Employers may prefer an employee with study abroad experiencebecause it shows a key sense of communication, internationalexperience, multilingual ability, strength, knowledge and a varietyof values and cultures.
“In order to understand what various industries and job marketsare looking for in terms of new hires, we must consider seriouslythe recent global events such as Sept. 11, Iraq, U.S.-Haitirelations among others, said Anthony Pinder, associate dean ofglobal studies at Dillard.
Various industries and professions have created an increaseddemand for skills in the analysis and solution of contemporaryglobal problems, Pinder also said. This, he said, also includes thespecial need to prepare African American students for careeropportunities in the international arena.
By studying abroad, students make a loud statement about theirown global competence and industries immediately take note ofstudents who have voluntarily placed themselves in foreigncountries and way outside of their comfort zone, said Pinder, whoalso coordinates study abroad opportunities for students.
University of New Orleans senior Kasie Knight studied abroad ona five-week “Glories of France” program. Knight studied Frenchcourses in southern France’s Montpellier near the MediterraneanSea. She described her experience as being useful, challenging andeducational.
Although the culture was very different and unusual, according toKnight, she said that she enjoyed the longest five-weeks ever inher lifetime.
Knight is still yet to document her study abroad experience onher resume.
“It’s coming soon. I just haven’t had the time to list the ‘Gloriesof France’ on my resume, but UNO’s having a job fair and it’ll beon there!” Knight said.
Because of her study abroad experience, Knight is confident thatan employer will hire her either on the spot or soon after he orshe reviews her application.
Other students that attended the “Glories of France” programquestioned, “What does a study abroad program have to do withsomeone’s resume?”
Gabrielle Gleason, an Indiana State University junior, who alsostudied abroad with the “Glories of France” program, said thatciting a study abroad program on a resume is very important. Byincluding a study abroad program on a resume, Gleason said, itcould reflect someone’s flexibility.
Pinder added, “As the world becomes more connected, it is vitalthat colleges and universities prepare graduates who are proficientin foreign languages, aware of different peoples and cultures, andliterate in issues of common global concern.
Stated simply, America’s future hinges on its ability to educatea globally competent citizenry, he said. Through his office, Pindermakes sure that students are aware of the many study abroadprograms and their opportunities.
Out in the workforce, foreign experience is not alwaysapplicable.
Tracy Harrison, director of the Social Services Office in SanFrancisco, Calif. said that she hardly ever hires an individual fortheir study abroad experience. This only applies in her departmentwith the many employees that she hires.
Other departments within Harrison’s company hire strictly forinternational employees only. The International Affairs departmentof the Social Services Office in San Francisco, Calif. hires mostapplicants with or without their study abroad experience. However,the experience helps a person hire depending on what the job has tooffer and its qualifications.
Harrison said that if a banker studied abroad in Spain for oneyear, then that person is definitely strong-willed and wellrounded. “He or she will be strong in the language Spanish,educated in their culture and would have acquired new skills whileabroad,” Harrison said.
For this reason, the banker would be bilingual in English andSpanish, which would be beneficial to the bank and itscustomers.
Today’s job market is evermore changing in the United States andthe world. It is not too common that an employer looks for a “studyabroad program” on a resume. However, the experience is essentialin many ways.
Some students felt that traveling to other countries starts theculture shock. That is because of what it takes to get thereincluding the number of planes, the crude introduction to a foreigndiet on the aircrafts, the discomfort on the planes, long hoursthat sometimes turn into days, the customs check points and more;it should be a regular job.
Kristin Nevels, a Dillard University 2004 graduate, studiedabroad in North Africa’s Dakar, Senegal. Trading her travelerschecks in for an airline ticket was all that Nevels was concernedabout to fly back home to the United States. Now that she hasgraduated from Dillard and has secured a job in television, Nevelssaid that the experience was great.
She feels that everyone should experience not only travelingabroad, but also actually studying abroad. Nevels plans to attendAmerican College’s graduate program next fall to pursue a master’sdegree in international journalism in Washington, DC.
Nevels then plans to combine the two interests as a futureforeign correspondent for CNN or on a major network level.According to Nevels, to study abroad for a short or long term, onehas to have strength to endure because it is another world.
“The ability to adapt to your surroundings and the ability todeal with challenges are main concepts of studying abroad,” Nevelssaid.
“Study abroad experiences and finding a job today, is and is notessential,” she said.
Nevels says this because she did not secure her current job anyfaster or slower because of studying abroad.
It depends on the type of job and its requirements regardingwhether a studying abroad experience is considered and viewed, shesaid.
Most colleges and universities have international departmentswhere students go to search for particular study abroad programsaround the world. Many institutions are unaware of such studyabroad opportunities.
Former Dillard University’s president Michael Lomax and Dr.Betty Parker Smith, then provost and now interim president, starteda campaign in 2000 to change the university into an internationalinstitution.
Through this effort, Dillard University has a Global Studiesdepartment that with its own building, the recently dedicatedDUCIEF building.
The University of New Orleans’ international studies departmenthas more than 45 percent of its students – and other students fromdifferent states and countries- that study abroad in Australia,France, Switzerland, Italy and other countries.
According to Marie Kaposchyn, director of the “Glories ofFrance” program at the University of New Orleans, several studentsboth undergraduate and graduate study abroad, but there could bemore.
Kaposchyn said that only one percent of students take advantageof the various study abroad programs in Louisiana. The institutionhas more than three separate international study abroad programsthat provide numerous of courses to study while abroad.
According to Pinder, today, former Dillard study abroad studentsare diplomats in countries around the world with the U.S. StateDepartment. Others are corporate bank executives on Wall Street.Some are in doctoral programs and because of their previous studyabroad experiences are mixing international dimensions into theirresearch.