5 Career Benefits of Studying Abroad

Photo: Roanoke College Students at a study abroad fair

A newfound sense of adventure, a willingness to engage in foreign cultural experiences, and earning college credit while living your best life overseas are all benefits of studying abroad in Italy. After graduation, the new skills you developed will continue with you into your career.

Think about it. Studying abroad is interesting to potential employers. They want to work with someone who is interesting, open-minded, and fun! Listing a study abroad adventure on a resume will impress and intrigue future employers. 

Not only will studying abroad look impressive, but you will also gain invaluable skills that are universal in the workforce. Let’s use traveling and living in Italy as an example: It will require you to problem solve, adapt to new situations quickly, exercise time management, and challenge yourself to learn new things. These are all essential skills to learn to be a great employee.

1. Resume Booster

Studying abroad looks great on your resume. It shows you are eager to learn and adaptable to new challenges. But living abroad as a college student is not easy. You have to balance your budget, stay healthy, keep up with your studies, and work on new relationships. 

On top of this, you are constantly having new experiences and probably traveling frequently. While all of this is a fun part of studying abroad, it can still be grueling and it’s not for everyone. Some realize this before they go abroad and others learn this while abroad. In the second instance, some students may end up cutting their trip short. If you stick it out and complete your program, it shows dedication. Finishing your study abroad program shows that you follow through on commitments. This is a highly desirable skill that employers are looking for in potential employees.

Listing your study abroad experience on your resume not only looks great but also makes a great conversation starter during a job interview. Future employers and interviewers will want to know more about you as a person as well as a worker. Chatting about your Italian travels abroad lets them get to know you. They will learn that you are an engaging person and have a great personality with interesting stories to tell. Who won’t want to work with someone like that?

A great spot to feature your study abroad adventure on your resume is under your education experience section. If you completed an internship abroad, list this under your work or internship sections. By putting this under a new heading, you will have more room to outline your qualifications and show off your expertise. Also, if you traveled abroad to learn Italian while in Italy, make sure you list this under additional skills. 

Boosting your resume in one of the benefits of studying abroad. A man in a dress shirt edits a resume with a pen.

2. Networking Opportunities

You have heard it over and over: Networking is essential to a successful career. Studying abroad gives you the opportunity to practice and hone your networking skills. Not only this, but you can establish relationships with people from all over the globe. The major cities of Italy such as Rome, Milan, and Florence are very diverse and are home to people from all over the world.

International connections made while living and studying in Italy can help you with your career while still attending school, especially after graduation. 

In major Italian cities, it’s relatively easy to find people who speak English and events that are in English. Start networking abroad and make new friends, talk with professors, attend local events, go sightseeing, or volunteer in the community. Then get to chit-chatting! Maintain connections by following up and scheduling an informational interview or just suggest hanging out again. 

It’s normal to be nervous about networking. Similar to your experiences adjusting to the new culture, you have to push yourself out of your comfort zone. Also, don’t think it is all about you. People generally love meeting new people and making new friends and contacts. You are both getting something: an international connection!

Spending time with locals and other people you encounter during your study abroad experience will help you establish a new globalized view. You may have a tendency to hang out with other Americans, but try to venture out. Learning to talk with people who are different than you is a skill that is very valuable in the ever-changing, globalized business world. Your experience abroad creating new connections will make you more marketable to companies looking for workers who communicate well internationally.

If you decide to complete an internship while studying abroad, you are at an even bigger advantage than those who only work on their studies overseas. Working with international employees and employers is a great opportunity to network and establish professional contacts. You might learn something, they might learn something; it’s a win-win! On top of this, you will make a bigger name for yourself by meeting people and doing fantastic work. 

Four young adults chat around a table as they network, one of the benefits of studying abroad

3. Practice a Foreign Language

One of the best ways to learn a language is to be immersed in the language and culture. One of the benefits of studying abroad in Italy is the opportunity to do this. You can test your language skills in your daily life easily when you are living abroad. Simply going grocery shopping and translating the Italian words will help you in your Italian language learning journey. Also, when studying abroad somewhere like Italy, you can’t forget about eating at restaurants. Eating out challenges your language skills because it throws you into using another language. Some of the most authentic and delicious meals you will ever eat in Italy will only have Italian menus. You may struggle at first, but it’s the perfect time to improve your language skills.

Americans are not known for their bilingual or trilingual talents, that’s why it is seen as impressive if you can speak more than one language. Certain jobs may even require you to know another language to do the job correctly. Learning another language like Italian can elevate your career. You will have options that not everyone has because of your ability to speak more than one language. Also, this will set you apart from the other candidates and give you a leg up. 

Learning the words, phrases, grammar techniques, and sentence structures is extremely important. However, you also have to learn about the culture of the language. For instance, if you are learning Italian, you need to know where Italian is spoken, know the different Italian accents, and potentially study different Italian dialects. On top of this, Italians are known for using their hands when they talk, which could change what you’re communicating. Living in Italy and exploring different areas where the language is spoken will challenge and improve your Italian language knowledge. 

In other words, your cross-cultural communication skills will be enhanced as you rely on what you have learned while abroad. Communicating with locals and learning the language with friends abroad can make your language-learning experience worthwhile. 

A woman with a backpack walks through on a busy street. Practicing your language skills is another benefit of studying abroad.

