Connecting Study Abroad Experiences and your Career Development

Many students choose to study abroad for a variety of reasons: to increase foreign language skills, to experience another culture, the opportunity for further travel, etc. However, many times when I coach students on their career development, they haven’t taken time to consider how studying abroad could help advance their career. Which in my experience is a real missed opportunity to showcase diverse skills and knowledge! Therefore in this post I will go over:

  • How study abroad helps your career development
  • Important career factors to consider: before you go abroad, while you’re there, and when your return

How study abroad helps your career development:

Developing your Career Plan Around Study Abroad:

Before You Go:

  • Do a walk-in résumé critique (Walk ins 10am-5pm M-F)
  • Meet with a career consultant (Walk ins 12-4pm M-F)
    • Develop your plan for making the most of your time abroad
    • If you’re going to be searching for jobs or internships for when you return discuss how you can prepare before you leave

While You’re Abroad:

  • Seek out experiential learning opportunities
    • Target experiences that will help skill development
    • See out immersion experiences where you can really get outside of your comfort zone
  • Use the Center for Career Development while abroad
    • We offer phone, email or skype appointments to UConn students studying abroad
  • Apply to internships while abroad
    • Add your skype address to your résumé and make a note on your cover letter that you are currently studying abroad but are available for interviews over the phone or via skype

When You Return:

  • Reflect on your experience and the skills you gained
  • Attend Education Abroad sessions to debrief your experience
  • Meet with a career consultant
    • Discuss changes to your career plan based on new experiences
    • Develop next steps for applying to internships, jobs, or graduate school
  • Update career materials
    • Résumé
    • Practice new elevator pitch
    • Practice talking about your study abroad experience in interviews
By Emily Merritt
Emily Merritt Career Consultant, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Emily Merritt