Should Studying Abroad be a requirement? Student Institution Instructor Date Introduction Due to the fact that companies increasingly prefer students who can work with people from different cultures and live in other countries successfully, it is becoming necessary for students to study abroad…
Being able to navigate around foreign countries over time increases the chances for a student to be self-sufficient as they learn to provide for themselves. Interacting with people from different cultures also allows students to challenge their long-held beliefs; more importantly, this demands that students look into their own native culture and appreciate its uniqueness. This is because they will have the opportunity to identify differences and similarities with the cultures in the foreign countries, which in turn teaches them to be accommodating of others. In addition, students are bound to find themselves in situations where their personal identity is questioned or criticized where this gives them a chance to develop confidence and self-esteem as they give out responses. All these experiences go a long way in shaping the character of student looking to excel in their chosen career. Why it should be made a necessity to study abroad International experiences, especially long-term ones that last for a semester or a year help build a student both professionally and personally. A student has a better chance of accessing employment and further education opportunities. It becomes important for institutions to encourage their students to take advantage of opportunities to study abroad, even if for a semester only. Such encouragement helps students get over their personal fears and instead consider the opportunities for personal growth that are available through international experiences. In addition, institutions need to guide students through the application process for such programs and take them through the preparation process of moving there and settling in while finding means of fending for themselves. The core reason for advocating for studying abroad is that is help students gain exposure as this enables them to adjust their way of thinking, attitudes and builds their skills. This exposure is essential in helping students become empowered and feel confident enough to participate in a global job market (Lewin, 2009). The second core reason is based on employers’ perception of students who have studied abroad. A study done by Trooboff, Van de Berg and Rayman revealed that employers value the ability to be flexible and adaptable and that these skills are enhanced by studying abroad. Additionally, the personal quality of being open to and non-judgmental about people from varying cultural backgrounds was seen as being valuable to employers, and enhanced by studying abroad. Being observant and a good listener also ranked high among qualities valued by employers and enhanced by studying abroad though this was superseded by qualities such as being willing to take risks in order to learn new things, being cognizant that one’s worldview is not universal and having knowledge about more than one culture outside the United States. Overall, the skills/ personal qualities ranked the highest were ability to work under pressure and being able to work effectively in teams where both were seen as being enhanced further by studying abroad. Following an international and global competence criteria developed by Hunter and Deardoof, this study ranked the highest three personal qualities as being important when employers are hiring as well as being enhanced by international study. These are being able to communicate, interact and effectively work outside one’s comfort zone, getting along well with persons from varying races and cultures and ...
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