Thursday, November 30, 2017

Career Readiness & Studying Abroad

This past week, I was fortunate enough to travel to Italy. It was a trip filled with joy and adventure; however, there was a fair share of stress that comes with traveling alone. Between the copious amounts of walking, gelato, and the occasional (read: every day) confusion, I was reminded of my study abroad experience in college. The summer of my Sophomore year, I was provided the opportunity to study in Salzburg, Austria. This experience solidified for me that while traveling is difficult, it is completely worth it. The mission of The Career Center at Hofstra University is to provide students with the resources to lead meaningful lives and careers. In cooperation with this mission, I urge students to take advantage of any opportunity to travel.

According to the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE), studying abroad is considered one of the top 5 ways to gain experiential learning. Experiential learning is an essential component of a college education because it significantly increases a student’s career readiness. Career readiness, as defined by NACE, is the “attainment and demonstration of requisite competencies that broadly prepare college graduates for a successful transition.” These competencies include critical thinking, communication skills, digital technology, collaboration, leadership, and global fluency. These capabilities can all be further developed within a study abroad experience.

Often employers will look upon an international experience with a positive attitude. This is supported by NACE’s research where “49% of the general population of recent graduates finds a job within 12 months of graduation, compared to 97% of study abroad alumni. In addition, IES Abroad conducted research on their graduates, and determined that of those who completed the program over 78% felt they increased their communication skills, self-confidence, adaptability, and cultural understanding.

I always encourage students to put their study abroad experience on their resumes because it demonstrates how they are able to work within a diverse population. In addition, it shows perseverance, and cultural acceptance. If you are unsure how to word your bullet points, think of the STAR method. STAR stands for Situation/ Task Action and Results. Think of your experience and what transferrable skills you were able to gain. For example:
  • Adapted to an unfamiliar environment and embraced cultural differences
  • Organized numerous educational opportunities for up to 10 students to increase knowledge of country’s history, including a trip to Pompeii, Athens, and Greece
  • Handled monetary transactions in numerous currencies for up to 10 students
If you have any questions or concerns about how to properly articulate your experience, please do not hesitate to visit the Career Center, where a counselor will be more than happy to assist.

~ Have a wonderful Fall Semester and Winter Break ~
Kristi Riecker
Graduate Assistant
Hofstra Career Center

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