Task #2 helps you start thinking strategically about your study abroad experience and how it relates to your career goals. You must connect the study abroad experience and your skills to the job you are applying for in order to stand out to prospective employers.
This semester I’m studying abroad in Cadiz, Spain and taking Spanish courses related to its culture, its literature and its language. Even though I’ve only been here for a month, I could honestly say I’ve learned so much already. I look forward to keep developing these skills that I know for sure will always benefit me in both personal and professional setting.
First and foremost, the main reason I decided to come abroad is to be more proficient in Spanish. I believe after being immersed in this culture and environment, I can improve Spanish more quickly. In today’s global economy, being trilingual (along with English and Chinese Mandarin) would not only be something I enjoy but also useful for my future job.
Secondly, my study abroad experience definitely enhances my culture awareness and ability to function in ambiguous or unfamiliar environment. After living in different countries and working with people from all over the world for 6 years of my life, I’m confident to say I’ve been accustomed to be open-minded and flexible in different culture settings. But even so, living in a Spanish speaking country is my first time and many things are still very new to me. One thing I noticed is that I have been learning a lot through listening, observing and being patient. I may not be the social butterfly in an unfamiliar environment at first, but realizing that this is okay and that I should still feel confident despite the mistakes I may make frequently has made my experience here much better. I tell myself to always have a sense of humor, because this is the learning process that everyone has to go through.
And through balancing my life among traveling, trying new things, enjoying life and studying here, I definitely learn to manage my time better, to be more independent and organized, while learning more about myself through all these experiences. I’ve realized that my enthusiasm and initiative help me to enjoy and get the most out of this experience, and I sure hope I will always have my risk-taking personality with me.
FOR MY FUTRE SELF
Dear Sharon that has returned to the US after studying abroad in Cadiz,
Have you matured more and developed even more skills than you first expected? Reflect again and it’d be interesting to see what you wrote in the beginning of the study abroad experience! :)
From Sharon in Cadiz (2011. 9. 24)