The professional benefits of studying abroad

studying abroad

It’s no secret that studying abroad has some great benefits. Immersing yourself in a foreign culture, gaining new experiences, and making new friends are only a few. However, beyond the personal benefits gained, studying abroad can also set you up for a more successful career and better round you out professionally.

Students who study abroad are nearly twice as likely to find employment within 12 months of graduation when compared to college graduates who have not. A quarter of study abroad students, according to the same study, were also paid higher starting salaries than their counterparts.

In an interview with CNN, even Michelle Obama urges college students to study or work in another country, stating, “The benefits of studying abroad are almost endless… it is going to make you more marketable in the United States. More and more companies are realizing that they need people with experience around the world.”

But how exactly does studying abroad help you find professional success? The following are just a few benefits that studying abroad will lend to your career.

I. Learning a new language

Whether you’re already learning a language or not, living in a non-English speaking country is one of the best ways to learn one. You’ll gain first-hand experience speaking with the locals and have the chance to flex your communication skills with people from other cultures. Learning another language will also improve your writing skills in general, an added benefit you may not have considered.

II. Developing transversal skills

According to the Erasmus Student Network, an average of ninety-two percent of employers prefer transversal skills in their employees, which include communication, flexibility and collaboration. These skills are not only learned, but strengthened while abroad as you learn to develop communication skills in another culture. Working with different people in a new environment also promotes better collaboration skills that can translate directly into a corporate workplace.

Through international experience you can also focus on developing more unique skills such as strong cross-cultural communications, leadership skills and familiarity with international standards, laws, and regulations. Bonus points if you study in a country with an emerging economy, as working in an evolving market or industry is a strong experience to have on your resume.

III. Expanding your professional network

Studying abroad will change up more than just your classes. A new university means new students and perhaps most importantly, new professors. Just like at universities stateside, these professors are usually experienced professionals in the field that have a wide network of people in the industry.

Ask them if they would be willing to mentor you for the semester so you can learn more about what the industry looks like in another country. Joining relevant clubs and organizations is another way to expand your professional network abroad so make sure to scope some out while you’re there!

There’s no doubt that there are many benefits to studying abroad. While it may not be for everyone, living in another country for a semester is a great way to develop professionally as well as personally.

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