Studying abroad is all about doing new things and gaining new experiences, especially ones that can enhance your skills for your career. Working abroad can be a great way to gain hands-on knowledge and talents that will enrich your study abroad experience. Let’s take a look at 5 reasons why you should work during your study abroad.
1) Improve your language: There is only so much you can learn from a textbook or in a classroom. Real life situations are the only way to really vamp up your language skills. Where else can you conquer numbers (especially if they’re tricky like French numbers), customer service skills and work lingo?
2) Quicken Cultural Immersion: Working abroad is a great way to immerse yourself into the host culture. Your interactions with your colleagues and customers will give you insight into cultural nuances that you wouldn’t be able to pick up anywhere else.
3) Increase your monthly income: For study abroad students, living off your savings for 1 semester or more can be difficult. Having a job abroad can be very useful in helping to increase your monthly income to make study abroad more affordable
4) Make your resumé stand out: Having work experience abroad can set your resumé apart from the rest when you go to look for a job after graduation. Andrea’s tip- apply to jobs abroad that have to do with your major / future career goals so that you can show prospective employers how you can apply the skills you gained from working abroad
5) Make friends: Making friends abroad can be tough due to cultural and language barriers. However, working with the same people a few days a week can help create an easier environment for making friends during your study abroad.
Andrea’s tips on things to look out for:
-Make sure work never interferes with your class schedule. Remember unless you are going abroad specifically on a work visa the main reason you’re abroad is to study!
-Don’t overwhelm yourself! If the job calls for 40 hours a week, ask if they have a part time position (un poste à mi-temps in French) or look for another job that offers a position with shorter hours that won’t take away any R&R time. It’s good to make the most of the study abroad opportunity but don’t stretch yourself thin.
-Don’t be so concerned with the pay. Remember this job abroad is not your main source of money, it’s just a supplement. If the job offers an opportunity to acquire skills needed for your career- take it! This is not your main source of supporting yourself abroad, it’s to help you be a bit more comfortable each month as well as prepare you for your future.