Three Ways I’m Becoming a Better Employee While Abroad

Anna Dillon is a student at Ohio State University and an ISA Featured Blogger. She is currently studying abroad with ISA in Valparaíso, Chile.

Hello, world! I’m no longer just a girl from a small town in Ohio! My summer program in Valparaíso, Chile has given me a new perspective on the possibilities of life, from the mundane daily events to the adventures that are around every corner. Studying abroad has stretched me and brought out my strengths during difficult and unexpected situations. There is so much out there in the world for us to discover! Here’s how I’m going to talk about my new and improved skill set when applying for jobs.

  1. Foreign language

The 7th grade “Intro to Spanish” student never thought she’d see the day! I can really speak Spanish! I can think in Spanish, too! The immersion of a study abroad experience is priceless. I can confidently say to a future employer that I can communicate with Spanish speaking clients. Your grandparents and parents love to say it, but it’s true, being bilingual is a huge advantage in today’s job market.

  1. Communication

A crucial but overlooked aspect of speaking any language is communication, put simply, the art of listening to and corresponding important messages. During my time in Chile, I have had many situations where listening has been tremendously important. Whether it be listening to my host mom tell me how to use public transportation or the waiter asking me if I want mineral water or tap water (there’s a big difference), listening well has made my life a lot less stressful than it could be living in a different country. Also, speaking clearly to others has avoided a lot of problems. This will be helpful when working on a team or when given a new assignment at work.

The colorful houses on the hills of Valparaíso become even more picturesque as the sun sets in the evening.
  1. Work ethic

In Chile this summer, I have found myself in a lot of situations I didn’t expect I’d be in when I left the house that morning. Trying to navigate a new city without the crutch of a smart phone map fueled by cellular data at your fingertips is more challenging than it sounds. I’ve learned how far I can go without asking for help; when you’ve walked around for 30 minutes trying to find a place the map said was a 6-minute walk away, it’s a good time to reassess the situation. Overall, living abroad has given me confidence and empowerment to tackle big challenges. At the same time, it’s shown me that asking for clarification when needed is really important. There’s a fine line between walking around in circles and working hard.

These are just a few ways I’ve grown in very basic tasks that will make a world of a difference when I go to get a job. The future is ours…let’s give it the best we can!

The world awaits…discover it.

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