The first time you step foot in a foreign country can be intimidating. Being in an unfamiliar scene makes you quickly realize that you are no longer in your comfort zone. However, it is crucial to maintain a patient, thoughtful and open mind to embrace your excitingly new life abroad. Consider how your study abroad experience will aid your career goals and fully utilize the opportunity of developing yourself abroad. Here are a few tips to better sync your time studying abroad with your career goals:
- Be updated. In most countries, you will have access to the Internet. If you’re interested in working abroad in the country where you are studying abroad, use the Career Center at your Host University or websites to search internship listings, full-time jobs, recruiting information, and other information about working abroad in your host country.
- Keep up your enthusiasm. Whether you plan to find a job abroad or work in your home country, if you’re working in an internship or volunteering, make the most of your experience! It is strongly advised that you get recommendations from your supervisor(s) while you are there. Not only will you be less likely to forget to follow up when you return home, but your contributions will still be fresh in the recommender's mind. Also, you avoid the risk that the supervisor may not be in the same position or even with the same company after you leave.
- Stick to your objectives. Remind yourself of why you chose to study abroad, whether it is to learn a foreign language, participate in a great research program or gain valuable work experience. Set step-by-step career goals for yourself, so you don’t get too carried away in immersing yourself in the brand-new culture. When it’s time for you to come home you will have accomplished some if not all of your goals and have learned about a new culture.
- Be sociable. The worst thing to do while studying abroad is to shut yourself indoors because of your unfamiliarity with the surroundings. Find postings of new events reach out to new friends and don’t be intimidated to introduce yourself. In doing so, you will receive lasting friendship and valuable connection. The experience you have off the beaten path will probably produce experiences that you’re able to relate during future interviews
- Network. Have you considered working in a foreign country? Or have do you dream or being part of an international corporation? Having an international network can greatly facilitate these goals. It is always beneficial to build a network of people with diverse backgrounds who you may contact for reference or general insights about their career field in the future. Don’t be shy to ask for emails, business cards or other contact information.
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