Study Abroad in a Job Interview
Post by Jessica Santiago, Class of 2015
Coming back from a year of studying abroad was such an adjustment for me. Going back home was nice, but I quickly realized no one really wanted to hear all of my stories because they found it hard to understand or relate to. Though I had a lot of time to reflect to myself about my overall experience, I never took the time to make a list of all the key takeaways I gained.
Now as a senior preparing for job interviews, I have been taking a look back at the classes I have taken and trying to remember what big projects I completed in those courses that I can refer back to. However, after my first interview, I have come to realize that being abroad has been one of the most impactful things in my life so far and thus, should be speaking more about it.
My advice for integrating your experience abroad with job/internship interviews is to start by looking up commonly asked interview questions and see if you can apply your experience. Just recently, I was interviewed and was asked to describe a time in which I had to deal with change. It is easy to say that studying abroad required you to deal with a change in environment and day to day activities but what will really set you apart is by thinking of a specific example and telling a story. Storytelling is key in highlighting the lessons you learned while you were abroad so take the time to think of the stories you want to share and how you will go about sharing your experience in a concise and effective manner.
Ultimately, just think about your job interview as a chance to speak to someone who wants insight about who you are. As a study abroad student, I know that that experience has become a part of who I am today and should therefore, highlight learning moments during my time abroad. Interviews give us the chance to showcase our unique experience and tell stories that we may not have shared before so take the time to reflect and strategize on how to most effectively share them!
For more help on articulating your international experience, consider attending the New England Returnee Conference on February 28, 2015: http://nestudyabroadreentryconference.wordpress.com/