Kiersten Sabolik is a student at the College of St. Scholastica and an ISA Featured Photo Blogger. She is studying abroad with ISA in Brisbane, Australia.
Studying abroad is one of those experiences in life that changes you as a person. It allows you to grow, push your boundaries and discover things about yourself that you never would have in a more familiar environment. You develop a ton of useful new skills, which is part of the reason that employers love seeing abroad experiences on a resume. What types of skills? Allow me to list a few.
Getting on a plane alone and leaving behind every single thing and person I knew to travel to the other side of the world was really scary. But it really pushed me to become more independent, confident and self-reliant. I learned how to effectively take care of myself, as well as learning to feel comfortable being on my own.
Australia is full of immigrants from a multitude of cultural backgrounds. This means that in the course of one day, I can hear dozens of different accents and languages. And don’t even get me started on all the Australian slang that I’ve had to pick up! As a result, I have found that I have become a much more attentive and active listener. This skill has been developed mostly just so that I can understand what people are saying, but I know that it will serve me well in both personal and professional relationships in the future.
When you study abroad, you will probably travel outside of your host city at some point. You are going to want to travel and see the beautiful countries around you! Doing this on the weekends will take some planning, though. You develop great planning skills simply due to the number of times that you have to plan where to go, how to get there, where to stay, etc. through your time abroad. You also have to plan your time wisely, especially during the week, so that your homework is done and you have time to enjoy your weekend travels!
Consideration for other’s time
Being halfway around the world from my family and friends means that we are on almost exactly opposite time schedules. Whenever I want to text or FaceTime them in the middle of my day, I need to remind myself that they are all asleep and probably don’t want their phones waking them up. I learned to communicate at the times of the day when we are both awake and to be more considerate when sending messages or spending hours talking. Although it may be the middle of the day for me, my parents want to go to sleep!
I grew up in small town rural Minnesota where the majority of people had the same conservative Christian values that I do. Here in the multi-cultural bustling city of Brisbane that is no longer the case. Through talking to people and learning about them I have become more aware that not everyone thinks the same way that I do, and that’s okay! Everyone grows up with different backgrounds and perspectives on life, and it is by respecting those differences, not dismissing them, that good relationships are formed.
After studying abroad and seeing how much you and your world awareness grows, there won’t be any hesitation in your mind about adding it to your resume!