Begin identifying professional development goals early in your advising appointments by engaging in self-assessment and reflection. To get started, consider the following when discussing career development with your career counselor or coach, academic adviser, or a learning abroad staff member.
When selecting your program, pay careful attention not only to such factors as location, duration, and language of instruction, but also the type of academic and professional experience the program will provide. For more information about selecting a program.
Which opportunities are you planning to pursue to gain professional experience while abroad? Will you focus solely on academics or build in volunteer, work, research, or an internship experience? What language regions, countries, or cultures could enhance your cultural toolkit? Which education abroad program will help you develop the knowledge and skills needed to thrive in the twenty-first century job market?
Be sure to review the developmental outcomes associated with the program. Think about the possible skills gained and how this might enhance your career and life planning skills.
Thinking about your professional development is important, as it will help you select a program that will influence your career goals. As you think about your future career goals, how might an experience abroad influence those goals?
Career counselors and coaches are trained to help you through all the stages of your own career journey from discovering what is important to you in a major and career all the way through the job search or graduate school process. Career staff can help you explore and evaluate your options and plan for your future. They are especially helpful when planning for an experience abroad. Visit your college’s career center to explore possibilities, gain experience and skills by connecting learning abroad to your future career.
You have a personal brand, whether you are aware of it or not. Your brand is the way you present yourself to others, giving them an idea of your individual strengths and skills. When cultivated intentionally, your personal brand can be a powerful tool to help you illustrate the value that you bring to your peers and colleagues, your community, and your future workplace. Start thinking about how your education abroad can align with and bolster your personal brand to help you distinguish yourself from your peers.
Be sure to also consider learning abroad program start and end dates and how these align with on-campus mentor program participation, campus internship dates and opportunities. Check with your career center to learn more about how to connect with opportunities while abroad.
Applications for professional and graduate school should be submitted almost a year in advance. Be sure to plan your study abroad accordingly! The Law School Admission Test (LSAT) or MCAT is often offered overseas on a limited basis, so if necessary you may be able to take it during your study abroad.
Don’t underestimate the time it will take to study for your graduate school test, research schools, write your personal statement, gather your letters of recommendation, and complete your applications. Be intentional about how this process impacts you when you study abroad.