Office of International Programs

Highlighting Study Abroad in Your Career Search

Studying abroad can trigger a great deal of personal, academic, and professional growth. Living in a different culture and environment can teach you how to be more flexible and how to adapt to new environments, which are desirable traits in any professional setting. It is essential that you highlight the skills that you have developed through your study abroad experience in your resume, cover letter, and interviews. Effectively communicating the skills and experiences from your international experience will help differentiate you from other candidates.

Getting Ahead by Going Global: Career Benefits of Study Abroad is a presentation designed to give you a brief overview of the myriad ways in which study abroad can help you in your professional life.

Identify the Skills You Acquired While Abroad      

  • Write down some of your most challenging and rewarding moments during your study abroad experience. What did you learn from these experiences?
  • Jot down the answers to the following questions:
    • Did you complete a research project overseas that relates to your field of interest?
    • Did you travel independently?
    • Did you learn any new languages or customs?
    • Did you resolve any conflicts that stemmed from a cultural misunderstanding?
    • Did you work on any projects with a diverse group of people?
  • Think about any skills that you gained that may transfer to your career. Some examples include:
    • Foreign language proficiency
    • Flexibility and adaptability
    • Increased cultural awareness and sensitivity
    • Improved communication skills
    • Increased awareness of global issues
    • Problem solving in an unfamiliar environment
    • Ability to work in cross-cultural teams
    • Increased self-awareness
    • Travel skills
    • Ability to work in ambiguous environments
    • Patience
    • Openness to different cultures and customs

Incorporate Study Abroad in Your Resume, Cover Letter, and Interviews 

  • List study abroad under your professional experience section, or under your education section, whichever way best highlights your time abroad.
    • B.A. University of Southern Maine, 2013
    • Winchester University, England, Fall 2011
  • If you worked abroad, be sure to list the experience and focus on cross-cultural learning.
    • Served patrons in a local café. Worked as the only American in a French business. Trained co-workers on American style customer service.
  • List an overseas internship under your professional experience section rather than your activities section.
  • Include the skills you acquired while abroad if your resume includes a list of skills and proficiencies.
  • During an interview, do not state how much fun you had overseas. Focus on what you learned overseas.
  • Some of the following questions are frequently asked during interviews. Think about how you can highlight the skills you acquired during your study abroad experience to answer these questions:
    • Tell me about a time you dealt with uncertainty or ambiguity.
    • Tell me about a time you confronted a challenging situation.
    • Tell me about a time when you had to handle conflict.
    • Tell me about a time when you had to learn something new.