International experience is important because it not only pushes you out of your comfort zone; it also exposes you to new challenges, new experiences and new cultures. It is an opportunity for you to broaden your horizons and open your mind to different ways of working and thinking. Wherever you are in the world, it is important to try and understand how things work and why they are a certain way, for example in Vietnam, the war has had a massive impact on the way things are in Vietnam compared to other countries such as Thailand and Malaysia. Furthermore international experience also helps you to understand yourself more too. It’s a way for you to figure out how you handle certain situations, especially when in a new culture and new country. It is particularly a big challenge when you have moved to another country alone too. It may be hard to find your feet, but once you do, it can be very rewarding.
Trying new foods, meeting new people from different cultures and making friends from all around the world alongside making connections with a variety of people from the business world through networking are all part of the fun when you move to the other side of the world. All of these things not only benefit you personally, but also when you come to apply for a job in the future, all of these experiences and challenges are things you can talk about in an interview.
When it comes to employment back in your home country or anywhere in the world, international experience is one thing that can really make you stand out from the crowd as it exhibits a variety of skills. As well as this, moving from your home country to the other side of the world displays a global perspective; for example it shows drive, determination and flexibility as well as that you are an open minded individual. It takes a lot for anyone to move from the comfort of their home country to another country to work, which not everyone is capable of doing.
Some other skills you may display to a prospective employer on your CV, when you have ‘upped sticks’ and taken the plunge to work overseas could include:
- Problem solving skills
- Self sufficiency
- Perspective (gained or renewed)
Moving to Ho Chi Minh City was my first experience of living alone in a foreign country, away from the people closest to me and honestly it has been the most amazing and rewarding experience. I have learnt so much through my internship and along the way learnt far more than I ever imagined I would about myself too. There will be days where everything feels great, waking up to the sun and warm weather every day is amazing as well as never knowing what you may see on the back of a scooter! And then some days there will be times you wish you could just have a roast dinner with your parents. But even in the low moments, your friends and family are just a phone call away and the most important thing is also knowing how to deal with those moments and remembering that feeling home sick really is okay! There will also always be someone around who will be there to support you too. It is also important to remember to never give up on such an amazing and epic journey and learning experience.
Learning doesn’t just stop at learning new skills in a job but also learning about who you are – there is no better way than to push yourself and to figure out who you are, than by going out of your comfort zone.
The world is such a fascinating place, and wherever you go, there will always be something new to experience. Having volunteered in Africa and currently interning in Vietnam, I have learnt and experienced a lot of new things I wouldn’t have discovered otherwise. I have learnt how to handle certain situations that push me out of my comfort zone and also actually realised how much I can handle (I really exceeded my expectation of myself).