While many graduate and undergraduate students think frequently about enrolling in a study abroad program, uncertainty about the experience keeps some from actually enrolling. For some, it is the fear of being so far from everything they consider normal that keeps them from this unique experience. For others, it is parents who may not understand how beneficial this type of program might be.
Looking into and understanding just how valuable a study abroad program can be and the positive impact of study abroad on career choices is one of the best ways for students to stop simply thinking about a program and begin actually searching for the right one.
Career Benefits from Studying Abroad
There are many benefits to remember when considering study abroad and career development. Such programs help students develop an understanding of international business, culture and social networking that employers are searching for in potential employees. Some benefits include:
1. Project Management
A study abroad program requires more attention to detail than a normal college or post-graduate semester of classes. Not only are students expected to do well in their coursework, they are also required to quickly learn about a new lifestyle, culture and language. Having to focus on making all parts of this new life work together, from international phone capabilities to a new type of currency, helps students develop lifelong skills that will shine through in future project management situations.
2. Enhanced Communication
Many studies have shown that complete immersion into another language is the fastest way for individuals to learn that language. This does not mean that it will be an easy process as many new study abroad students find that native language speakers sound nothing like the professors in their language study classes at home. Despite the difficulties of learning this new language, this is a skill that many employers find very valuable. Students who manage to become proficient in a 2nd or 3rd language frequently sit at the top of the list when employers are deciding on new hires.
3. World View
Gaining exposure to different cultures is another benefit to students who choose to enroll in a study abroad program. The ability to see things from a world perspective is important to many worldwide businesses today making study abroad students even more attractive during the hiring process. Cultural knowledge is a valuable skill due to the global economy in which most companies are now involved. Exposure to a wide variety of cultures, opinions and beliefs are just what international businesses are looking for.
It is almost impossible to undertake a study abroad program and not make new connections, and many of these connections will last for a lifetime. Some will be other students who are also enrolled in the same program while others will be those in businesses related to your field of study. Fellow students participating in the study abroad program will most likely have come from different countries and have vastly different life experiences. This worldwide contact base is sure to be beneficial to a future career. Exposure to a multitude of nationalities helps most students to challenge beliefs and participate in many cultures and customs. Long-term career goals can be greatly enhanced for those who have managed to make and maintain connections with people around the world.
5. Personal Development
As study abroad students are exposed to different cultures, ideas and diverse ways of thinking, many are able to learn more about who they are as an individual. This new self-awareness can be seen by other students, professors and future employers as well. In essence, a study abroad program is one that helps students find who they really are, then build on those findings. Instead of maintaining beliefs and concepts only from the country in which one was raised, such students are able to take the best parts of each culture and the favorite parts from each society as they work to shape themselves for the future.
Multi-Location Study Abroad Programs
Many of the benefits relating to study abroad programs are gained by exposure to varied cultures, societies and political environments, making a multi-destination program ideal for many students. One such opportunity, led by International Business Seminars provides students with the opportunity to enroll in programs that range anywhere from 10 – 23 days. Students from accredited universities and business professionals benefit from this type of program as they are able to benefit from more than one culture. For instance, students who participate in a 23-day seminar will benefit from learning in London, Paris, Lausanne, Verona, Innsbruck and Munich. Many would agree that learning in and from 6 different countries will help most students to gain the knowledge and experience that they might not otherwise be able to.
Another shorter, 13-day seminar includes learning in Bangkok, Thailand and Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Each of these short-term programs is built so that students will learn as much as possible about culture, customs, international business, history and politics. Each of these facets of learning is certain to benefit almost any future career.