Prep to Move Abroad


Transferable Skills That International Students Bring To the Table


International students are not just learners; they are ambassadors of their cultures and possess a wealth of transferable skills that can significantly benefit their host countries. Beyond academics, these students also bring unique perspectives, adaptability, and a diverse skill set to the table. In this article, we’ll delve into the world of transferable skills that international students can emphasize and provide practical tips on how to leverage them effectively.

What are Transferable Skills

According to UNESCO’s International Institute for Educational Planning, ‘Transferable skills include the ability to solve problems, communicate ideas and information effectively, be creative, show leadership and conscientiousness, and demonstrate entrepreneurial capabilities.’ They are the talents and abilities you’ve gained from previous experiences that can be applied to a wide range of job positions and industries. These skills are not cultural, linguistic, or industry-specific boundaries, making them invaluable assets for professionals seeking global opportunities.

Now let’s take a closer look at some of the most essential transferable skills that can help international students make a successful transition abroad:

1. Multilingual Proficiency

One of the most sought-after transferable skills that international students can develop is multilingual proficiency. Being able to communicate in more than one language is an invaluable asset in a globalized world. It not only facilitates day-to-day interactions but also opens doors to various professional opportunities. For international students, mastering a new language is more than just a skill; it shows their determination and adaptability.

2. Cross-Cultural Competence

Living in a foreign country, international students are constantly exposed to different customs, traditions, and ways of life. The ability to adapt to these experiences molds them into culturally competent individuals who can navigate diverse environments with ease. Understanding cultural nuances is crucial in a global society where workplaces are increasingly becoming multicultural.

3. Adaptability and Resilience

Adapting to a new environment, academic system, and lifestyle is no small feat. International students often develop a high degree of adaptability and resilience during their time abroad. These skills enable them to thrive in rapidly changing work environments and handle unexpected challenges with grace.

4. Global Perspective

International students bring a global perspective that can be a game-changer in businesses and organizations striving to expand globally. Their diverse experiences and unique viewpoints can contribute fresh ideas and innovative solutions, providing a competitive edge in today’s interconnected world.

Practical Tip: Use your global perspective to your advantage in the job market. Highlight your ability to see the bigger picture and offer solutions with a global focus. Share insights from your home country or other places you’ve lived to enrich discussions and decision-making processes.

5. Leadership and Teamwork

Many international students actively participate in student organizations, club activities, or volunteering. These experiences often cultivate strong leadership and teamwork skills. Whether you’ve led a student association or worked on a collaborative research project, these skills are highly transferable to your future career.

Practical Tip: Mention specific leadership roles you’ve held or teamwork experiences in your resume and cover letter. Share quantifiable results, such as how you improved team efficiency or led a successful project.

6. Problem-Solving Abilities

International students encounter a myriad of challenges, from visa issues to academic hurdles. These experiences develop exceptional problem-solving abilities that are invaluable in the professional world. Employers appreciate individuals who can analyze complex situations and find effective solutions.

Practical Tip: When discussing your problem-solving abilities, use the STAR (Situation, Task, Action, Result) method. Describe a specific situation, the task you needed to accomplish, the actions you took, and the positive results that ensued.

7. Technical Competence

As international students, you often gain proficiency in various technical and digital tools during your academic journey. These technical skills, whether in data analysis, programming, or software utilization, can give you a competitive edge in today’s technology-driven job market.

Practical Tip: Keep your technical skills up-to-date and include relevant certifications like the ones offered by PTMA or online courses on your resume. Show how your technical competencies can benefit the employer, making you an asset in a tech-savvy workforce.

8. Networking and Relationship Building

International students often build extensive networks of peers, mentors, and professionals during their studies. These connections can be leveraged for career opportunities, advice, and support in a new country.

Practical Tip: Don’t underestimate the power of your network. Attend alumni events, join professional organizations, and connect with fellow international students. Networking can lead to valuable referrals and insights into the job market.

As international students, your journey is filled with growth and learning. Emphasize these transferable skills, and you’ll not only bring a diverse set of talents to the table but also enhance your own career prospects. Your time spent studying abroad is a unique asset that can set you apart in the competitive job market and offer you a fulfilling, global career.

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