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Use Your Study Abroad to Get The Career You Have Always Wanted

What do all recipients of the US Nobel Prize, Dr. Seuss, John F. Kennedy and Bill Clinton all have in common?You guessed it, before establishing their “claim to fame”, they either studied abroad or had an international learning experience that they could taut on their resume. There is a lot to be said for a study abroad experience – it’s an opportunity to travel, to do something different and “off campus for a term or two during college, it offers transfer credit to your home campus, it aids in the language acquisition process, it just simply makes you a more interesting person! But there’s something more to it, as evidenced by the trends emerging in corporate and professional settings in terms of qualities that employers seek when reviewing the thousands and thousands of today’s generation’s resumes in circulation. Many of the qualities that “set candidates apart from the pack” are parallel to the qualities that a study abroad experience helps to develop. Think about this. An international or study abroad experience on a resume shows adaptability and flexibility, it shows interest and initiative to explore outside of the “comfort zone”, it shows responsibility for one’s own experiences and success, it shows the ability to communicate in foreign environments, it shows interest or skill in intercultural competency, it shows one’s ability to handle stress in the unknown situation, it shows’ open-mindedness and self-reliance and self-confidence . . . the list goes on and on. One of the most difficult things to do once you’ve studied abroad and polished your resume, is articulate the experience during a professional interview. This is one of the reasons why CEA has launched the CEA Study Abroad Social Networking site. We wanted to create a forum through which students could of course get acquainted and ask important questions about preparing for the experience of a lifetime. But even beyond that we’re encouraging students to share their stories and advice regarding how they successfully translated the skills they acquired during their study abroad experience to their current academic or professional pursuits. There’s no more authentic way to learn about everything that comes AFTER a program has ended then by reflecting and sharing with those who’ve already begun the practical application of studying abroad.
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