It was not my intention to live and work in the UK. All I wanted was to gain employment with an overseas company that has branches in Thailand after the completion of my study. My intention to work part-time was not only to enhance my CV, but also to give the company my best work efforts and ask to be relocated back home at the end of my study.
During my study, I was allowed to work 20 hours a week and full-time during the summer. I first worked part-time (2 days a week) as a bar staff in JD Wetherspoon. Then, I got a new part-time job in Food & Beverage department at the US-based international hotel operating in the UK while I was working toward my MSc in Management at the University (London branch). The hotel has a very good internship programme for graduates. I chose this hotel because it is an international company with outlets in Thailand.
As I already worked part-time for the company, my line manager knew that I was a hard-working, reliable and responsible person. He relied on me to open the hotel restaurant and assisted supervisors to run the restaurant during the Christmas period. It was a success. So, I decided to approach him and asked him about the programme. It was possible for me back then as things were easier because the government allowed overseas students to obtain a post-study work visa to gain an employment in the UK. However, I am now holding an indefinite leave visa as I have been working in the UK for several years.
After several great years, I joined a cross-training programme. I earned another qualification in Beauty Therapy last year. I am now working in spa and leisure department at a supervisory level.
My advice to Thai students is to focus on their study as that is why they are coming to the UK. If they can, they should improve their time management skills and work part-time, but not in Thai restaurants. It is not bad to work in a Thai restaurant, but there are fewer chances to improve English skills and gain insight and understanding about the Western way of working. They have to make the most out of their study-life experience in the UK by applying what they have learned in class into practice in a real workplace. That is the beauty of coming to study in the UK. There are a lot of opportunities. It depends on individuals and how they are going to utilise those opportunities. Just to keep up hope and spirit of new students, I was not that smart in classroom. My grades were not high, but I passed all my assignment papers and exams! I was just an average student.
For students to seek employment opportunities after the completion of their study, there are a good list of firms that offer internship programmes. I found out about employment opportunities from different companies’ websites and graduate job fairs. Employment opportunities in the UK might be limited now, but students can also enhance their CVs by working part-time for overseas companies which have branches in Thailand and East Asia.