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What To Do This Summer: Abroad, US, and at Home

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Chapel Hill chapter.

With the school year wrapping up, discussions of summer plans are abuzz; some are sticking around for a summer session or two, some are going abroad, and some have glamorous internships. However, my summer plans include working a part-time job at home with a virtual internship. I’m feeling just a bit jealous, but there’s nothing wrong with using the summer to complete smaller goals. While most of these tips apply to those travelling this summer, you can definitely save this for later, when you do score your dream internship/vacation.

1.  Research the city, know the culture and be respectful.

Whether you’re travelling abroad or to a new city in the U.S., understanding the culture of where you’re going is so important. My friend Noelle is going to Italy for the summer, since her sister landed a job there, but travelling is nothing new for her. She’s been numerous places abroad, and is no stranger to big cities. In her research of the country and prior experience, she knows that the men are forward, so that won’t catch her off guard.

I can’t stress how important it is to be respectful of different cultures. For example, if you’re trying a new dish that is native to the country, don’t scream “EW!” and write it off. Besides being close-minded, it’s completely rude and unnecessary. If you really don’t want to try it, politely say no instead (although who knows, you could be missing out on something awesome).

Another friend is leaving Chapel Hill for New York City after getting hired at what seems like a dream job (we’ll make it one day, ladies), and he’s no stranger to the city. Some practical advice he has is to bike– it’s faster than public transportation and a car. Since he’s only gone up there for business, it was strange for him to . Here’s a beautiful quote to fuel your aspirations, if you hope to make it to NYC someday.

“It’s a culture of speed. On a proverbial and literal level, it’s a city built on speed. It’s run by fast thinkers, its streets lined with fast walkers, and air filled with fast talkers. In tandem with speed is presentation. It’s the city of advertising, fashion, and overall outward appearances. Good or bad, it’s a world of its own.”

2. Don’t be afraid to explore, but be aware of your surroundings.

Many people don’t have the means to travel, so make the most of it! Research attractions, ask locals where their favorite places to go are–have fun in a new place and get to know the area.

3. Use your foreign language skills.

My friend Claire’s parents are European, so she’s travelled there to visit relatives multiple times. Since she is an English and French double major, she has a fair knowledge of French and practices when she’s abroad in France and Belgium. At first, she said, it’s awkward but you get more comfortable with it and have good conversations. Be confident and use your language skills often!


I can’t stress this enough, you guys. Whether you’re working an internship or just vacationing, take advantage of your position. It’s a long shot that the nice old man who runs the gelato stand on the sidewalk is the grandfather of your dream company’s CEO, but hey, you never know. This is just one of my life philosophies, be as nice to as many people as you can because why not, but honestly, you never know how people you meet can affect your career! If you have a hard time emulating a kind demeanor, just remember to smile and be polite to the people you meet. Having a business card is a professional way to give your name and contact information to important people, so definitely consider printing some up to keep in your bag.

5. Make the most of the time you’re given.

Once you’re a postgrad, when will you have a solid three months to learn a new skill, get in shape, or travel? My roommate Samantha stresses how important it is to make the most of this time, and her summer plans are to take a course at her local university and volunteer at either a local hospital or a Ronald McDonald House. Since she wants to go into the medical field, volunteering at the hospital will help her in the long run, and she suggests others to the same– do something from which you learn skills essential to your field.

Summer break is a beautiful thing, and it’s painful imagining a time where we won’t have one. So, if you can help your future self out through gaining some career skills, great, but do what makes you happy with this time and enjoy! We won’t have it forever.

Karishma Patel is a sophomore Journalism-Editing and Graphic Design major at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She is also on the pre-medicine track.
Megan McCluskey is a recent graduate from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a B.A. with Distinction in Journalism and Mass Communication, and a second major in French. She has experience as a Campus Correspondent and Contributing Writer for Her Campus, a Public Relations Consultant for The V Foundation, an Editorial Assistant for TV Guide Magazine and Carolina Woman magazine, a Researcher for MTV, and a Reporter and Webmaster for the Daily Tar Heel. She is an obsessive New England Patriots and Carolina basketball fan, and loves spending time with her friends and family (including her dogs), going to the beach, traveling, reading, online shopping and eating bad Mexican food.