According to Forbes, having good communication skills has nothing to do with talking. Instead it’s all about awareness and understanding of others. Studying abroad expands your global outlook of people, their language, and their culture. The experience gives you practice in understanding people from completely different languages and cultural backgrounds. It surrounds you with people who might communicate differently, which in turn makes you a better communicator. It challenges you to diverge from your way of thinking and how you consider other people. By being exposed to another culture everyday, for an extended period of time, you can experience the inner workings of a culture and can attempt to understand others. Effectively understanding goes hand in hand with effectively communicating.
While abroad, you have the opportunity to meet people you may not have otherwise. This can lead to further opportunities for networking when you're job searching. During my time abroad, I had the opportunity to intern during Paris Fashion Week. This connected me with employers from around the world and gave me experience communicating with people from a variety of cultures.
Time for Personal Growth
Study abroad is your time. It’s your chance to break away from the 'normal' that you are comfortable in. It's your time to decide who you really want to be, define what is important to you, and refocus your plan for success. In the 'normal,' you coast along with familiar friends and familiar conversations that aren’t going to serve you in the long run. Allowing yourself to break away from this leads to a more complex you! It’s a challenge, and most of the time it is tough at first, but that just adds to your potential growth. In many cases, gaining perspective on our own lives helps us to identify where we can improve.
Good communication skills are key to lifelong success
Communications majors aren't the only ones who can benefit from improved communication skills via study abroad. Great communications skills can help in interviews, help to advance within companies, and help in social situations. For example, when you can understand your supervisors’ needs and priorities and can communicate clearly with them – using the skills you built during study abroad – you’ll be able to make an impression and earn consideration for advancement. An entrepreneur who cannot communicate his or her vision or product to a customer will not succeed. Learning to understand and approach people to gently guide them to your point of view is a make or break trait. In relationship situations, communicating effectively is key. Just like learning to understand people of other cultures and languages, understanding significant others and friends can make or break the relationship.
Emily D. is the Spring 2018 MOJO Blogger in Paris, France. She is currently a Freshman studying Communications at High Point University.
Emily Durant is the Spring 2018 CEA MOJO Blogger in Paris, France, and is currently studying at High Point University.