It is a fact that we are living in an increasingly culturally diverse world with easy transport links to almost everywhere, and there are now many and varied opportunities for students to attend foreign universities and experience the culture of their adopted country for the duration of their course. There are study abroad programs which are designed to develop students and prepare them to return to their home country with the skills they need to find employment in their chosen profession or vocation.
During the time that students live and study in a foreign country, they will learn to adapt to the culture and environment, manage their own personal finances and gain independence. They can take advantage of spare time to travel round their adopted country to experience life outside the confines of the university. They will pick up the language, if non-English, which could hold them in good stead for the future. They will learn to be resourceful, flexible and open-minded to the different cultures and the whole experience will broaden their horizons significantly. They will grow as people whilst learning new skills and knowledge during their time in the country.
Why are employers more favourable to students who have studied abroad?
Many companies trade internationally and favour employees who have travelled and studied abroad. A few of the qualities they look for in an employee can be:
Maturity, self confidence and adaptability
Insight into other cultures and possible foreign language skills
Understanding and acceptance of the viewpoints of diverse cultures
Awareness of the differences between the various standards and ethics of their own country compared with other countries.
Although studying abroad in itself is eye-opening and gains the student considerable understanding and knowledge, employers will be impressed if they have carried out actual work or voluntary work in another country. This is really the way to broaden the experience of foreign life for students by immersing themselves in the culture for an extended period of time. Employers will value students who have spent time abroad and consider that they will be more able to work as part of their international teams. Even if students do not intend working for a global company initially, the details of their study abroad will look good on their CVs and may be a point of interest at interviews.
Long-term experience with other cultures will help students think objectively about themselves, understand the differences and recognise and appreciate diversity. This valuable experience can significantly help them to gain employment when they return to their home country, especially with companies who trade internationally. Employers will appreciate that the students are mature and adaptable with the enthusiasm to move to the next stage of their chosen career.
Studying/working abroad can give these students a competitive edge over those who have stayed and studied in their home country. Studying and living overseas can open up many opportunities, both at home and abroad.
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