Many of those who have embarked on Europe’s most inclusive student project would say; ‘Once Erasmus, always Erasmus’.
Sure, the motto is far from an affirmation of your career skills – it is intended as a declaration of allegiance to a certain group – but on a deeper level, your Erasmus can be a formative experience that sets you on a path of growth.
The months that you spend making full use of your student status can also be constructive and beneficial on a more long-term basis. Studies show that taking part in the Erasmus program brings you improved cultural awareness, adaptability and language skills (Youth on the Move study, 2011), all of which are traits that are highly sought by employers.
But how can you make use of these opportunities to develop yourself during your study abroad?
First and foremost, if you don’t already know the language of the place you are living, make a real effort to learn it.
Although employers will appreciate being bilingual or multilingual as a hard skill, they will still value the intercultural competence, tolerance and perseverance that learning a new language demands. Even if the language is not necessary for the position, they will know the hours of hard work and bravery that has gone into it.
On a far more direct level, you have the chance to meet with a much wider variety of multicultural people during this period, including those that could teach you about your sector or become valuable contacts for your future career. Websites like meetup.com can provide you with social as well as professional opportunities to learn new things and expand your network.
Just like university at home, Erasmus students are lucky enough to be part of a community that is well catered for in terms of events, organisations and societies. Though much of the work will be voluntary, you will be rewarded in friendship and experience. Most students leave university with little to no working experience and your extra-curricular organising and activities will demonstrate enthusiasm and willingness to get involved.
On the whole, Erasmus students aren’t the most reliable as actual ‘students’, skipping lectures and drinking of school nights. Therefore, you tend to have some spare time to play around with. It’s tough to get a full time job of course, but with your student status, you can work part time or do an internship, especially in places where your native language is in demand.
Working abroad is hugely beneficial for personal and professional development; again, you will be leaving university with work experience, but with the added advantage of a having a fresh international outlook. Travelling always has its risks but taking the plunge into a foreign job market proves courage and will make you a great communicator.
Wherever you decide to roam and however you use your time, employers will be impressed by your international experience. Use these tips to give you an even stronger advantage in the job market, even though it may be hard to prioritise it during the amazing whirlwind that is Erasmus! ☺
This blog was contributed by Europe Language Jobs, the multilingual job board: If you want to find work abroad, take a look at the many opportunities for young professionals in Europe through this website!
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