Here are just five of the ways in which having an international experience, whether it's working, studying or just travelling abroad, can benefit you in the short-term and the long-term!
1. You will become more confident
Leaving your comfort zone can be scary, especially if it involves a foreign country or a language you don’t know, but travel is a great way to build confidence and boost self-esteem. You will quickly learn to negotiate seemingly intimidating situations, like navigating a foreign city or ordering food in a new language, and realise that you can do these things!
Whether you’re travelling alone or in a group, embrace your fears and you’ll come home a more confident and independent person!
2. You will develop new skills
Learning a language is a major bonus of international experience which has benefits for your career (see reason 5) and personal life. The best way to learn a language? Be around those who speak it!
As well as improving your language skills, going abroad requires you to organise, navigate, communicate, and make decisions on a daily basis. You might not even realise you’re getting better at this until you’re home!
If you’re staying at home, engaging with people from other countries in your community is great for your communication skills and can teach you a lot about other cultures, which leads us to our next point…
3. You will understand other cultures better
Skills aren’t the only thing international experiences can teach you: by speaking to people of other cultures and experiencing their environment, you will gain a better understanding of their views and beliefs. Next time you’re abroad, try the local food, listen to a local band, and chat to the local people. If you’re at home, seek these experiences out in your town. You might discover a new hobby or make a new friend, and at the very least you will have tried something new!
Reading books or watching shows about other cultures is great but don’t just rely on someone else’s experience, find out for yourself!
4. You will make new friends and connections
"A journey is best measured in friends, not in miles…" – Tim Cahill
One of the best things about international experiences is the potential to make new friends. Fellow travellers are often keen to share their journey and swap tips on what to do. At home, make the effort to speak to someone from another culture. You might find out you have a lot in common, and if you don’t then that’s interesting, too!
5. Your career prospects will improve
So if the last four points are true, an international experience will make you a confident, social, understanding individual with great organisational skills…and that means people will want to hire you!
Almost all employers like confident people with great communication skills and the ability to make new connections. As the world becomes more connected, cultural understanding is becoming more important for an international workplace, as is the ability to speak another language.
Over 60% of employers said applicants who have travelled, worked or volunteered abroad stood out in applications. Don’t worry if that’s not an option for you, you can get all these benefits by finding international experiences at home!
Head back to the GlobeScotters page for more information on international experiences both home and abroad.