The idea of taking a gap year is super appealing to most South Africans, but what about studying abroad? Can it really boost your career and what other benefits can it bring to the table? To us, the answer is a resounding YES.
How studying abroad can boost your career
You’ll build foreign language experience
Regardless of whether you plan on studying in an English speaking country or not, you’ll learn to cross-cultural barriers on a daily basis. You’ll learn how to decipher gestures, body language and facial expressions to understand the locals.
This develops your cross-cultural communication skills that can benefit your future career, no matter which path you eventually choose. More and more industries are internationalising, which means that more jobs will require bilingual candidates in the future.
You’ll improve your project management, organising and planning skills
Exposing yourself to a variety of unexpected situations in a foreign country will push you outside of your comfort zone and get you to think on your feet. Planning, organising and weighing up pros and cons will be a constant for you, and as such, you’ll learn the art of scrutinising situations more closely.
These seem like mundane tasks, but the amount of strategising you’ll do will help you learn to plan two steps ahead, which can be used for a job in project management. If you’re not into project management, you can also use your new skills to handle demanding jobs and projects across every other industry out there.
You might seem more appealing to international employers
Chances are, once you’ve travelled, you’ll want to do it again. You might also want to work abroad and consider making a more permanent move. Once you’ve successfully lived and studied abroad, international employers will be more likely to accept your job applications. You can imagine that this can open up a doorway to a whole new world for you and your career.
You’ll become a great decision maker
When you study abroad, you have to be self-sufficient and learn how to think on your feet. You’ll develop great teamwork skills, and without the familiarity of family, you’ll have to step up and make your own decisions.
Evaluating situations, estimating costs, and managing time efficiently will become second nature to you. And those are all situations you’ll encounter in the workplace one day. Studying abroad challenges you and sets you on track to up your skills and abilities, which can all help shape the future of your career.