Posts Tagged ‘study abroad’

Anyone who knows me could tell you what a huge advocate for international experience I am. Whether it’s for work, study, or pleasure, I’m always telling people to just do it — get yourself immersed in this world and its various cultures. But even though 99.9% of the people you talk to will recognize this as a wonderful and beneficial opportunity to grow as a person and expand your social network, very few will actually take the next step.

It’s not easy to go abroad for an extended period of time, and it certainly isn’t cheap, but your international experience isn’t something you will likely regret. My own personal experiences abroad have completely transformed the way I view our world and those who live in it. Did I spend a ridiculous amount of money? Yes. Did I pass up opportunities in my home country? Sure. Would I change anything? I think you already know the answer to that.

International experience will provide you with a highly¬†transferable¬†skill set useful in ANY job. Globalization is a real thing and more and more companies are expanding their businesses beyond national boundaries. Even if your company isn’t international, your fellow employees will come from diverse backgrounds. Your experience abroad will prepare you for interaction with people who share different cultures, customs, beliefs, styles, etc. In order to succeed in your profession, especially one as people-focused as Human Resources, developed cross-cultural communication skills are essential.

Many of the attributes gained from international experience that enhance your professional ability, will provide benefits on a more personal level as well. Through my interaction with people from various backgrounds, I have been able to assess and evaluate my character and how others view me as a person. In order to be successful in building and maintaining professional and personal relationships, I had no choice but to adapt to my current environment and remain flexible and accessible to my peers. As a result, my initial, tiny network now reaches several continents, with contacts in several different countries. (Friends from around the globe also can help you cut back on hotel costs when visiting the area. But don’t forget to return the favor!)

Not everyone can get the chance to go abroad. But the good news is, you don’t always have to travel to gain international knowledge and expand your global network. Getting a position where you work directly with foreign clients or companies can help you build successful international relationships. Also, most companies maintain a diverse staff, providing the opportunity to learn from your colleagues. Just remember to keep an open mind and remain respectful and sensitive to cultural differences and customs.


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