Choosing to study abroad is a big decision in many regards. And one of the key reasons urging students to go ahead is considering their futures. After all, where and what you study has long-term repercussions on the trajectory of your life. What do you gain from studying abroad? How do your career opportunities change or broaden, thanks to that international degree? Let’s take a look at the career benefits of studying abroad.
How Does Studying Abroad Help Your Career?
1. Gain An Internationally-Recognised Qualification
Major study abroad destinations, like the UK, USA, Canada, and Australia, boast of some of the world’s best universities. 350 US universities rank within the QS World University Rankings 2022. 90 universities in the UK, 36 in Australia, and 28 in Canada feature on this list too. That’s not to mention all the higher education institutions ranking well nationally and in specific disciplines.
For employers, your degree from a recognised university says a lot about you as an employee. Think of it like this. Say a popular author releases a new book or an acclaimed actor stars in a new film. You’d expect their work to be good because they’re well-known for the quality of their creations. Similarly, many universities abroad have a longstanding reputation for nurturing excellent young talents. A degree from a recognised university is shorthand for employers choosing qualified candidates.
2. Build Career Competencies While You Study
One of the reasons graduates of major study abroad destinations are attractive to employers is their work experience. Universities in popular student destinations incorporate work experience into the curriculum. Industry experts and trends directly inform course content, for big and small universities alike. Work placements and field experience are often a compulsory component of courses.
By the time you graduate, you’ll already have the work experience employers seek in new hires. Hands-on learning, and the skills you picked up that classroom lectures can't replace, set you apart to recruiters. Employers tend to favour employees with a foundation in the industry. It’s more worthwhile for them to hire individuals who already have industry experience, compared to those they have to train from scratch.
3. Learn Under Industry Experts
There is a concentration of high-ranking universities in specific study abroad destinations. And one of the reasons why these universities rank so highly is their faculty. Program directors and lecturers at these universities are leading experts in their field. With publications, innovations, and doctorates to their name, you’ll be studying under some of the world’s most brilliant minds. You receive firsthand, current information from experts researching and working in the field. Books and lectures are no match for the valuable mentoring you receive from these successful and prolific academics.
4. Create a Vast Personal and Professional Network
One of the advantages of studying abroad is the opportunity to meet people from different circles, and from all over the world. You have the peers you share classes with and graduate alongside. You learn under industry experts and academics. But you also have the opportunity to meet and network with people from other faculties, fields, and countries.
Universities with large international student bodies help you meet people from diverse backgrounds. You learn more about the cultures, experiences, and worldviews of a global community. This develops you into a global citizen and effective communicator, with a broad, inclusive mindset. In turn, you enjoy a myriad of personal and professional experiences and opportunities.
Society meetings, seminars, and so on are also excellent ways to meet renowned guest speakers and university alumni. Volunteering or signing up for clubs and societies lets you mingle with students beyond your classroom. You’ll meet people at varying stages of their careers through assistantships and work placements. There's much to learn through the relationships you form when studying abroad. And you never know when a contact you made in university pulls through with a career opportunity!
Studying abroad expands your connections worldwide, and creates learning opportunities beyond classes. Your insight thanks to the people you connect with will be global, nuanced and informed. And this in turn makes you an excellent player in a borderless workforce!
5. Take Advantage of Post-Study Work Opportunities
Career benefits of studying abroad include how your career prospects multiply thanks to your degree. By studying in a foreign destination, you develop a deeper knowledge and familiarity with a country and culture beyond your own. This expands the opportunities you have beyond the job market in your country.
Popular student destinations often have post-study work opportunities in place for international graduates. By applying for the post-study visa, you get to stay and continue working in those countries.
It’s not a coincidence that universities with high graduate employability are in advanced economies. Their governments work in tandem with universities to train talented individuals to meet the needs of the workforce. They’re then interested in retaining these talents in their workforce. These post-study opportunities help you access enhanced work experience in booming employment sectors. Often, this paves the way for permanent residency opportunities too!
6. Become the Ideal Global Candidate
The concept of a global marketplace has been around for a while. But every day it becomes more and more of an absolute reality. Businesses are on the constant lookout for talents to enhance their global outcomes. As someone who has studied, worked, and grown accustomed to an international environment, you get an edge over other applicants.
Say your employer wants to expand their business or forge partnerships in your study abroad destination. You are uniquely placed to take charge here because you’re already familiar with the ins and outs of how things work. You know how to communicate effectively across cultures and languages, thanks to the time you spent abroad. From a better understanding of the market to the mechanisms behind it, you have a vantage point that’s an asset to employers.
