7 Study Abroad Experiences That Add Value to Your Resume


Study abroad programs are not only about academics but about adding value to your resume through experiences that develop personality and build cultural sensitivity. Do not ignore opportunities to make the most of your overseas education.

Many students going to study abroad for the first time are so overwhelmed by the new culture, workload in class and navigating around a new country that the year – and then another one – goes by until it is time to leave. Sure, you have better credentials than you came with, so you will get a better job when you return home.

But why not take advantage of the many opportunities that studying in a new culture gives you so that you go back with a lot more than just credentials? Studying overseas offers students a plethora of opportunities for personality development and plenty of exposure for learning outside classes that will help you in your professional career, no matter where you are.

Do not ignore these opportunities. Make the best of your time abroad and broaden your horizons, beyond the classroom. Here are seven experiences that can add value during your foreign studies.

Getting involved with the community


Rather than spending all your time on coursework or with friends, why not take some time out to volunteer in the local community or take up some extracurricular activities. Volunteer at a dog shelter or at a hospice for cancer kids. Get involved in extracurricular activities like a sport you have never played before or a society – you will be surprised at the number of things you can actually get involved in and learn from.

An internship in your relevant field will also be an added credential for your resume while showing the well-rounded individual that you have been striving to become. The best and highest paying jobs go to those who are not just academically sound, but also show their own initiative, have their own ideas and are motivated to involve themselves in the community no matter where they are. Take that first step to becoming that person, and everything else will follow.

Pushing yourself to learn the local language


If you are not studying in an English-speaking country and push yourself to learn the local language, it shows remarkable initiative on your part. The new language will add value to your resume, help you make local friends more easily, and help you make lifelong connections in the country. Learning the local language is an excellent way to show how motivated you are to see things from a cross-cultural point of view. Global employers value such motivation.

It is easier to learn a language when you have someone to practice with. Who else but a native can be a better teacher? You will in no time master the grammar and phonetics and learn to speak the language well.

Taking a solo trip


When you take a trip on your own, without a friend or familiar face, you are taken out of your comfort zone. This opens up plenty of opportunities to meet new people, overcome personal challenges etc. that would not otherwise be possible. If you are applying for graduate school afterward or when applying for your first job, you can mention the solo trip in your resume, under a section on International Experience. It will clearly add value to your application.

Maintaining a study abroad blog


Many students maintain study abroad blogs that they can look back on after their program is complete. It is useful to keep such a blog, or even a journal, that will be a record of your experiences. It is often difficult to pinpoint how what subjective skills or experiences you have gained during your life-changing overseas program and the blog will help you identify these changes. It will also help you connect with alumina present, past and future.

Immersing yourself in the local culture


When you visit a foreign country as a student, you can experience the local culture in a way that no tourist can. If you can, look for a homestay opportunity that will allow you to live with a host family. This will give you a chance to experience daily life like the locals, and let you build a lifetime of connections. It will be a truly international experience. You will be surprised how much you will grow as an individual when you live with people from another culture. Assimilate all that you see, adapt and pick up social etiquettes.

Making local friends


To truly make the most of your global education, make local friends in your country of study. Do not end up hanging out only with the Indian community in college, but do try to meet more locals. Also, interact with foreign students whenever you can. These interactions will hone your cultural sensitivity and will come in useful when you begin work with employers who have global clients and therefore seek culturally sensitive employees.

Also, mingle with students studying other courses. Meal time at the university/school provides the perfect setting to interact with new people. Put your mobile phone away and have a real conversation with the people at your table. Start with a hello, and let the conversation flow. Every new person you meet will enrich your life and add to your experiences. Remember, it also helps you to network – something very crucial for someone just starting out.

Taking up a research project


If your university or college lets you take up a research project that will earn you credits, you could not ask for more. But even if you are interested in a subject relevant or removed from your chosen course of study, for which there is no support from the university, you should go ahead and do it. The research project will showcase your initiative and your research skills. This will in turn add value to your resume, whether you go on to a graduate program or take up a job in India or abroad.

If you are planning a study abroad program, do not ignore these tips to help you make the most of your time abroad. Always think about the future, be highly focused and motivated, and you will find yourself rewarded with the job of your dreams when you return home after your course is complete.


Article by Juana
Juana is a freelance writer, with years of experience, creating content for varied online portals. She holds a degree in English Literature and has worked as a teacher and as a soft skill trainer. An avid reader, she writes on a variety of topics ranging from health, travel, education and personality development.

Follow Juana or read 408 articles authored by Juana

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