Making the Most of Your Summer as a University Student

Make the most of your summer break as a university student! With our comprehensive guide, you can gain work experience, develop new skills, travel, earn extra money, and prepare for the next academic year.

Making the Most of Your Summer as a University Student
Photo by Yingchou Han / Unsplash

The long three-month summer break is a rare and valuable opportunity for UK university students. This extended period can be a time to relax and recharge, but it also presents a chance to enhance personal and professional growth.

By strategically using this time, students can gain valuable work experience, develop new skills, explore new cultures, earn extra money, and prepare for the upcoming academic year. Making the most of these months can set a solid foundation for future success.

Gain Work Experience

Importance of Work Experience

Work experience is crucial for building a strong CV and improving future job prospects. Employers look for candidates who have practical experience and can demonstrate their ability to apply theoretical knowledge in real-world settings. Work experience enhances employability and helps students develop professional skills, understand workplace dynamics, and build a network of industry contacts.

Types of Work Experience Opportunities

  • Internships (Paid and Unpaid)
    Internships are one of the best ways to gain relevant industry experience. Whether paid or unpaid, internships provide structured learning experiences and often involve significant responsibilities that can help students understand their chosen field better. Many universities and career services offer resources to help students secure internships in various sectors.
  • Part-time Jobs
    Part-time jobs are a great way to earn money while gaining work experience. Retail, hospitality, or administration positions can teach valuable customer service, time management, and teamwork skills. These jobs also offer flexibility, allowing students to balance work with other summer activities.
  • Volunteering
    Volunteering is a rewarding way to gain experience while giving back to the community. It offers opportunities to develop leadership, communication, and problem-solving skills. Volunteering can also demonstrate a commitment to social responsibility on a CV, which employers highly value.
  • Work Shadowing
    Work shadowing involves observing professionals in their daily roles to gain insights into specific careers. This experience can help students make informed career choices and understand the practicalities of different jobs. Work shadowing is often less time-consuming than internships and can be arranged more informally.

Develop New Skills

Learn a New Language

Learning a new language can significantly enhance employability and open up international career opportunities. It also broadens cultural understanding and communication skills. Many online platforms, such as Duolingo, Babbel, and Rosetta Stone, offer free or affordable language courses that can be completed at your own pace.

Take an Online Course

Online courses are convenient for acquiring new coding, graphic design, writing, or digital marketing skills. Websites like Coursera, Udemy, and Khan Academy provide various courses that can fit into any summer schedule. These courses often have certifications that can be added to a CV or LinkedIn profile.

Pick Up a New Hobby

Engaging in a new hobby can be both relaxing and fulfilling. Whether it's photography, cooking, painting, or playing a musical instrument, hobbies can enhance creativity and provide a productive way to spend free time. They can also lead to new skills and potentially even new career opportunities.

Travel and Cultural Experiences

Benefits of Traveling

Travelling offers numerous benefits, including exposure to new cultures, increased independence, and broadened perspectives. It can be a transformative experience, fostering personal growth, adaptability, and a deeper understanding of the world.

Budget Travel Tips for Students

Travelling on a student budget is possible with careful planning and smart choices. Tips include using student discounts, travelling during off-peak times, staying in hostels or budget accommodations, and using public transportation. Websites like Hostelworld and Student Universe can help find affordable travel options.

Volunteer Abroad Programs

Volunteering abroad combines travel with meaningful work. Programs like WWOOF (World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms), Projects Abroad, and International Volunteer HQ offer opportunities to volunteer in different countries, providing cultural immersion and valuable life experiences.

Study Abroad Opportunities

Many universities offer summer study abroad programs, allowing students to earn academic credits while experiencing a new country. These programs can enhance language skills, cultural understanding, and academic knowledge, making investments worthwhile.

Earn Extra Money

Part-time Jobs

Summer part-time jobs can provide a steady income stream. Common options include roles in retail, hospitality, and tutoring. Websites like Indeed and Gumtree can help find local job listings. These jobs not only help earn money but also build valuable work experience.

Freelance Gigs

Freelancing offers flexibility and the chance to earn money using writing, graphic design, web development, or social media management skills. Platforms such as Upwork, Fiverr, and Freelancer connect freelancers with clients seeking various services. Freelancing can also help build a portfolio of work and develop a network of professional contacts.

Become a Holiday Rep

Working as a holiday rep for travel companies can be an exciting way to spend the summer. It involves organizing activities and ensuring guests have a great holiday experience. Companies like TUI and Club Med often hire seasonal staff for these roles, offering a fun and engaging way to earn money while travelling.

Relax and Recharge

Importance of Work-Life Balance

Balancing work and leisure is crucial for maintaining mental and physical well-being. The summer break is an ideal time to relax and recharge, ensuring you return to university refreshed and ready to tackle new challenges. Taking time off to relax can prevent burnout and improve overall productivity.

Self-care Activities

Self-care activities such as exercise, meditation, and journaling can help reduce stress and improve overall well-being. Creating a daily routine that includes time for relaxation and hobbies can make a significant difference. Websites and apps like Headspace, Calm, and MyFitnessPal offer guided meditations, fitness routines, and wellness tips.

Spending Time with Family and Friends

Spending quality time with family and friends can strengthen relationships and provide emotional support. Organizing get-togethers, picnics, or trips can create lasting memories and a strong support network. Social connections are essential for emotional well-being and can provide a sense of belonging and happiness.

Prepare for The Next Academic Year

Get a Head Start on Reading Lists

Starting on your reading lists for the next academic year can ease the transition back into academic life. It helps you understand upcoming course material and reduces the workload during busy term time. Libraries and online resources can provide access to required readings.

Plan Out Schedules and Goals

Using the summer to plan your schedule and set academic and personal goals can lead to a more organized and productive year. Tools like planners, digital calendars, and goal-setting apps can assist in this process. Setting realistic and achievable goals can provide direction and motivation for the upcoming year.

Arrange Accommodation and Logistics

Ensuring your accommodation and other logistics are sorted before the new term starts can relieve stress. Confirming housing arrangements, purchasing necessary supplies, and planning your move can streamline your return to university. Early planning can also help secure better housing options and avoid last-minute hassles.


The three-month summer break is valuable for university students to grow personally and professionally. Students can make the most of this time by gaining work experience, developing new skills, travelling, earning money, relaxing, and preparing for the next academic year. Balancing productivity and relaxation is essential to avoid burnout and ensure a fulfilling summer. So, plan, set goals, and embrace summer opportunities to enrich your university experience and future career prospects.

By following this guide, students can ensure they use their summer break wisely, creating a foundation for success in their academic and professional lives.