We all know that studying abroad is a resume builder, however, with more and more people studying abroad each year, it is important to stand out. Just because you are not at home doesn’t mean you can’t continue building your resume and have fun at the same time. In fact, you don’t have to do a special intern abroad program or volunteer abroad to make your study abroad experience look exceptional on your resume. While you don’t want to stress yourself out or take away time from traveling, if you manage your time well and only take on a reasonable amount of work, there are many ways to maximize your time abroad.
1. Be Social
Blogs, Vlogs, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Tumblr, Pinterest…the list of social media networks seems endless. Whether you are looking for a job in marketing or not, knowledge of these tools can be incredibly useful, especially in a small business or as a business owner. Use your time studying abroad-where you are constantly surrounded by new, interesting content-as a way to grow your social media skills. Pick one or two networks that pique your interest and stick with them. Bonus: you will wind up with a great record of your time abroad, so its a win-win.
2. Learn a Language
What better time to learn a new language then while you are abroad? Most study abroad programs offer language classes, and it is 10 times easier to learn a language while you are constantly surrounded by it. Pay attention in class, make friends with some locals, and practice, practice, practice! Even if you can’t continue the language in school once you return, you never know if your introductory Italian course will score you brownie points with an Italian speaker who is conducting your next interview.
3. Create an Opportunity
Are you a great photographer? Excellent writer? Graphic designer? Musician? Artist? Stylist? Etc.? Try creating your own opportunity abroad by using skills you already have. How do you do this? Ask friends who have studied abroad if they know of any opportunities or can put you in touch with local business owners. Search for internship opportunities in your study abroad location. Find an “Americans in Paris” or “Creatives in Florence” Facebook page and inquire about potential gigs. Approach a local business and offer to do freelance work for them or create your own internship. Opportunities abound for those who look for them. (Note: I recommend researching in advance so you don’t have to waste your time abroad looking for something to do as opposed to actually doing it.)
Just like in the United States, there are many volunteer opportunities abroad. Check out the volunteer scene in your city before you go and see what causes interest you or align with your major or career goals. Not only will you feel great about doing good, but you will make an impact in the local community, showing future employers your dedication to volunteerism.
If you put yourself out there, studying abroad can lead you to many networking opportunities from around the globe. It may seem hard at first, but something as simple as making friends with your tour guide (how I got my current job), striking up a conversation with the person next to you on the train, joining local Facebook groups that interest you, or befriending a student from another school and/or country can open up a world of opportunity (excuse my pun). The more people you meet, the larger your network will become!
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There you have it! How did you (or do you hope to) maximize your study abroad experience?
Try reading these posts all about studying abroad:
- Study Abroad on a Budget: Top 9 Ways to Save
- 8 Things They DON’T Tell You About Studying Abroad
- Top 10 Ways to Maximize Your Time Studying Abroad
- 6 Factors to Consider Before You Choose Where to Study Abroad