Studying abroad is a life changing experience. It impacts your life in so many different ways, from academically to personally. Living abroad removes you from your comfort zone and makes you more independent, adaptable, confident and open-minded. These newly acquired traits not only help your personal development, but can also advance your career possibilities. Here are a few ways studying abroad can help you.
On your resume…
Study abroad should definitely be included somewhere on your resume. Including the experience on your resume will give you a competitive advantage over other applicants. Depending on how relevant your experience is to your overall career objectives, you will either put it in the Education section or the Experience section of your resume. Here is a possible example:
|JOHN CABOT UNIVERSITY Rome, Italy
Study Abroad Participant with SAI Programs January 2015 – May 2015
Completed a semester taking business, language, and history courses while living in Rome, Italy.
With your elevator pitch…
An elevator pitch is an essential part of your career search. It should always be your automatic response to, “Tell me about yourself” or what you say when you want to impress that upper level manager in an elevator. This one-minute speech should be packed with your experiences, accomplishments and goals for the future. Mentioning your study abroad experience during your elevator pitch will show that your college experience was well rounded. Also be prepared with more specific examples of how study abroad helped you developed a professional skill. For example, you could demonstrate how you became more flexible and self-sufficient by discussing the challenges of navigating the public transportation system. This is far more impressive than simply saying your time abroad was “amazing! So fun…it changed my life!”
In an interview…
Interviewers usually ask you to tell them about yourself, this is where you begin with your elevator pitch, to begin the interview. They will ask follow-up questions like, “Can you tell me more about your study abroad experience” and “Can you tell me about a time that you faced a challenge and how you handled it while abroad?” To prepare for the interview, you should come up with answers to these and similar questions. It is always better to include examples in your answers to demonstrate how you developed the skills you are claiming to have. If you want to highlight your improved language skills, bring up a time you had a great conversation with a local in their language. To feature your adaptability and professional competency, you could mention a time when your travel plans went awry and you had to solve the problem using your analytical skills.
Throughout your career…
Studying abroad will impact your professional career by changing you as a person. During your time in your host country, you will gain an appreciation and knowledge about other cultures. This newfound understanding will lead to an increase in self-awareness and confidence. The personal development and growth gained throughout the study abroad experience is the most beneficial reason to go abroad. Additionally, you can hone your foreign language skills, which is becoming increasingly valuable in the globalizing business world. Finally, the networking possibilities are endless. Every professor, friend and travel companion you meet becomes part of your network. More career opportunities become available to you, the larger your professional and personal networks are.
University of South Carolina
I spent the spring semester of my junior year in Rome, Italy studying at John Cabot University. While there, I spent my days wandering the streets of Rome, eating the most delicious food, and experiencing the history that surrounded me. I traveled to eight different countries but that was only the beginning of a lifelong adventure around the world. My study abroad experience was made extra special by the on-site SAI staff who helped me every step of the way, from booking train trips to taking me to the doctor. I am forever thankful that I had the opportunity to study abroad and to live in Rome for four months of my life.