Graduation by Saifullah Juhari
With the influx of this year’s freshly minted graduates into the workforce, the topic of employment is a hot one. And for good reason! The statistics are frightening. Debt is up and wages are down. More than half of 2012 graduates are unemployed or underemployed. Former music majors are busking by day and waiting tables by night while grads with art degrees are crafting beautiful lattes to the tune of $8 an hour.
The survey conducted by IES Abroad revealed that studying abroad might be a perfect way to gain better employment upon graduation. The key findings of the study were:
1. Globe trotting undergrads landed employment faster than their U.S. planted peers:
“Nearly 90% of study abroad alumni found their first jobs within six months of graduation compared to only 49% of recent college graduates in the general population who found jobs within a year.”
2. Study Abroad Alumni are getting jobs in their fields. And they’re making more money too!
“In addition to getting…jobs that aligned with their career-track, most respondents secured jobs that were full-time and require college degrees [earning] on average, $7,000 more in starting salaries than those from the general population of recent U.S. College graduates.”
So what is the study abroad factor that is contributing so positively to these students’ job prospects? The transferable skills and global networks that these graduates are gaining from their international experiences!
According to Interexchange, an organization that promotes cross-cultural awareness through work and volunteer exchange programs, study abroad helps students develop unique skills that are attractive to today’s global employers: adaptability, cross-cultural skills, and independence.
We couldn’t agree more. We looked at 5,400 study abroad reviews on Abroad101, and found compelling evidence. Among the top benefits and learned competencies gained from studying abroad, over 97% of students listed: adaptability, increased cultural knowledge, and independence.
So there it is. Students who study abroad acquire the skills and experience that top employers are looking for!
Take note all you job seeking jet setters: Highlighting the aforementioned skills on your resume will help you land an interview. Make sure to mention the compelling anecdotes that only a study abroad experience can provide. Thanks to that semester in Vietnam, your interview could go something like this:
Dream Job: Tell us about a time you were faced with a challenge, and came up with an innovative solution?
You: Well, the time I had to tutor a group of Chinese exchange students for my Intercultural communication class when I was studying abroad in Ho Chi Minh City comes to mind… I found myself without a chalkboard, in a chair-less ‘classroom.’ That wasn’t so bad, until the lights went out at 8 pm because the power was turned off across the University. Yet I was flexible and adapted. An hour later we found ourselves in town, conversing over bowls of noodles as I drew upon my interpersonal skills to build rapport with my multicultural peers. The next week my students aced their English conversation test, and I aced my paper on China’s Economic Strategy for Development in the Mekong Delta.
Dream Job: Wow, we are so impressed. We’re expanding in Asia and want to hire you!
Okay, so it might not be that easy. But studying abroad definitely gives grads a leg up on the already stiff competition in the job market. Don’t take our word for it. Below are some testimonials taken from students who left study abroad reviews on Abroad101. See for yourself what they had to say.
“I have gained new insight into my career goals and life dreams. I have friends in 4 time zones that speak more languages than is prudent to count. I plan to continue studying, and I now have a greater sense of direction.” ~University of Leicester, England
“It has opened many doors for me in the the realm of my career and graduate study. I got an opportunity to work abroad in the UK due to my previous experience in Edinburgh. ” ~University of Edinburgh, Scotland
“I learned that I was more independent than I thought, how to be resourceful, gained courage and confidence in myself, and improved my ability to speak and understand Spanish, my number one goal. I furthermore learned how deep my passion for Spanish language truly is and have realized that I want to work abroad or work in the study abroad profession.” ~University of Seville, Spain