Study abroad offers great opportunities for you as you enter your career, but unless you can articulate the value of it in your job interviews; you won’t be using it to your full advantage.
While all interviews and study abroad experiences are different, here are some examples of how you can use your experience as anecdotal responses to typical interview questions.
Can you please provide an example of your ability to work independently?
A: I think the fact that I traveled across the world to live in a foreign country for a semester in and of itself exemplifies my ability to work independently. Studying abroad requires a huge deal of independence from planning for the trip to living the day to day life. I was challenged to prove my independence by making new friends, thriving in the classroom and in my schoolwork, planning weekend excursions to unfamiliar locations and organizing and managing my finances.
When was a time that you have had to use your problem solving skills?
A:Studying abroad allowed me to strengthen my problem solving skills. A challenging experience I faced was the experience of getting from one location to another. As I traveled across Italy, I was required to learn and understand the flight, bus and train transportation system, booking a safe hostel for resting and learning my way around a completely new location almost every weekend; and all while not speaking the native language. Not only did this prove my problem solving skills, but it also allowed me to become comfortable adapting to new, unfamiliar situations; something that I think will serve me well as I learn the system and culture here at your company.
What specific skills do you feel you bring to this position without having (much) full-time work experience?
A:Studying abroad allowed me to hone my leadership skills and forced me to develop the ability for quick thinking and problem solving; all of which are essential in this position. When you and your peers are in an unfamiliar setting, everyone sort of looks to someone else to help them navigate their way and lead by example. I took on that role with my new friends and classmates, and was able to really develop as a leader. I also think in order to be a strong leader, you need to have a keen understanding of yourself and your surroundings which I was able to do as I studied abroad. Plus, being in that unfamiliar setting forced me to be able to react quickly to a variety of situations which is how I developed the ability for quick thinking on my feet and problem solving. I’m excited to apply my ability to think quickly and problem solve here because I know this is a fast-paced and deadline-driven position.
What have you accomplished during your academic career that you are most proud of?
A:I’m most proud to say that I took a step out of my comfort zone by studying abroad. I immersed myself in a foreign culture which allowed me the opportunity to develop a global awareness that I didn’t have before I studied abroad. I think global awareness is a key attribute in an employee in today’s international market, and I’m proud to say that I have this new, diversified perspective that I can bring to your organization.
Learn more about using study abroad to your job-hunting advantage in this article, Navigating the Job Search After Studying Abroad.