A broad eXperience
“It’s a big world out there, it would be a shame not to experience it”
– Jo Andrews
In times of globalisation, international exchange programs and great connections to almost anywhere,
more and more students or young professionals seek for adventures and experiences in a foreign country. In 2017, there were over 5.3 million international students doing one or two semesters abroad and lots of them were enrolled in educational and exchange programs (UNESCO, 2019). A part from all the adventurous and exciting aspects of taking part in international programs, we also want to show how important all the academic, cultural and especially career benefits of staying abroad can be.
- Develop a better understanding of other countries, their culture and so much moreIn a world which gets more and more connected, open-mindfulness and the willingness to learn about each other is more essential than ever. Common global challenges make it necessary to think globally and the understanding of other cultures can therefore be very helpful to more easily reach out to people from different countries, which may have completely other customs to the ones you know from your home country. These customs do sometimes not only remain cultural, as they even can be found in academic and professional contexts.Gaining a new, global perspective on people and cultures can thereby even provide you a lot of opportunities in your own country. By understanding how for example business issues are tackled in different cultures hand how different ways of working can be around the globe, you will improve your chances to work in an international environment.Nevertheless, you can also expect to immerse yourself in the foreign culture by enjoying the food, spectacles and other festivities of your host country.
- Seize the opportunity to easily learn foreign languages
South Africa’s president and philanthropist Nelson Mandela put it best when he said „If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart“, as most people do express theirselves differently by using other languages than their mother tongue. Speaking a foreign language can therefore open you up the possibility to not only easier communicate with people from around the globe, but also to better understand the meaning of what is said. You will further recognise that people who do not speak english will strongly appreciate if you can talk to them in their language.And anyway, don’t you also think that there is something beautiful in every language which makes it worth to learn?
- Grow a network and travel the world
Meeting people from around the world is one of the most interesting things while staying abroad. No matter if you’re taking part in an international study program or if you’re working in another country, you certainly will connect with people from your host country – but not only! As especially in exchange programs students often do come from everywhere, you will create a network that can span the globe.Building international friendships and connections can later help you to explore the world by visiting your new made friends. The people you meet abroad will further become part of your network for life, which can open you doors to new academic and professional opportunities throughout and beyond your abroad experience.
Today, it is easier than ever to stay in touch, so make use of it. The connections you make are the most valuable asset you can have in your professional life. As the saying goes, it’s not what you know, but who you know.
- Growing personality and developing life skills
Being far away from home, maybe even for the first time, and adjusting to a new country can be overwhelming. Besides of improving your communication and problem-solving skills, you will also strengthen your self-confidence and reliance by all the daily little adventures you necessarily will have to fulfil.Even if it sometimes can get hard to accomplish tasks like moving to a new home by your own, setting up a bank account or handling insurance matters, it definitely will help you to gain more independence and reliance. Skills, which will further be necessary in your future and professional life, regardless of your career path.
- If not now, when?You are young, motivated and there are so many thing waiting to be explore by you. So what are you waiting for?First, international programs and the freedom to travel allow us to move more easily from one country to another than ever. Second, you will never again have the possibility to integrate an abroad experience of few months so slightly into your everyday life as with an academic exchange or by doing an internship outside your home country. Last but not least, going on an adventure like this will completely change your life, your views and your future. It’s no secret that an abroad experience is great for your employability. From gaining foreign-language fluency or earning a specialized qualification, to developing key “soft skills” like adaptability, communication, and cross-cultural understanding, your time abroad is an excellent opportunity to build your resume. Hence, there is no better time to take your abroad experience than now.