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Postcard of the Week: Vive les Vacances!

Vive les vacances postcard in the sand

         Bonjour! Today’s Postcard of the Week comes from la belle France: Vive les Vacances! I am doing just that in France, at this very moment. I’m currently on holiday in the countryside in Midi-Pyrénées, a region I don’t think I’ve ever visited before (at least that I can remember). My French holidays as a little girl were spent in Aquitane, on the Atlantic coast near Bordeaux.

          Academic summer holidays used to be an absolute blessing. None of my friends my age now enjoy long spells of summer holidays, except for the odd friend who’s become a teacher, and I seriously miss it. One piece of advice I have for current students (which is potentially not great career advice): you have the whole of the rest of your life to work, there will be plenty of time for that. Enjoy your summer holidays and travel as much as you can, you can do all the internships you like some other time. But not when the sun is shining and the world awaits you. Take looooong trips of 2-months or even 3-months. At no other point in your life will it be so easy to grab a backpack, throw in some belongings and hit the road. During my 4-year degree I spent three summers abroad exploring Europe and perfecting my languages, and I spent one summer working on my career in the UK. I worked solid 6-day weeks simultaneously holding down an unpaid internship and a paid bar job, as well as a 1-month International Relations course in London. I don’t regret it, as that internship directly affected my success in finding a graduate job, but it’s not exactly a memorable summer for me. Travel as far and as widely as you can! Once you start working, you won’t have the freedom.

But for now, if you are on holiday, then Vive les Vacances! Where have you spent your summer holidays this year or what plans do you have coming up?


  1. Good advice Virginia. Of course one could combine the two, find a job which offers an element of travel. In my profession (civil engineering) there’s huge potential for working overseas, this as a result of the many projects currently in progress together with a worldwide shortage of qualified engineers (and it pays well!). We also finished work early (retired by accident!) whilst still young enough to gad about the planet, means we can travel outside of high-season and not worry too much about cost. Had a couple of weeks in Hong Kong this year as a preparatory trip for moving back. Happy travels all !


    • Jobs involving travel are obviously the dream, but are becoming harder to find in my opinion. It’s great that we have so much technology and can communicate with any colleague/office/client anywhere in the world (and it’s much better for the environment too of course) but it means less international travel jobs available! At least that’s my experience so far. I’ve been lucky in my career so far to have quite a lot of travel in the last 2 years, and fingers crossed that continues…


  2. I was having this exact conversation with some students this week! They are all excited to start work and get away from school. I just said, “No. Enjoy your summers, reading breaks, and Christmas holidays. You don’t have that freedom once you are in the working world.” Oh to be a student again.


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