Updated: Sep 23
Johnathan Wood, Professor of International Business at Brigham Young University and experienced study abroad officiator, explains how studying abroad helps students land the jobs they want.
What most students don’t think about when they’re going on a study abroad is I need to be aware of what’s what the employers need. Several recruiters that work here, one of them talks about that they want to find people that are overachievers and distinguish themselves in their extracurricular activities. That’s an idea we can employee. We can help with that. Because in the end, students are mainly here to get jobs. It’s very easy for them to put on their resume I went on a study abroad to these countries. They don’t recognize how pull out some of the things that they learned through the process. What challenged them? What did they have to change about themselves? What surprize them in the world? How do you turn that into an articulation?
We put this up. Skills you may develop. It’s just this long list of skills that they might be able to develop depending on their study abroad. Now some of our study abroad are project-based, so that’s very easy to put on a resume. I did this with this company. We ran into these challenges. This is how we worked through it. But others when are you just visiting and learning about businesses, it’s not always quite as apparent to the student.
The word that we will leave them with is articulate. As part of our process, we have them do reflective papers on what they learned, what they saw, what challenged them, what was different. Just to open their minds because we all know how it is they come back and that next semester starts. They start interviewing for jobs. And sometimes that trip can get filed away as what a great experience. It was a lot of fun, without the benefit that they got.
We’ve noticed a little bit of a mismatch in the company say, “yes, we’re global.” But recruiters come on campus, and they don’t ask you anything about it. They ask their standard questions for the onboarding and hiring process. But I’ve talked to a couple of recruiters, and I’ve said, “Is this stuff important to you?” They say, “Oh yeah. Our company believes in it. It’s really important.” I say, “But do you ask about it?” “No, the student just needs to bring it up on their own.” “But it is important to you?” “Oh, absolutely.” So what I’ve learned from that is we have to be the ones to help them bridge to it, articulate, and draw out these specific learning moments lessons from the whole experience.