Studying Abroad Can Give You An Important Edge

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This article is one of a series of articles appearing on SayCampusLife from time to time discussing studying abroad.

The World

Attending and finishing college can open doors for you, doors not typically accessible for the person who does not have a college degree. Some think that a bachelor’s degree is an automatic ticket to a job post graduation, but that isn’t true — you still need to market yourself to prospective employers.

When preparing to interview, your resume will be scrutinized by hiring personnel who will be looking for certain qualifications that make you a stand out candidate. A high GPA; academic awards; and extracurricular activities such as debate club, sports, and part-time employment are all pluses. However, if you want to stand head and shoulders above the crowd, then a semester or longer spent studying abroad can give to you an important edge over other job candidates. Let’s take a look at some of the advantages of international study.

Why You Should Consider Taking Your College Studies Abroad

We live in a shrinking world where so many cultures that never had much to do with each other are now in regular contact. Businesses in Brazil are working with factory workers in Malaysia, Chinese tourists are visiting Canada, and the European Union is pulling together scores of cultures and people groups. We’re under a “new world order” of sorts and the student who responds accordingly has some important advantages for them including:

Studying abroad can expand cultural awareness. You’ve studied Mayan culture, but visiting the ruins in Guatemala, Belize and Mexico is the only way to fully grasp the impact that this empire had on the Americas long ago. A company who does business in Latin America can your studies there as a plus.

Studying abroad can strengthen your language skills. Americans can no longer get away with speaking English only. So many immigrants know two or more languages and business people understand that having conversations in their client’s mother tongue can be vastly much more useful and help build bridges of understanding. Besides, can you really grasp all of the nuances of French without spending a semester in Paris?

Studying abroad can make you a well rounded person. When an employer looks at two finalists for a job who have equal skills and intelligence, the person with international experience is often given the edge. For example, both candidates may speak Italian, but that semester spent in Sicily meant you immersed yourself in the culture, built local contacts and you have a heart for the people.

Studying abroad can lead to better opportunities and higher pay. Don’t underestimate your semester spent abroad — the fact that you studied abroad, makes you a good candidate to work abroad. Employees who are willing to work outside of the US are paid handsomely and can move up in their career faster and further than the person who does not have international experience.

Of course, you’ll want to make sure that you can pay for your semester abroad as expenses can prohibit some people from taking that important step. Look for financial aid and check your student loan options as well as investigate scholarship opportunities. Finally, check with your school counselor to make sure that you will receive full credit for your semester abroad.

Studying abroad can give you an important edge in life — will you pursue that avenue?

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Categories: Personal Advice