Job Implications of Studying Abroad

overseas business riskMany students have taken their educational pursuits one step farther – they have studied abroad.  In today’s global economy, this could ultimately have a long reaching impact on job opportunities.  Students who have studied abroad claim that it was fundamentally life changing for them giving them a different perspective of the world. It is important, however, to approach studying abroad as educational and not approach it like a tourist. The advantages of studying abroad in the job market appear to be somewhat intangible. If your study abroad includes learning another language fluently, jobs in the international market would be looking for a candidate that is bilingual or even trilingual.

Does studying abroad by itself make you a more competitive candidate for employment?  That remains to be seen. Completing a study abroad program can show that you can adapt to new environments, work outside your comfort zone, learn new things, work with people from different cultures, live and work independently. All of these are really valuable qualities and characteristics to possess. Employers like candidates who have them, but employers will not know you have them if you do not tell them you do through your resume, cover letters, conversations and interviews. They will not assume you have them just because you completed a study abroad program.

Choosing the right location for your study abroad can have a significant impact on your job opportunities. There are questions you should ask yourself if you are considering studying abroad. Will the program help you develop your foreign language skills?  Is the program related to your field of study? Do the credits you earn while studying abroad fulfill any of your degree requirements?  What interests do you have for this country and its cultures? How will this program help you explore your career options?

Many human resource managers claim that students who have had international experiences during their studies are more likely to enter work environments which have an international context.  And that bodes well in the 2013 job market that has enormous global implications. “Former students with international experience stated that 25% of their total work time was taken up by work that has an international context. This is significantly greater than the 15% spent by students who did not have international experience”.

A period of study abroad improves your chances on the job market. This is because as well as having had the experience of living in another country, you have also learned to think internationally.

Source: “The Campus Career Coach.” The Campus Career Coach. Web. 28 May 2013. “Study Abroad during Your Study.” Job Market. Web. 28 May 2013.

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