Undergraduate Blog / Career Development

How to Use Your Study Abroad Experience in a Job Interview

This post was written by Peer Career Ambassador Anamaria Najera ’17

Getting your thoughts together after studying abroad can be a challenge. Mentally, you may still be back on the beaches of Barcelona, or making Swiss chocolate in Interlaken, Switzerland. Physically, you’re in Horn Library studying for midterms and applying for jobs. If you’ve landed an interview, you’re in luck: rumor has it that studying abroad can enhance your resume and make you more appealing to employers.

Studying abroad is a legit interview topic, and you should know how to own that conversation. You can sell your experience in Singapore or Barcelona as something far more important than a semester of easy classes and travelling. Here’s how:

  1. Explain why you chose that Destination: Was it because you wanted to get out of your comfort zone? Was it because you wanted to become fluent in a language or because of something you wanted to learn more about?  You need to be able to tell your story. What was it that really drew you there? What were your goals going into the experience? How did it work out?
  2. Focus on your Achievements: Don’t become the victim of your interviewer’s misconceptions about studying abroad. Maybe they think that study abroad is a big party with blow-off classes mixed in. It’s up to you to make them see the value of your time abroad. What did you achieve? What classes did you take? How did this experience change you as a person?  Achievements can be academic accomplishments as well as personal.  If you won a scholarship, had a part-time internship, or volunteered, those things are worth mentioning. Don’t sell yourself short!
  3. Talk about what was Tough:  Was there a moment when you thought you were in over your head? How did you handle the challenges of being in an unfamiliar place? This experience is not your typical classroom setting. There are hurdles to jump over and mistakes to be made— and those are a great way to evaluate how you grew as a person. Show that you took risks and can reflect on how they made you a stronger person. This will definitely make you stand out!

P.S. While study abroad can enhance your qualifications, never forget that the real selling point in your interview is you! So just relax and ace those job interviews!