University is one of the rare places where you have the space to experiment with yourself and challenge both your personal and professional lives. Some say that university is one of the most unique experiences, right before you step past the threshold into full-time adulthood. One privilege only commonly experienced in university is exchange.
Though it may sound intimidating to move across the globe for a lengthy amount of time, it’s a decision that has great personal and professional benefits, which can set you apart from the rest.
Immersing yourself in a foreign country while on exchange means opening up to a whole new way of life. It allows you to step out of the bubble of your home country and experience new foods, music, festivals and ways of life that help broaden your understanding of the world. Increasingly, employers are seeking workers who can adapt, appreciate and respect other cultures in their daily work life since so much of business is now carried out on an international scale. This is also called cross-cultural literacy.
The friendships created on exchange are unlike many connections created while at university. It’s most likely that there are many other exchange students at your chosen university. Going through the new experiences that come with exchange together means bonds are formed as you navigate a new culture together. These connections may be highly valuable to you in the future as you enter a business environment. Who knows? Maybe your dorm roommate will become your future business partner.
For most students, studying abroad is the first time they’re spending on their own overseas. This allows you to leave your comfort zone and get the chance to find out who you are when you are truly on your own. The opportunity to gain true independence is invaluable and useful to grow as a young adult. What better way to deal with that university identity crisis than finding yourself in a foreign country?
Advance your Future Career
Having an exchange experience on your CV gives you unique anecdotes to showcase your skills. Independence, adaptability, problem-solving, effective communication and openness to new experiences and change are just some of the key skills that employers would like to see you demonstrate in your job. It is possible to do an internship while studying abroad, and this will be an indispensable career-launching experience.
Obtain a Global Perspective
An overseas exchange means interacting with people from all around the world. This will mean gaining the skill of working effectively with people from different backgrounds, a skill that is necessary to advancing in international business. For example, something as small as understanding the importance of Chinese Lunar New Year to your Chinese co-worker will do wonders for your working relationships and/or clients!
Learn a New Language
If you’re interested in learning a foreign language, exchange to a non-English speaking country is the best way to advance your language skills. You can choose to take classes in your chosen language or simply find locals to help you practise. After a semester or two abroad, it’s likely you’ll be confidently conversing with others.
Your university career is whatever you choose to do with it. If you’d like to spend some of the best times of your life at university, exchange is the way to go!
Not sure where to start with exchange? Read up on our university profiles here.
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