A 2011 CNN article reported that only 30 percent of Americans owned passports.
The article also stated that in prior years, the percentage was in the teens. This number is internationally compelling, as Canada’s passport percentages are double and the UK’s is 75 percent.
This statistic is a representation of the U.S.’s global indifference in comparison to other nations. For whatever reason, Americans have less interest in traveling internationally than others, and it has the potential to harm their futures. Students should be taking the opportunity to study abroad while they have the option.
In a recently trending list published on elitedaily.com, which provided some harsh, but beneficial advice to the “Generation Y,” there was one piece of crucial advice that was not expanded on thoroughly enough — No. 51, “You should live abroad for at least a year.”
It’s true. A person probably should live abroad for at least a year, or get some sort of international experience for long-term benefits in the workforce. Many employers and intern recruiters agree that study abroad programs and international experiences are something they like to see in its applicants.
The University of Miami’s study abroad information page states that employers ranked “interpersonal and relationship skills,” “ambiguity tolerance and adaptability” and “cross-cultural competence” within the top five things they look for in employees, all of which are attributes primarily attained through travel experiences.
The University of Virginia’s career services website explains that studying abroad allows for a student to gain many beneficial skills for the workforce — skills such as problem solving, alternative and critical thinking, maintaining self-confidence while listening to people with different value systems, being flexible and adaptable to rapidly changing situations and addressing business situations from a different cultural perspective with an understanding of global issues in the industry.
In an increasingly difficult market to land a job, students can use as many resume builders as they can get. For students concerned with the cost of studying abroad, USF offers many scholarship programs. USF also offers extensive programs relating to different majors, making your study abroad experience helpful in honing skills related to your career path. More information can be found at the USF Education Abroad website.
With the U.S. unemployment rate at 7.3 percent, and Forbes magazine reporting that 48 percent of U.S. college graduates are stuck in jobs that require less than a four-year degree, a strong resume is essential. There is no better way to build your resume than to travel the world, potentially cheap with scholarship opportunities.
Amanda Beraglia is a sophomore majoring in international business.