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Does studying abroad help when finding a job?

In a word, yes! According to a study conducted by Global HR News:

  • Nearly three in four (73%) cited study abroad as important when evaluating the resumŽ of a job candidate for a junior-level position.
  • Furthermore, the study, conducted by Global HR News and commissioned by The Scholar Ship, showed that eight in 10 of the HR executives surveyed believed that a study abroad experience was an important factor for overseas job placement within their companies.
  • "As the world grows 'flatter,' the value of an international approach to higher education cannot be overstated," said Dr. Joseph Olander, president of The Scholar Ship, the first oceangoing study abroad program designed specifically for a multi-national student body and faculty. "The HR executives confirmed what we have sensed in today's international business environment."

Additional findings from this study include:

  • "Cultural awareness/sensitivity/tolerance" and an "international perspective" topped the list of the attributes valued by HR executives among prospective employees with study abroad experience.
  • Two-thirds (67%) of HR executives surveyed said that a study abroad experience within a culturally diverse student environment distinguishes a job candidate from others studying only with students from their own country.
  • Eight in 10 (80%) HR executives believed that an international education experience is important in distinguishing a candidate for overseas job placement.

According to a study done by NAFSA: Association of International Educators, 'Global competence is increasingly valued in the workplace' also:

A 2003 RAND study surveyed 135 Human Resource managers from 75 companies. By consensus, the most important employee skill sets were:
- Substantive content/technical knowledge of the primary field of business,
- Managerial ability, with emphases on teamwork and interpersonal skills,
- Strategic international understanding and
- Cross-cultural experience

Cross-cultural competence ranked 5th out of 19 attributes that 'Make a successful career professional' according to the same study.

Of surveyed employers, a significant number agreed that candidates with international study experience are likely to possess key skills such as:

  • Cross-cultural communication skills (98%)
  • Independence (97%)
  • Cultural Awareness (96%)
  • Maturity (94%)
  • Flexibility (90%)

In an article from Butler University, 'The Value of Study Abroad,' research was presented from the Council on International Education Exchange (CIEE) to determine how much employers value a job applicant's study abroad experience:

In a survey of 352 U.S.-based CEOs, senior managers, on-campus recruiters, and human resource professionals, CIEE found that while a majority of these employers valued international experience, different people valued different types of programs. Human resource professionals favored longer, yearlong programs to develop the skills they wanted; senior managers, however, favored shorter, 14- to 18-week internships. Employers who had studied abroad themselves placed a higher value on all study abroad experiences.

According to Marie-Louise Hansson, a Swedish career adviser and author of 'The Global Business Person: What is the Secret for Success,' there are seven global skills. In looking at this list below, you will find that most of these skills are gained, strengthened, and highlighted through any study abroad experience:

  1. The ability to deal with ambiguity and constant change—and love it.
  2. The ability to be informed about the industry and where the power is located.
  3. The ability to take moderate risks and step forward in an unfamiliar situation.
  4. The ability to act in a diplomatic way and build lasting relations—in the real and in the virtual world.
  5. The ability to create visions about the future and how you, and your organization, fit into the larger picture.
  6. The ability to create strategies as well as put them into practical plans and actions.
  7. The ability to execute leadership, regardless of position, and have respect for different nationalities, cultures, and religions.

Kimberly Larsson, assistant directory of the Office of International Programs at North Central College, in Naperville, Ill, states in her article, 'Packaging Your International Experience':

As college students study abroad in larger numbers and increasingly diverse locations, employers are correlating this experience with employability. Study abroad reflects independence, cultural sensitivity and awareness, self-confidence and reliance, as well as language proficiency. Other new skills can include problem solving, dealing with ambiguity, managing a limited budget, handling situations diplomatically, and acting as an ambassador and a leader. Students also gain an international perspective and country-specific skills that can be useful for potential employers when thinking about a certain market, overseas office, or customer base.

In the article, 'Considering the Reasons to Study Abroad' from Dummies.com:

Studying abroad typically gives your resume a nice boost and improves your post-graduate employment prospects, particularly if you're considering a career in business, international affairs, or government service. Nowadays, employers actively seek college graduates who have spent time studying abroad because they want employees with an international knowledge base as well as foreign language skills.

The same international skills that make you more marketable for employment are also valued by graduate schools. These skills include cross-cultural communication skills, analytical skills, teamwork, flexibility, an understanding of cultural contexts, the ability to adapt to new circumstances and deal with differences, a developed view of the world outside the U.S., independence, and self-confidence.

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Sources:
http://www.goinglobal.com/newsletter_atricles/june07_general_study.asp
http://www.nafsa.org/_/File/_/study_abroad_and_economic.pdf
http://www.butler.edu/modernlanguages/websnap/documents/valueOfStudy.pdf
http://www.goinglobal.com/
http://www.abroadview.org/avmag/2008fall_larsson.htm
http://www.dummies.com/how-to/content/considering-the-reasons-to-study-abroad.html

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