Build on your time abroad
Uncertain about next steps because you don't know where to begin? Not sure how to leverage your international experience on your resume? If you are avoiding the job search because you don’t know what you want or where to start, you are not alone! The CareerLAB is open year-round so you can start the search when the time is right for you.
Study Abroad and Career Development
Next Steps and Resources:
- Update your résumé: Where to put your experience? Relevant Courses? Travel? Interests? Language skills? Volunteer or internship experience? Visit Walk-in hours at CareerLAB for résumé review.
- Consider your network from abroad: professors, internships, volunteer experiences, friends, alumni contacts. Make a plan to sustain these relationships over time. Perhaps you’ll check in regularly on WhatsApp, LinkedIn, or Instagram.
- Meet with one of our Career Counselors.
- Utilize Brown CareerLAB Resources: GoinGlobal, BrownConnect SPRINT LINK Awards, and Handshake.
- Attend CareerLAB events: Career programs and information sessions and career fairs.
- Learn to tell your story: adaptability, cross-cultural communication skills, resourcefulness, language skills, resilience, independence.
Tell Your Story
Look back on your experience with stories of specific examples that highlight the skills you developed. Create a stockpile of these stories and be prepared to use them in interviews or networking situations
- Flexibility & Adaptability: Did you immerse yourself and assimilate into the culture and workplace? While interning or taking classes in a new country and culture, were you able to be flexible and adjust to the unfamiliar norms and customs? What are some examples of how you adapted to life in the host country despite the differences that may exist between the host country and your home country? What did you learn from that experience?
- Cross-cultural communication skills: Did you correspond with and work alongside a diverse group of people on a daily basis? Did you learn about the professional culture within your host country? Do you have examples of how you overcame cultural differences in order to complete projects or reach specific goals?
- Resourcefulness: Were there times when you did not understand how to do something or was there a process that varied from what you were used to in your home country? Did you use the resources at hand to make the best of these unfamiliar situations or new processes at your internship? Did you ask questions? Follow through on assignments that were brand new to you? How did you find answers to your questions or learn what to do in these situations?
- Language Skills: During your semester abroad, did you communicate in a language other than your native one? What was that like at first? How are your language skills now compared to how they were at the start of your internship? Did you learn vocabulary/communication skills specific to your industry? Not only should your language skills have improved (or industry-specific vocabulary in the local language), but this also demonstrates a willingness and drive to learn.
- Patience & Resilience: Living in a new country and culture can be challenging. How was your ability to deal with setbacks or unpredictable situations? How did you manage stress in this unfamiliar environment? What is an example of a time you were met with conflict and how did you resolve it? Did this help improve your problem-solving skills?
- Independence and Self-Confidence: As you navigated living in your host country you had to rely on yourself to find answers to your questions and solve problems. Did you take risks? Welcome challenges? Do you feel that the experience helped you to become more confident in your ability to thrive in an international environment? Have you learned more about your field so that you could speak professionally and confidently in a future job interview in your home country?
The skills described above are highly sought after by employers. Set yourself apart for your next chapter by being able to highlight your freshly sharpened skills through storytelling.
Transferable Skills from Studying Abroad
- Foreign language proficiency.
- Learn how to listen and observe situations and surroundings — It takes more time to comprehend and listen in a foreign language and spending extensive time in a foreign country leads to greater awareness of surroundings.
- Relationship building skills across cultural and language lines.
- Ability to communicate cross-culturally, sensitivity.
- Open mindedness — learn to think about why people say and do what they do before judging them.
- More understanding and appreciative of other perspectives.
- Patience: You understand how hard it is to learn a language, speak a foreign language, and to navigate through a country or culture that is unfamiliar.
- Teamwork: Developed from working with other U.S. students abroad or from working with people you met while abroad as part of acclimating.
- Creative Problem Solving — Learn how to make decisions efficiently and quickly in unfamiliar situations and with less information than usual.
- Responsibility — Often when abroad there is no one else to fix things for you than yourself; learn how to be responsible.
- Flexibility — When traveling abroad things can change quickly and unexpectedly, learn to get used to that and react appropriately.
- Intellectual curiosity — You become more interested in why and how people act certain ways, believe certain things.
- Perseverance — Sometimes (often) things don’t work out as planned when studying abroad, and you learn how to work through difficult and confusing situations.
- Capacity to learn quickly in new situations —This is basically what happens every day of studying abroad, and you learn how to think critically quickly and effectively.
- Crisis Management.
- More aware of global events and perspectives.
- Presentation skills — You are more accustomed to asking for help and speaking outside of your comfort zone.
- Ability to take initiative and risks.