How to show the best of your study abroad on your resume
When you're been abroad for a semester or longer during your studies, you're bound to have picked up lots of new skills and knowledge that can help you to stand out when applying for a job or course of study. But in order to take advantage of this, you need to know how to convey your extra skills to potential employers or universities. So today we're offering advice on how to show off the best of your study abroad on your resume. You can use the following ideas as skills to highlight on applications, or find ways to include this information in your cover letter, letter of motivation, or to answer interview questions.
Independence and self-management
A major skill which you have demonstrated by taking a study abroad trip is your independence and ability to manage yourself. Most students would struggle to travel alone to a new country, to make friends and to study successfully, so if you achieved this then you should state this with pride. Particularly amongst undergrads, the ability to manage yourself and to work without a lot of institutional support makes you stand out and demonstrates your ability to do more demanding work or study.
If you've had to adjust to a new culture, and especially if you've had to adapt to a new language, then you will have sharpened your communications skills. You will have experience in communicating with people from different backgrounds to you, across cultural borders. Being able to phrase your thoughts in a way which makes sense to people who do not share your cultural background is an important and useful skill in the modern international workplace. You can demonstrate this by sharing an example of how you resolved a disagreement or misunderstanding, or how you learned to present information to make it more comprehensible to people who do not share your background.
Adaptation to different learning environments
It's likely that there were differences between the learning environments of your home and host universities, whether in terms of class size, teaching style, assessment style, or the ratio of written work to verbal discussion which was required. This flexibility makes you valuable, as it demonstrates that you can adapt effectively to unfamiliar situations. If you were able to perform well on both written and oral academic assessments, for example, then you can show that your skills go beyond what is minimally necessary for passing an academic course. It makes you a more well-rounded individual, which means that you will be easier to train for future employers, and able to pick up new ideas more quickly.
Breadth of education
As well as different learning styles, you might well have experienced a different focus of study, even within the same discipline. In philosophy, for example, Britain and Northern America tend to teach analytic philosophy with a focus on logic and mathematics, whilst in Continental Europe and South America, the continental philosophy tradition focus more on phenomenology and subjective experience. Or if you work in history or cultural studies, then studying abroad can expose you to an entirely new perspective and approach to your topic, as well as giving you factual information unique to the location in which you are studying. Hence study abroad can help you to gain experience in more than one aspect of your field, and give you a broader perspective of the topic. Be sure to highlight the diversity of your studies by listing some of the unique or unusual topics which you worked on whilst abroad.
Hopefully this will give you some ideas about how you can show off all of the skills and experience which you gained from your study abroad time. And if you haven't studied abroad yet but are considering it for the future, you can see some of the many advantages. To find out more about study abroad opportunities, as well as tips for students and the latest international job opportunities, see our Insights!
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