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Study Abroad and Your Resume

Whatever you decide to do, don’t forget to include your study abroad experience on your resumé. Study abroad is a sign of intercultural competence that is appealing to potential employers and graduate schools alike in our increasingly interdependent society. When including study abroad in your resumé, think about the skills you gained and what you learned while abroad. Did you become proficient in a language? Did you gain research experience through conducting an independent study project? Have you become well versed in some aspect of your host country’s culture? Remember that you must make the connection to the actual skills you gained through the experiences you had—it won’t always be obvious to an employer.

So, how do you get these skills across on a resumé? Here are a few examples:

EXAMPLE 1: You should include your study abroad experience as part of your education, possibly including those specific skills relevant to your academic experience.

Education

Skidmore College, Saratoga Springs, New York (1996-2000)

  • BA in Spanish, cum laude
  • Overall G.P.A. 3.57, Major G.P.A. 3.9, Dean’s List 1998-2000
  • Thesis topic: Black consciousness in Venezuela

Study Abroad, Institute for the International Education of Students 
La Plata, Argentina (1/1999-5/1999)

  • Completed course work in Latin American culture and society.
  • Demonstrated willingness to take risks through enrollment in Spanish-speaking curriculum.
  • Gained fluency in Spanish.
  • Examined the effect of birth control on population growth in Argentina as an independent research project.

EXAMPLE 2: You may also include a specific aspect of your study abroad experience as part of your related experience, including those skills gained through your time abroad.

Experience

English Tutor, The English Connection
Saratoga Springs, NY (1998-2000)

  • Developed and implemented lesson plans for ESL adult students.
  • Managed classroom of 10-15 adults from diverse backgrounds.
  • Integrated cross-cultural learning into lesson plans.

Study Abroad, Institute for the International Education of Students 
La Plata, Argentina (1/99-5/99)

  • Learned to establish rapport quickly with individuals in an unfamiliar environment.
  • Developed culturally appropriate questionnaire.
  • Interviewed 25 rural Argentinean women, overcoming linguistic and cultural barriers.
  • Analyzed data using Argentinean software and wrote final report in Spanish.

You may also decide to list study abroad twice, under both education and experience. The choice is yours.


Are you wondering what other skills students gain through studying abroad? Some other possible outcomes of an international experience may include:

Skills Qualities
Establish rapport quickly Self-reliance
Function with a high level of ambiguity High energy level/enthusiasm
Achieve goals despite obstacle Appreciation of diversity
Take initiative and take risks Perseverance
Time management skills Flexibility
Accept responsibility Tolerance/open mindedness
Communicate despite barriers Assertiveness
Learn quickly Inquisitiveness
Handle difficult situations Self-confidence
Handle stress Self-knowledge
Adapt to new environments Independence
Learn through listening and observing  

It is important to note that you may need to develop an alternate résumé for applying to positions overseas, dependent upon the country. Career Services has helpful resources on developing "foreign" résumés (a.k.a. "curriculum vitae", or, "CV").