UC Merced Study Abroad alumni join an élite group of alumni. Studies show that alumni who study abroad are more employable, have higher starting salaries, and have more of the skills employers seek. Below are some resources for returnees to use toward their careers and connect:
Work opportunities abroad for study abroad alumni tend to be concentrated within a few organizations including the following:
- Japan Exchange and Teaching Program(me)
- Peace Corps
- Teach and Learn in Korea (Let's TaLK)
- US Department of State
Other resources for international jobs include:
One of the better networking opportunities for alumni is through the UCEAP Alumni LinkedIn group. There students can connect with more than 50 years of UC study abroad alumni, many of them well-established in their careers and fields.
Another networking opportunity for students would be to participate in the NAFSA: Association of International Educators annual conference.
Statistics on study abroad alumni in the workforce
Affiliated institutions and study abroad professionals have done significant research on study abroad alumni to look at trends among these alumni. IES Abroad discovered some interesting findings in a 2012 survey looking at recent graduates (2006-2011)(1),(2):
- Students who studied abroad reported starting salaries 25% than the average, or $7,000 annually
- 90% of study abroad alumni find their first job within 6 months, 97% within 12 months of graduating; compared to 49% of college grads who find employment within 12 months
- 90% of study abroad alumni get into their 1st or second choice grad school programs
- 84% of study abroad alumni felt their studies abroad helped them build valuable skills for the job market
- 34% of study abroad alumni claimed that study abroad influenced their choice of career field
- 80% of study abroad alumni reported that the experience "contributed to their 'ability to adapt in diverse workplace environments.'"
- 70% of study abroad alumni tied their study abroad experience to satisfaction and fulfillment in their jobs.
Articulating the value of study abroad
Explaining how study abroad makes someone a more ideal job candidate can be difficult. Students have three primary venues for articulating the skills and experiences from study abroad: their résumé, their cover letter, and the job interview. While the personal transformation may seem obvious to the student, communicating the value of study abroad experiences and the skills that accompany them is more challenging. Alumni should focus on skills like tolerance for ambiguity, complex problem solving, self-reliance, language development, cross-cultural communication, adaptability, and cultural fluency and be ready to provide examples.
The American Institute for Foreign Study has an excellent guide for students focusing on entering the workforce. Students should also ask a career services counselor how to articulate their experiences abroad to make themselves more marketable.
Alumni or family interested in donating to study abroad scholarships, professional development, or in other areas should contact Director Garett Gietzen via firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 209-228-4722.