4. Improve Communication

Studying abroad challenges you to develop invaluable communication skills which makes you an excellent worker in the globalized workforce. Learning to live in an Italian city ultimately makes you confident and more self-assured. You survived and thrived in another country for weeks, months, or maybe a year! This is not an accomplishment that should be taken lightly. 

With this new boost of confidence comes the acquired skill of learning to advocate for yourself or something (or someone) you value. This is extremely useful in the workforce because employees contribute their best work when they believe in themselves and feel confident enough to speak up. 

More responsibilities are thrust upon you when you study abroad. This includes grocery shopping, cleaning, dealing with roommates, abiding by Italian laws, adhering to cultural traditions, and so on. 

Not to mention the extra traveling requires adapting quickly to new challenges and developing problem-solving skills when things go wrong. Learning to problem solve is essential for a successful career because sooner or later something will eventually go wrong. By improving on this skill, you will be better prepared to identify solutions and communicate ideas with your colleagues. 

Studying abroad shows that you are willing to take on challenges, ready to learn, and excited to try something new. When students go abroad, they learn that the way they act is important to creating first impressions and being taken seriously. Students abroad are representing themselves, their families, their colleges back home, and their country. Studying abroad is a crash course in learning how to communicate who you are and what you want to be known as. This is an especially helpful communication skill to learn that is useful to use in your career.

A woman points at a display board as she speaks to a man

5. Pursue a Career Abroad

Another of the benefits of studying abroad is the chance to turn your interest in travel and exploring other cultures into a future career! Most people who study in Italy happily admit they had a life-changing adventure while living abroad. They might say it was a once-in-a-lifetime experience. It doesn’t have to be once in a lifetime though! Working in international education is a career path study abroad alumni can and have pursued. 

There are jobs at universities and study abroad program providers that can include travel, advising, program planning, and more. Study abroad advisers and coordinators help college students accomplish their dreams by doing all the administrative work and setting them up for success in studying abroad. On the other side of the spectrum, international student advisors work with international students to help them settle in the U.S. There are also positions in student life, academic affairs, tutoring, and other staff roles that study abroad providers need on the ground either in the U.S. or abroad.

You can also use your skills to establish a specialty in the study abroad field. For example, accounting majors who excel at math can do so for an international university or a program provider. Another option is for marketing majors who are passionate about studying abroad. They can use their creative skills to bolster program reputations and advertise to students and universities about study abroad programs. 

For those who can’t get enough of living in Italy, there are other options after graduation. You can earn a Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) certificate if you are a native or fluent English speaker. You can earn the certificate abroad, online, or in person in the U.S. Then you can jet set back to Italy to teach English. Aside from your regular salary, flights and even housing accommodations are sometimes provided. Other international jobs not just in Italy include farmhands, working for the Peace Corps, becoming an au pair, working for an international health organization like Doctors Without Borders, and more.

Two women sit at a table during an interview with a third woman

Your Future Awaits

Get a resume boost, improve your foreign language skills, network like crazy, work on developing skills for your career, and maybe consider an international education career; the benefits of studying abroad are endless 

Studying abroad in Italy isn’t just about earning credits toward your degree. It’s about learning how to communicate cross-culturally, gain independence, and build more confidence in all areas of your life, especially in your career.

No matter which country you choose, studying abroad comes with some unique challenges. Are you facing studying abroad with a disability, and wondering what your experience will be like? Check out this article next to learn some tips on studying abroad in Germany with a disability.

20 thoughts on “5 Career Benefits of Studying Abroad

  1. I can see how studying abroad would vastly improve your communication skills. You have to really be clear when you’re trying to communicate in a language that isn’t your first.

  2. World travel is such a huge resume booster. It shows that you have drive, a sense of adventure, and a willingness to work outside of the box.

  3. Yes, you are absolutely right. Studying abroad has great benefits. Getting to know new cultures and traditions is the most interesting part.

  4. This is a really great article and I am absolutely agree with this. Studying abroad cen really help a lot. Specially in communication skills.

  5. Studying abroad is something I wish I could have done when I was a student. It certainly sets your resume apart from others and it’s a great way to experience a new culture.

  6. Now that I am through with college and got my Diploma. I am starting to consider going to abroad for University. I think I need a break from Scotland. Thanks for this.

  7. Looking back, I really wish I had studied abroad. My niece is entering her sophomore year of college and I will send her this post.

  8. I hope one of my sons will study abroad. It is such a cool experience! Also, I love online education, and it gives me the opportunity to connect with many people all over the world.

  9. I can only imagine the amazing experiences that studying abroad brings. I’m sure it will also provide some major talking points too.

  10. Wow! I didnt know studying abroad would benefit all this. I will share this with my cousin she has a plan to study abroad!

  11. Very good tips for those studying abroad and traveling. I never did study overseas but I cannot imagine what a daunting process that might be actually…thanks for sharing and shedding some light on the topic.

  12. I would definitely send my son to study abroad. As difficult as this might be, I think it is a must for all the reasons you mentioned.

  13. Beautiful post on the benefits and opportunities when a person studies abroad. It is a powerful booster to creativity, networking and carrier choices.

  14. And I think I would add builds independence! I am encouraging my kids to travel for all these reasons but also to help them feel more empowered.

  15. As a frequent traveler, I can definitely say that traveling abroad for school would be so great! I totally can see it as a helper to gain employment and to learn/advance in a new language.

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