5 Ways Your Year Abroad Actually Helps Your Job Hunt

Ooh la la, an opportunity to study in Paris? The city of love, pain au chocolat and croissants?! You absolutely must.

Many students choose to study abroad, for numerous different reasons. However, the majority of students convince themselves that their year abroad isn’t just about fun. Somehow, they’ve convinced themselves with very little proof or prior research that a year abroad will make them 1000% more employable.

While it won’t automatically get you the job, here are some ways in which a year abroad can help the application process.


It’s a great talking point in interviews

A year abroad is something additional to build on in an interview, and can help you sell yourself further. You can use it to refer to your unique experiences. A time when you overcame a challenge? “When my one-bedroom apartment in Paris flooded and left me homeless…” definitely sounds more impressive than than “I managed to complete all 5 essays due in for the same deadline in second year”.


You may have improved your language skills

You certainly won’t be changing your French language level to “Queen of France” on your LinkedIn after a year in Paris, but you’ll start to have the basic grasp of the language, which can often really strengthen a job application.


It shows you’re more independent than most students

Every student has gone to university, moved away from their parents and cooked themselves pesto pasta for three years. But with a year abroad, you’ve done all that and moved to another country for a year. You’ve set up your own bank accounts, looked for an apartment abroad, and adjusted to a completely new culture.

You’re no longer just another 2:1 candidate; you’ve some real world experience behind you!


You can work effectively within a local culture

Your cultural awareness is widened, and you’ve proven that you can work well with people from different backgrounds and cultures. This is despite any language barriers.

You may have also cleared up any cultural misconceptions you may have once had. You’ve adapted and immersed yourself once, proving you can do it again within the company you’ve applied for.


You have a nice “cushion” year

The “cushion” year refers to the additional year, before your final year of university, where you can really get to grips with where you want to be going career wise. The traditional three-year degree programme means that you need to know what you want to do by second year in order to try to secure that graduate job.

However, the year abroad allows time for reflection, so you can really think about what you want. You can also gain more experience before facing those nasty job applications as a finalist. This in itself is more beneficial to your applications, because once you know what you want you can express that passion more clearly during your job hunt.

All in all, it seems like your year abroad isn’t just a year-long party and last-minute language tests. You are actually gaining some pretty invaluable transferable skills. A year abroad won’t automatically open doors for you, but it could mean you have more of a chance of getting at least one foot in those doors. Ultimately, it all comes down to how well you can sell yourself.


Varsha Patel is a recent graduate from the University of Warwick. You can find her portfolio here