Why Working Abroad Is The Best Thing For Your Career
If you have read some of my previous posts, you will know that I am in Barcelona on an Erasmus Traineeship. This wasn’t something I had planned years in advanced, nor did I even know what Erasmus was up until a year ago, but I’m so glad that changed. As third year at University was coming to an end, everyone seemed to switch into panic mode about where they were heading after graduation. Soon statuses began to pop up talking about their 6 month internships secured in London and it was quite scary. Looking back now it was funny how we were all bouncing off eachother with excitement (and fear) about potential interviews and opportunities. It was actually a really motivating time and it meant I committed myself to start planning my future. I spent hours in my room going back and forth deciding what I wanted to do but it wasn’t until I was introduced to the Erasmus Program that I finally knew which direction to go in.
For those of who you aren’t fully aware of the Erasmus Program or what I’m talking about I’ve included the basics at the bottom of this post. I have also included more detailed information in the links provided. Before I go on any further, I think its important to differentiate between Erasmus Study Abroad and their Traineeship program. The two are very different, but both provide incredible opportunities for future employment. The Erasmus+ Traineeship offers students to work internationally for up to one year. The program offers funding throughout the duration of your traineeship but it is up to you to apply for the work placements yourself.
As exciting as it all sounds, the task of finding your own work placement can be very daunting. For some it can often be the beginning of the end. Forget moving to a foreign country, the problem can often start before you even sign the papers. It’s important to realise that it is a commitment. It’s going to require quite a bit of your time and you’ll need to be prepared for rejection. Unfortunately Erasmus isn’t just handed to you on a plate – you will need to put yourself out there and actively apply for placements with the possibility of never finding anything at all. I remember spending hours at my desk, whilst my other friends were out enjoying the hot weather, and with no hopeful responses I felt like I was heading towards a dead end. You just need to keep re-assuring yourself that it only takes one positive email.
If that didn’t just completely turn you off the idea than lets move on with some reasons that I found particularly convincing about why I wanted to pursue the Erasmus traineeship.
Make the most of your student status
Student discounts, maintenance loans, free cheeseburgers? You’re only going to get these privileges for the short while you’re at University, so why not reap all the benefits of having the student status. Erasmus is only offered for up to one year after you’ve left University so its now or never. It’s also a good move for those wanting to stretch their student finances as far as possible.
Working abroad can be a super appealing option for University students still looking to improve their CV’s. Employers see such a unique potential in those who have worked or studied abroad because it suggests that you can be flexible and have a key ability to adapt. The Harvard Business Review found that global companies look for young professionals who have worked abroad because they offer a different perspective and a deeper understanding of the field. The European Commission conducted an Erasmus impact study and found that the unemployment rate for Erasmus students is 23% lower within five years of graduation, and 1 in 3 trainee’s were offered a full-time position with their host company after the placement. In other words, working abroad seriously enhances your employability!
Broaden your horizons
After leaving University I knew I wanted to travel and see more of the world, but part of me felt worried that I would get left behind whilst all my friends moved to London and secured jobs. It can be easy to forget that we are living in a world of endless opportunities and Erasmus provided me with the support I needed to kickstart it. Working abroad can be equally beneficial in terms of broadening your horizons as well as helping you to understand different cultures and their approaches to business. You will find yourself operating under a new business etiquette and will have thriving conversations with a variety of different people.
Skills set development
Not only do you get invaluable work experience in your field of choice, you also gain a cultural awareness and develop skills such as initiative, motivation and independence. Employers look for people who are well-rounded and can provide creative solutions to problems at work.
Erasmus+ Traineeship: The Basics
There are a few basic requirements to note before signing up for an Erasmus+ Traineeship. Firstly you must be studying for a degree in an institution with an Erasmus Higher Education Charter (check your University website or ask your tutors) and secondly the organisation that you’re looking to work for is based in one of the 32 European Erasmus+ Countries. Besides these 2 points, there is a great deal of flexibility on the program, you can take your internship in your first year of University or even in the year after you’ve graduated, as long as you have all the documents approved before your last date of term. Your traineeship can last a minimum of 2 months to a maximum of 12 and you will receive an Erasmus+ grant as contribution to your accommodation and living costs which will vary according to the country of stay. On average this is between €350 and €400 per month, and disabled students are eligible for more.
Here is a list of useful websites that provide more information on Erasmus.
Monetos – An international research portal with extensive information on the social and financial sectors for students studying and working within the EU. Their service is offered in six different languages; English, Spanish, German, French, Italian and Dutch.
The British Council – A comprehensive source for information for students seeking practical advice on the key aspects of the Traineeship program. Also has a download section for leaflets, flyers and posters highlighting the benefits of Erasmus+.
Those that have experienced what it’s like to live and work abroad are an enormous asset for companies and it shows that you have developed professional, intercultural and personal development skills. If that isn’t convincing enough, I think most importantly it can be a life-changing experience that teaches you theres a whole world out with more opportunities than you know of.