5 reasons to hire an applicant who studied abroad

Trying to pick the right applicant for a job in your organization can be a very difficult decision. College students these days will do just about anything to supplement their degrees including working, studying, participating in extra-curricular activities, volunteering, and more. All of that experience is impressive and can bring many benefits to an organization, but there’s one achievement that should stand out above the rest: study abroad experience.

Anyone in a hiring positions should prioritize applicants with study abroad experience. Here are 5 reasons why:

1. They are flexible and are eager to travel.

Those who have studied abroad in the past are more willing to travel for work. For them, nothing could be better than getting paid to see all parts of the world. If your organization does a lot of over-seas business, or even business in other parts of the country, these applicants are ready and willing to hit the road.

"Someday I'm gonna travel the world."

2. They are ambitious.

Study abroad participants dream big; don’t be surprised to find them already planning their next big trip on the flight back home. Such an ambitious employee could bring new life and ideas to the table, helping to create innovative solutions to old problems. They set their sights high, and will help push your organization to the top.

Silhouette of a man staring out at the horizon

3. They are go-getters.

Applicants who have studied abroad see something that they want and work as hard as needed to make sure they get it. These applicants have had to navigate complex educational, cultural, and financial terrains in order to coordinate oversees travel as part of their college curricula; they know that they can achieve anything once they set their minds to it. In an organizational setting, an employee who has studied abroad will do what it takes to make sure the company succeeds.

"I'm gonna make it happen!"

4. They understand differences in culture.

Students who study abroad face the reality of cultural barriers head-on, especially those in longer, more immersive programs. For applicants with study abroad experience, managing cultural barriers isn’t some ambiguous organizational mandate handed down from above, but an essential part of daily life. These candidates have learned from their international travel experience to be mindful of even the smaller-scale cultural differences that occur within nations, cities, communities and organizations.

UC student in India

 5. They know how to handle uncertainty.

Studying abroad teaches participants a lot about themselves. They learn how to be assertive, to communicate through language barriers, to make quick decisions, to enjoy solitude, along with many other personal and professional skills. Hiring an applicant who has practice dealing with uncomfortable or unfamiliar situations is important to an organization. In a crisis, employees that have studied abroad are capable of reacting quickly and effectively, adapting to new circumstances.


When you find yourself with a pool of qualified applicants who meet all of the basic requirements for a job, it can be difficult to parse out each individual’s merits. Do yourself a favor and take a closer look at candidates with study abroad experience; they will prove to be a wonderful asset to any organization because of their flexibility, creativity, ambition, cultural competence and adaptability.