On Travel, Tony Wheeler notably said, “All you’ve got to do is decide to go and the hardest part is over”. It is when you have made the decision to pursue new opportunities, discoveries and knowledge through living and studying abroad that the windows of opportunities swiftly open.
While studying abroad in a country such as Australia and New Zealand will look impressive on a resume, the skills and useful abilities that you gain through the experiences are the aspects that truly transform you – both in a professional and personal sense.
Out of the numerous skills and abilities learnt, the three that truly are unique to living and studying abroad are; becoming familiar with the unfamiliar, intercultural fluency and the capability to learn, unlearn and relearn.
YOU BECOME FAMILIAR WITH THE UNFAMILIAR
There is nothing more unfamiliar than navigating and trying to adapt your life in a country filled with different customs, traditions and culture. Initially, some may find it hard due to a phenomenon called culture shock – which is essentially the feeling of uncertainty or disorientation after experiencing norms different from what an individual may be used to. However, over time – the unease will morph into understanding and acquaintance. The experience of being able to overcome this form of adversity by adapting and assimilating your lifestyle to fit those that surround you will in due course increase your resilience, flexibility and confidence in the unknown.
Overall, the experience will allow you to become familiar with the unfamiliar. Not only will it allow you to progress in your personal life by giving you the capacity to be more bold, but it will allow you to be equipped with the skills to overcome difficult and unprecedented situations – all of which will open up plenty of doors of opportunity and are deemed highly valuable by employers.
YOU GAIN GLOBAL AND INTERCULTURAL FLUENCY
It is a widely acknowledged fact that communication is the word that employer’s ears immediately perk up to. The ability to share or exchange information clearly for all parties involved is a valuable skill – especially if this communication can break through cultural barriers and differences.
While living and studying abroad may introduce you to a new language or form of dialect, it will also enhance your global and intercultural fluency. This is a soft skill that demonstrates not only a respect for people of all sorts of different backgrounds – but also the ability to work, thrive and communicate in diverse teams.
Being that Australia and New Zealand are amongst the most multicultural nations in the world, living and studying there allows you to learn and thrive in an environment with people from a diverse range of cultural backgrounds. Especially in our current epoch, where global connectedness is more prevalent than ever – being able to work effectively in various cultural contexts is vital in both personal and professional communications.
YOU DEVELOP THE CAPACITY TO LEARN, UNLEARN AND RELEARN
It is indefinite that the experience of living and studying abroad will allow you to experience the cycle of: learning, unlearning and relearning.
Similar to what was said regarding becoming familiar with the unfamiliar, the experiences of being abroad will allow you to adapt your life to different circumstances – however, the learned capacity to learn, unlearn and relearn is derived from the process of reaching that point of familiarity.
Studying and living abroad, you would have arrived with a learned way of life. However, through being in a different country, you are met with new knowledge and discoveries that enforce self-actualisation, all of which will cause you to unlearn prior conceptions. Finally, through combining prior lifestyles with your newfound way of life by way of adaptation – you will find a balance that best suits you. This process will continue, as the wonders of experiencing a different land shapes your attitudes and beliefs.
Overall, this ability to learn, unlearn and relearn will allow you to be flexible in a way that if you are faced with difficulties due to something that you are unaccustomed to – as opposed to shying away, you are able to learn and progress from it. This will not only help you within your personal life, but also your professional life – where it will demonstrate to employers that you are able to view multiple perspectives and that you are able to understand and accept the new.