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Career Planning

Consider Your Experiences in Terms of Employability

Studying abroad has a positive impact on the development of a range of skills needed to thrive in today’s interconnected world. Employers value a variety of skills, including:

Reflect on experiences that illustrate how you gained and exhibited these traits so that you can use them in your self-marketing tools and in interviews.

Market Study Abroad For Your Career

Cover Letter or Personal Statement

In your cover letter (for jobs) or personal statement (for grad school), you can discuss how your study abroad experience impacted your decision to seek the current opportunity you are applying for. This is also a chance to elaborate on some of the transferable skills you developed abroad and weave in narratives beyond the bullet points on your resume.

Resume

In the Education section of your resume, underneath your home university, add a study abroad section that includes university attended (if applicable), location, enrollment dates, program of study, and relevant coursework.

In the Experience section of your resume, perhaps in an "International & Cross-Cultural Experience" section, highlight any jobs, internships, activities, or projects you conducted while abroad.

In the Skills section of your resume, list any languages you speak or write, along with your level of fluency.

Interviews

Based on the skills and experiences you identified, prepare several narratives of your experiences that you can use to demonstrate your skills in interviews. Focus on your motivation for studying abroad as a strategic decision for gaining skills. Think of cross-cultural career stories that showcase skills that you gained from your experience and practice these stories. These narratives should follow the STAR model (situation, task, action, result).

Be prepared to answer these types of interview questions:

  • Why did you choose to study abroad?
  • Why and how did you choose your program location?
  • What skills did you learn abroad? How will these skills be helpful to you in the future?
  • Tell me about a challenging situation while abroad and how you handled the situation.

Marketing Study Abroad Winter Quarter Workshop

Each Winter Quarter, NCA and GLO co-host a workshop for study abroad returnees. The workshop will provide you with tools to help you define your study abroad experience for employers, graduate and professional schools.

Stay Connected Globally

Many people fall in love with living abroad after their study abroad experience. NCA has many resources for finding internships and work abroad. The Office of Fellowships can help you apply for post-grad fellowships abroad, such as the Fulbright.

The Global Learning Office manages a LinkedIn group for Northwestern study abroad alums. Through this group, connect with Wildcats in a variety of careers who have also studied abroad and stay up-to-date about alum panels and other post-study abroad opportunities.

Gain valuable experience for your resume and professional development by becoming a part of a community of fellow study abroad alumni in the GLO Ambassador program.