3 Ways to Tout High School Study Abroad in College Applications

“3 Ways to Tout High School Study Abroad in College Applications”

by Brian White via “Yahoo News!

There are many reasons to pursue a study abroad program while in high school, including opportunities for cultural exchange and personal growth. On a more practical level, you may also find that studying abroad in high school can be a tremendous advantage come college application season.

The key lies in finding the right balance between emphasizing the experience and recognizing that it is just one aspect of you, the soon-to-be college freshman. To help ensure this balance, be honest, maintain perspective and discuss your high school study abroad experience in the right areas of your application , such as these three places.

1. The activities section of the Common Application: As you may already know, the Common Application includes an activities section. While it is technically optional, this portion of the application is an ideal opportunity to discuss your high school study abroad experience.

You can list up to 10 activities here. If the majority of your extracurricular involvement revolves around after-school groups, you may find that you have this in common with many applicants. Listing your study abroad experience first may help you stand out from other students.

In the description of your high school study abroad activity, you will see two fields. The first allows you to name the activity. If you assumed a leadership role during your study abroad experience — such as assisting in the organization of expeditions to local attractions, or rallying your fellow students for service projects — this is a great place to state your role in a few succinct words.

Do not force the issue, however. The name of the organization you traveled with is also sufficient for this field.

The second field allows you to describe your study abroad experience. No experience as profound as learning and living in a foreign country can be adequately summarized in the space that the Common Application allows.

Instead, your goal is to pique the interest of the admissions counselors who will review your application. Choose several moments from your high school study abroad experience that are especially relevant to your academic and career goals, and highlight those.

2. Your personal statement: There are two potential areas where you can expand on your study abroad experience : the personal statement and the additional information section of the Common Application. Study abroad experience is a gold mine for college application essay topics, but you risk sounding one-dimensional if you use this experience in both areas.

In many ways, the additional information section is like a second college application essay. Consider reserving the traditional personal statement for a discussion of some other aspect of your academic life, and then u s e the additional information section to reflect on your high school study abroad experience. The exception to this advice is, of course, if you had a deeply life-changing experience that far eclipses any other aspect of your life.

If you choose this route, write a brief essay that outlines your experience and how it affected you. Begin with your summary and your lessons learned, and then delve into the specifics of where and when you studied abroad.

Include details about your living situation abroad — did you live in a home or a hostel? You should also mention your degree of independence, such as if you did daily or weekly independent travel. And don’t forget to include and any language skills that you developed. . . . .


7 Tricks for Making Your Study Abroad Experience Pop

"In front of Pudong Skyline" by leniners

“In front of Pudong Skyline” by leniners

In 2012-2013, the United States saw 289,396 students studying abroad. (1) While that is still on 1% of the student body population, the number is ever increasing. Add to that the students and people who are traveling via vacations, volunteer missions, immigration, military, and other international-related events and you have a surprising number of people with experience travelling abroad. In fact, in 2012, one billion people travelled abroad as tourists, and that doesn’t include those who go on a different type of VISA, such as teaching or business.(2)  

Studying abroad is a highly advantageous experience; offering a wide number of benefits from increased confidence and self-determination to broader understanding of how the world works.  Still, perhaps the #1 reason why most students go abroad is the concept of resume-stuffing.  When launching ourselves into a new career, it can be difficult to stand out from the crowd; especially when most students have little practical work experience to fall back on.  Study abroad is one of the ways we give ourselves an edge over other candidates.

But now the word is out – Studying internationally offers excellent opportunities, builds your qualifications, and is fun to boot. So more and more people are joining the group of college and high schoolers stepping on planes  every summer, winter, spring, and fall.  

When the goal is to make yourself stand out, it’s starting to be more difficult to achieve this with study abroad. Too many people are doing it along with you. So how do you make your Study Abroad experience POP! What will help you rise above the crowd, pushing you in front once again?

