Editor’s Note: This post was written and submitted by Envision to promote the International Scholar Laureate Program.
What type of skillset or experience can set you apart from the estimated 2 million bachelor degree holders* also seeking opportunity? The answer: a global experience.
Studying abroad gives university students the opportunity to experience something completely new, while immersing in entirely different cultures. In addition to the personal development gain, there are five core benefits to participating in a study abroad program that will give you a leg up in pursuing your dream job.
1. 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 is 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 cultures and interacting with people firsthand that you’ve only heard of or seen in movies helps knock down some of the stereotypes that you have and broadens your horizons.
Given that you are in a completely different country with its own system, there may be certain periods of time where you may not always have access to your networks through your mobile data, Wi-Fi capabilities, etc. This can be a rewarding thing! Being in a foreign country helps you disconnect from technology in order to reconnect with the world and your surroundings, thus allowing you to fully take in your host country and ultimately the experience of traveling abroad.
2. 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. Many fields of study share the same issues; however, those issues may impact certain countries or communities differently. Having the ability to see those changes firsthand through the lens of your host country will enable you to see how those changes 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 first-hand. These excursions will not only allow you to step into some of the top research facilities and museums, but also lends the opportunity to explore your host country’s culture.
3. 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 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 the better-fit for a global workplace.
4. Discover new interests and career paths while exploring a culture/foreign country
While studying your chosen field in a foreign country, you can come across new aspects in your field that you may not have been aware of. There may be certain issues that you didn’t know existed and that are of interest to you, creating a new career path to your field. Using travel as an educational experience, you can learn how other countries work through the same issues in their 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!
5. Make new friends and expand your professional network
Luckily, you are not alone on this new adventure. There will be 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 these friendships with your peers who are also 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’ countries, you have a contact there that you can rely on.
Study Abroad with ISLP
Convinced to study abroad? Well lucky for you, you don’t have to look too far for a program that offers a qualifying list of concentrated fields to choose from. The International Scholar Laureate Program (ISLP), offered in four different countries (Australia, China, New Zealand, 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.
What each delegation offers:
- The Delegation on Business & Entrepreneurship in Australia or China, where you will explore the career options that are available in the global marketplace today
- The Delegation on International Relations & Diplomacy in China or South Africa, where you will learn the skills necessary to succeed in the ever-changing world of diplomacy
- The Delegation on Engineering & Technology in China or New Zealand, where you will observe professional engineers while networking with peers
- The Delegation on Medicine & Science in Australia or China, where you will witness 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, where you will gain firsthand insight into the care of patients in both modern and traditional settings
At ISLP, you will 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. There are also dedicated scholarship funds set aside and offered to Phi Theta Kappa members on the scholarship page.
For more information about ISLP and its offerings, please visit the ISLP website.
*According to the National Center for Educational Statistics, there were expected to be approximately 4.5 million college degrees conferred in the U.S. in the 2016-17 academic year. This breaks down as 1.29 million associate degrees, 2.03 million bachelor’s degrees, 982,000 master’s degrees, and 209,000 doctorate degrees.