How Study Abroad Can Help Define Your Career Path

Jan 5, 2017 1:30:00 PM / by Stephanie Sadler

It's no secret that studying abroad can give your future employment prospects a boost, but what a lot of students discover while they're overseas is that the experience has the potential to shape your career path and goals too. 

But don't take it from us.

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Below, meet a few students who felt that studying abroad played a significant role in terms of where they are in their career today or in some way helped them more clearly define the direction they hope to take in the future:

“I gained so much more independence and ability in decision-making while interning abroad and now I have valuable international work experience that sets me apart from my peers.”
- Jillayne Adamyk, Sydney (source)

CAPA alumna Jill Adamyk at her internship site

“Mentioning that I studied abroad in London is what landed me my job.”
- Gina-Maria Garcia, London (source)

“Relaying what you learned through your internship experience while studying abroad is the most important aspect to landing a job. As employers are already intrigued looking at your international experience, they also would like to hear about how your internship will relate to the position you are seeking. Being able to relay your study abroad experience in a professional manner is very helpful. It definitely allowed me to make myself more dynamic to employers.”
- Jacqueline Keville, Sydney (source)

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"My experience studying abroad definitely influenced my interests and career trajectory. While I was with CAPA in Florence, I was given the opportunity to volunteer as an English assistant at a local school. This experience made one thing abundantly clear to me: this was something I wanted to do again. My intense interest in diverse cultures and international affairs was unquestionably fueled by my experience in Florence and this passion has inspired me to pursue international law."
- Emily Kyle, Florence (source)

"I studied abroad in Sydney my spring semester junior year of college. I was fortunate enough to intern with the Australian Baseball League. Since then, I have graduated from the University of Pittsburgh and I now work with the Pittsburgh Steelers in the creative development office at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, working with the organization’s official fan loyalty program, Steelers Nation Unite."
- Lindsey Spirk, Sydney (source)

CAPA alumna Lindsey Spirk now working for the Pittsburgh Steelers after interning with the Australian Baseball League

“The time came to embark on my job search and I had a strong preference to begin my career in London. One day, the Executive Chairman at my CAPA internship site messaged me on LinkedIn to say that one of their clients had advertised for a vacancy which my supervisor felt I would be suited to. And that was how I got to meet my current employer. I am now a business development intern with the automotive division of BYD, a leading name in the green energy sector. I am glad how one thing developed into another and have the CAPA-UB program and my internship company to thank for paving the path to where I am today.”
- Leonard Chew, London (source)

“I hope studying abroad helps with future job prospects! Interning in London makes my resume stand out, but it’s my understanding of a different culture that I think has better prepared me for the work force. Plus, studying abroad made me realize how important it is to me to work for a company with offices and clients abroad.”
- Cassie Naes, London (source)

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“[Study abroad] definitely does boost your job prospects. When talking with recruiters, they're so amazed by the fact that I've had this opportunity and want to learn more about it.”
- Janel Forsythe, London (source)

“Studying abroad in London has definitely been a plus on my resume! Interviewers ask about my experience and about the skills that I learned living in a new country. It is important for me to always mention that I really interacted with locals and became accustomed to the British culture.”
- Hillary Myers, London (source)

CAPA alumni Emily McGeary and Janel Forsythe at a networking event back home

“I definitely think that studying abroad helped me land my first "big girl" job starting in June after graduation. My internship experience in Sydney was a major topic of discussion during my interview.”
- Rachel Rhiver, Sydney (source)

“Studying abroad in London completely boosted my job prospects. I not only had the chance to make connections in London, I also have something awesome to add to my resume!”
- Mary Kate Moran, London (source)

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“Not only studying, but interning abroad, has been a major boost to my job prospects. I have had two amazing interviews so far who have both wanted to know more about my experiences living and studying in London while interning with the Liberal Democrats.”
- Mary-Kate Browne, London (source)

“Since coming back, I landed an internship and a permanent position with the federal judiciary. Studying abroad allows students to persuade employers about the importance of a domestic and international perspective in certain industries, which could ultimately be a huge benefit to some companies. One of the ways I have used my study abroad experience in my interviews is by highlighting the fact that I was exposed to different cultures and practices while abroad. Having immersed myself into the British culture in a short time, I told employers that I am able to acclimate to new spaces in quick time and that I could do the same if I worked for them.”
- Miguel Lara, London (source)

CAPA alum Daniel Mickens learning about the sports world abroad

“In every interview I had while job searching, the interviewer always wanted to discuss my internship abroad.”
- Jessica Davis, Sydney (source)

