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Leveraging Your Study Abroad Experience in the Workforce


During the 2021 winter break, I began the difficult search for a summer internship. Whether you’re hunting for an internship, full-time or part-time work, the competitive nature of today’s workforce can be extremely daunting. I applied, applied, received rejections, and kept applying until someone emailed me back asking for an interview. I was thrilled! As I started my interview preparation, I honed in on my study abroad experience as well as my experience being a CEA Alumni Ambassador. Here’s what I gained from those experiences:

1. Real-World International Experience

I know this sounds like a basic "no-duh" takeaway. However, what I’ve realized is that having study abroad experience is rare and unique. So right off the bat, I knew I had an edge on the competition.

2. Ability to Adapt

Every study abroad student goes through an adaptation period: new people, new environments, new languages! Going through that valuable experience automatically shows employers your strong ability to adapt to change.

3. Cultural Understanding

It’s very rare in today’s world for a company to NOT have some sort of international interaction. Having experience with other cultures, types of people, and ways of life offers you a leg up. Companies want diversity within the workplace. Having firsthand cultural adaptation and understanding shows that diversity.

4. Desire to Take Risks

Studying abroad is a scary experience – highly rewarding, but scary nonetheless! Seeing the words “study abroad” on a resume automatically lets employers know you are willing to put yourself out there and take a risk. Taking a risk that can shape you personally and professionally demonstrates your agility to change. In today’s highly globalized society, it’s critical to take risks and innovate in order to reach success.

5. Commitment

Being a CEA Alumni Ambassador after your study abroad experience is not only fun, but an opportunity for career development and growth. Showing employers that you continued to promote and educate other students about CEA Study Abroad programs demonstrates commitment to your experience.

Resumes, cover letters, and job interviews are overwhelming and stressful, but focusing on your study abroad experience automatically gives you an edge over the competition. Not only is talking about your study abroad experience exciting, but it could help you to land your internship or dream job.

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