The spring semester is back in full (cold) swing and you’re looking at the calendar wondering a) when it will get warm again and b) how does the time go so quickly? It’s easy to get caught up in the daily university routine and before you know it, it’s time to trade Groundhog Day for Memorial Day and snow boots for flip flops.
One of the tough things to do with a busy schedule is find time to search for activities that will help you develop as a leader, and an individual. It’s important to know that leadership opportunities come in a variety of shapes and sizes. You can get involved with a Greek organization, an intramural sport, a student club or a volunteer group.
Towson recently committed to a nationwide project called Generation Study Abroad. How does it affect you? It means Towson and the Study Abroad Office are working hard to increase access to study abroad opportunities and leadership experiences for you all over the world.
What does study abroad have to do with leadership? Well, it’s not just about problem solving in a different language; here are eight great examples*:
- Greater capacity to accept differences in others and to tolerate other people’s actions and ideas that may be vastly different from your own.
- Improved ability to communicate with people in a second language.
- Understanding that there are many ways to accomplish the same task and that those approaches are only “different,” not necessarily better or worse.
- Ability to see situations and issues from more than one perspective.
- Ability to value human diversity and respect others from a variety of backgrounds different from your own.
- Increased confidence when facing new situations.
- Improved time management.
- Ability to evaluate advantages and disadvantages of your own culture and society more objectively (i.e., from the perspective of an outsider).
So study abroad makes sense for an emerging leader, but how does it translate to your resume as a transferrable skill? Statistics show that employers are taking a closer look at the experiences students have while abroad. Are you studying? Interning? Volunteering? More importantly: can you articulate what you learned and why it would make you a valuable employee? Recently on CNN, First Lady Michelle Obama noted that study abroad can make you more marketable in the United States as “[m]ore and more companies are realizing that they need people with experience around the world.”**
The good news for TU students is that the Career Center is already thinking ahead to how they can help students not only articulate these experiences, but find them. Both domestic and international students can log on to Hire@TU and access Going Global to review 600,000 worldwide job/internship postings, 35 country career guides, a searchable H1B Plus database and more.
Our advice? Do your research. Studying abroad can be more accessible than you think!
If you have questions about studying abroad, contact the Study Abroad Office or attend an information session Monday through Friday at 2 p.m. in Psychology 408.
If your resume needs tweaking or if you have questions about Going Global, contact the Career Center or walk-in during Express Hours Monday through Thursday from 1-4 p.m. at 7800 York Road, Suite 206.
*Source: Adapted from The AFS Student Study Guide published by the AFS International/Intercultural Programs (Washington, D. D., 1979), reprinted in: Clyde N. Austin, ed., Cross-Cultural Reentry: A Book of Readings (Abilene: Abilene Christian University Press, 1986), pgs. 273-27.
Kelly Holland, M.Ed.
Study Abroad Office
Keith Jones, M.S.