The Employability Benefits of Studying Abroad

As degrees are becoming more commonplace, employers are having to be more discerning when reading through stacks of CVs. One eye-catching way to appeal is to have spent time abroad while studying. But that is far from the only way that studying overseas will help your career.


Businesses want new employees to take a fresh perspective on what they offer and pressure will be on you to improve existing systems. It’s a mistake for new employees to think that they will be taught everything that needs to be known for a role. Whether you’re the intern or the CEO, businesses want fresh perspectives and approaches.

One quick fix to enlighten your perspective, to bring about fresh ideas and thoughts is to travel. It’s easy to identify the skills you are lacking when you step outside your comfort zone. Now this is true of a two-week summer holiday, but even more so of a year-long study trip, where you not only become involved in the language or the culture but also of an entirely new education system.

Perspective can also often emerge in the workplace as adaptability. If you move from one part of your country to another for university, by the end of your course, you will still have been situated in a broadly similar environment for the past two decades. That doesn’t always make for a great employee.

Cultural Awareness

With the increasingly globalised nature of the modern workplace, the significance of understanding others and being able to work with others is a vital part of being a functional member of a business.

You may not realise how many misconceptions about various nationalities you hold, until you actually interact and work with them on a regular basis. That is not an insult. It consistently amazes students how little they truly know about the various opinions and manners of people from different places. Studying amongst all manners of people will provide you with a unique awareness of society and perhaps most important of all, your curiosity will be awoken.

It’s also necessary to remember that you will not only be working or studying with locals in your new country. By taking a course abroad, you will meet and interact with people from all over the globe who have gone to do the same thing as you.

Communication Skills & Networking

Beyond the obvious benefit of having a new language, there is a great wealth of understanding to be had by communicating with others who perhaps only know some or even none of your language. You can learn the limitations and parameters of your words, you can learn what is useful to say and how best to say it. Short, impactful words are the most powerful and you can improve both what you say and how you say it by spending time with a variety of different people.

There’s also the consequence of communicating with a variety of people: all of a sudden you will know a huge variety of different people. This can help a great deal in your career. The primary way people find jobs is through friends and family members. As the old saying goes, it’s who you know, not what you know.

Personal Skills

92% of employers look for transversal skills such as curiosity, problem-solving, tolerance, self-awareness, decisiveness and confidence. There is no short-cut for improving in a lot of these skills. They require life experience, maturity and practice.

However, reports state that students who travel for their studies show higher values for these personality traits. Perhaps this is due to their experience, or it could be that the type of person who would study abroad is more likely to have these skills. Regardless, by the time students return, their scores on these tests can increase by 42%.

The confidence and self-awareness students gain from putting down roots somewhere new is an asset for any business.

Quality of Education

To put a fine point on it: employers prefer their employees to have the best education available. They like big names like Oxford, California or Tokyo. Well-known universities and big city universities are impressive, and employers like to be impressed.

Any foreign university is a short-cut to impressing an employer but never forget that universities love foreign students- if your local big universities aren’t available, then some of those overseas may well be.