So, you know you need to work at least one learnership before diving into the deep end post-graduation, but have you ever thought about fulfilling one abroad? Many university students struggle to find a proper learnership, given how competitive it can be to get hired. They often get discouraged when they don’t get called in for a second interview, or even an invite for a first go-around. With options being limited, and with hundreds of peers vying for the same opportunities, you should broaden your search to learnerships overseas.
Completing a learnership can help set you up for a successful future. They are resume boosters, they can teach you far more than you can learn in a classroom, and they can often be the reason you get your first job out of university (sometimes at the same place!). There are so many benefits. So, imagine how much more impressive it would be to take your experience abroad! Here are 8 reasons why you should be buying a plane ticket:
- The challenge. There is truly something to be said for being placed outside of your comfort zone. The purpose of a learnership is to do just that – LEARN – but it should also be a life-altering experience. Not every experience is created equal, and you can be certain that a learnership completed at home will hardly compare to what you can get out of global work. You’d be living (temporarily) in a foreign country and you’d be getting exposure to a different culture while gaining the necessary experience in the workplace. Being able to engage with people that you wouldn’t have otherwise met and being forced to immerse yourself in an unfamiliar environment will humble you, and will open your eyes to unique opportunities in the future.
- The travel. Chances are you won’t be working nights and weekends, so you’ll be able to explore! On weekdays, check out the local hot spots. Ask your co-workers and neighbors the best places to get a coffee or see a concert; truly live like a local! On the weekends… you’ve come this far, why not find out what else there is to see? The beauty of doing a learnership abroad is that it will bring you closer to even more locations of interest. Working in Spain? Why not hop on a train and see a bordering town in France for two nights? Seeing new places will be easier and frankly, much cheaper.
- The language. If you choose to learn in a country that speaks a language that is foreign to you, you will boost your language proficiency – whether you have studied it or it is completely new! Just like studying abroad, working in a foreign country forces you to pick up common words and phrases so that you can live. You may have to learn certain vocabulary to communicate with co-workers or customers, or there may be technical words related to the industry that you need to understand. Any amount of exposure will enable you to learn. If your peers also speak your language, encourage them to speak their own so that you can practice!
- The intercultural communication. Many major companies coalesce with businesses overseas, and many even have branches globally. Being exposed to a different culture will force you to adapt in many ways that you’ll end up learning so much about yourself personally and how to communicate professionally. Having experience in a multicultural environment is extremely attractive to employers because you’ve been exposed to global business, which could be very beneficial for any growing company.
- The academic credit. Some universities require that you learn abroad, and will allow you to apply the job as academic credit. An amazing experience that doubles as fulfilling graduation requirements? Why not!?
- The independence. Sure, you got a whiff of independence when you left for university, but you may have played it safe by staying close to home or bunking with an old friend from high school. There is a stark difference between leaving for schooling, and spending a summer in a foreign country to gain work experience. In school, you have roommates, you have access to mentors and counselors when you need help adapting, you have dining commons for all your meals, and you have various clubs and activities. This is not to say that you won’t have access to anything while working abroad, but you will have to create something on your own, rather than having it all handed to you like you do in school. THAT is independence.
- The global network. You know how we feel about networking! With any type of learnership, you should network so that you have contacts to reach out to when you need a favor, a referral or advice. Imagine having an international network, that reaches far beyond that of the people applying to the same jobs as you! You may one day say to yourself, “I loved my learnership in London enough to move there. Who do I know that can put out some feelers to see what types of job opportunities are available?” Your international network, that’s who.
- The major resume boost. Outside of what learning abroad can do for you personally, there are obvious professional benefits. It will set you apart from the rest in a huge way. Unfortunately, not many students take the big leap – whether out of fear, money or purely not realizing what it could do for them. Because of that, a hiring manager will definitely take notice of your resume if they see that you were serious enough about your education and career that you took a job outside of your country. It shows initiative, and they will surely be curious to know what you got out of the experience that was different from, perhaps, the learnership you completed at home.
When you are ready to start looking for learnership opportunities, think bigger than home!