We all know that traveling the world can lead to many great things. Instead of thinking strategically about the learning potential of their next trip, travelers usually focus on what they can see and experience, like monuments and beach parties. This is great and a must in order to enjoy your longer-term travels, but to maximize your experience abroad, you have to learn and grow from it. I have proven time and time again that it is possible to incorporate learning and skills development into any travel itinerary, no matter how short or long. It’s simply a matter of changing the way you look at your purpose for being abroad.
If you ask the average traveler, they’ll tell you that the skills they learned from travel include things like:
- Intercultural communication,
- Time management, and
The real benefits, however, lie in the hard skills you can gain while abroad. Soft skills are great and necessary, but it’s harder to demonstrate to employers your level of proficiency.
What I have done over the years is learn about the hard skills needed for the jobs I want in the future. Then, in my free time while abroad, I’ve learned everything that I can about that skill. After learning EVERYTHING I can about it, I apply my knowledge to real world examples (usually done through unpaid work opportunities). By doing this over and over again, I’ve learned and perfected a number of hard skills that I now proudly list on my resume.
Download the #ProfDevAbroad workbook for examples on how to develop skills while abroad as well as resources to help you get started!