Placements: an international student’s perspective

This blog post was submitted by Xian Huang who is currently on a marketing placement with Alitex in Petersfield.



I was quite nervous before the whole placement started. The main reason relates to language. It is always a bit tricky for an international student to work in a circumstance where you need to constantly speak your second language. Apart from some volunteering experience, I haven’t had any other working experience before. It is a totally whole new dimension for me. Besides, the job description may actually make things worse, as it gives you such a lots of tasks on an A4 paper, and I was so worried that I couldn’t accomplished the task on that list.

Alitex Placement

In the office!


I am working as a data analyst, and for this role, chasing figures cannot be avoided. It took me quite a while to be comfortable with chasing managers for their sales figures and other data, but once I realized that people saw me as a colleague and not a student, I found it much easier. By constantly working with data related tasks and also self-study at home, I am now quite confident with data analysis and I know it will be really useful for my last year of study and for my future career. Another thing worried me as an international student was phone calls. At the beginning two months, I didn’t have the responsibility of taking phone calls (our company culture is to encourage everyone in the front office to pick up the phone if the receptionist is busy). I remember that I was so nervous answering my first phone call and I felt quite frustrated if I don’t get the information right. I was afraid that I would annoy people by saying pardon a lot. But now, thanks to lots of practise, I am very happy to take phone calls, and I am more confident to deal with various people with different accents and their talking speed.

The colleagues I am working with are from various age groups. It is not like in the class or uni that you study with the people that are same age like yours. For me, I feel it is quite eye opening, especially in a country with a completely different culture.

I like my role, more precisely I like the working environment I am in. I have been involve in the activity like Chelsea Flower Show, a Company Away Day (we did mulching in Kew garden)…etc. I regularly have some social life with my colleagues. We have a team exercise class in the staff room every Wednesday and play badminton every Thursday. There is a great balance between working life and fitness here.

Away day Kew Gardens

On a company away day at Kew Gardens

You can view Xian’s placement video to find out about her day to day role at Alitex:

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