So your study abroad experience has ended. Perhaps you are home and looking for a summer job, or permanent employment. Your study abroad experience has changed your life, but did you know it can also land you your dream job? There are many skills that you have gained during your time abroad that set you apart from other applicants. Here are a few to help you turn your next job interview into a conversation about your study abroad experience and help you land the job:
For the majority of students I have spoken with wishing to participate in a study abroad program, funding is a major barrier. Many students pass up the opportunity of their dreams because they are already swimming in student loans and cannot think of adding to this burden. Beyond dipping into your savings, adding to your debt load, or working yourself to the bone, there are a number of ways to acquire the funds you need.
Have you heard that the majority of people fear public speaking more than they fear death? Personally, I get it. I have always dreaded the seemingly constant public speaking associated with higher education. We have all been there. From introductions on the first day of classes, to the instructor calling on you unexpectedly, or worse: class presentations.
Do your homework. This goes both literally and figuratively. Many study abroad programs take academic achievement into account when selecting applicants, so hit those books. Additionally, researching the country you are applying to visit will not only help get you excited to study abroad, it will improve your understanding of the country’s culture, history and politics, as well as enhance your experience during your time abroad.
Some topics I researched before my trip to Japan:
I recently returned from a study abroad exchange in Japan—my second experience, the first being a field school in Mexico. My experience in Japan was culturally more fulfilling, which I credit to, this time, staying with a host family. Here are a few perks of living with a host family:
If you are an introvert—like me—you can probably imagine that being in a group setting in a foreign country 24/7 for thirty days will pose some challenges. Introverts need quiet time to recharge, so being in a group all day can be draining. Before departing for my field school I pondered how I would navigate the upcoming reality of very little quiet time in addition to the regular ups and downs of a field school experience. I have now spent the past three weeks in a group of mostly extroverted individuals, and it has been a great experience.