About 1.5 percent of American undergraduate students study abroad. That is a surprisingly low number, given you hear all the time that studying abroad benefits you in different ways: you develop as a person, you make friends from other countries, you get to see the world and so on.
One of the most important things of studying abroad is the career benefits. I found an article that said people who study abroad have a higher likelihood of being employed after graduation. The reasons are probably many, but here are some of them that the article provided:
1. Stand out. A study abroad experience sets you apart from other job candidates. If you don’t have the opportunity to go during the semester because of various obligations, you could take a shorter study abroad course over the summer.
2. International experience. You expand your cultural awareness and understanding of the world, and this gives you new skills within your field. Be able to articulate what these skills are and how they make you employable. Your international experience also makes you learn to work with people from different countries, which is important in the global job market.
3. Communication skills. Not only do you improve your communication skills by talking with people from other countries, but you might also learn a new language. I don’t know any job where you don’t need to be able to communicate well.
4. “Soft skills”. These are, for example, confidence and adaptability. The soft skills are gained simply by spending time in another country for an amount of time. Being able to adapt is a quality many employers value, and you learn how to adapt by experiencing another culture.
5. Problem-solving. Employers look for people who can solve problems, and this is a skill you learn when you face challenges and have to take care of yourself in another country. You start from scratch when you go abroad, and this usually means you have to solve problems.
It’s nice to see that studying abroad is beneficial in other ways than just the personal gains. When I applied to Purdue, I didn’t think about how that could affect my future. But knowing how it benefits you when you’re applying for job, and how to articulate these new skills, can make you land a job.