Going abroad has become one of the rites of passage for young people in the U.S. Many university students get their chance when they go abroad for a semester to study. But not all young people have that opportunity and others may seek experiences outside of the educational environment during their time outside the country.
The Student Times notes that working overseas is steadily becoming one of the most popular alternatives to study abroad programs around the world. From working as an au pair to teaching English to more professional internship programs, working abroad offers an entirely different experience than most college students ever see.
An abundance of different options is often attractive to this group of young people, as many of them participate in more than one program over a series of years. The key to getting the most out of working abroad, the Times notes, is for people to look at exactly why this opportunity seems appealing.
For many, the benefits of immersing themselves in another culture, whether for a few months or for an entire year, are enough to motivate them to sign up for a program.
Others have more career-oriented reasons. Working overseas in an unfamiliar environment helps develop a higher degree of flexibility and adaptability, as well as effective communication skills, particularly in people who must learn at least a few key phrases in a new language. The Christian Science Monitor reports that many people in the U.S. see going abroad as a critical step in competing on the international stage.
Still others are just looking for a chance to get away to gain some international experience and perspective. While their primary interest may be in traveling to an unfamiliar place, by becoming involved in a work or volunteer program, their whole approach to the experience changes.
Understanding what a person's goals are beforehand can help tailor the search to fit those needs. It can also help set them up to take the best advantage of the situation.