1. Try a long Summer or Semester

Many programs in the Winter or Summer are actually pretty short. The two to three-week jaunt is pretty popular for universities, more like a small tour than classroom experience. While the shorter programs have a lot to offer (easy to fit into schedules, allows time for other experiences, lower costs), there is something to be said for taking a month or semester long program.  Attending a foreign university, taking actual classes with substantial assignments, getting more time to make the most of your trip and all the trip has to offer.  It will add to the legitimacy of you program in the eyes of Interviewers.

2. Step Out of Your Box

I say this quite frequently, but don’t just follow the program guide. Try planning your own adventures; adding friends or locals is even better. Too many students want to follow the schedule and then hang out at the hotel or nearby club. While the clubbing may certainly be fun; neither of those things adds to your hire-ability.  Instead, use the time to visit a museum, check out the main sights, try to get new and unique experiences. Feast at a random, untested food stall on the street. Go to an unmapped area in the city and wander the streets to see what you find. Employers who  look at study abroaders are significantly looking for people who show initiative, adventurousness, and adaptability. The best way to demonstrate that is to offer examples of times when you struck off the main roads and did something new and daring.  

3. Choose Well-Known Schools

One of the surprising things about Study Abroad is that it is usually easier to study with a reputable university for a short term than a long one. A lot of universities that would overlook you as a full-time student will gladly accept you as a student in their global program.  There is also the opportunity to pick a program at one of the hundreds of internationally recognized universities with ranking similar if not equal to US Ivy Schools. The international world of education has a lot to offer. Studying abroad is an easy way to study at a somewhat better (or more well-known) school than you otherwise might have.  

4. Pick Up a Internship

For some reason, most students don’t take internships into consideration when studying abroad. However, adding on work experience is one of the best ways to boost your resume.  You can find a lot of programs that offer an internship as part of the program itself (e.g. I studied with Fordham who organized a month-long internship with Samsung’s Legal Team in Seoul at the end of their summer program).  But you can also go out and find your own internship. Contact local companies; get ahold of your university’s career office and see if they have any contacts. 

5. Build Connections (and communication skills)

One of the worst mistakes Student Abroaders make is to hang out with fellow internationals and ignore opportunities to meet the locals.  It’s easier and more reassuring to sit and chat the night away with fellow English-Speaking members of your group than to stick yourself out there. But one of the skills to market to Employers on your return is that very skill – The ability to communicate with people regardless of background, culture, or language. Plus, you’d be amazed at the fascinating people you might meet! By opening up to the locals, you’ll meet expats who have had superstar careers or travelled to 150+ countries, local businessmen who own cool companies and invent awesome things,  maybe even some connections to help your career. Speaking of which, deliberately seek to meet and introduce yourself to people in your career field – ask for appointments, request interviews, and keep in touch with all the people you meet via LinkedIn or Email.

6. Take time on your Own

Having tested out several different types of study abroad programs, I found that the best and most beneficial experience were the trips I struck it off for a few days on my own. Maybe it’s just for a weekend trip from Madrid to Paris or jetsetting off for the holiday down to Shanghai. Or even just scooping out the little village an hour out. Planning and successfully completing a trip on your own in a foreign country is an amazing opportunity, and it grows you somehow. It doesn’t have to be expensive, but it shows you and your hirers that you have it to go. Dump you in a complex, difficult situation, and you can thrive. That’s not something a lot of students abroad do, but it sure helps you move out from the crowd.

7. Don’t slack on the Grades

Don’t use the study abroad trip as a chance to slack off and grab easy grades. Did you know that a lot of schools offer “Highest Grade in. . . . ” even for study abroad classes?  It looks great on your resume if you can grab something like that. Plus, this is a good chance to boost your grades since Study Abroad classes tend to be more laid back and relaxed.  Use this as a chance to show people that you can adapt and succeed in any situation, even classes in a totally different country, maybe in a second language.


11 ways to revamp your resume with study abroad experience

“11 ways to revamp your resume with study abroad experience”

by Kylee Borger via “USA TODAY

It’s summer internship application season — time to get those resumes in order!

