Traveling alone is an amazing rite of passage into young adulthood. The college study abroad experience, which often happens during Junior Year, can be a critical part of your education. We certainly recommend that our clients take advantage of college travel programs, and we encourage thoughtful planning to ensure that you make the most of your trip. Set these three goals while planning your trip:
Accomplish something meaningful. Plan to have “accomplishment stories” at the end of your semester abroad. A long period away from your friends and family is daunting in and of itself, but taking a few hours to think about what you most want to learn and experience while traveling will help you stay focused while also enjoying your time away. An “accomplishment story” is a demonstration that you achieved something measurable or overcame an obstacle during your time away. “Found my own living situation,” “helped raise money for a charity,” or “became proficient in a second language,” could all be foundations for interesting accomplishment stories.
Push yourself. We highly recommend going to a non-English speaking country and taking classes in a second language. Not only is this fun and challenging, but having a second language can be a huge resume builder. If that isn’t possible, what else could you do that would really challenge you?” A volunteer project? Traveling on your own throughout the region? Writing regular blog posts? Network with interesting people and even do some job shadowing? What would help you take this trip to the next level?
Have fun. Soak in the new culture and meet new people. Enjoy new food and different customs. Listen hard to other people and their perspectives; and don’t impose your ideas on others. Keep a journal – you will look back on this time often and it is helpful to be able to revisit your experiences and perspectives.This is a chance of a lifetime to listen, observe and learn!
As Emily heads out on for a few weeks of international travel, to teach and run career workshops in Macau, China, she finds herself thinking about my own college travel experience. A year in Santiago, Chile laid the foundation for my ability to travel comfortably for professional reasons throughout my career. If you’d like help planning your study abroad or telling your travel stories in resumes, cover letters and interviews (or any other career-related questions!), contact us at LaunchingU for a free consultation.