5 Transferrable Skills from Studying Abroad
By: Wendy Li
There are many ways to engage with the world around you, but nothing compares to an immersive academic and cultural experience in a foreign country. At the University of Florida, we are lucky to have a variety of programs to suit a multitude of personal and academic interests, from Spanish language courses in Latin America to engineering internships in Japan. Study abroad coursework can count towards a degree, and perhaps even more importantly, students who study abroad develop new skillsets and enhance their cultural awareness. Today, more so than ever, employers seek candidates with diverse experiences and global knowledge. Here are five career-related skills you can develop while studying abroad.
Studying in a foreign country enhances your communication skills. Whether you are in a country that speaks a completely different language or in a country that speaks the same language as you, imbedding yourself in a new environment teaches you to listen more intently and look for interpersonal clues to build relationships. Studying Spanish in Madrid provides an immersive experience that will enhance your Spanish language skills. Completing an internship abroad in London may teach you some of the British lingo and slang used in the UK. In both cases, you will learn how to communicate effectively with people of diverse cultures and backgrounds.
Culture shock is real, especially when you are immersed in unfamiliar surroundings, and language and cultural barriers inevitably present obstacles to overcome. However, engaging with your community and surpassing these obstacles instills resilience, while also opening a door to valuable life experiences.
3. Practical Skills
Learning to navigate a new environment is a very practical skill. Now imagine navigating a new city (in a new country), figuring out bus and taxi routes, and learning how to ask local residents for help. Studying abroad can force you to think quick on your feet and evolve into an adaptable problem solver. These newly acquired skills are just some of the experience pieces that you can highlight on your resume.
They learn how to apply creative solutions to both simple and complex problems. This could be as simple as acting out charades to communicate with a Spanish speaker, or as complex as creating a workshop to identify environmental issues in your host country. Either way, you will learn unique techniques to demonstrate to future employers that you can solve problems innovatively.
5. Cultural Awareness
Studying in a foreign country not only allows you to learn about the culture, food, language, and history of your host country, but it also allows you to develop a newfound appreciation for your own culture. Cultural awareness is essential in both everyday life and in the workforce, as it allows you to understand and connect with people from all walks of life.
Experiencing the world in a new way provides insight into your role as a member of a global community. As you gain a new perspective on culture and education while studying abroad, you will return to your home country with an eagerness to learn and apply your skills. A study abroad experience demonstrates diversity to employers; it shows that you are not afraid to seek out new challenges and step out of your comfort zone. Now is the time to explore the world and expand your global knowledge. Check out the UF International Center website to discover a program that meets your academic and career goals. Bon voyage!