Market Yourself, Study Abroad!

By Alicia Deily

Studying abroad can be the most incredible experience of your life, allowing you to gain new experiences, knowledge and friendships. It can also help you land your dream job. Whether you have studied abroad in the past or your thinking about it for the future, the skills and qualities you gain during your stay are in high demand by employers. Today’s jobs often require business travel, international communication and a broad knowledge base. Therefore, it makes a lot of sense that international experience would be highly valued in the workplace. Here are some of the top marketable skills that employers are looking for that studying abroad can provide.

Cross Cultural Communication- Students who have studied abroad are more likely to have an awareness and understanding of cultural differences. This is a useful trait in today’s globalized marketplace where companies are often communicating with offices and clients abroad. Foreign language skills along with knowledge of other business cultures are highly valued.

Flexibility- Traveling in general requires a great deal of flexibility and living in another country takes that to the next level. For example, the host university may have a completely different grading policy than the one a student is used to and they must adapt in order to be successful. On the job, employers expect that the applicant will bring that same kind of flexibility to their work.

Independence– There’s nothing that says independence to employers like having traveled to a foreign country to study or work. Employers will often be more impressed if a student went abroad by themselves versus with a group or with friends. This shows that you will be able to learn on the job easily and work on your own without needing constant supervision.

Confidence- This is one of the most important traits that a student gains from study abroad. After navigating a new culture and living amongst the locals, students gain the confidence needed to tackle a variety of obstacles on the job and in life in general. The ability to live outside of your comfort zone, meet new people and function in a completely different culture all build confidence.

As someone who spent a year abroad studying and interning, I can say that I have greatly improved in all of these areas. If you have already gone abroad be sure to emphasize these skills during your interview and on the job. If you haven’t gone abroad yet, be sure to stop by the study abroad office and visit the Lasell study abroad site for more information.

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