Plus, an international education helps nurture your global mindset. You’ll view workplace opportunities and challenges through a broader lens. This perspective is invaluable for organisations operating in a global playing field. It will set you apart as a candidate who can take any organisation to new heights.
7. Develop the Most Highly-Sought Soft Skills
Hard skills within a field, like knowing coding languages and software design, are of course something employers look for. What you may not know is that they’re often on the lookout for soft skills too.
Employees seek intangible skills like adaptability, communication, and collaboration too. In today’s rapidly-evolving workplace, employees who adapt quickly, picking up new skills, are invaluable. Candidates who can effectively communicate with all sorts of people from all over the world are another huge asset.
And what do you gain from studying abroad? Aside from your degree, you’re also picking up on these in-demand soft skills! By adjusting to the new norms on- and off-campus, you develop the competencies that define an ideal candidate. Employers can be confident that you can handle yourself in dynamic, fast-paced environments. They’ll know that you can work individually and in teams of diverse groups of people. You'll have the emotional intelligence, maturity, time management, etc. that they need and more.
8. Reap the Benefits of Your Personal Development
From the employer’s perspective, studying abroad makes you a well-rounded candidate. From a personal standpoint, you may find the experience better prepares you for the working world! Moving far from home, learning to fend for yourself, managing your academic, personal and professional lives, can change you as a person. By leveraging all this, the personal changes translate to vast career benefits when studying abroad! You may find that you're more independent, self-sufficient, and confident. You might become better at handling unexpected problems or emergencies, and in long-term planning. These are all signs of personal growth that will benefit you throughout your life. And they may make a considerable impact on how you launch, maintain and grow your career, too!
9. Discover New Job Opportunities After Studying Abroad
Before you start university, you need to choose what you want to study. You might have had a dream career you’ve wanted ever since you were a child. Or you might have no idea what you want to do five years from now. Studying abroad can help you explore opportunities and interests you had never even considered before. These could shape the job opportunities available to you after studying abroad!
There may be fields of study that are simply not available or as well developed in your home country. But a media studies elective abroad, or a course you tried out of curiosity on game development, could unlock a field you’re truly passionate about. It could be something you wouldn’t have the chance to specialise in otherwise. Universities abroad, from large, high-ranking schools to the more affordable institutes, often have impressive cutting-edge facilities to help you experience advanced niches within your field. Workshops, clubs and societies, and a broad array of experiences on- and off-campus can help you discover exactly what you want to do in the future.
10. Access the Best Graduate Opportunities
The global marketplace today is extremely competitive. Why studying abroad could be the way to career success includes the door it opens to graduate opportunities. The best graduate programs across specialisations prioritise the most promising candidates. These candidates directly contribute to the acclaim and academic outcomes of those programs.
A higher level qualification in your field could be the next step in your career progression. An MBA, for example, gives you an edge if you’re working toward major leadership positions in your field. To qualify for these programs, having a recognised degree from an international university can boost your application strength. Admissions committees often consider the reputation of the university you graduated from as a sign of your eligibility as a graduate applicant. It may be on this basis that you qualify for graduate scholarships, especially if you’re an alumnus!
The same applies if you’re keen on becoming a member of research academia as your career path of choice. A degree from a reputed university is a sign you're the right fit for the university's research body.
Our Concluding Thoughts: Career Benefits of Studying Abroad
It’s no exaggeration to say that the decision to study abroad impacts the rest of your life. Where and what you choose to study plays a major role in what you end up doing professionally. And how you thrive in your career affects so much of your life. It impacts everything from professional opportunities to your happiness and quality of life. Now that you know about the career benefits of studying abroad, are you ready to make the decision that could change your life - for the better?
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Is it easier to find work if I study abroad?
The simple answer is - yes. According to the QS Graduate Employability Rankings, major international universities have the highest graduate employability scores. Universities in big study abroad destinations also highlight graduate employability rates between 80-90%. At times, this can even be over 90% for graduates within six months of program completion. This is a good indicator to look into when doing your university research, too.
How does studying abroad help my career?
You have the chance to learn under some of the biggest experts in the best programs. You also have opportunities like work placements, arranged by your university as part of your course. Work placements and internships abroad give you invaluable experience employers look out for. Along with industry-specific skills, you also develop in-demand soft skills for the workplace. You learn to adjust in a foreign place, take care of yourself, manage your studies, and experience a different lifestyle. This makes you a flexible individual with good time management, communication, interpersonal skills, and more! You graduate with a broad and diverse network of connections, alongside a range of skills and a global mindset. All this is a sought-after combination by employers!