This article in the Chronicle of Higher education brought back memories and frustrations over my 10 years spent overseas, both working and studying.
As the article points out, too many students (including ones I’ve met) can’t really say what they get out of ther semester/summer/year spent abroad. They just say they’ve “done the Europe thing.”
As a result, employers aren’t impressed.
“I continue to be amazed by students’ inability to articulate what they’ve learned,” says Ms. Steglitz, assistant director of Michigan State’s Office of Study Abroad. “‘I can’t put it into words’ is not a convincing argument in a job interview.”
Check out these New Mexico State University students discuss the benefits of studying abroad. Impressed? As a potential employer, I’d say: Meh.
Part of the problem is that six months is simply not enough for many people to gain insights that are of any use to an employer. They’re so preoccupied with the dramatic but ultimately insignificant details of life — different beer, funny-looking stores, the exotic student in the back row.
I know I was.
Then, of course, there’s the language barrier. A semester isn’t enough to achieve useful fluency for many students.
It took me six months of taking daily five-hour German classes and another half a year of attending lectures before I really understood the German material. And it was in my second year that everything really began to click.
But a surf through YouTube makes me think that the U of M’s Carlson School of Management knows how to send its undergrads abroad. Its program seems focused, practical and relevant.
As an employer I’d be sold: