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What gives international students the competitive edge

Posted 04 September 2013
Student

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Why should one study abroad? Cultural immersion, improvements in language skills, invaluable experience and excellent educational system are among the usual responses. One of the most important benefits of being an international student, in my opinion, however, is the competitive advantage that studying abroad has. Studying abroad has proven to be an important addition to CVs that helps graduates stand out from the crowd. What exactly makes international students so attractive to future employers?

Why should one study abroad? Cultural immersion, improvements in language skills, invaluable experience and excellent educational system are among the usual responses. One of the most important benefits of being an international student, in my opinion, however, is the competitive advantage that studying abroad has. Studying abroad has proven to be an important addition to CVs that helps graduates stand out from the crowd. What exactly makes international students so attractive to future employers? The few bullet points below may help answer your question.

Language Skills

International students are assumed to have brilliant language skills. After all, they may come from a country that speaks a completely different language and uses an alphabet that does not remotely resemble the Latin alphabet. Yet they choose to move to a country to study in a language they have been learning for only five years or so, while competing effectively with domestic students. Only those who possess a flair for learning languages can succeed. International students are often bilingual or multilingual. They also tend to have excellent writing skills, as they spend years mastering the most fundamental grammatical structures of a language, which the native speakers sometimes ignore. In a globalising world with multinational corporate sprouting, having superb language skills increases the desirability of international students.

Independence and Self-motivation

Living alone in a foreign country is no easy task. Homesickness is a daily occurrence which can’t be cured by a short train or car journey;  family can be more than four time zones away. International students therefore must be independent. They have to be able to take good care of themselves at an early age, to make decisions by themselves, to deal with situations unfamiliar to them on their own. International students also ought to possess a high degree of self-motivation. Their parents are nowhere near to keep a close eye on them. They are given absolute freedom, yet they are compelled to learn to discipline themselves to not stray from the path they have chosen. Independence and self-motivation are highly desirable qualities ingrained in every successful international student, which gives them a competitive edge.

Adaptability

In addition to homesickness, one major hurdle that international students have to overcome is culture shock. Stark differences in ways of life, food accessibility and quality can create anxiety and frustration. The strain of living without parental support in a foreign environment puts enormous pressure on international students. Overcoming and adapting to a whole new culture is an arduous task that international students have to undertake. This challenge is strenuous but rewarding in the end, as the international students learn to adopt the positive aspects of the new culture while still retaining the integrity of their own, improving their adaptability tremendously. International students are flexible and adaptable; they are not fazed by sudden changes. When thrown into an unfamiliar environment, they flourish. High adaptability is one of the components behind the attractiveness of international students.

Cosmopolitan Citizens

The world is coming closer together. The advancement in technology allows countries to connect, ideas to spread and cultures to meet at a neck-breaking speed. Globalisation links economy together, transnational companies are no longer the anomaly but the norm. In this era, international students have a big advantage. Multilingual, multicultural with high levels of adaptability, international students are the new cosmopolitan citizens. They are not restrained by language or cultural barriers; they are liberal and independent. They bring together cultures and ideas, creating their own unique blend. International students therefore are able to compete well with competitors. They have the potential to advance far.

Being an international student

An international student has every element to rise to the top. However, such qualities do not come easily. It takes much more than just being able to afford to study abroad to become a successful, competitive international student. Hard work and resilience are what matter.

 Autumn Hoang

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