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Home  > Article

Personal Development is the Biggest Perk in Working Abroad

By Jenna Lebel

Whether it is teaching in Germany or consulting in Taiwan, an increasing number of Americans are looking for jobs overseas.

According to an Experience survey of 300 college graduates, 36% have worked abroad. Of the 64% of respondents who have never worked abroad, 98% of them are interested in doing so.

Most alumni say they seek international jobs in order to gain something they may not find working domestically.

"It has opened up more opportunities for me because I was able to utilize my German and learn to interact with students and fellow teachers in their language, as well as mine," one respondent said. "Reaching cultural understanding was very rewarding."

Others feel their biggest reward is personal development.

After working in Asia, one respondent reported, "I think that it made me a very outgoing, determined, and dynamic person."

College grads are having these rewarding experiences across the industries. Although education (24%) and business (23%) seem to be the top draws for workers abroad, alumni also report working abroad in government (21%), technology (16%), healthcare (10%), and social services (7%).

Europe and Asia are the most popular choices for those looking to work overseas, representing 55% and 28% of workers, respectively. Other popular destinations include South America (8%) and Africa (7%). Though much closer to home, Canada represented a work abroad destination for just 2% of respondents.

To some, these abroad experiences represent a way to further their careers. "It was the first thing potential employers noticed on my resume," admitted one of the respondents. "It certainly helped me get the job I have today."

Several respondents cite their work abroad as having influenced their career in multiple ways, including improved self-confidence and a wider perspective.

Others feel that the cultural aspect was most important. "Working abroad increased my understanding of communications, especially between various cultures," another respondent claimed. "My experience helped me to identify different view points and practices quickly, helping me avoid many mistakes typically resulting from ignorance."

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