Understanding the world we live and work in requires a curiosity of different cultures, communities and people. Whether you are taking academic classes, interacting with people from different backgrounds or working in another country, exposure to a diverse workforce and an increasingly global society is paramount to your success. Furthermore, options to gain global experience exist both within the US and abroad in both credit and non-credit options.
International experience can add to immense value to a student’s professional development and overall life experiences. A rising number of organizations are interested in candidates who are globally competent. These experiences may come in several different forms:
- Education Programs
At the University of Florida, you may inquire about these options by going to the UF International Center. Programs are available throughout all semesters (summer, fall and spring) and range in timeframe from less than 3 months to a full academic year.
Short-term options allow you to:
- experience different cultures
- learn new languages
Long-term options allow you to:
- become fully immersed in a culture
- develop language fluency
- enhance employability within that culture
Before you engage in this type of experience, you will want to watch this quick video by the UF International Center on what to expect and how to get ready for a travel abroad experience!
You do not need to go abroad to be considered a Global Gator. In fact, there a multitude of ‘Glocal’ options that will help you build global competence and awareness. These experiences are any activity that you can get involved in on or off campus that:
- enhance your knowledge of global trends and issues
- use your intercultural skills to communicate across differences
- participate meaningfully to solve problems by working with others of different nationalities and identities
This means that your involvement in any experience in or outside of the classroom can develop your global competence if it incorporates global learning in context.
Here are a few ideas to get you started:
- Virtual Exchange programs
- Cultural Student Orgs
- Study a Language
UF Cultural Centers:
Did You Know
The top 3 most popular destinations for UF Students are Spain, Italy, and the UK.
Over 2,600 students abroad travel abroad for various programs in the 2018-2019 School Year.
More than three-quarters (78 percent) of survey respondents said they discussed their study abroad experience in a job interview, and 53 percent said that their study abroad experience helped them secure a job offer.
1.8% of all US students enrolled at institutions of higher education in the US have studied abroad.
2014 U.S. Business Needs for Employees with International Expertise reports explains that 40% of companies surveyed missed international business opportunities because of a lack of internationally competent personnel.
Benefits of a Global Experience
93% of study abroad participants found their job placement within 6 months of graduating.
59% of employers said study abroad or other international experience would be valuable in an individual’s career later on with their organization
96 percent of employers believe that employees being “comfortable working with colleagues, customers and/or clients from diverse cultural backgrounds” is important.
91% of employers say that “all students should have educational experiences that teach them how to solve problems with people whose views are different from their own”
80% of employers believe they could increase their overall business if they had employees with international expertise