It takes a certain person to be apart of the 1% of college students who study abroad.
That person is someone who isn’t afraid to go outside of their comfort zone, someone who is willing to be flexible, to adapt to new things that come their way and most importantly someone who wants a challenge.
If you’re not the bravest gal on the block, but you aspire to be– pack your bags anyways. Besides how incredible the gelato will be, how badass your Instagram will look, and the high potential of meeting your future foreign hottie husband (ahh!) – the things you chose to do while at college directly reflect who you are and most importantly, who you aspire to be.
If you aspire to be kicking ass and taking names in your dream job, then buy that passport cover (and the seriously expensive plane ticket to match) and be ready to come back new and improved.
Your resume will be top-of-the-stack material
The list of skills that can be obtained from a semester abroad is nearly endless. But the broad, common ones are biggies for career success and searched for by every employer across the grid.
You’re going to have to learn to improvise (hello – you’re not going to be able to understand directions, the menu, or some of your professors) and you’re going to have to be flexible and willing to adapt. You’re also going to get some seriously badass problem-solving skills because believe me when I say traveling abroad is never a smooth ride. You’re going to have to take your own initiatives, analyze carefully, and really learn how to stand on your own two feet.
All these skills you’ll add to your list will be incredibly valued by future employers on your resume and in your interviews. But most importantly, they will make you perform better. And that will be the difference in how fast you’re able to climb your way to the top.
And no matter how much wanderlust and free spirit you may have, being in a different country, with a different language, a different culture and nothing familiar will send you flying out of your comfort zone. And how you learn to adapt will forever impact your ability to be comfortable with being uncomfortable. And outside your comfort zone is the only place to become greater.
It’s no wonder that on average people who study abroad make 25% more and earn $7,000 more in starting salary.
You’ll get to know yourself
This may seem a bit cliché and overrated, but in all reality is way overlooked when considering it in your professional life.
You’re probably taking the trip without your core group of besties or family. You’re also probably in a place you’ve never been to and surrounded by a language you can’t fluently speak. You are you– without all of the daily outer influences– and there is never a better time to figure that person out.
It’s easy to subconsciously get caught up in what the norm is, what major is going to make you the most money, and doing what everyone else is doing. Being abroad is going to push you away from all of those things and allow you to be 100% you. Nearly 65% of people said studying abroad, “Influenced their decision to expand or change their majors.”
There is immense value in learning who you are while you are still in college. Knowing who you are, what you want, and possessing individuality is a beautiful thing and will continuously take you exactly where you want to be.
It’s important to consider that it’s 2015 and as fabulous and powerful the USofA might be, we do a lot of business in other countries. From fashion to consulting, to medicine– it can all be found operating in many corners of the world.
Having international experience expands your options incredibly. Knowing what it’s like to be in a place you’re unsure of and how to figure things out when you can’t understand the language makes you a prime candidate for a domestic company employee to visit overseas offices. What girl doesn’t want to be paid travel?
You also may find yourself a little more comfortable and excited about a new home. It’s not uncommon for someone who studies abroad to really fall in love with travel and all of the opportunities available in other places. You may want to stay a little longer than your trip allowed for and look into an internship or even full-time post-grad jobs in your country of choice.
It may seem a little wild and out there now, but a semester away can really change your perspective. If there’s ever a time to travel or stay abroad building a career – it’s now.
Image via Kyra Lai