“Since my time in Sydney, I have seen exponential developments in my career. My internship experience with the Blue Sox helped me land a sales internship with New England Sports Network. Along with this, my dedication to work in sports abroad also helped me land multiple interviews with professional teams. My internship abroad was a key factor that gave me the opportunity to choose an offer from various professional teams. I will continue to utilize the skills that I learned during my internship throughout my professional career. My CAPA internship provided proof that I was willing to travel over 10,000 miles to gain experience in an industry that I was passionate about. I used my experience for more than a resume builder. I used it as a conversation starter.”
- Daniel Mickens, Sydney (source)

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“Through this internship, I can now see that I am capable of a career as a physical therapist and that I can move forward with my education with more interest and determination than before.”
- Bridget Dix, Sydney (source)

“The experience that I am gaining in an internship abroad is priceless when it comes to my professional life. Not only am I gaining experience as a marketing and public relations intern, but I am gaining international experience as well. This is most important in preparation for my future career. It is becoming clear to me as a college student what employers value in a candidate, and I believe the skills I am gaining as an international intern will benefit me in my future endeavors.”
- Kristina Worm, Sydney (source)

CAPA alumna Kristina Worm at her internship site

“This internship experience at Dress for Success Dublin will open up a vast amount of opportunities. I’ve gained cross-cultural awareness in the workplace. I have successfully adapted and recognized the ambiguity of a high context culture coming from a low context culture. Being completely independent in a new country has also forced me to become a mature adult really fast. This internship has shaped me into a businesswoman with a global mind-set.”
- Jane Kirkpatrick, Dublin

“This internship experience allowed me to not only understand myself better, but also helped clarify what I want to do with my career.”
- Ian Jenkins, Sydney (source)

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“I was lucky enough to be placed at Kings College Hospital, the premier teaching hospital in London. Undertaking an internship not only builds a network for further career opportunities but it teaches real world skills that can be applied to one's future career goals. Having an internship in a foreign country is an added bonus as it brings international experience on top of the invaluable set of skills attained at the end of the internship.”
- Roshni Patel, London (source)

“A professional change I have seen in myself since I began my study abroad program is the ability to collaborate with people from another country with ease to achieve a similar goal. Also, meeting people from all over the world can help me in my future job search because I will have connections in multiple countries, not just the US.”
- Jonathan Lim, Dublin

CAPA alum Jonathan Lim at his internship site

“CAPA definitely boosted my chances at landing a job. Being an Accounting major, it is crucial to land an internship prior to interviewing for jobs. Through interning abroad in the financial department of a non-profit organization, OzHarvest, I was able to take what I had learned it show my skills to employers. In showing how much I learned at my internship abroad I landed a summer internship and have just recently accepted a full time job offer with the same company. I highly recommend interning abroad to any student; it makes you stand out and really pushes you to go above and beyond!”
- Jacqueline Keville, Sydney (source)

“The experience I gained from interning at Velvet Moth will help me when deciding what type of jobs I will be applying for. I now know that I would definitely like to pursue a job in photo editing.”
- Heather Turner, Sydney (source)

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“The CAPA internship made me realize how much I love being with people, writing, and utilizing social media platforms. I began applying for summer internships in the middle of the spring semester and landed an amazing paid one in my hometown. I can honestly say that if it wasn’t for my internship abroad I probably wouldn’t have landed the summer internship I did. In my last semester at UMass, I am using the tools and skills that [my internship at] DEC has given me to shape the type of career path I dreamed about.”
- Julia Economou, Sydney (source)

“Last month, I graduated with a Master's degree in Journalism from Columbia University. This summer, I will be working with NBC News at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia and I will also be traveling to Rio de Janeiro with NBC to assist with coverage of the Summer Olympics. I still talk about my internship experience with The Independent during interviews as it helped me obtain relevant digital journalism skills. I am extremely grateful for the opportunity CAPA provided me!”
- Daniel Rodriguez, London (email to a CAPA staff member, June 2016)

CAPA alum Daniel Ridriguez at his internship site

“I want to become a CPA (Certified Public Accountant) after I graduate and work in the assurance practice of a large public accounting firm. One of my favorite parts of my internship was helping the team prepare for their yearly audit and seeing the week long audit take place. My supervisor explained the whole process to me before it all started so I really learned a lot and it definitely confirmed that I’m studying the right thing. I really enjoyed being in the hotel every day and I’m now considering doing audit for the hospitality industry.”
– Alexandra Esposito (source)

“After I graduate, I am planning on going to the Gemological Institute of America, in New York City. I would like to one day be a diamond broker and then eventually open up a jewelry store. Being in London gave me confidence that the diamond industry is the field I want to be in. Since London is such a diamond hub, I might try to move back for a little while and build more connections across the pond.”
– Rachel Akmakjian, London (source)

