Making the most of your international experience

In a job interview scenario, having studied or interned abroad provides excellent content to talk about personal qualities and skills. The challenge is to say something substantive about your international experience to potential employers. It is not enough to simply say that you studied or interned abroad - this won´t impress anyone - you must be able to show that you developed skills.

Last month we run a pilot project at EBC Hochschule Berlin with a small group of students that had recently returned from their study and/or internship abroad. We asked them how they would describe their experience as we expected that those students had probably dealt with quite some challenges and situations that had to be problem-solved. Reflecting on those months abroad, we expected our students to realize that they had certainly improved their soft skills - things like flexibility, appreciation of differences and problem-solving and similar.

With our interactive seminar on “How to make the most of your international experience”, we intended to help students reflect upon and subsequently identify the benefits gained from studying and interning abroad. The seminar focused on self-assessment and building interview stories in order to help them communicate something about themselves, their character and their personal qualities. The goal was to help students identify good examples of how to demonstrate a skill or trait gained abroad and craft a story around it that can be used in a job interview. 

Together with our guest speaker Ann Hubbard, Doctoral Candidate in Higher Education Internationalisation (Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, Milan, Italy) students engaged in critical reflection on their international experience and crafted so called “STAR” Stories around them for potential interviews with employers.

We can´t stress enough how important it is to prepare for an interview - both in terms of knowing about the employer and position, but also in terms of preparing examples and stories you can tell to substantiate your claims.