Studying abroad can be a career-defining experience. After immersing yourself in a new culture, you walk away with skills that set you apart in the job market. Don’t take our word for it! Hear from employers their advice for making the most of your intern or study abroad experience.
Show You're Adaptable
“Many employers are international, and if you’ve had a semester or some time abroad that’s a good thing. It will show that you can operate and do what you need to do in a different environment. There is virtually no academic field that we have at the University of California—and we have every academic field—that doesn’t relate or couldn’t benefit from some time abroad.”
Identify the Skills You Develop Abroad
“The ability to communicate effectively is by far the most valuable skill I brought home from my time abroad. In Barcelona, the language barrier created challenges. In running a business, you’re constantly up against communication breakdowns with suppliers, distributors, accounts, customers, stakeholders…the list goes on and on. But the ability to clearly, concisely, and effectively communicate with these partners on a daily basis is key to running a successful business, and I cannot imagine doing what I do without it.”
Take Courses Relevant to Your Future Career
“At IES Abroad, I took Introduction to Luxury Brand Management that is, to this day, one of my absolutely favorite courses I have ever taken. Building a lasting brand takes a ton of well-thought-out strategy, and I gained a new perspective on branding from this course. To be a successful businessman or woman, I think understanding different cultures and having an open mind is key. Having the chance to live abroad encourages someone to step outside of their comfort zone, and see things from a different perspective.”
Learn Another Language While Experiencing Other Cultures
“To be successful in our increasingly interconnected global business world, my advice to students is to take advantage of any opportunity to experience other cultures, be it via study abroad programs, international travel, or hosting foreign exchange students here at home. Learning foreign languages is integral to that process. The more students can broaden their college experience by interacting with people from other parts of the globe, the more prepared they will be for the global business world.
Electing classes that address international topics and getting involved in international clubs on campus is another way to increase exposure to the world beyond the United States. In my experience, however, the best way to truly gain a global perspective is to live abroad. It is difficult to gain a truly global mindset unless you leave your familiar and comfortable surroundings and immerse yourself in a foreign country.”
Prepare How to Professionally Speak About Your Study Abroad Experience
“When returning home from a whirlwind semester, summer, or stint abroad, the simple question ‘How was your study abroad trip?’ often proves itself to be complex when answering to your parents, friends, or teachers. After all, summarizing an experience that likely left you speechless a time or two isn’t easy. So on you go, rattling off memories of good food and laughter, captivating sites, and interesting new people.
And while your best friend is eager to hear all of your exciting stories, considering how you may present your experience to a future employer in an interview is important. Here are some tips for marketing your study abroad experience professionally:
Get ready to launch your career with study abroad, and read more career advice in our e-book, Making the Most of Study Abroad: A Guide for the Career-Minded Student.