped my company climb from 3,000 users to over 10,000 in under six months. I’ve learned some invaluable skills and been challenged to use my initiative more than ever before. I’ve learned and experienced things that will put me in an incredible position for the rest of my professional career. 


Attacking the travel bucket list

That said, I still have an ever-growing list of cafes I want to visit and things I want to see, but I have recently come to the realisation that I just don’t have enough time! Counting a few weekends at home, my to-do list outweighs my weekends left by a small number.


The year will fly in 

People tell you before you go, they tell you when you’re there, they tell you when you’re almost finished…. I’m almost sick of hearing that the year will fly in. I can now confirm that those people were right. It feels like yesterday that I walked into my French office for the first time. And honestly I can’t even remember everything thayt I have packed in because it all just feels like a blur. One big blur. I have no doubt the next three months will feel the same.

No regrets 

One thing I want to avoid is leaving this year with regrets. It would be easy to look back and say, “I wish I had gone out and explored more Saturdays,” but you have to give yourself a break. Nobody has the time, spirit, energy, or money to do everything they want to do without any downtime – let’s face it! I can be hard on myself, and I anticipate coming home and feeling like I could’ve, should’ve, would’ve done more. But that’s just life! As my mum always says, “coulda, woulda, shoulda!” I’m happy with how I’ve spent my year abroad, and I’m even happier with how I’ve coped with it and overcome barriers. In the next three months, I will make a special effort to make the most of the time I have left, because as they all warned, “it will fly in!”


Francesca Morelli

BSc International Business with French | 3rd Year | Northern Ireland

I am 21 years old currently working in a startup in the centre of Paris from August '17 to June '18 for my year abroad. I have been a competitive rower for 7 years, and I am currently a member of Queens University Belfast Ladies Boat Club. I come from an Italian family, and so I have grown up with a love for Europe and European languages. I’d like to write about my year abroad for what it really is, and hopefully help someone who is planning to move here next year; no sugarcoating allowed!



Photo: Francesca Morelli
Francesca Morelli
Student blogger, BSc International Business with French