Three months of a language course can make a CV stand out not just for the language skills acquired. So here are some practical tips to make the most of a study experience abroad!
MAXIMUM RELEASE FOR SOFT SKILLS
Soft skills are essential to prepare your entry into the world of job or looking for a new job. What are soft skills? These are all those skills that are not learned in books, but “in the field”, living new experiences and working. Some of the most appreciated and sought after in a candidate are the ability to communicate effectively, relate to others and work well in groups, often in multicultural contexts.
These are skills you can develop day by day living and studying abroad, precisely because they are immersed in a new environment, in a new culture and with new people, who in turn often have different backgrounds. Even occasions such as the celebration of Thanksgiving, together with the host family, is an excellent training ground for developing all the most important soft skills that you can then include in your CV when you return!
ATTENTION TO THE SECTIONS
There is no predefined section to include a study experience abroad in the CV, but it is important to report it accurately and not repeat it. If, for example, you have been abroad to improve language skills, this is an experience to be included in the “Training” section. If you have also carried out internships or volunteering activities at the same time as the courses, you can enter them both as “Work experience” and as “Training”. If you have studied abroad on several occasions, you can then create a new section, called “International Experiences” or “International Training”, and report your results there.
ORGANIZATION OF CONTENTS
After defining the structure, let’s focus on the information that must not be missing:
- Name of the program / Company where the internship or volunteer activity took place
- City and Country
- Qualifications obtained and exams taken (and, if required: marks)
- Courses followed
- Extracurricular activities you participated in
- Other internship or volunteer activities performed
Here’s an example of how it might look on your CV:
EF Academic Year Abroad Program, London (UK)
Period: August 2013 – May 2014 Certifications: Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English
Subjects of Specific Interest : English for Business Meetings, Cu Business, Marketing, Environment and Ecology.
KEYWORDS TO HIGHLIGHT
The right choice of keywords is essential, especially if the application is made online or if you want to make your Linkedin profile more interesting. Choose all the ones you prefer but remember that they must always match the job description: language skills, flexibility, general culture, communication skills, the spirit of adaptation, problem-solving and decision-making skills, time management, interpersonal skills and interest in cultures and foreign traditions.
EMPHASIS ON ACTION
Always try to use concrete verbs, which express actions: insert yourself (in a new environment), adapt, collaborate, develop, exchange, promote, improve, dedicate, manage, organize, overcome, practice, travel and so on. These terms will give a very concrete and pragmatic aspect to your CV.
SOME USEFUL EXAMPLES
Are you wondering how to insert these verbs in your CV? Try phrases such as:
- I lived with a host family in (country) and entered their daily life (Country) for (duration).
- Living in (Country ) I had the opportunity to immerse myself in the language and culture (nationality).
- I attended and carried out all the courses in (language).
- Setting myself in a different and new context, I was able to explore and appreciate cultural differences.
- I developed my relational and organizational skills, learning to move effectively in a new environment.
- I broadened my cultural horizons through reading and contacts with people from different countries and backgrounds.
- I have expanded my network of personal contacts by meeting students from all over the world.
- I have improved autonomy and self-confidence by traveling from only in (Country) for (number of weeks / months).