#studyabroad as a marketable asset

By Rachael Boggia

Rachael studied with API in Cork, Ireland during the fall 2009 term, and is currently serving as an API Peer Mentor at Saint Anselm College in New Hampshire.

 

Courtyard at University College Cork

Study abroad is a marketable experience to employers because the skills learned abroad make one more adaptable and stronger in a professional environment. In my many internship interviews, employers have asked me of my experience abroad in Ireland. They have been curious and intrigued as I discussed my academic classes, living situation, and travels throughout Europe.

In explaining my study abroad experience I focus on several points that are marketable to future employers. Study abroad has allowed me, to become more adaptable. I went to Ireland by myself without knowing anyone and without knowing the specific surroundings I would be living in for the next four months. I was able to adapt to my surroundings through living and taking classes with Irish and international students. Cork truly felt like my home away from home. I quickly made friends with my roommates and classmates. I was able to adapt to new ways of living through forming friendships with my roommates, who taught me the customs of the Irish culture. I became accustomed to the norms at the university which were different from my home university. For instance, my classes at my home university are of small size. In Cork my classes were huge lecture halls. The essay requirements were also different in Ireland than at my home university. I was forced to adjust my norms to the norms of the culture surrounding me.  I routinely spent time in the city center and campus which made me very familiar with my surroundings. I became accustomed to the transportation systems and culture of the city. Adaptability is a key skill to have in the professional world. Going abroad allows one to adapt more quickly and easily to new surroundings.

Cork harbor

Going abroad also makes one more independent, responsible, and confident. These traits lead to better performance and satisfaction in the professional environment, and are something that every employer looks for. I definitely have changed positively in this respect. I went to Ireland by myself and left with many friends and a strong sense of achievement. I was forced to jump into my new surrounding and try new experiences. I became more responsible for my own actions, finances, food, shopping, travels, etc. I learned how to interact with people of different backgrounds and perspectives. I learned how to navigate through situations of conflict. I learned how to form a life and home in my new, strange surroundings. I did this by making friends with as many people as I could, trying new foods, traveling to new places, taking different classes, etc. I left Ireland with a sense of achievement and satisfaction knowing that I was able to live in a foreign country for four months. I look at my first day arriving in Ireland and compare it to my day of departure and know that I have become enriched by the new relationships that I formed.

Going abroad provides immediate satisfaction but also has lasting effects. The skills one gains from living in a foreign country can only benefit one in future endeavors. It is an  experience that not only enriches one personally but also those surrounding that individual. The skills gained from study abroad can help to ensure a successful future in one’s career.

Rachael at the New Hampshire International Education Conference 4/2/11

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Comments

  1. Rachael: I just applied to PhD programs and UC Cork is one school I’m considering. Could you send me an email? I’d love to pick your brain. Thanks!

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