An international push from the White House
First lady Michelle Obama is working on efforts to promote more international travel among Americans. She’s in China with her daughters and mother, speaking about the importance of education, youth empowerment and the benefits of studying abroad. The first lady conducted an exclusive interview with CNN iReporters on Saturday, taking their questions on studying abroad.
“The benefits of studying abroad are almost endless,” Obama said during the CNN iReport interview. “First of all, it is going to make you more marketable in the United States. More and more companies are realizing that they need people with experience around the world.”
Howard Wallack, vice president of global business development at the Society for Human Resource Management, has experience as a hiring manager and was an international exchange student. He says traveling abroad can introduce students to a host of skills.
“Living in another country, you learn to deal with a variety of people,” he said. “You learn to listen, be proactive, be patient, assertive. All those are translatable skills.”
Wallack’s experience working in a rural health clinic in Guatemala after a major earthquake helped him find compassion and resiliency within himself.
“If you just stay in your own country, you have a certain mindset about your own culture. When you step out of that, you challenge your experiences and find out about yourself, which can translate in the workplace,” he said.
The problem is students don’t always know how to illustrate those experiences on paper. But some colleges are taking steps to teach soon-to-be graduates how to leverage their study abroad adventures for job interviews.
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