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4 Ways Studying Abroad Can Advance Your Career

If you're a high school or college student interested in studying abroad, you're probably familiar with the more obvious "pros." You'll have the opportunity to explore a new place and culture, of course, and it's easy to see how broadening your horizon would lead to a wider, valuable new perspective. But did you realize that studying abroad could also help to advance your career? More and more employers are recognizing the benefits of studying abroad, and are actively seeking out candidates with study abroad experience. Here are four reasons why studying abroad can help advance your career.

1. You'll gain valuable skills and work experience.

If you're planning on studying abroad, you may be able to test out a career path while still pursuing your education by taking advantage of an intern abroad program. If your study abroad program doesn't offer this, joining a club or organization offered at the school you're studying at, or being involved in the campus "work-study" program will also provide you with the chance to learn valuable work skills you can leverage on your resume, which will help set you apart from other candidates during your job search.

Interning provides you with hands on experience before fully entering the work force. Moreover, internships allow you to learn and hone transferable skills to help you on your career path - critical thinking, analysis and communication skills, to name a few.

Joining and participating in clubs and organizations during your time abroad will paint a picture for future employers of how fully involved you'll be as an employee at their company.

Work-study programs are a great way to help you get past the initial hurdle of not having any proven skill set or experience when applying for jobs post-graduation. Gaining this experience while you're still a student puts you steps ahead of the curve.

2. Documenting your travels will help your resume.

Creating a travel blog that details your experience abroad showcases many desirable skills. For starters, it shows that you know how get a blog up and running, which demonstrates your web knowledge. Writing about your travels each day strengthens and shows off your written skills. Creating social media channels to correspond with your blog, or even a standalone Instagram or Twitter account detailing your time abroad shows that you know how to gain a social following. Social media skills are very desirable to employers, since many businesses and companies are discovering how useful these social platforms are when it comes to increasing awareness for their product and services. Being able to talk about a time when you grew a social following during an interview is extremely valuable.

3. Studying abroad shows future employers that you're adaptable.

Regardless of whether you're planning to study halfway around the world or in a brand new state, leaving your hometown to pursue a semester of education in a new location requires you to be adaptable. There are likely new customs to learn, as well as certain nuisances of your new state or country that you'll need to navigate. Not to mention, learning the new geography of your neighborhood, and figuring out how to get around.

When you're dropped into an unfamiliar place, it's necessary to learn and adapt. Such adaptability is highly valued by employers who likely expect you to fit into their environment and learn how they do things.

Interviewers love to ask potential candidates to talk about a time when they had to overcome a new challenge. Wouldn't it be great to tell a story about the time that you left your small midwestern hometown to spend a semester living and learning in New York City, or left the U.S. to immerse yourself in Spanish culture while studying in Valencia?

4. You'll deepen your network of contacts.

Studying abroad is a fantastic opportunity to build a much wider network of contacts. The people you meet while studying abroad could potentially be connections that will aid you in your career for future decades. Since your study abroad classmates will likely hail from all over, staying in touch may provide you with a potential connection if you're looking to work in another city or state after graduation. Not to mention, many professors who teach study abroad programs keep in touch with their students for years to come. It could very well be that your professor knows a former classmate looking to fill an entry-level role that you might be perfect for!

Studying abroad can absolutely help you stand out as a future job candidate. Prepare to benefit from the experience, and make sure you are able to convey how meaningful your time abroad was to prospective employers. Taking part in a study abroad program will give you a broader insight that will help you propel your career forward!

 

Crystal Marsh, Career Coach

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