The benefits of studying abroad cannot be underestimated. There is no downside to studying abroad and the upside is huge. From learning a new language to gaining a better understanding of world politics, studying abroad can make you a far more desirable hire to potential employers. If the person interviewing you also studied abroad, it can be the key to making that connection with them that sets you apart from the others.
Here are four things that you will learn abroad that will set you apart from your classmates who don’t study overseas.
1. You will learn and understand a new culture
Doing business with someone is always tricky, but doing it with a person or company in a different country is even more difficult. In some cultures, people say exactly what they are thinking. For instance, if you went abroad to a meeting and someone said, “John, nice to see you. You look much fatter than the last time I saw you,” as an American you would be greatly offended. However, if you understood the culture and knew that the comment was meant as an observation and not an insult, it would be easier to laugh off. Without an understanding of that culture, the whole business relationship could be ruined.
2. You will have a better understand of foreign politics
Not only will you gain a better understanding of the general politics of a country, but you’ll understand the bureaucracy as well. If your company needs to get something done overseas and you know how to work through the system, you will be that much more valuable to your employer.
3. You will learn a new language faster than taking a class
Your average language class meets for 45 hours per semester. Your average day abroad involves 16 hours per day of immersion in a new language. So, in 3 days abroad you hear and are immersed in a language more than you are in a class for an entire semester! It is also much easier to learn a language when it is being used in normal day-to-day situations. Sure, you can learn the basics by reading a textbook or listening to a teacher, but nothing will make you understand a language better than being immersed in it.
4. You will learn to be flexible and patient
The two things that everyone who studies abroad learns to master are flexibility and patience. Not everyone in the world eats dinner at 6pm, or has hot water all day long, or has a dryer. So, you learn to adapt and be flexible in your new situation. Part of this adaptation involves a fairly high level of patience, as in the U.S. you would probably be pretty upset if you didn’t have hot water! Employees who are flexible and patient are a blessing to every boss. There’s nothing a manager hates more than an employee who can’t easily switch gears or sit back and wait.