In an ever-competitive career marketplace, students are often looking for ways in which they can set themselves apart from their peers—whether that’s in an interview for an internship, graduate school, or a full-time professional role. Studying abroad gives college and university students the chance to experience something completely new while immersing in entirely different cultures. In addition to the personal development gain, there are six core benefits to participating in a study abroad program that will give you a leg up in pursuing your dream job.
1. Learn how to prepare for and navigate through the foreign travel process
Going from one country to another can be a lot more work than traveling within your home country’s borders. The experiences you’ll have preparing for foreign travel is actually the start of your cultural education.
Do you know what you need to do to secure a passport, so that you can travel abroad? Have you contacted the appropriate authority to confirm whether or not you need a travel visa for the country you’ll visit? Did you research the climate in the country you’ll be visiting and purchase the attire you’ll need that you don’t already own? All of these can contribute significantly to whether you actually take your trip and how much you enjoy the visit while you’re there.
2. Experience a different culture
Study abroad programs allow you to temporarily live in almost any country. For many students that participate in these programs, it’s their first time going to that host country. Having the opportunity to step outside of your comfort zone changes the way you see the world. Experiencing a variety of cultures and interacting with people firsthand that you’ve only heard of or seen in movies help knock down some of the stereotypes that you have and broaden your horizons.
Given that you are in a completely different country with its own system, there may be certain periods of time when you don’t have access to your networks through mobile data, Wi-Fi capabilities, etc. This can be a rewarding thing! Being in a foreign country helps you disconnect from technology and encourages you to reconnect with the world and your surroundings. Thus, allowing you to fully take in your host country and the experience of traveling abroad.
3. Benefit from a new, global perspective on your field of study
Studying your chosen field or major in a different country allows you to see components of that field through a completely different lens. A field of study will have the same issues and challenges, regardless of where in the world it is practiced. However, those issues and challenges may impact certain countries or communities differently. Having the ability to see those firsthand through the lens of your host country will enable you to analyze how those issues and challenges impact your country differently, providing you with a fresh perspective to tackle them head-on when you get back.
While abroad, you will have the opportunity to experience different styles of education, also enabling you to see your major or field through a new lens. Many countries don’t follow what you may view as standard education, including mid-terms, finals, pop quizzes, etc. They maintain the lecture, seminar, and small group discussions structure and pair that with field-excursions to see and experience your field of study firsthand. These excursions will not only allow you to step into some of the top research facilities and museums, but also lend the opportunity to explore your host country’s culture.
4. Enhance employment opportunities
The world can be viewed as very small when taking businesses into consideration, due to technology that allows us to constantly stay connected with people from all over the world. Many businesses now have international clients as a large representation of their portfolio. Your knowledge about how the world works paired with your international experience acquired from studying abroad gives you a leg-up in the hiring process, as employers will find that cultural knowledge very attractive.
Employers also value candidates with cross-cultural communication skills. Learning to interact with and navigate through a culture different from your own is the perfect recipe for developing huge problem-solving skills, which is a skillset that is vital in any field. The study abroad experience presents you as a great fit for a global workplace.
5. Discover new career paths and interests while exploring a culture/foreign country
While studying your major in a foreign country, you can come across new aspects in your field of which you may not have been aware. There may even be certain issues that you didn’t know existed and are of interest to you, creating a new potential career path. By using travel as an educational experience, you’ll discover how other countries work through those new-to-you issues in the field and take that learning experience back with you to collaboratively solve those issues with your peers at home.
The best thing about being in a new country is experiencing new things that may not even be available in your country. During your travel, you can explore your host country and discover what the common hobbies or traditions are by talking to the locals. Who knows, maybe you’ll find your lifelong passion!
6. Make new friends and expand your professional network
Perhaps best of all, you’re not alone on this international adventure. There will be other students, just like you, coming to a new country and adapting to a new way of life. There will be plenty of opportunities for you to interact with these students, whether through in-class group discussions or field excursions. Sharing this experience of a lifetime will create an unbreakable bond between you and your new friends and can ultimately lead to lifelong friendships.
From a professional perspective, forging friendships with your peers who are from other countries can open up a plethora of networking opportunities for the near or distant future. If you choose to travel to or work in one of your new friends’ home countries, you have a contact there on whom you can rely.
Study Abroad with ISLP
Convinced to study abroad? Well, lucky for you, you don’t have to look too far for a program with a variety of professional fields from which you can choose to experience in a new place. The International Scholar Laureate Program (ISLP), offered in four different countries (Australia, China, New Zealand, and South Africa), provides the opportunity for college and university students to engage in a career-focused study detailing the history and global impact of their field while broadening their horizons in a foreign culture.
ISLP offers five delegations concentrated in various in-demand fields. The delegations include: Business & Entrepreneurship, International Relations & Diplomacy, Engineering & Technology, Medicine & Science, and Nursing & Health Care.
Below is a brief description of what each delegation offers:
- The Delegation on Business & Entrepreneurship in Australia or China allows you to explore the career options that are available in todays' global marketplace
- The Delegation on International Relations & Diplomacy in China or South Africa supplies you with the skills necessary to succeed in the ever-changing world of diplomacy
- The Delegation on Engineering & Technology in China or New Zealand give you the opportunity to observe professional engineers while networking with peers
- The Delegation on Medicine & Science in Australia or China makes you a firsthand witness to how advances in medicine are changing the face of health care around the world
- The Delegation on Nursing & Health Care in Australia or South Africa provides you firsthand insight on patient care in both modern and traditional settings
At ISLP, you'll gain global experience that will set you apart from your peers. Attending ISLP will open doors for you by introducing you to new ideas, influential people, and a profoundly advantageous global perspective on your chosen career field.
Additionally, there are dedicated scholarship funds set aside and offered to Golden Key International Honour Society and Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society members on the scholarship page. For more information about ISLP and its offerings, please visit the ISLP website.