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"Going abroad definitely shaped my career goals. I plan on going to graduate school to study international education so I can help students like myself have an amazing experience and go abroad."
- Tiana Morris, London (source)

“I’m currently in the process of applying to law school but because of my amazing experience and professional relationships in Australia, I’m looking at a program that will allow me to return to Sydney. Interning with Cancer Council NSW opened professional doors for me and made me think about working with nonprofits rather than corporate law.”
- Lilibeth Resendiz, Sydney (source)

CAPA alumna Lilibeth Resendiz and a colleague at her internship site

“The minute that I fully understood what my internship role would be in Ireland, I added the experience onto my resume and began applying for jobs back at home from Ireland. Turns out, with the CAPA internship on my resume, I only needed to send one. I was interviewed and hired for the first job I applied for with Cerner Corporation in Philadelphia, PA which is the leading Healthcare IT provider in the US. In my interview, all they wanted to know about was my experience in Ireland, so yes, I would say that it absolutely gave me an advantage over my peers in my job hunt.”
– Greg Mumford, Dublin (source)

“Those three months played a key role in shaping the direction I have taken in life. I had a strong preference to begin my career in London. One day, the Executive Chairman at my internship site messaged me on LinkedIn to say that one of their clients had advertised for a vacancy which my supervisor felt I would be suited to. And that was how I got to meet my current employer. I have the CAPA-UB program and my internship company to thank for paving the path to where I am today.”
– Leonard Chew, London (source)

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“I interned with AIG in their Private Equity group while I was studying abroad. When I came back to the States, I was able to parlay that experience into a full-time job with a PE fund in Boston. I stayed in the Private Equity industry for five years and, in 2012, left my job to launch uConnect, a technology start-up that makes web and mobile applications designed to help colleges and universities provide rich online career services for their students.”
– David Kozhuk, London (source)

“My experience studying abroad in Sydney has been a launch pad for my career development ever since! Long story short, after the travel bug bit me in Sydney, I continued travelling the world while working for US Airways. This job opened the door to a lot of new places around the world and led me to Limelight Networks, where I began my career in digital marketing and technology. Ultimately, this led me to my current position: Business Development Manager for Sitewire, a leading digital marketing consulting firm.”
– Jordan Haugan, Sydney (source)

CAPA alumna Allie Bettenhausen at her internship

“The experiences I received from my internship with the Blue Sox will greatly influence my future. It has greatly helped me while looking for future jobs and internships. Since the Blue Sox experience, I have had multiple interviews and job offers from many sports teams - one being the Chicago Bears. I can thank my experiences and time with the Blue Sox for many other opportunities I have been given since.”
– Allie Bettenhausen, Sydney (source)

“My experience confirmed that I had a passion for sports and the business side of sports. It helped me realize what specific areas I enjoyed most and showed me that I could achieve my goal outside of the States as well. I am still an aspiring sports executive who is dedicated to learning about the sports industry. Study abroad has driven me to thoughts of pursing a Master’s degree outside of the States after I get a few years of work experience under my belt.” – Daniel Mickens, Sydney (source)

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"Thanks to my internship through CAPA, I was able to figure out the career path I want to pursue and had a tremendous support system along the way."
- Ciara Kilian, Dublin (source)

"My time in Europe drastically shaped my career goals and trajectory. While I was in Dublin, I was contacted by a large Florida healthcare marketing firm. They asked me to interview when I returned to the States. During the brief phone call, the marketing director mentioned my international experience as one of the reasons my application and resume stood out to him. When I returned home, I was offered the summer internship at this marketing firm to work on sponsorship campaigns, event planning, and international marketing efforts. Before Dublin, I was considering graduate school or working in sports marketing. Either grad school or sports marketing would have been amazing opportunities; however, my time in Dublin changed my perspective and preference. Now, I can’t wait to start working at an agency."
– Bailey Gaul (source)

Graduation day for CAPA alumna Emily Kearns and friends (credit - Kilian Liptrot) 

“It is almost impossible to experience something as unique as interning in another country without coming out of it a changed person. It helped me realize that I love working in the sports industry, not necessarily in the capacity I did at my internship, but somehow involved in it. More importantly, it opened my eyes to the importance of having a global perspective. As I am beginning my job hunt, if a company doesn’t have a global presence, they are almost immediately eliminated for me.”
– Sam Schira, London (source)

“Studying abroad was 100% the best decision I made in my college career. As a result of this life-changing experience, I began to really think about different career paths that I could take upon graduation and started looking into careers within the international education industry.”
– Emily Kearns, Florence (source)

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Topics: Careers