Studying abroad has the power to drastically alter the course of one’s life. Interacting with diverse individuals, deepening your understanding of foreign affairs, and adjusting life values and goals all leave a profound footprint on your life. It also gives you a competitive advantage in the job market. According to IIE studies, students who go abroad are employed sooner than those who do not. These enhanced skills often lead alumni down the following career paths:
1. WORKING ON CAMPUS
Many students are looking for work as soon as they return home. Someone who has studied abroad has a global perspective that many faculty and staff value. I landed my first on-campus position through a faculty member who recommended that I apply as an Alumni Assistant to promote study abroad programs. Many staff and faculty see students who’ve studied abroad as good role models and mentors to students.
2. TEACHING ABROAD
Teaching English as a second language, or teaching in your field of study, is another appealing avenue when choosing an international career. It allows for another cultural immersion experience while pursuing something you are passionate about. Students who study abroad understand the challenges and difficulties confronted when learning another language. In this role, former study abroad students can empathize with their English language learners and be effective and inspiring teachers. Also, being from another country, you provide a rich perspective.
3. ADVISING & STUDENT AFFAIRS
Many students, myself included, become passionate about the importance of study abroad and want to support others with their journeys. We like to learn how staff in the international offices entered the field and often think that international education could be the right avenue for our own careers. Many end up coordinating study abroad programs or advising international students at universities and other companies. Student’s who’ve studied abroad are products of their experience and are excellent role models for students. They appreciate and value other cultures and believe in the mission and philosophy of international education and how it benefits individuals.
4. INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS AND ENTREPRENEURSHIP
Extensive travel abroad opens the door to multi-national companies that seek knowledgeable and sophisticated employees who can interact comfortably with clients from around the world. Study abroad gives an edge to students who want to launch their own international business because they are more attuned to customs, language, and customer demands. Study abroad creates individuals who are proficient in multiple languages, culturally sensitive, and quick to adjust to change and challenges. These are vital assets when working with an international clientele.
5. ALL THE OTHERS!
Regardless of your chosen field – biology, liberal arts, or communications – studying abroad provides transferable skills that employers value and need. The trick is articulating the experiences clearly. Be prepared to show how these experiences will benefit their particular company or organization. What sets study abroad students apart? Their first-hand experiences working and interacting with others who have diverse perspectives. Such experiences allow students to expand problem-solving skills, and enhance communication (perhaps even in another language).