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Boost Your Career Through Travel Abroad

Posted by Insightlink on 01/27/16

It is hard to know what sacrifices are worth making to get ahead in your career. Many people dream of traveling abroad, but fear that taking time off from their current job or from the job hunt will have a negative impact. On the contrary, time spent traveling has proven to pay dividends in both job growth and resume building.

Not all travel is created equal when it comes to your career, though. A week spent lounging on the beach of an all-inclusive resort in Mexico may reduce stress and make you a more productive worker but will probably not impact your career trajectory or impress future employers. Instead, consider travel that will broaden your understanding of other cultures and customs while challenging you to get outside your comfort zone.

Consider volunteering abroad as a way to gain skills that will transfer to your desired career, or find a conference or seminar in your field held in a country you’d like to explore. For example, Moody’s Analytics offers business seminars around the world on topics from finance and risk to personal and organizational development. Always dreamed of going to Peru? Combine a seminar on Corporate Credit Rating Analysis in Lima with a trek to Incan ruins.

Beyond acquiring job specific competencies, the experiences you have while traveling abroad will help you gain the following life skills and make you a more well-rounded candidate for any position

Language Skills

Immersion is the fastest way to learn another language. Your brain is quicker to pick up a language when you are forced to use it in every interaction. Understanding a language other than English is valuable to many employers, whether you are working for a global corporation or serving a non-English speaking community. The Rosetta Stone reports that the average income of those who speak at least one foreign language is $10,000 higher and that 17 percent of those people earn over $100,000 per year.

Cultural Awareness

With the rise of international corporations and even the smallest workplace becoming more multicultural, understanding other cultures is an invaluable tool in today’s business world. Traveling and interacting with people in other countries is the fastest way to gain insight into the culture and help you understand customs and sensitivities. Although your travels may not allow you to experience every culture, the act of traveling itself will increase yourawareness of cultural differences when interacting with others in the workplace.

Decision Making

Visiting an unfamiliar country forces you to hone your decision-making skills. Wherever you travel, you will constantly be forced to make decisions about where to go and what to do. You have to research and consider alternatives and deal with the unexpected. Decision-making is a highly valued skill for any employer who wants employees that can evaluate risks, prioritize goals and be flexible enough to quickly consider alternatives.

Organizational Skills

Employers seek organized individuals, and travel forces even the most scattered to become more efficient. From packing to planning an itinerary to making reservations and budgeting, traveling makes you more detail oriented and organized, two skills that will benefit your future employment.
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