By Dean Tsouvalas
More than ever, it’s crucial that college grads know that they will not only be competing with their fellow classmates for jobs – they’re also competing with graduates all over the world. Understanding the global market and economy is imperative for students looking to start their job search.
Here are three ways students can be prepare for a global marketplace and become well-rounded global citizens:
1. Utilize opportunities that are available.
Most universities make it easy for students to study or intern abroad. “Students should investigate the offerings of their college or university. What are the study abroad options? Are there short-term international travel opportunities available? Certainly study abroad is a great way for students to help develop their global mindset, but it is not the only way,” said Sarah Fatherly, dean of university programs and interim associate vice president for academic affairs at Otterbein University in Westerville, OH.
Students that can’t fit a study abroad into their schedule should consider summer or winter break abroad opportunities – these are usually less demanding and allows students to experience the best parts of an abroad trip in a short period of time.
2. Go deeper than tourism!
“To be a liberally educated person means that you have to open yourself up to new cultures, new languages, new ways of interpreting reality and seeing the world,” said Dr. William Felice, professor of political science at Eckerd College in St. Petersburg, Florida, who teaches a summer course on the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland. To be globally prepared means you’ve dug deeper into a new culture than simple tourism, he said. It’s crucial to remember that studying abroad is more than a vacation – it’s an experiment in cross-cultural understanding and developing relationships.
Make sure to spend time cultivating knowledge and skills related to the culture, as well as making friends and keeping in touch with students from the country.
3. Make time for reflection.
It’s not enough to just experience new cultures, says Scott Manning, director of cross-cultural programs at Susquehanna University in Selinsgrove, Pa. “It’s necessary to think about what effects those experiences create.”
Students should think about how they can extend the learning experience after they return from abroad. “Consider how to keep in touch with the new culture, such as learning a language, reading online media from that country, or starting a service project to strength connections between the two cultures,” he says.
He suggests students also offer to share their adventures with other members of the campus community. “Talking about it is the best way to learn more from it,” Manning explains. “Students who give presentations on campus or in the community do a great service, but it also helps themselves to process their experiences.”