Undergraduate Blog / Career Development

Study Abroad & Career Advances

This post was written by Peer Career Ambassador Stela Maksutaj ’17

The study abroad experience has students eager to face new obstacles in different cultures and environments. Although this time is focused on getting yourself out of your comfort zone and trying new things, it is important to not forget about reality and what is to come in your near career oriented future. Do not be discouraged about leaving campus for a semester or two simply because of a few missed opportunities during fairs or on campus recruiting. Instead of perceiving studying abroad as missed chances to get an internship or job, view it as a step up with other opportunities you would not have otherwise.

In the fall of 2015, I studied abroad in Barcelona, Spain. I left the USA with anxiety about how I would develop my career path, and returned with a refreshed and confident mindset through a few measures I took while abroad. Take the following tips to heart, and bring yourself back to reality every now and then.

Maintain Your Built Network

You have spent the last two-three years building connections that will help support your future endeavors, DON’T FORGET ABOUT THEM. Take some time out of your busy days travelling, and send a check in email to a few contacts you have already built relationships with. By keeping in touch on a regular basis, you are building an everlasting relationship with your networks. Even before applications are out, structuring a network of peers, alumni, and family/ work connections will only make the process of applying easier. Showing you care goes a long way.

Business is Everywhere, Absorb your Surroundings

The world is full of businesses and people to learn from, so spent every moment you can educating yourself about how different cultures operate their businesses. By understanding the international lens of business, you will have a foot up on other students that never had the opportunity to study abroad. Use this experience as an observational exercise, where you can start drawing conclusions about how international businesses succeed.

Check Career Connections OFTEN

Career Connections is always updating new internships and jobs, no matter what time of the year. It is never too soon to start picking out what positions interest you. Deadlines come quicker than you realize, and once they are missed they are gone. Be pre-emptive in checking what job postings there are in relation to your interests, and do not be picky. Keeping an open mind with applications will guide you towards trying new things and even finding a new passion. Apply now, decide later.

Brand Yourself

Studying abroad adds dimension and substance to a person. But it is the way you frame your experience to an employer that will make you stand out from the other thirty applicants that also studied abroad for a semester. Know your experience, know your goals, and know your study abroad accomplishments.

BE PROACTIVE- It is never too soon to develop your career and work on your personal achievements. Leverage this once in a life time opportunity to make yourself shine in the application process.