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The basics
Study abroad : Career Prospects

How studying abroad can help your career

Can studying abroad boost your employment prospects? The short answer is yes. Find out more here...

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There are many ways in which studying abroad is beneficial for your personal development. You can gain confidence, meet new people, and experience a new culture. The question is, will studying abroad also improve your career prospects? Of course, going to university is about being interested in a subject area, but at the end of the day, you want to make sure you can find work once you graduate. So, we’re looking at how studying abroad can improve your employment opportunities after graduation, prospects that you may not otherwise have.  


Opportunity to network

One of the major advantages to studying in a country other than your country of birth is that you get to meet new people. Of course, it depends on where you decide to study in terms of how different the lifestyle and traditions are, but studying abroad gives you the chance to broaden your horizons and learn from others.


This can also be beneficial when it comes to seeking work-related opportunities. For example, you will be studying and conversing with like-minded people and these connections can be very helpful.


You may have heard the phrase, ‘it’s not what you know, it’s who you know which isn’t to say you shouldn’t work hard, but just that the people you cross paths with could be your link to a job or work experience. Don’t be afraid to ask your friends and acquaintances about their career and study plans and whether they know about any opportunities, in particular, that could be right for you.


Improve your language skills

Depending on the country you choose for your studies, you may be exposed to a new language. Many universities require international students to have a certain level of English language proficiency as the courses are delivered in English.  


Moving to a new country is a great way to improve your language skills as you will be practising on a daily basis. Having a second language is also impressive to employers, and particularly English, as it is a global language used in business, finance, education and more.


Overall, learning a new language shows determination, persistence and hard work which are all valuable skills in the workplace. Make sure you highlight this when writing your CV so that it stands out to future employers.


When providing evidence of your English language skills, IELTS and TOEFL are two common exams recognised by universities.


Greater independence

Making the decision to study abroad is a brave one. Moving to another country away from family and friends is both challenging and rewarding as you’ve taken the initiative to push yourself out of your comfort zone. Developing your independence is a worthwhile and essential skill.


Once you have learnt to be more independent and make decisions on your own, it will eventually start to come more naturally. This independence will enable you to think and act on your own terms, developing your resourcefulness and helping you to work towards your own goals. These traits are highly valuable to employers as they look to hire people who can make decisions and work independently.


A reputable qualification

One common reason that students choose to study abroad is to gain a qualification from a university and country that will be recognised and respected by employers. If the higher education system in your home country isn’t as prestigious, then it’s understandable that you want to explore other options.


Countries like the UK, USA, Canada, and Australia are internationally renowned for their world-class universities and employers will be particularly impressed by a top degree from a leading institution in one of these countries.


Further, if you want to enter into a profession that is international in nature, having an international degree will be incredibly relevant and desirable to certain global charities, organisations and businesses that operate across countries.


Work experience

Having work experience on your resume is always highly sought after by employers. In particular, gaining work experience in a new country will improve your employment prospects as it shows your motivation, organisation and international outlook.


Your university should be able to help you find work experience with dedicated careers advisors who have experience in finding internships and other employment opportunities for students and alumni.


We spoke to a UK recruitment specialist who shared his thoughts on what employers and recruiters look for in candidates. He said, “Even if graduates do not have work experience, we want to see that they have selected the relevant transferrable skills from their degree or bits of work they have done and put them in an application based on the job description.”


If you want to remain in your study destination to work after graduating, make sure you understand the different work rights for international students by country.


Communication skills

Studying abroad forces you to speak to people you’ve never met before which is excellent for developing your communication skills. Pretty much any employer will be looking for good communication skills as no matter what career you want, you will need to be able to express yourself so that others can understand you.


The UK recruitment specialist we spoke to underlined that communication can be a hard skill to prove, saying “It’s good if you can find some skills and experience that you can back yourself with because employers want to hire people they know can communicate well with others.” He added, “We also look for people who can demonstrate flexibility as companies change a lot and employers need to know that new people can be adaptable.”


So, as you can see, studying abroad can be hugely beneficial for boosting your employment prospects and gaining essential skills, desirable among employers around the world. Feeling ready to find a course and university? Let our course matcher tool connect you to the perfect institution and programme to help you land your dream career.


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