“A study or work abroad placement will make you more employable”

This is a phrase students are often told and there is evidence to prove it – The Erasmus Impact Study discovered that “internationally mobile students are half as likely to experience long-term unemployment compared with those who have not studied or trained abroad and that, five years after graduation, their unemployment rate is 23% lower.” Moreover, the survey revealed that 92% of employers are looking for candidates with traits that have been found to be enhanced by a period of study or work abroad.

So how can you prove that you did in fact develop skills during your Residency Abroad and that your time living and studying/working abroad wasn’t a glorified holiday?

  1. Start with the basics

Looking back, you might think that enrolling in a new university/job, opening a bank account, setting up a phone contract, finding somewhere to live and negotiating the public transport system are simple tasks but they can be challenging in a new environment, even more so in a foreign language. Dealing with bureaucracy and setting up a new life abroad demonstrates adaptability, communication skills, self-management and personal effectiveness skills.

2. Use your Residency Abroad as evidence when citing skills

Often in interviews you will be asked to provide precise situations in which you used your teamwork/communication skills. Before interviews research example questions, think about your experiences abroad and how they might match up to the skills required. You can see a full list of the top employability skills that are developed during a work placement, study placement and British Council assistantship here.

3. Overcoming challenges – use your experience abroad!

Moving abroad is a challenge in itself and quite a scary one at that! Throughout your time abroad you are bound to have faced challenges – being misunderstood, experiencing a culture shock, dealing with strikes, working with a new group of people – all of these will have allowed you to develop your employability skills. Turning problems and challenges into positives will show your resilience, adaptability, professionalism and initiative and prove that you can learn from challenging experiences.

4. Be enthusiastic

Whether you had the time of your life during your Residency Abroad or experienced hard times, speak about your time in a positive manner and don’t be afraid to be enthusiastic, this will engage your audience as you describe the good times you had and challenges you overcame.

5. Don’t be afraid to bring your Residency Abroad up in the interview 

If your interviewer doesn’t bring up your Residency Abroad experience in the interview there’s no reason why you can’t! Your experiences might just set you apart from the other candidates and make you more memorable.