Looking for a change of scenery? Step out of your comfort (and time) zone with a unique experience abroad!
Experts may say that having international work experience is increasingly important in a globalized market, but there are many more reasons you should consider a work placement abroad. Completing an internship or placement overseas demonstrates adaptability and flexibility – both highly desirable characteristics in candidates.
However, professional benefits are only half of the advantages of working abroad; the personal growth you’ll experience is just as appealing. Leaving your comfort zone challenges you to grow in ways that sticking around a familiar scene does not. In fact, studies show that working abroad could even make you smarter and more creative! Who wouldn’t want that?
Read on for five reasons why working abroad makes an excellent addition to your professional CV and personal life.
1. Get paid
Were you shell shocked by the daunting prices of taking a semester or course abroad as a student? Well, I have good news for you! With a little bit of research and an idea of what industry you’d enjoy most, there are many exceptional, paid opportunities for students and graduates interested in working abroad. You just have to dig a little deeper to find them.
2. Stand Out
Employers love candidates with international student experiences. While plenty of students take advantage of the benefits to studying abroad, far fewer investigate the many benefits to interning or working abroad. For one thing, you’re learning relevant, real-world skills that can be applied in your industry. Secondly, you’ll be building an international professional network and portfolio. Both help to distinguish your resume when applying for job opportunities (around the world!).
3. Expand your (professional) horizons
Interning abroad also allows you to interact with the local culture in ways unique from studying or traveling. By working in a different part of the world, you’ll absorb that culture’s professional behaviours and local customs. This cultural awareness and sensitivity is becoming increasingly important in a globalized economy and is especially attractive to potential employers, but it should also be significant to you. A new culture opens your mind to new opportunities or could expose you to jobs you might not have considered while living in Canada.
4. Cross Cultural Communication
In addition to gaining greater cultural awareness and sensitivity, you’ll learn how to communicate with diverse groups of people, who might practice very different customs or languages than the ones with which you’re familiar.
Additionally, research is finding that when learning a new language, it’s not the length of time you’re immersed in a new culture, it’s the quality of your interactions that matter. So even if you’re only working abroad for a short time, you can still hone your foreign language skills by taking advantage of every opportunity to use the language and learn from native speakers.
5. Adaptability increases your intelligence and professionalism
Traveling and working abroad means taking on a new perspective and incorporating that viewpoint into your daily interactions. For example, businesses abroad may have different practices and require you to respond in a culturally appropriate way. When you return to your home country, you may find you are more flexible and willing to take on new and unfamiliar challenges.
In fact, this adaptability and willingness to engage in new experiences could also be making you smarter! Research shows that individuals who studied and worked abroad are more creative and better problem-solvers. By learning a different language or culture, your mind gets exercised in new ways and learns to form links between unexpected concepts. The benefits of these mental aerobics continue even after you’ve returned home.
“Students who adopted an open and adaptive attitude toward foreign cultures became more able to make connections among disparate ideas.” – Annie Paul, author of Brilliant: The New Science of Smart
6. Build a home away from home
When you work abroad, you’ll find that your experience differs greatly from those who study abroad. For one, your colleagues are likely to be local, and as a result, can give you a much more authentic experience of the culture. You’ll build relationships and networks with diverse groups of people, and be exposed to an exciting range of new experiences. Who knows, maybe your temporary work experience could even turn into a full-time job and a new lifestyle abroad!
Regardless of your reasons, when working abroad you bring back more than just mementos and memories: you bring back new skill sets and professional experience.
There are many benefits to working abroad. For example, as a student, you might even be able to receive credit from your college or university. As a recent grad, you typically aren’t expected to have years of previous experience in order to break into the industry. No matter what program you’re enrolled in, or what industry you’d like to get started in, odds are there’s a perfect international opportunity waiting for you.
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