Monday, December 1, 2014

Career Benefits to Studying Abroad


View of Canberra, Australia from Mt. Ainslie Lookout

In todays diverse world, international experience is something that can really make you stand out to employers. How exactly does study abroad put a competitive edge on your application? Here are few things that make you stand out to employers because you studied abroad and a few things to keep in mind about your study abroad experience when job searching:

1) Knowledge of a Foreign Language: If you study in a country that speaks another language, you will come back to the US and have knowledge of a new language. With our diverse world, it is always great to have knowledge of a second language to make yourself stand out during internship or job searches.
 
2)  Cross-Cultural Interpersonal Skills: Learning how to interact and work with people who are different from you is another skill you will gain while studying abroad that will add a competitive edge to what you can offer a compnay. No matter where you go, you will be interacting with people from a different culture on a daily basis, and this will improve your interpersonal skills. Employers will love seeing that you have gained some experience interacting with different cultures!

3) Graduate School Applications: If you are looking into continuing your education after undergrad, studying abroad can help with those applications too! Graduate school admissions committees will see that you studied abroad and know that you gained a variety of skills while abroad such as adapting to an unfamiliar environment, learning from different teaching styles, communicating in diverse groups, and recognize you have a willingness to challenge yourself.

4) International Internships: Any work experience is valuable to a potential employer. An international internship or job can offer even more benefits and make you even more competitive to a potential employer than a domestic internship. These benefits include awareness of diverse business practices and customs, exposure to global issues facing your industry, and the opportunity to networks with professionals from across the world, just to name a few.

5) Flexibility and Adaptability: These are two skills employers will love to see! I have answered many interview questions regarding these skills by talking about my study abroad experiences. Situations will arise while abroad that require you to be flexible.  Being in a new environment and country requires extreme adaptability. Both of these skills will make employers happy and make you stand out in the job or internship search!

6) Putting Your Study Abroad Experience on Your Resume: Now that you have this awesome experience, its important to know how to market it to potential employers. Be sure to think about where to place it on your resume and what to include. Regardless of where you place it on your resume (under Education, International Experience, etc.), dont just put the program name, country, and dates you went. Let employers know why your experience is on there and what you learned! Some action verbs that might be useful to explain why study abroad is on your resume are adapted, immersed, lived, organized, overcame, translated, and visited. For more about how to include study abroad on your resume, check out http://www.gooverseas.com/blog/study-abroad-resume-tips and http://www.salisbury.edu/careerservices/students/resumes/MarketExperience/StudyAbroad.html.

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