Study abroad isn’t just for college students. Exposure to new ways of thinking and problem solving can help working people rejuvenate their career and take it to the next level. Travel is a type of professional development that keeps on giving long after returning to your home base.
Start with a plan including both goals and intended outcomes, personal and professional. Search for programs that match your needs and that you will be able to propose to your company with confidence. Individuals who are thinking about a career pivot can use study abroad to acquire experience in their new field.
Investigate programs from universities, corporations, research organizations, NGOs, governments or non-profits that offer opportunities to practice what you already do in another culture or environment. Find one that allows you to expand your competencies or take on additional roles so that you grow in new directions. Push the edges of your comfort zone.
Study abroad could also be study away. Consider the benefits of working in a native American reservation, inner city or under-served rural area. If you work for a large corporation, can you translate what you do into assistance to a start-up? Perhaps your sabbatical aligns with your employer’s mission or personal passion, giving you leverage in getting them on board.
To be effective, you will have to learn new customs and possibly a new language. If you can reside in a local community or rent a room from a family your understanding of the local culture and language will develop quickly. A bonus to these challenges is that they keep the brain supple and out of ruts. For many, they also lead to new passions and directions and higher value in the workforce.
When you return, you will want to include your experiences on your resume and be prepared to talk about them in the same way you highlight other professional development. Perhaps you’ve become proficient at bargaining in the marketplace and can transfer that to negotiations. The place for this item in in your Skills section.
Prepare anecdotes that link your challenges abroad to those in your current company or the one you are targeting. Keep them brief and on point. Highlight one in your cover letter and save others for an interview.
From initial light bulb moment to the hand shake at the end of an interview, travel and work in a new environment makes you an interesting person, one who is willing to take a risk, accept a challenge in order to grow.
Let me help you craft a proposal for your sojourn abroad to present to you company. When you return we will draft a new resume that includes the highlights of your expanded abilities. email@example.com or 610-212-6679.