This is a guest post from StudyAbroad.com – the Internet’s leading source of information for students seeking a study abroad program. Find your study abroad program at StudyAbroad.com, and visit us on Facebook and Twitter.
By Darby O’Hara
In today’s job climate, the need to market yourself has never been greater. Employers are continually raising the bar for prospective employees. During your college years, it is more important than ever to take advantage of the opportunities that will set you apart from the competition. Along with internship opportunities, you should consider the experience of studying abroad.
Admit it. You’ve entertained the idea. But, sometimes studying abroad might seem like an impossible undertaking. Believe it or not, studying abroad is more accessible, more affordable and more beneficial to your education and career prospects than you might have realized.
You might be worried about things like: My GPA might slip if I try to juggle classes with travel, or I can’t seem to afford an additional program on top of my already high tuition costs.
Contrary to popular belief, most students actually improve their GPA when participating in foreign programs. Or maybe you’re thinking studying abroad could prevent you from graduating on time. However, in some cases, students participating in a study abroad program can find opportunities to graduate early. In other words, studying abroad does not have to hinder your current plan. As far as cost goes, there are a number of programs that allow you to pay your current tuition while abroad. And on top of that, you might qualify for additional financial aid and scholarships.
Now, you might see study abroad isn’t quite as costly as you originally thought, and you might be prepared to take the challenge of raising that GPA abroad, but there’s all this talk about the world being such an unsafe place nowadays, right? Well, here’s something to think about: London, one of the most dangerous cities in Europe, is statistically safer than Green Bay, Wisc.! Don’t let the latest breaking news scare you off. Follow your instincts and your common sense to stay safe and act smart, you are studying abroad after all.
Experiences you gain while abroad can help to better market yourself in the job search you are fast approaching. You will be able to tailor your experiences abroad to set yourself apart from the competition. The challenges you face will demonstrate problem solving, and all the skills you build while abroad can illustrate your fit for a position in your chosen field. Along with your now enhanced resume, you will be able to discuss examples of skills gained abroad when you step into an interview. Communication skills, for example, are highly desirable to potential employees.
The opportunities that await you around the world are invaluable. You will build your resume and increase your chances of rising to the top of your competition when entering the job market. But, maybe more importantly, you will challenge yourself far from home, outside your comfort zone, gain confidence, and learn more about yourself, further preparing you to enter the working world with a strong sense of self and a level head.
The key here … market yourself using the tools you sharpened while studying abroad to set yourself apart from the competition in the job market.