Choosing to study abroad rewards international students with an array of benefits. One of the most significant is the positive impact this experience will have on your future career. Aside from receiving an excellent education and creating memories that will last a lifetime, you’ll also gain skills employers look for and be able to take advantage of opportunities that will advance you in whatever career path you choose. If you’re curious about the ways your study abroad journey can benefit your career, keep reading!
1. Build a Global Network
International students studying abroad will not only make lifelong friends, but also establish global connections with a wide range of individuals. In addition to professors and other international students, you can also expect to meet academics and professionals in your field of study.
Building a network of global connections has proven to be beneficial for many students after they graduate and join the workforce, so make a conscious effort to network with these individuals in your host country. These connections can offer job opportunities, promotions, references, support, and mentorship down the road. Find meaningful and fun ways to get involved at your university or college and network with as many people as you can while studying abroad.
Tip: Remember, the world is a lot smaller than it may seem, so never burn bridges—you never know who will be sitting across from you at a job interview.
2. Become Comfortable with the Uncomfortable
For many of us, our comfort zone is limited to our hometown, family, and friends. When you choose to study abroad, you’re forced out of your comfort zone. International students must learn to adapt to a new environment, culture, and language. It’s normal for you to feel uncomfortable. But there’s much to gain from these situations—especially as you’re experiencing them on your own. As a result, international students quickly become comfortable with the uncomfortable.
Your career will inevitably be filled with similar uncomfortable moments. Having experienced a few of these during their time abroad, international students become better-equipped to respond well. This will give students like you an edge in the workforce, as you may be better prepared to stay calm and collected in high-pressure circumstances. This experience can lead to promotions to higher positions, as these roles usually require employees who can cope with high-stress situations and more responsibility.
3. Enhance Your Communication Skills
Regardless of whether you move to a country that speaks the same language as you or not, choosing to study abroad enhances your communication skills. Integrating into a new environment helps you to listen more carefully and pick up on interpersonal communication cues to build relationships. Ultimately, studying abroad can teach you how to communicate more effectively with people of diverse backgrounds.
Throughout your career, you will work with people from around the world and all walks of life. Your time abroad will equip you with the communication skills to successfully collaborate with your colleagues, and complete your job at the highest level. Quality communication can help eliminate avoidable misunderstandings and promote better job performance. The ability of international students to effectively communicate in the workplace makes them great managers, as these skills create strong teams and increase the overall productivity of the organization.
4. Broaden Your Perspective
International students engage with new perspectives during their time studying abroad. Students will be introduced to various cultural perspectives and ideas that they might not be exposed to otherwise. Through this experience, students can grow to better understand their own beliefs and ways of thinking compared to those around them. This can inspire students to be more open to altering their views on various topics and see the world through a different lens.
The ability to appreciate different perspectives in the workforce can help you better understand your coworkers’ thoughts, feelings, and actions. To deal with employee conflict effectively, you must be able to see the other person’s point of view. Additionally, effectively merging insights from varied perspectives will help you bring forward innovative and creative ideas to better your organization as a whole. Embodying this skill can establish you as a leader at your company and help you stand out from the crowd when applying for management positions.
5. Develop Resilience and Independence
Studying abroad is one of the most incredible learning experiences that anyone can have. And just like any learning experience, there are going to be challenges and failures along the way. International students learn to overcome these barriers and become more resilient as a result.
Practicing resilience and independence in any career will benefit you enormously. Employers love employees who can independently carry out their jobs and learn and grow from their mistakes. Being able to receive constructive criticism is critical to advancing in your career. Because international students have already developed this skill, they’ll be in a solid position to move up the corporate ladder.
Choosing to study abroad can benefit your career tremendously. It can give you a competitive edge in the workforce and shape you into the type of individual that organizations will jump to hire!