Unpacking your study abroad experience

By Sheng Lee (@shengdanger)

Winter break is over and the spring semester is in full bloom. For many students, their winter break was spent in another country where they participated in research and various learning experiences.

The University of Wisconsin Oshkosh offers three types of study abroad experiences: faculty-led programs, direct enroll programs and student exchange programs. To learn more about study abroad programs at UW Oshkosh, visit the Office of International Education, or attend the study abroad fair on Thursday, Feb. 9, in Reeve Memorial Union from 10 a.m.-2 p.m.

As stated under UWO’s Office of International Education website, study abroad is a transformative experience which leads to personal growth. It allows for active engagement in pursuit of knowledge and skills while offering options for advancing unique and diverse personal and career goals.

According to the Collegiate Employment Research Institute at Michigan State University, you will gain 12 career essentials by choosing a study abroad experience:

1.) Developing professional competencies

2.) Communicating effectively

3.) Solving problems

4.) Balancing work and life

5.) Embracing change

6.) Working effectively in a team

7.) Working in a diverse environment

8.) Managing time and priorities

9.) Navigating across boundaries

10.) Acquiring knowledge

11.) Thinking critically

12.) Performing with integrity

Not only will these skills help you develop personally, these are skills employers value from employees who have studied or interned abroad:

  • Interacting with people who hold different interests, values, perspectives
  • Understanding cultural differences in the workplace
  • Adapting to situations of change
  • Gaining new knowledge from experiences
  • Ability to work independently
  • Undertaking tasks that are unfamiliar
  • Applying information in a new or broader contexts
  • Identifying new problem/alternatives solutions
  • Working effectively with co-workers

Want to learn more about what life is like in a foreign country? Check out The BIG Guide to Living and Working Overseas.

(Source: Gardner, Gross, and Steglitz 2008, Unpacking your study abroad experience: critical reflection for workplace competencies. CERI Research Brief 1-2008. Collegiate employment research institute, East Lansing, MI: Michigan State University)

 

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