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Dominique Bert, dbert@groupe-igs.fr

Date:

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

How Studying Abroad Can Help Shape Your Future

If you think that hard skills are more than enough to pave the way to a successful career path, you may be wrong. In 2019, those who succeed are those who push themselves outside of their comfort zones, developing a large array of soft skills that can be a huge advantage when searching for a job. And if you can do this while experiencing the joys of seeing the world, why not go for it? Here is why studying abroad can help you develop your soft skills and give you the career advantages you crave.

Soft skills are a “side effect” of travel.

Studying abroad is an adventure in self-discovery that an increasing number of companies are becoming aware of when hiring for key positions. For Alain Benichou, president of the American Chamber of Commerce in France and vice president of Strategy & Solutions at IBM in Paris, “studying abroad is a must, not just to acquire language skill, but in order to become truly bi-cultural. In a global economy, even if the business is done with fewer boundaries, the culture remains local”. Touché! Career advantages aside, studying abroad is growing in popularity due to its huge educational benefits, among which are the soft skills you will be able to develop when faced with a completely new environment.

#1: Communication - 

Studying abroad is full of benefits, the most obvious one being improving your skills in a new language. It is a well-known fact that you can’t really master a language unless you dive into its natural habitat, crossing paths with native speakers. Why is that important? Simply because speaking more than one language is in high demand in the workplace (according to New American Economy). Besides, you will gain the ability to better convey ideas in a different language and develop a new network, which can be great for getting a job back home or in a foreign country after graduation.

#2: Adaptability -

If we know anything about the modern workplace and the new business landscape, it is that it requires growing adaptability and resilience. Obviously, going to a foreign country will challenge your sense of adaptability as you will have to face unprecedented difficulties and experiences. For starters, you will find that every aspect of your daily life changes dramatically: food, transportation, traditions, currency, and even the weather will take some getting used to! But not to worry, these are all good things that help build up your resilience. It is no secret that life can be unpredictable and sometimes (often?) challenging, so being able to adapt quickly and effectively will most certainly be beneficial to you and desirable to employers.

#3: Leadership - 

According to Forbes, studying abroad makes you a better leader. We couldn’t agree more! Why? Because good leadership relies on communication, resilience, and intellectual and emotional strength, all of which you can improve while studying in a foreign country. Furthermore, thanks to new technology, business is now global and its leaders should be too.

#4: Problem-solving & self-reliance - 

Resourcefulness, independence, and problem-solving skills are attributes you are more likely to develop while studying abroad. While those skills may appear to be natural gifts, they are further sharpened in the unfamiliar setting of a foreign country, where you rely solely on your own initiative to face any eventual problem. Mind you, that is a skill most coveted by employers, who know they can rely on somebody who’s been cooking his own meals for an extensive period of time! More seriously, employers do value people who have a proven track record of overcoming obstacles, most of all in the challenging context of a foreign country.

Are you looking for a rewarding study abroad experience and dream of visiting France (everybody does!)? Well, you will be glad to hear that France is the place to be for international students. The country has some of the most prestigious schools and offers more than 1,200 study programs in English. In that regard, both the American Business School of Paris and CEFAM Lyon offer you the opportunity to study for a semester or to get a dual degree (French and American). Are you packed yet?