A new study by Rotterdam School of Management’s (RSM) student exchange program at Erasmus University, determined that studying abroad boosts employment flexibility and job prospects.
Researchers interviewed more than 1,000 students, trainees, and interns who said that international education “improved both their managerial and cross-cultural competencies and also made them more independent, flexible and self-aware.”
It seems that many employers are looking for these same qualities in their job candidates.
HR managers from various companies around the U.S. have claimed that workers who have studied abroad are better rounded in comparison to those who don’t have the same experience.
First Lady Michelle Obama even encourages American college graduates to partake in “educational traveling” for individual advancements and foreign policy purposes.
Educational institutions in the U.S. like Harvard University have responded to this proposition by implementing mandatory study abroad arrangements for its MBA business students.
However, the EU in particular is also taking the initiative to make sure that its students are highly exposed to differentiating cultures.
“The message is clear: if you study or train abroad, you are more likely to increase your job prospects,” said Androulla Vassiliou, European Commissioner for Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth. “The new Erasmus+ programme will offer EU grants to four million people between 2014 and 2020, allowing them to experience life in another country through studies, training, teaching or volunteering.”
For the most part, foreign exchange students do return with a surge of exemplary confidence, problem-solving skills, and tolerance for other cultures—which 92 percent of employers say they’re looking for when hiring someone.
EU students that study abroad reportedly have a 42 percent increase of these traits over students who have not studied abroad.
When it comes to living abroad, 40 percent of post-graduates who furthered their studies in a foreign country, have now decided to live or work outside their native country. Yet, the study asserts that only 73 percent of the 93 percent of international students who consider living abroad will actually fulfill this dream following graduation.
There were only a few downfalls that were reported while researching the level of influence overseas education and work experience had on college students:
- Some found it difficult to relate to the people and culture(s) in "poorly" established economies that were obviously different from their own—specifically in areas located in Asia, Africa, and Latin America.
- Students who are thrown into a work environment that is very familiar to what they already know, are unlikely to gain knowledge of the local cultures in the area and will become reluctant to fully immerse themselves into the unknown.
- Since some students lack maturity and the willingness to be receptive to an environment dissimilar from their own, they unfortunately did not benefit from the experience professionally, socially, or culturally.
There’s no denying, however, that studying or interning overseas can help a young adult grow professionally through the expansion of their social networking circle and career prospects.
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