7 Skills that are Better Learned Studying Abroad than at an Internship

By Leah Doerner

An internship is designed to help build skills that are desirable to your future employer and set you up for success in the workplace. While internships have the potential to be incredibly rewarding, they are not all created equal. Coffee runs may be a fun excuse to flirt with the cute barista, but your sights are set a little higher anyways. Stepping out of your comfort zone and crossing the Atlantic to discover a new city is a guaranteed way to become a more confident and independent individual and discover personal strengths that are easily applicable to the workplace. These seven skills are assets to any future career, and studying abroad creates the perfect environment to master them all.


  1. Time Management: Between attending class, studying for exams, exploring your new home and jetting setting to exotic destinations on the weekends, you’ll learn to keep your schedule on lock. There’s not a moment to waste and you plan on taking full advantage of your time abroad. And just because you’re busy meandering art galleries and sipping vino doesn’t mean you’re going to let your GPA suffer. You’ll learn to handle it all gracefully at the envy of your friends stressing out back on campus.


  1. Self-Discipline: Nothing says self-motivated like arriving to class promptly at 9am after dancing your heart out at the club until until 4am…on a Monday. You want to have a good time, but you also value your responsibilities. So you’ll stay out late to party, but come morning you know that reality calls. You’ll also learn that the tendency for Europeans to wear sunglasses inside is really working to your advantage on this one.


  1. Problem Solving: There is no greater sense of accomplishment than successfully navigating public transportation in a foreign language. Bonus points if you catch the right train on your first try on your way home from the bars. Anything else is pretty much a cakewalk at that point. Bring it on, Excel.


  1. Budgeting: Managing a budget will take on a whole new meaning. Sure, you’ve watched your spending and had to cut costs before, but this is different. When studying abroad, you will learn to stretch a dollar as far it will take you…literally. Seriously though, €9 flights to Paris? Yes please! Your new found financial savvy is sure to impress any manager.
  2. Communication: In the ever-growing global marketplace, even basic language skills practiced with the locals are a serious advantage. Making an effort is admirable and being understood is hitting a home run.


  1. Managing Deadlines: Your first flight was delayed and now you’re crunched for time to make your connection? No worries, you’ll sprint your way to the gate, bags and all, still with enough time to spare to not be stuck with the middle seat. There’s nothing coming between you and island hopping in Greece.
  1. Independence: When you leave behind your family, friends and the comfort of your home campus, you are faced with the frightening but exhilarating feeling of being truly independent. With fewer responsibilities than being at home, you are able to make decisions that suit your needs. It may feel a bit selfish at times, but now is the time to take advantage of your freedom and discover new passions. Once you’re confident in yourself, you’ll have no problem approaching your boss and asking for that raise that you know you deserve.

You may not know where life will take you next, but a semester abroad will prepare you more than you can imagine. The memories you make and the people you meet will forever be a part of your college experience that helped to shape your future. And let’s be real, you’d rather spend a semester cruising the Mediterranean Sea and touring the French countryside than stuck in a cubicle anyway.


Leave a Reply