2.4 - What Did You Learn Abroad?


What Did You Learn Abroad?


Most students who go abroad do so to experience living in another culture. Part of that usually includes attending classes in a local university or participating in internships. When they are asked what they learned, the majority will, hopefully, be able to discuss increased language competency, deeper knowledge of the host country and culture, acquisition of overseas "survival skills," and an ability to interact successfully with a variety of people in new situations.

This can be impressive, but it is seldom the whole story. Few students are actually aware of the degree to which the overseas experience may have changed their way of thinking and acting. Many of these changes are subtle and unconscious. Still they represent cross-cultural skills or attitudes they may have acquired as a part of their sojourn. Usually, it takes a while after returning from study abroad to realize the full extent of the impact. An overseas experience can create new interests, abilities, linguistic and cultural skills that are not only valuable to the individual, but can be very attractive to potential future employers.