Going International

So you’ve studied abroad. Now what? Let’s say you’ve taken a foreign language course. Why did you spend the time? You’re involved in an international club or organization. How will this benefit you? Why is this cultural awareness necessary? Having a global perspective is now crucial to the workforce, as millions of cross-border relationships are developing in various sectors in the economy. Your international experiences matter; showcase them and continue to grow them with the CAP Global Perspective Module.

“When I traveled in Paris and London for study abroad, I kept a journal with me the entire time. At the end of the day I would reflect on the things that I learned from the people around me. I went to a concert at Wembley Stadium in London and spent time with two English girls in the line. We had some lingo barriers. For example, a Bandaid is called a rubber and pants are trousers and underwear are pants. At one point one of the girls looked at her friend and said ‘Shannon she doesn’t know what you’re saying.’ By writing this experience down in my journal I was able to reflect on the small differences in language that lead to misunderstandings within different cultures.”      -Kaitlin Obermeyer

Even some of the most memorable experiences require reflection. Below is a list of reasons why it’s necessary to reflect on these international experiences:

Reveal Importance: Recording your international experiences will reveal the impact they have made on your future plans and your self growth. Writing them down will make thoughts, facts and feelings more clear and remind yourself of what to focus on when it comes to these experiences.

Refer Back: Ideas do not stay for long, so it’s important to refer back to what you have learned in the past and keep these big ideas flowing. Reading back through past records of international experience is fascinating and provides valuable insight into particular moments and thought processes.

 

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Inspire a Broader Understanding: Truly recognizing cultural differences requires having meaningful conversations, respecting different world-views and escaping comfort zones. Having these amazing experiences is one thing, but being able to apply them to daily life is what makes them matter in the long run.

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Form Future Goals: Students with international skills and cultural awareness often have better job prospects when they graduate. Not sure where to start? Check out this guide. Being able to communicate your “international work skills” to employers could be the key to landing your dream career.
The American work and social culture has moved away from solely communicating and building relationships within our own country. We have expanded our friends, family and team members to people from all over the world. Whether or not you have traveled abroad, it’s likely you have had global relations or cultural experiences. The CAP Global Perspective Module exists to inform students about the importance of cultural awareness and international skills, while allowing them to reflect on the significance of their international experiences.

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Meaningful Connections

They say it’s not what you know, it’s who you know, so how does one go about meeting the right people? How can we use these connections to leverage a career or pursue a passion? Below are four, but not all, of the ways you can effectively network and build relationships that matter.

Hang out with the right people. This does not mean to just seek out the wealthiest, most well-known, big name people or companies. In fact, that may not be your style at all. Find people who are like you and who share the same interests and passions. People who share common attributes will be attracted to the same type of jobs and organizations. These individuals will offer experience and advice that you actually find interesting and may propel your career forward.

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Be authentic. Going along with the above advice, know who you are and where you want to be. The more real you are with the people around you, the more likely you are to land a career that aligns with your personality. If you’re not sure what you have to offer yet, take a few personality tests to better showcase that authenticity. Do What You Are, StrengthsQuest and Strong Interest Inventory will all give you further insight into your behavior patterns, work preferences, strengths and weaknesses.

Utilize LinkedIn. This is the ultimate ‘people connecting people’ outlet. Strictly for professional use, LinkedIn specializes in meaningful connections. One of the best resources on this site is the “Find Alumni” section, where you can search graduates of your university, where they work, what they do, what they’ve studied and how you’re connected. Don’t worry, you’re not being annoying; they were begging for a job at one point, as well.

Follow up. You will not be offered a job by shaking the hand of a working professional, exchanging business cards and leaving. Take the extra time to shoot them an email, add them on LinkedIn, or request another meeting over a cup of coffee (you buy). People are people everywhere you go, and the only relationships that matter are those that are nurtured and invested in. Be persistent and personable, as you would with a friend.

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It’s important to find the people and experiences in your life that have propelled you forward or inspired you the most. The Career Advancement Program Meaningful Connections Module inspires reflection on people you’ve met, the experiences you’ve had together, and the significance of these relationships. After all, you didn’t get where you are today on your own.

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Career Maturity

Students often fail to take the time to ask themselves why they are doing what they’re doing; why they’re working so hard and spending so much money to pursue a degree that they may or may not actually be interested in. This is a significant problem, as graduation comes much too quickly, and students are often clueless as to where to go next. So how can this be combatted? It all starts with individuals knowing themselves well, what they enjoy about their chosen major, and where it can take them moving forward.

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Self-knowledge: What are your strengths? What could use improvement? What is a specific cause or leisure activity that you would drop everything for? Are you a listener? Problem solver? Are you creative or adaptable? It’s easy to forget these qualities about ourselves, as well as what we can bring to the table. We all have something unique to offer, but it often takes reflection on what those things are to pursue them further.

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Occupational Knowledge: After diving into your skills, interests, values and personality, what occupations do you see would suit you best? Do some research on what is available, and discover all of your options. This is where the Focus assessment comes in handy, as it is targeted toward students or post grads seeking work that they will both excel in and thoroughly enjoy. Check out the Strong Interest Inventory and Do What You Are tests as well to discover where your strengths lie and how you can use them to improve communities.

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Forward Momentum: Talk is cheap. We can discuss our dreams and future plans for years and never actually achieve them. Set up an action plan on how you will get there, include measurable goals, and be prepared to encounter obstacles. Enjoy where you’re at, but always look ahead to where you want to be. Plan in decades, think in years, work in months, live in days.
Find out if you are an organizer, a thinker, a doer, a helper or a combination. Discover your work and leisure interest careers and what the job market looks like for those. Reevaluate your values and how they align with both your day-to-day activities and your future plans. The CAP Career Maturity Module will encourage students to chase an engaging and meaningful career.

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