In today’s economy it is getting harder and harder for recent college graduates to differentiate themselves from the herd. Despite the fact that potential employers see application after application with a strong GPA, solid test scores, and positive recommendations, though, there is one thing you can do to help yourself stand out: study abroad. That’s right, studying abroad is not just about having a fun adventure – although, of course, it can be – it can also help your chances when you enter the job market. Here are the top 5 reasons why studying abroad can help your career:
1. Language Skills
Even if your classes are in your native language, immersing yourself in a second one by living abroad has been proven to be the most effective way to learn (or polish) the must-have language skills needed in modern international business.
2. Communication Skills
There is more to getting your point across than the words you use, however, and employers know that applicants with study abroad experience can work with people from different backgrounds – be they in the classroom or in the boardroom – a crucial skill in today’s global economy.
3. Independent Thinking
Because studying abroad, by definition, means leaving home – and the usual support network it entails – behind, employers know that students with international experience are more capable of making well-reasoned decisions on their own.
4. Multi-Cultural Exposure
Because more and more business is being done across national borders (but less and less time is being dedicated to on-the-job-training), hiring managers are eager to find employees who already have hands-on experience in a particular international market. With such experience employees can begin to contribute to bottom-line from day one.
5. International Experience
The piece de resistance, of course, is international work experience. Above and beyond the normal practical experience such opportunities impart, internships and jobs abroad are proof positive that you have developed the skills listed above and can use them in a useful context.