Career Services: Maximizing the value of your Study Abroad experience

Career Services: Maximizing the value of your Study Abroad experience

By Marette Hahn

GCU Career Services

Your study abroad experience brings more value to you, your job search strategy and your potential employer than you may realize. By studying abroad, you can bring a multitude of skills, knowledge, tools and resources to a company that may not be found in others who did not matriculate outside the United States.

Study Abroad and Integrative Complexity

As career advisers, we often see students struggle with what to put on their resumés, usually overlooking incredibly valuable experience and qualities that set them apart from other candidates. It can be difficult determining what to include, but things that make you stand out in a positive light should be.

Study abroad experience is commonly omitted in resumés and job interviews. Some alumni and students don’t view it as professional experience. However, the fact that you studied abroad is just the tip of the iceberg – what is conveyed by that experience speaks volumes about what you can bring to a potential employer.

It’s no secret that the business world continues to be increasingly diverse. That means a lot of different things for employers, including the need to train, support and develop a diverse workforce, market to a distinct consumer base and effectively relate to a wide array of backgrounds. Organizations need people who can actively and positively participate in these ventures, preferably with experience working with diverse populations.

This is where your study abroad experience comes in. The fact that you have immersed yourself in another culture – not just visited for a short trip, but truly lived life abroad – sets you apart from your peers. Organizations will likely be attracted to your cross-cultural involvement because it means you can help them relate to a given market, client base or diverse workforce. In your time abroad, you have gained invaluable skills and a new way of looking at the world, at different cultures and how you approach your work.

These are hugely beneficial skills that can help a company remain nimble, creative and effective when it comes to handling diversity and being successful in this shrinking world.

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