5 Ways Study Abroad Pays Off In The Real World

Maryland Smith undergrads get a chance — maybe even more than one — to explore the world

SELF-CONFIDENCE THAT SOARS

According to Tataw, the graduating senior at the Smith School, there’s also a significant boost of confidence that students obtain after they study abroad then carry with them into the real world. comes for students entering themselves into the job market.

“The experience is multifaceted,” she says. “But for me personally, part of it is the confidence that’s built when you do something like this. I had to be so much more self-reliant and I became aware of how capable I am as a person. You become capable of adapting to the world around you.

Tataw further explains, “That adaptability then manifests in other ways. In general, I don’t get too stressed or worried about change. Anything that can be thrown at me could have been in Singapore. I don’t worry about things. I keep calm.”

SHOWING OFF YOUR PERSONAL BRAND & NETWORKING CHOPS

Finally, Tataw shares that studying abroad has helped shape her personal brand and boosted her confidence in the ever-intimidating area of networking. When faced with a second opportunity to study abroad during her sophomore year, she had a handful of countries to choose from.

“I originally applied to go to Australia, but took a moment to ask myself why I chose Australia,” she says. “I thought that was somewhat small-minded, so I said never mind I’m going to Singapore. It’s an Asian country, still the native language is English. So I got the cultural experience, but could still communicate with people effectively.” What she also found is that choosing Singapore turned out to be a differentiator for her personal brand. “Employers really like to see something unique like that on a resume. Europe is good, but I think employers are captivated because I chose an Asian country. Especially with me being a black woman, it stands out if you go somewhere less popular.”

On the networking side of things, “I was a very shy person coming into college, but through studying abroad — especially during and after Singapore — I was sort-of forced to push myself to interact more and become a conversationalist because I was surrounded by unfamiliar people and places. This has helped me a great deal in interviews (especially behavioral) by naturally being able to keep the conversation flowing. I’ve had quite a few recruiters tell me that speaking with me prior — whether through employer of the day tables or at company events —  was part of the reason the firm decided to interview with me.”

For students who think they may want to consider studying abroad, schools say the best thing they can do is plan ahead. Says Tepper’s Jennifer Wegner, “Particularly for prospective students who are thinking about going abroad, I always encourage them to share it with their advisor as soon as they come. It’s always easier to plan ahead then try to fit it in into your senior year when you want to be here with friends or for graduation activities.”

“Again, we’re living in a global economy. Our students will enter into that and these global experiences will give them additional insights, maturity, and perspective we feel will serve them well,” Wegner says.

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