Gain valuable skills beyond the academics - broaden your horizons!Pursuing an international education is a good idea for many reasons (beyond the great fun of living abroad, meeting new people and exploring different countries). The British Council, in a recent study, found that students who study abroad are more likely to get higher grades, gain relevant employment and earn higher salaries. Overseas study experiences can also develop soft and interpersonal skills, which students can then use in employment and other areas of their lives. For one, an international education provides you with an international contact book which is priceless once you graduate. Furthermore, international education is related to long term benefits such as the opportunity to learn a language, gain a high-quality education and increase cultural awareness. International students returning to their home countries, bring with them a world of experiences and diversity that enrich their life and the lives of others. These are all skills that employers highly value - they make you stand out from the crowd of other job seekers. In times when unemployment rates among young adults are particularly high worldwide, these are skills that can help a university graduate land a good job after graduation.
Get ahead in a highly competitive job marketFor the first time in generations, graduates are facing a very competitive job market and high unemployment rates. The graduate unemployment rate in the UK in 2012, as reported by the Office of National Statistics, had risen to 18.9%. In addition, nearly 36% of graduates were employed in positions below their skill level. It is estimated that in 2012 around 1.5 million (53.5%) of US college graduates under the age of 25 were unemployed or employed in positions that did not fully utilize their skills and knowledge. This is the highest proportion seen in over eleven years.
Obtaining an international education will better place you on the path to finding the right job in the face of these challenges.
Lower the cost of getting a university degreeIn addition to the value of skills that you will gain from studying abroad, an international education sometimes has the benefit of lowering the cost of your graduate degree. Poland, for instance, is one of the cheapest places to live in Europe. In Scandinavia, Austria, Greece and many universities in Hungary and Slovenia, university education is free for EU nationals. This makes your student budget a bit easier to live by.
If you have found this post interesting, why don’t you make it even more engaging by sharing what you feel is the most important, interesting or funny skill/experience that you gained from studying abroad?
If you would like to know my top pick (in addition to the items just mentioned above), I would have to say that it was learning that in England “Teatime” is not just the time that you decide to have your Earl Grey tea with a light snack, but it is actually a specific time of day….4PM to be precise.
Stay tuned for our next post, where we will discuss the promise of international education and the challenges people face when deciding to study abroad.
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