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5 skills you can expect to develop as an international student

Curious about the returns on your investment in an international education (other than the obvious degree)? We have a list right here!
BY Mehr Talwar |   29-01-2020

“It's not just the degree that sets you apart as a graduate. It's the person you are.
Photo by Lia Castro from Pexels

Don’t let your schooling interfere with your education is a famous maxim commonly attributed to Mark Twain. While who said it might be debatable, the relevance of the advice is not. So, if you’re an international student, you must make sure that you’re not just focusing on curriculum and grades but on a holistic education. This will help you make the most of your college experience and your career.

  1. Communication

    Communication is not just about learning a new language. It can mean honing the one(s) you already speak. This may involve expanding your vocabulary, improving your academic and professional writing, and understanding the nuances of self - expression in varied contexts.

    ► What is important is that communication is not just about expressing but also understanding. It involves listening intently so that you can forge meaningful connections wherever you go.

     
  2. Cultural Awareness

    A huge part of your study abroad experience is immersing yourself in the culture and customs of your host city or country. For example, standing to the right of an elevator, and walking up to the left, is critical in London. It might not always be expressly stated. But fail to comply and you will earn nasty stares, or a clipped rebuke.

    So, just as you know the number of hours you can work in a week as an international student, and other written terms and conditions, it would be a good idea to familiarise yourself with the unwritten ones where you study and live.

    Why does this matter?

    ► Being at ease in different cultures makes you more employable and helps you in building a robust global network. Also, given our global state of affairs, is it not more important than ever to understand and respect our cultural differences if we cannot learn from them?

     
  3. Self - Awareness

    Confronted by change on such a comprehensive scale when you first move abroad, you’re bound to take a step back and examine who you are, what you like or dislike, and what you stand for. This is self-awareness.

    Self - awareness is one of the best tools for self-control, setting goals and achieving them. If it sounds fundamental to success, you’re right - it is!

    ► Also, if realising who you are and how you can achieve your own personal best isn’t education, what is?

     
  4. Problem solving

    There will be times you will be thrown into difficult situations and required to think on your feet. This will be a great opportunity for you to hone your problem-solving skills. Where you might have felt dependent on others to help you navigate through these issues, living in a foreign country, away from those you were dependent on will force you to take the responsibility for your life into your own hands.

    ► And this skill is universally respected. You don’t need to pursue an MBA for that.

     
  5. Courage

    As an international student, you need to trust in your abilities outside your comfort zone. Whether it’s the courage you need to ask strangers for help or making decisions that were made by someone else earlier, you will need to be brave. Whether its sorting out issues with flatmates, or considering student societies. And whatever the immediate results, in the long run you will find yourself becoming responsible and strong. 

    ► All qualities that make an effective leader have been mentioned above. As a leader, you require patience, effective communication, and above all emotional and intellectual strength. Studying abroad is therefore a great way to manifest your inner leader.

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