If you have spent time studying abroad, this is your chance to shine and highlight the skills and experiences that make you extra-special and set you apart from your competitors.

No matter where you are in your study abroad experience — just starting to think about it, already diving off the deep end or wrapping your experience up — here are some tasks you should undertake to polish up your resume.


1. Plan to study abroad. (Yes, I know this one’s obvious, but still most important!)

2. List goals for what you would like to accomplish — skills you want to gained, other things you want to learn, etc.

3. Share those goals with your friends to keep yourself accountable.

4. Bribe yourself if you accomplish your goals. Treat yourself to a spa day or a night out. You deserve it after that hard, semester-long work.


5. Study the language (it’s the most marketable skill you can gain during your global adventure).

6. Get an internship to add some international spice to your work experience.

7. Broaden your horizons and meet new people you would otherwise never meet (who can help you get a job abroad).


8. Reflect on how this experience changed you as a person and gave you new skills. Use this opportunity to tweak your objective on your resume if your study abroad experience has altered your goals.

9. Create a separate sub-heading for your study abroad experience under the education section on your resume. It is different from your other educational experience and it deserves the spotlight in its own space.

10. Highlight your new skills. So, you just had an adventure for a semester abroad, out of your comfort zone. What did you learn? You just had a new life experience that lasted a decent amount of time; odds are you have some new skills that your future employers would love to hear about. Maybe you learned a language, or how to adapt, etc. Either way, add your newfound skills to your resume. . . . .


Study Abroad: the Career Benefits

“Study Abroad: the Career Benefits”

by James Connington via “Telegraph

In the firing line: find a topic that you are passionate about and keep talking

If you are currently studying abroad, you will probably, at some point, have referred to how the experience will look “great on your CV”.

You might have cited the employability aspect of spending time abroad to justify it to yourself or your parents. You may even have fooled yourself into thinking that you’re only going abroad because of how many opportunities it will open up for you, or how it will make you stand out from the crowd.

For the vast majority it is unlikely that these were the main reasons behind deciding to leave the UK, myself included. Of course there’s absolutely nothing wrong with wanting to travel, experience a new culture and be a part of study abroad social life. But ultimately that will all come to an end and you’ll be left wondering how to sell those last few months (or year) to a potential employer.

Luckily for you, most of what you said was in fact correct. You might have been using the employment angle as a means to justify an end, but the truth is that studying abroad can genuinely help you get a job.

There are skills to be gained from moving country and adjusting to a new teaching system. It’s also far easier to identify the skills you are lacking when you step outside your comfort zone – and going abroad to study is a fairly serious step.



Studying Abroad: A Résumé Builder

One of our Professors in Japan

One of our Professors in Japan

If you are interested in Studying Abroad or if you have Studied Abroad in the past, now might be a good time to look at how it can help expand your Résumé.   

Study Abroad

One of the simplest ways that you can use your Study Abroad experience in your Résumé is simply by listing it as part of your education.  There are multiple ways you can benefit from this.  First, if you are new to the career field, then your Résumé might be running a little thin on information; use the “Studying Abroad” experience as a filler/lengthener.  Sounds silly/cheap, but everything counts in the job search.  More importantly, if you list the foreign college that you studied under, it adds to the depth of your educational experience. It shows that you have studied under Professors coming from different backgrounds or ways of thought.  It adds to the fact that you might bring in unique or different ideas to their work. For example, I have studied the Law in Civil Law nations and Common Law nations. That means that simply by stating that I studied in China and the United States, my interviewers can tell that I understand ways different people view the law and how it can be applied in alternative ways.   It strengthens the fact that I stand out from the rest of their applicants.


One of the things you are going to need on both your Résumé and your Cover Letter are key terms, skills, and/or character traits.  You will frequently be asked to name your strengths, weaknesses, and abilities.  Or perhaps you just need to show them what you can offer their team.  If you Study Abroad, there are many helpful terms that can now be applied to you.  Some of those you might use include: Continue reading