5 Ways Studying Abroad Makes You More Employable
It is a truism that studying abroad increases your future job prospects. Students who have taken part in the Erasmus programme are half as likely to experience long-term unemployment than those who completed the entirety of their degree at home.
But those considering a year abroad are not always aware of the many different ways in which the experience could make them more employable. So here are a few of them.
1) Employers value language skills.
In today’s globalised market place, you do not have to become a translator or interpreter to make use of your language skills. More and more businesses in the UK have to deal with overseas clients or suppliers, and so employers are bound to appreciate candidates who can speak a foreign language.
Not only does this help you to communicate with clients, but if you speak their language, you are also more likely to have a high degree of cultural awareness, and to understand that culture’s norms and codes of behaviour within a business environment.
2) It will make you into a more interesting person.
By this, I don’t just mean mentioning that you’ve lived abroad in your Tinder bio. During interviews, companies will inevitably ask you to give examples of occasions on which you have had to utilise certain skills, such as team-work or problem solving. What better example of problem-solving than the time you arrived in Barcelona for your year abroad and had to find somewhere to live, using Spanish, days before your courses began?
Interviewers are also bound to be impressed by your ability to work in a team, with people from diverse backgrounds, while communicating in a foreign language.
3) It’s a different approach to learning.
The way in which teaching is structured in the UK, with lectures and tutorials, and exams at the end of the semester, is fairly homogenised across the country. When you begin your year abroad, you may be shocked to discover that other countries have different methods of teaching.
In the United States, for instance, you are likely to have exams throughout the whole semester. In certain countries, such as Italy, universities rely heavily upon oral exams as the main method of assessment. These unfamiliar challenges will be scary at first, but once you have overcome them, you will be a more adaptable person, with a greater appreciation of different ways of developing knowledge.
4) It opens doors to work abroad.
40% of those who have participated in an Erasmus exchange go on to work abroad at some point in their lives. Studying abroad is a good opportunity to test the waters, and to gage whether you might want to live abroad later on, while you still have the safety net of your home and exchange universities. Furthermore, you may well develop contacts in your new
Studying abroad is a good opportunity to test the waters, and to gage whether you might want to live abroad later on, while you still have the safety net of your home and exchange universities. Furthermore, you may well develop contacts in your new country, or gain work experience which could open doors to future employment.
5) These opportunities might not be around forever.
Since the Brexit vote, there has been much uncertainty regarding the future of the UK’s participation in the Erasmus scheme, through which the European Union offers students a monthly grant to spend a year studying in another European country.
While other exchange programmes exist, and many students prefer to study in North America, Australia, or any number of places, nowhere is there a more generous scheme which allows students from different socio-economic backgrounds to profit from this experience. So make the most of it while it lasts!
Martin Greenacre is a final-year history student at the University of Edinburgh, having just returned from a year at the Université de Bourgogne, in France. Find him on LinkedIn.
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