Finishing university can be a scary time. The life that you have built over the years suddenly comes to an abrupt end and you may have to make some difficult decisions. If you have been a foreign student, the transition back to your home country can be a real challenge.
Once you have spread your wings an explored the world it can be difficult to return home. But it’s important to remember that you are returning a changed person, with skills and experiences that employers are crying out for. In fact, according to a study by the University of California, not only do foreign graduates have a better chance of getting a job, but they are also more likely to be paid more.
But what makes you special if you’ve studied abroad? Here are 5 reasons why employers love foreign graduates.
1. You have international experience
Leaving home and moving to a foreign country at a young age is not a decision taken lightly. By simply taking this step you have set yourself apart from the crowd. Make no mistake about it, millions do not take that opportunity and it is something that employers regard highly with potential hirings.
Living in a foreign country for a number of years isn’t just stepping outside your comfort zone, it is leaping well clear of it. It shows that you are brave and have the determination and drive to take yourself places that you might not feel comfortable. These characteristics are going to be high on any employers’ list.
But it’s not just studying abroad that has an enormous impact. Studies have shown that simply living and working abroad can have a profound impact on your life and your career, leading to better and clearer decisions in the future. It sounds like a win-win situation for everybody!
2. You can bring an international perspective
We live in a world that is better connected than ever before. Opportunities to trade and sell with others from around the world has never been easier. But for some employers, this comes with a problem. Many struggle to find an international perspective on business. Why is it that a product sells wonderfully well in the UK, but not in India? Why does the best seller in China fail to make an impact in the USA?
Having studied in a foreign country means that you have a greater sense of internationalisation than others who haven’t. You can bring insights from other countries to the workplace.
Despite our connectedness, our understanding of other cultures often lags behind. You may not be able to answer the complex business motivations of countries you’ve never visited, but you can offer an insight into a different way of thinking - and this is invaluable.
3. You’re a problem solver
If you’ve lived and studied in a country that is not your own, you will almost certainly have gone through periods where you had to grit your teeth and solve problems in front of you.
A person who can do this is invaluable to an employer. The work market today is about adaptability and having employees who hold these skills. Being able to solve problems shows you can think for yourself and can have an enormous impact on your career.
Luckily, if you have studied abroad, you will have had to do it without even realising it. You might not think you’ve done anything special but to potential employers, it’s probably a very different matter.
4. You probably have good social skills
OK, this might not always apply to everyone, but the very nature of studying abroad means that your social skills are at least above average. In today’s job market social skills are becoming more and more important. The ability to not only communicate in a different language but to do so on a social level sets you apart.
The art of communication has never been more under the spotlight and despite all our virtual communication, the standard of face-face communication appears to be dropping. Employers are looking for hard-working, driven employees - but it doesn’t come to much if they are terrible in normal conversation or when dealing with a team or during presentations.
Research from Harvard University found that 85% of job success comes from having well developed soft skills, which include people skills, social skills, communication skills and character or personality traits, with just 15% related to hard skills such as technical knowledge. Studying in a foreign country is one of the best possible ways to improve soft skills.
5. You are independently minded (probably)
There can be few things more frustrating for an employer who has to constantly hold the hand of a new employee. Well, I suppose having a terrible employee is worse, but you get what I mean.
Independence in the workplace is best for everybody. You don’t want to have a boss looking over your shoulder all day, and your employer doesn’t want to have to check on your work throughout the day.
Striking out on your own and living in a different country offers you the kind of independence training that is absolutely invaluable, and one that employers are desperate to see more in the companies.