Does studying abroad really make you more employable?

Elena Cotton·23 April 2018·4 min read
Does studying abroad really make you more employable?

Images of study abroad as a semester of drinking, partying and travelling are really not that far from the truth. It’s an incredibly fun time filled with new people, places and half the responsibilities of home. However, it can be difficult to justify the hefty expense of studying abroad purely on the basis that it’s a laugh. So, you’ll often rely on that good old notion that somehow it will improve your CV. Well, news flash – you’re not wrong.

Statistics across the board have shown that studying abroad make you more employable in several ways:

70% of companies surveyed have admitted that you will need foreign language skills and international experience to succeed after you graduate. Whist you might not always be jetting off for a year purely speaking French, when you study abroad you will meet plenty of international students whose first language isn’t English. So, you still have to learn to communicate somewhere in the middle of both your native tongues.

In the UK, 62% of students have the opportunity to study abroad, and those who do are 9% more likely to graduate with a 1st of Upper 2:1 degree and are 24% less likely to be employed post-graduation. Result!

For as long as the UK remains in the EU, 40% of students who undertake the Erasmus programme go on to work abroad. This is not just language based, as employers stated that cultural understanding is extremely important – especially when doing business with international clients.

If that wasn’t enough to convince you, the overall employment rate of students who studied abroad is 23% higher within five years of graduation. So, what do employers have to say about studying abroad?

Claire Powers, who works as a recruiter from global knowledge broker AlphaSights, said she “cannot emphasise enough the importance of an international experience” and that “the confidence and self-awareness students gain from putting down roots somewhere new, is an asset for any business”.

Other employers have commended the array of skills study abroad provides individuals with, including adaptability, openness, curiosity and confidence. Law firm Linklaters also emphasized the benefit of a global outlook when hiring new candidates.

Even Michelle Obama has issued her support for study abroad, describing it as a vital part of US foreign policy.

Therefore, as annoying as it may be when you hear your friends natter on about how their road trip around California will help them become a lawyer, they might be right. As the evidence of studying abroad’s employability benefits are undeniable, the short-term cost outweighs the initial investment. So when your uncle asks why you’ve been fannying about in Singapore for a year, just tell him it’s business.