Top 7 Career Benefits of Studying Abroad
There are a large variety of benefits to studying abroad. Living in another country offers opportunities to travel, make new friends, and immerse yourself in a new culture. And if you’re already thinking about life after university, there are also some significant career benefits of studying abroad, too.
In an increasingly globalised workplace, employers value international experience. In addition to honing your language skills, the benefits of studying abroad for your career include: building a network of international contacts, an interest in thinking globally, and the ability to thrive in different environments.
If you’re particularly interested in the advantages of studying abroad and how it can improve your career prospects, it’s important to know how to maximise studying abroad benefits. Read on for our advice about the career benefits of studying abroad, and what you’ll want to do to ensure you’re making the most of the opportunities available to you.
How does studying abroad help your career?
With so many different career benefits of studying abroad, it’s helpful to think about them one by one.
Strengthening your communication skills
To begin with, one of the advantages of studying abroad is that it offers an exciting opportunity to strengthen your communication skills. Living and studying in a different country almost certainly means you’ll be immersed in a different language and culture.
Being able to speak a second language is a valuable skill in a variety of careers, and immersing yourself in that language through living abroad is incomparable to trying to learn from a textbook or online videos. Being forced to use a language in real-world scenarios helps you pick up on all the colloquialisms and subtler rhythms of communication that will put you far closer to fluency; not to mention all the non-verbal communication skills you’ll pick up from being immersed in another culture.
Plus it’s a fun way of improving your language skills – another one of the advantages of studying abroad is that everything from going for coffee to visiting the cinema can offer the opportunity to refine your language skills and boost your career prospects.
Make professional networks
Studying abroad offers an unparalleled opportunity to establish professional networks. To make sure you leave university with a list of contacts who might help with your career development, you’ll want to make sure you’re making the most of all the opportunities studying abroad can offer you.
Most obviously, internships and placements on your course mean you’ll make plenty of professional contacts. But you’ll also meet people in a range of industries at different stages of their careers through your lecturers and other students, too – and you never know when one of these contacts might end up leading you into an unexpected career opportunity.
Many universities also have established alumni networks. A university with a global network of alumni can offer further opportunities to make contacts in your field of interest.
Develop your employment skills while you study
To make the most of the possible career benefits of studying abroad, you’ll want to take a look at the internships offered by your university, as well as any placements, work experience, or fieldwork that allows you to gain industry experience. Lots of universities offer these kinds of employability-focused opportunities, and they’ll really make you stand out to recruiters.
There’s plenty of opportunities to develop your employability skills inside the lecture hall while you’re studying abroad. Depending on your subject, you’ll often find industry experts teaching courses, electives that allow you to study a specialist course that will benefit you in your chosen industry – or you could even choose an elective that isn’t available in your own country or that you’d never thought about before which unlocks a new passion and leads you to a career path you’d never even considered prior to studying abroad.
Enhance your resume
When you’re competing against other graduates starting out in your new career, it’s important to have something on your resume to help you stand out from the crowd. International experience is something that is sure to make employers take notice.
Experience of studying abroad – and any associated work experience – shows that you are comfortable working within an international, multicultural environment. It also demonstrates skills such as adaptability, confidence, and open-mindedness – important skills for succeeding in any role.
In the competitive graduate job market, this can give you an edge over other applicants.
Establish a global network
As well as the professional contacts you can establish while studying abroad, this experience also offers the opportunity to develop your interpersonal skills as you build a global network of contacts.
Throughout your time studying abroad, you’ll experience a different culture and ways of thinking. As well as friends local to the area you’re studying in, other international students from around the world will mean you meet a diverse range of people from a wide range of backgrounds.
Learning more about these different experiences and cultures offers you a broader worldview that’s extremely valuable in the global workplace. Candidates who are comfortable working with people from around the world can be a huge asset to an organisation.
Develop flexibility and independence
The ‘soft skills’ you’ll develop while working abroad aren’t limited to working with other people. Adapting to a new culture – even things as simple as navigating different foods on offer in a grocery store and figuring out public transport – can feel challenging at first, but learning that you can cope with these situations will build confidence in handling new situations and give you the life skills to flourish anywhere in the world.
Coping with new and challenging situations is yet another important career benefit of studying abroad, since this is inevitably something you’ll face during your career. Having developed the ability to navigate new situations during your time studying abroad means you’ll be better prepared, making you more likely to do better in your chosen career.
Finding new employment after studying abroad
Finally, studying abroad means that you’ll develop specific knowledge and familiarity of the country you’re studying in. This experience lends you to a role which involves working with that market – or even staying on to work in the country where you’ve been studying.
If you find you love where you’re studying, you might want to stay and look for work after you graduate, expanding your opportunities beyond your home country. Many countries offer visas for recently graduated international students, which can be a great route to employment in that country.
Why study at Teesside University?
If you’re looking to reap the career benefits of studying abroad, Teesside University is a great place to start. It offers all the opportunities you ought to be looking for to make the most of the advantages of studying abroad, including strengthening your English language skills, building your network of international contacts, and developing your employment skills while you study.
Teesside also offers plenty of opportunities to enhance your resume and make professional contacts, with its employability statistics speaking to the success of these opportunities – 80% of graduates are in graduate-level jobs or further study within 15 months of graduation (The Guardian University Guide 2023).
What’s more, you’ll be part of a supportive international student community: in the International Student Barometer 2022, Teesside University was ranked number one out of 32 UK universities for overall happiness.*
When you successfully complete your degree at Teesside University, you will be ready to embark on the high-flying career you have always dreamed of.
*The ISB collected the views of 1,820 international students at Teesside University, within a survey response of 119,254 students globally and 32,890 in the UK. More info at: https://www.tribalgroup.com/2022-isb-wave-2-global-benchmark-list / https://tees.ac.uk/sections/international/isb2022.cfm
Why do students studying abroad have more successful careers?
Exposure to a new culture, gaining a global perspective, and building international networks all help students studying abroad to have more successful careers. Studying abroad also helps build adaptability, intercultural communication skills, and marketability, all of which are increasingly important in a globalised job market.
Is it easier to find work if I study abroad?
How easy it is to find work when you graduate depends on a range of factors, such as where you’ve studied, the qualification you gain at the end of your degree, and what work experience you’ve undertaken alongside your studies. That said, studying abroad provides you with a range of desirable skills and experiences, and can sometimes open up graduate visas in your country of study.
How does studying abroad help my career?
Studying abroad encourages personal growth, independence and resilience, all while developing cross-cultural skills and a global mindset. These are all qualities that are highly valued by employers seeking candidates who can navigate multicultural work environments and an increasingly globalised marketplace.