How Study Abroad Makes You Employable

Nelson Lewis Study Abroad

As cliche as it sounds, the study abroad experience really is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.  It helps you expand your view of the world, you become more independent and you learn more than you ever thought possible beforehand.  Not only that, but it looks great on a resume.  Nonetheless, putting everything you learned into words on a piece of paper can be a difficult.  But not all is lost: I recently came across an article that helps explain to employers the benefits of your time abroad, as well as what you gained from the experience.

Going through a study abroad application and navigating the tricky world of international travel visas requires diligence and persistency.  With so many various interviews and forms to fill out, you have to be not only determined, but also extremely self-disciplined, which serves as evidence to employers that you’re not afraid of committing to something and can see projects through to the end.  In addition, dealing with all of that paperwork means that you need to be organized, an essential skill in effectively doing ones’ job.  There are countless details that you need to plan around before you can board that plane and study abroad, such as obtaining a visa, finding a place to live and buying health insurance, all of which require careful preparation and time management skills to complete, revealing to employers that you’re both efficient and detail-oriented.

Sure, it’s a widely-used cliche, but we live in a rapidly globalizing world.  Studying abroad and constantly being around people from other countries gives you valuable intercultural communication skills, which are extremely valuable to employers, considering the modern workforce’s diversity.  Culture shock can be pretty tough, and moving into a new city in a foreign country means you need to adapt to cultural differences and effectively deal with change.  It also tests your problem-solving abilities, forcing you to be resourceful and creative wherever you are.  These are extremely valuable skills for employers, since today’s society is evolving at a breakneck pace, meaning employees need to be able to quickly adjust to new situations in unfamiliar environments.  Living among a new culture and interacting with people from various countries helps you gain different perspectives on the world around you, making you more observant of cultural differences and world issues, which gives you an ability to think about the big picture, which is a valuable asset when working on an international or large-scale project.

The study abroad experience offers numerous opportunities that you would never have a chance to experience at home, such as joining a new organization, collaborating with others or working somewhere unique.  Participating in enriching extra experiences shows a willingness to learn, while also providing you with valuable experience that can be applied to the job that you’re interested in, allowing you to stand out from the competition.  Every experience you have while studying abroad ultimately helps you learn more about yourself, as you get to know your leadership style, conflict resolution skills, strengths and weaknesses, as well as how you prepare for the unexpected.  Through a better understanding of yourself, you can learn to work better with others.