Taking the plunge – Elizabeth Makumbi

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Elizabeth-Makumbi_Main_SlideElizabeth Makumbi (picture supplied)

Although exciting and liberating, leaving the nest may be a frightful experience filled with plenty of uncertainty, doubt and fear. Fortunately, we live in a world that has provided us with easy access to information, and the traditional outlook on the types of careers we ought to follow, or the path we ought to undertake is shifting rapidly. Below, Elizabeth explores a variety of options that can be taken by young graduates that provide experience and ultimately lead to a fulfilling career…

In theory, we should all have a path which we wish to follow, and an adventure which we wish to undertake within the journey of our lives. Places far and wide that we can explore and inherently find “ourselves”. The world is our oyster, the sky is our limit – or so they say! For many, the privilege of traveling and seeing the world is only an untenable dream that may forever be encapsulated in their thoughts and imaginings. The lack of resources – particularly money, no suitor to travel with or the fear of being alone in an unknown land, cripples the everyday person from pursuing their dream of exploring the world.

It is not unusual for many of us to follow the path that has been carefully crafted out by our predecessors: We leave high school, where only a select few actually know what they want to study, whilst the rest of us wander, hoping it will eventually all make sense. In later years, we exit the safety and comfort of university, to discover that the world is in fact an even bigger, scarier and unstable place; believing that prospects and opportunities available are few. Soon thereafter, the craving for travel begins to creep in, yet the reality of the need to snatch a job and obtain the necessary funds to do so with ease is quickly restored. Through my own personal experience, I have discovered that there are, in fact, a myriad of avenues which we can take that can result in the ability of being able to have your cake and eat it. Accordingly, I have compiled a list of opportunities for travel and growth that new graduates may not have necessarily known to have existed:

  1. Obtain a Teaching English to Foreign Learners. There are a number of great companies out there that offer young learners the opportunity to become a certified teacher to students who speak a foreign language. Most of these companies offer an online course that takes a few months to complete, supplemented with a practical course. I would recommend doing a 120-140 hour course, as schools abroad are more prone to hire a person with more experience. Upon completion of the course, one is able to teach English to students in countries such as China, South Korea, Argentina, France, and Italy to a name a few. Teaching abroad not only gives one the prospect of advancing their CV, but also allows one to travel the world whilst making a difference to the lives of those struggling to learn the much-needed English language.
  2. Apply for Graduate Programmes. There are various graduate programmes available that can help you get your foot in the door to success. Websites such as www.careersa.net have exposed many graduates to Graduate Programmes within companies that provide for the development of skills and mentorship strategies that will equip a graduate for the corporate world.
  3. Apply to do your Master’s degree. A Master’s degree is not necessarily a guarantee that your dream job will follow, but it will certainly put you a step above the rest. Applying for a Master’s programme at a foreign tertiary institution is a long and daunting process, but the tiresome efforts are worth the reward. Scholarships are generally awarded to those who have excelled academically in their field. However, other factors that contribute towards the success of one’s application include signs of strong leadership qualities, an interest in their community, and some form of indication that one will give back to society upon completion of the programme. Learning abroad is also a chance to understand and learn about another culture, and live in a different country. Travel and world experience is undoubtedly an invaluable asset that can contribute significantly towards one’s future endeavours.
  4. For more adventure, apply for work on a ship or a camp in the USA. There are a variety of programmes offered that allow you to travel and work on cruise ships and travel throughout Europe. Although it may involve a great deal of cleaning and manual labour, your parents will be impressed by your independence and ability to work hard for some remuneration, whilst bathing in the warm sun in Montenegro! You will all recall that in high school it was mandatory to go on team leadership camps as a class. Well, as opposed to being the student, you can now be the Camp Master and help students build rafts, learn to Rock Climb and make camp fires. All the experiences gained on this journey are worthwhile, and showcase your interests in extra curriculum activities on your CV – a huge bonus!
  5. Last but not least – apply for your dream job! When all hope may seem lost, it is at our darkest hours that we realise our true potential. You never know when someone is going to give you that break and believe in your potential and talents. Never doubt yourself and what you can achieve, as this will be your biggest obstacle to overcome. If you never try, you will never know and that opportunity may not be available again.

Take the plunge and live your dreams. Should all else fail; offer to provide your time to the company that you wish to work for, by requesting to undertake job shadowing for a week, or volunteering. The aim is not to find yourself with idle hands, but rather to make use of all the opportunities at your fingertips!

Elizabeth Makumbi
Age: 24
Candidate Attorney – Webber Wentzel
Credentials: Bachelor of Laws (LLB); University of Pretoria



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