From getting paid to priceless international experience, there are lots of reasons to apply for a placement year at Limerick Institute of TechnologyKoay Jin June gives us the lowdown of the pros and cons of taking part…

In August 2015 I left Malaysia to further my education in Ireland. I decided to go against the grain and do my placement first before entering into the academic year at Limerick IT. This blog aims to shed some light on some of the pros and cons of placement abroad for those who are still yet to make the decision because I know choosing your first year abroad to work in a foreign country is not nearly as easy as it seems.

The pros

Looks good on your resume

International experience is a huge asset to your future career and it could just be that extra nudge to get you job after graduation. Future employees will be impressed by international experience that most other graduates in your position won’t have and the ability to work in another country is an extra bonus. It will also give you something additional to talk about during the interviews.

You get paid

You get paid for your placement (minimum wage in Ireland is €9.15/hour) and this can help to reduce your parents’ burden as you can earn at least €10,000 during your placement year. This can make living abroad more affordable as you will be earning a living.

Getting a unique experience in another country in priceless

Another mindset, another culture, another working environment – all of these make you develop not only as a professional but also as an individual. You gain independence and confidence by adapting, arranging everything and living by yourself.

Reduces the timeframe to get Chartered

You can apply for Society of Chartered Surveyors Ireland (SCSI) membership as a student surveyor and record your Assessment of Professional Competence (APC) while on your placement year. However, you are obliged to enrol with the Society as a trainee once you graduate and enter paid employment. You must do so within two years of graduating in order to use the recorded experience if you wish to work in Ireland. Upon successfully becoming a member of SCSI, you are also entitled to dual membership of Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) – the representative body for Chartered Surveyors worldwide.

Note: you may transfer your recorded experience during the placement year to RICS as a trainee if you are working outside the Republic of Ireland after graduation but it will be up to whatever RICS region you are in to decide if they would permit it.

The cons

It can be hard to find job

It can be hard to find a placement even when assistance is provided by your Program Leader. You may spend hours trawling the internet and writing covering letters and never get any reply from a company. If you do actually get a reply, you may then have a nerve-wracking phone interview via Skype. You might end up being employed two weeks before you fly.

Fewer holidays

Working placement is the only option that doesn’t involve academic holidays. So while your friends studying may be flying home for Christmas holidays, you may only have a few days off. Summer holidays don’t exist and you working through the summer when your friends are off on holidays or home can be tough.

Assignments and project workload

With all your work commitments throughout the day, staying focused for a long period can be difficult as your circumstances change. You will find it difficult to spend time on assignments or projects. In other words, you’ll need to be very good at juggling your time to balance between your work and college assignments.

Course is not recognised by Board of Quantity Surveyors Malaysia (BQSM)

The course is not accredited by BQSM which means you may not eligible for registration as a Registered Graduate Quantity Surveyor when you return home after completing the two year degree program in LIT. But I believe it is not the end of the story as you could still work in Malaysia and apply for RICS membership.

Check out the latest list of accredited programs by BQSM

At the end of the day, it is a personal choice that only you can make and I hope this information has helped you make your choice. If you have any question, please comment below.

If you are interested in studying in Ireland, visit the Education in Ireland website for more information.