Writing my Year Abroad Check-list got me thinking, what about all my monolingual Scriptoeris girls out there? Foreign escapades shouldn’t be exclusive to those who can switch Earl Grey without batting an eyelid. Living abroad is a formative experience and one that can open so many doors. In a globalized society the world has never been smaller and communication never easier. There are plenty of countries in the world where English is the lingua franca and life for the non-native can be a breeze. So why should you up sticks and explore the skies? What can it give you that you can’t get at home?
Life skills and a stand out C.V for one. There are thousands of students graduating every year. Let me tell you something, they have achieved the same grade as you, they joined the same societies that you did and were working at Waitrose on a Saturday just like you. Therefore, what sets you apart from them? With the world in a tough financial situation, there are more people than ever fighting for fewer jobs. Having a placement abroad or overseas volunteering on your CV shows HR departments that not only are you self motivated but you are curious and want to learn new things. A placement abroad shows that you can grab the bull by the horns just because that is the type of person you are: a go-getter with a sense of adventure!
Living abroad enabled you to become resilient because despite what you may think at times living abroad is far from a picnic! You are living in a different culture without your traditional bastions of support: your parents, your girls and (if you’re a lucky girl) your man! Getting through the challenges of life in another country helps you develop problem solving skills, independence and proves that you won’t run at the first sign of trouble. Living and working abroad takes a bit of savvy. It shows that you are worldly and street wise rather than one of the crowd that survived Uni-life on Jeremy Kyle re-runs and Pot Noodles.
In the world of work, employers aren’t looking to hold your hand, they are looking for someone who turns up on time, makes their tea without a trip to the burns unit and who is clued up not just in their field but in the ways of the world. Travelling or living abroad can lead to dream jobs, prestigious institutions and excellent contacts. How many politics students dream about gracing the halls of the UN offices as an ambassador? How many fashion students would love to design haut couture at Chanel? How better to live the dream than getting out there and gaining the experience to pave your way? There is one catch…Chanel’s HQ is in Paris and the UN are based in Geneva. Don’t let the thought of leaving the old behind scare you in to turning down the chance of a lifetime. As life coach Susan Jeffers says ‘feel the fear and do it anyway’ and remember you may be making tea for your future boss!
Life Skills? Check. Street Savvy? Check. New Language….? Many placements abroad will offer new employees immersion language courses just so that you can get to grips with the day to day. Language skills, even at the most basic level, are a godsend in the British job market because, as a general rule, we aren’t the most linguistically talented nation in the world. Not only that, it will do wonders for your self esteem. As a beginner even successfully ordering your morning cup of coffee is a mini victory, giving you a ‘go me!’ boost for the rest of the day. So my lovely girls, as the proverb says ‘experience is the best teacher’. Get on that plane, make an impression and make Scriptoeris proud!