Study abroad can be much more than just a fun term away from home — it can foster skills in intercultural communication and adaptability and provide students with stories to share when it comes time to find a job or internship. In addition, students might consider a career which keeps them traveling!
Link Between Study Abroad and Career Gains
Multiple links have been made between study abroad and employability. For example, in a 2017 Institute of International Education study, researchers found that students who had studied abroad saw gains in 11 of 15 key skills needed in a 21st century workplace. Additionally, exposure to life in foreign countries can open up career paths which students did not previously consider. Longer stays abroad and choosing a “less familiar” destination, such as one located in the Global South and/or non-English speaking locales, were considered advantageous in gaining an employability edge against other candidates.
How can students take their study abroad experiences and put them on their resumes? Students who attended CGIS’s Networking & Resume Building pre-departure session might remember a few key recommendations CGIS provided for students upon return home:
List concrete skills you have gained
Refine your resume by listing accomplishments
Practice speaking confidently and concisely about your experience (“elevator pitch”)
Remain in contact with people you knew while abroad
Need some ideas of skills obtained while abroad? Here are a few:
New/improved language ability
Professional experience from volunteering/internships
Intercultural communication skills
Adaptability under stress
Seeing situations from different perspectives
International Employment Opportunities
How can students return abroad once again in a professional capacity? For detailed information on educational and professional opportunities abroad, go to Going Abroad Again.
Connect with the Career Center
Need help modifying a resume or using stories from time abroad in an interview setting? Check out the U-M Career Center for help.