This article was originally published in Add you viewing Tips & Tales: LatinX Perspectives. Download the full ebook here for more tips, personal stories, and insights.
I still remember the day I had this super important interview for an agrochemical company back home. To be honest, I wasn’t expecting much since I had just came back from a year abroad studying and traveling in Asia and the job seemed to me to be out of my league. But somehow, the CEO had “learned some things my profile that he found interesting” and gave me a call to schedule a meeting. So here I was, a little intimidated by the situation, but still curious how it would develop.
“I need someone to get in charge of all the legal stuff in the company,” he said—and I sighed thinking I was under experienced to take that task—but not only that, he continued, “I heard you have traveled and speak multiple languages, is that correct?” I started feeling more confident and conversation began to flow in a natural way.
I mentioned my first solo travel to Europe when I was 19 years-old; how I found a job online to afford living there, and how I started with learning French. I mentioned Asia, how I got a scholarship to learn Mandarin and some of the perks of going somewhere new every time I could, and then he offered me a job with a good salary, and asked if I could learn Japanese so that I could get involved with the company’s international affairs.
Suddenly, all of the things I used to consider irrelevant for my resume and career path some years ago— maybe even things I thought of as a waste of precious time I should have been using for study or work experience back home, weren’t such a waste at all! Turns out, experience you acquire through your time volunteering, working, teaching or studying in another place does a lot more to help you professionally than it does hurt you. It broadens your opportunities in so many ways. Of course, you still have to have the stuff to back it all up, but the skills you gain through travel are what give you leverage to stand out from the crowd in the working world.
You see, people want to invest in people. They aren’t investing in pieces of paper (your resume, your degree), but in someone who’s willing to learn, able to empathize with people who seem to have nothing in common with you, and who can react and adapt quickly when things come up—because they always do.
I don't want to sound cliché or like a broken record, but sometimes, the reason things are repeated so often, is because they’re true. And for me, it’s all the ways you grow as you travel. People say you become more aware of global issues, more open minded and more skilled if you seek out meaningful travel opportunities, and I agree 100 percent. Unfortunately, sometimes we don't open ourselves to the world as much as we should.
In Mexico, for example, only five percent of the population is estimated to be proficient in English, even though knowing the language can improve your salary by 50 percent. Imagine the doors that knowing two or three more languages can open for you personally and professionally if you take the time to go abroad and learn.
Very often, finances are a big barrier for not learning, traveling or doing more. Financial concerns are valid, but truth is, money is not the only thing holding us back from these experiences. It’s fear. Fear of wasting time, of not being good enough or skilled enough, of people different from us and places completely different from what we know. Money is a resource that we can achieve through saving habits and multiple incomes and there are tons of funding options and programs we can choose from to meet our needs. What we really need is determination to achieve our goals, and stop underestimating the value of travel as a window for new opportunities and experience.
For me, traveling with a purpose and using my time abroad wisely has been a major game changer in my life back in Mexico, and I can assure you, it will be worth it for you as well.
Don’t have any international experience yet? We can fix that.
That first step to finding programs can be the toughest one to take. Luckily, GoAbroad is here to help.
- Not sure where to begin? Our Online Advisors are here to give you a place to start your search.
- Save and compare your top programs side-by-side with MyGoAbroad.
- How to Pick the Right Program Abroad for You
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- Download Add you viewing Tips & Tales: LatinX Perspectives for more great stories and insights into LatinX travel
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See, that’s not so scary now, is it? You’re all set to conquer the world and make your dreams of international travel come true!
A handful of recommended programs to start gaining international experiences
1. Study Abroad with CISAbroad
CIS is all affordable, fully supported study abroad programs on all six continents, across 26 countries, and 80+ locations worldwide. Truth be told you can’t go wrong with CISAbroad, and you’ll reap all the benefits of gaining international experience through their programming.
Immerse yourself fully in the local culture, take classes that are meaningful to you and give you insight into your host country, and ultimately become a global citizen during your study abroad program.
- Related: Read CISAbroad reviews |
2. Volunteer Abroad with GoEco
With years of experience in the field, and tons of meaningful partnerships worldwide, GoEco is a leader in the field of ecological and volunteer travel abroad. Volunteers who are passionate wildlife, conservation, and making a global impact, will find kindred spirits in GoEco programs.
You’ll receive stellar support before, during, and after your volunteer trip with GoEco, ensuring that you get the most out of your international experience.
- Related: Read GoEco reviews |
3. Teach Abroad with TEFL Worldwide Prague
This intensive 120-hour TEFL certification course in the Czech Republic guarantees that you get the most out of your international experience getting certified and teaching English abroad. TEFL Worldwide Prague offers job guidance and support before, during, and after your certification course, and their connections with language schools around the world means you’re sure to find your dream teaching job abroad.
- Related: Read TEFL Worldwide Prague reviews |
4. Intern Abroad with IES Internships
If traditional study abroad isn’t for you, an internship abroad is the easiest (and best) way to sell your international experience to future employers. IES Internships offers guaranteed placements, more on-the-job hours than you’d see at your uncle’s law firm back home, and professional development to really polish up your resume and hone your interviewing skills.
You’ll have to beat back job offers with a stick after participating in an international internship. Is there really any question to the benefits of gaining international experience like this?
- Related: Read IES Internships reviews |
5. Take a Gap Year with Carpe Diem Education
Take experiential education to the next level with a gap year abroad. With Carpe Diem Education, you’ll explore the limits of your comfort zone in programs across all six continents.
Break free from the traditional classroom environment to learn in a new context—taking your education into your own hands and making huge strides personally and professionally. There’s no question the benefits of a gap year international experience.
- Related: Read Carpe Diem Education reviews |
International experiences give you a serious leg up
Without a doubt, having international experiences will set you apart from the rest of the crowd. Whether it’s in your academic or professional (sometimes both) life, the lessons you learn abroad are easily carried over and, with the right polish, will make you shine.
So really, there’s no reason not to embark on a great adventure abroad. All it can do is help you long-term. Go forth. Explore. Learn. Grow. And, if nothing else… crush any competition you might face in a future job search.