NIETO-MUNOZ: Studying abroad presents networking opportunities
Opinions Column: Views From the 39
Studying abroad in another country is truly an amazing experience that provides not only personal growth, but also professional growth. Living in a new country requires you to adapt to new surroundings and cultures, including language, customs, budgeting, traveling and becoming more independent. It also teaches you how to balance your time well enough to do well in your classes, because the sad truth is that studying abroad still requires some studying. All these qualities make you marketable to employers and are a huge resume building, making you stand out.
By studying in another country, you are able to broaden your worldview. According to the Graduate Management Admission Council, exposing yourself to a brand new culture can allow you to gain a more sophisticated and broader view of the world, as well as difference in thoughts and values. This shows employers how effectively you can work in order to take on worldwide challenges.
Communication skills are something that is very valuable while living in another country. Being bilingual is a top-notch quality to have to an employer. It can be easier to communicate internationally, which looks great on resume. Even if you aren’t bilingual, when traveling abroad to another country, communication skills are needed. Whether it’s trying to talk to someone in Germany, to figuring out the subway station or when you’re lost in the streets of Italy, it is important to have good communication and listening skills. Being immersed in another culture means communication skills are necessary, which are very marketable to employers and are vital to working and being successful, especially in the world of business.
Along with the language barrier you might have comes problem-solving skills. A language barrier definitely can lead to you running into problems, which requires some quick thinking, a lot of body language and applying some things you may have learned from Rutgers in a familiar situation to a new country in an unfamiliar situation. A prime example of this is something a majority of students have experienced: Getting lost your freshman year at Rutgers. Whether it was taking the wrong bus or wandering around the streets of Downtown New Brunswick on one of your first nights out with a dead phone from constant snapchatting, you had to figure out how to get home. You can’t put that in your resume, but you can talk about how you learned from past experiences to figure out something in your new city. The metro or tube can be something that is very confusing and can take some time to figure out, and requires you to apply skills like figuring out the bus system at Rutgers. Bet that’s one of the only times you’ll be thankful for the Rutgers bus system.
According to studyabroad.com, one way to showcase your skills in your resume is by adding your semester or year abroad under the “education” portion, including the school name and location. Under the “skills” section, highlight some of the countries you visited to show your travel experience. You can also add how you learned communication skills, how you worked with people from other cultures, if any new language was learned and throw in some courses that you took. If you interned or had any work experience while abroad, definitely highlight that in your resume. International work experience is a unique quality, so by using the key words and traits in the employment description, you can find a way to mold your experience to what they are looking for, considering traits often time can overlap. Be careful to make sure it doesn’t come across as bragging to your employer: It should be used to stand out and capture the interest of the person reading your resume.
At the end of the day, as the saying goes, “It’s not about what you know, it’s who you know.” Although all of the examples do make you way more desirable to employers, you never know who is going to be sitting on the other end of the hiring table or who you could meet that could give you a job offer. Rutgers University is a fairly large school, but studying abroad gives you the chance to meet not only more people from Rutgers or the United States, but also all around the world. Networking opportunities can present themselves at any given time or day, since you never know who you will meet, or where. You can even attend networking events in big cities by you to meet some professionals who live in the surrounding cities that can lead to more connections. This can be especially useful for people studying business studying in large cities like London or Shanghai, or fashion majors studying in Paris or Italy.
Study abroad offers life-changing experience that helps you grow as a person, but also helps that resume grow. Without a doubt, it’s an advantage that stays with you even after college is over and you walk into the real world.
Sophie Nieto-Munoz is a School of Arts and Sciences junior majoring in journalism and media studies and Italian. She is currently studying abroad in Italy through CIEE. Her column, “Views from the +39” runs on alternate Tuesdays.
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