Dear Bear Families,
The Office of Education Abroad staff is very excited to welcome your students to campus in a few days! August is full of new beginnings! New friendships, classes, goals, and opportunities…and we are ready for a new year in education abroad.
While Welcome Weekend always kicks-off the year with much celebration, it’s also worth considering the end of the year. I’m a fan of Stephen Covey’s book The Seven Habits of Highly Successful People. One habit Covey cites in his book is Begin with the end in mind. In other words, what outcome do you desire at the end of your (fill in the blank) …semester, school year, career? With the end in mind, students create plans to move them forward on their path to success, as defined by each student. MSU faculty and staff are intentional in their support of students’ goals. The MSU community fosters student growth so that our Bears don’t just “get a job,” but become well-rounded persons who contribute to society – a goal that is exemplified in the Citizen Scholar statue on campus.
For students seeing to build career skills and develop as a person, an international experience is one of the most important components of a 21st century education. Many studies show a direct impact of study abroad on creativity, cognitive ability, and student success. In addition, studies show that study abroad plays an important role in developing a global mindset and skills necessary to succeed in the workforce. The skills and competencies cited by MSU study abroad students include:
- Intercultural competency
- Tolerance/embracing differences
- International perspectives on subject areas or work culture
- Language skills
- Ability to learn new ideas quickly
- Ability to work in a team
- Problem-solving skills
- Dealing with ambiguity
- Cultural awareness
- Interpersonal communication
- Locating and evaluating information
- Networking skills and contacts
- Cross-cultural understanding
- Appreciation of differences
Clear signs of the benefits of study abroad exist. Many of the National Association of Colleges and Employers’ (NACE) highly ranked career competencies, including teamwork, professionalism, and communications, can be bolstered through study abroad experiences. Nearly one in three employers (31.1 percent) surveyed in NACE’s Job Outlook study rated global and multicultural fluency as an essential attribute for college graduates entering the workforce yet found that only 20 percent of their incoming employees were actually proficient in these cultural skills. “Employers see skills gaps in these areas,” the NACE report states.
The Office of Education Abroad works collaboratively with the Career Services office to offer a Marketing Your Study Abroad Experience workshop for students who’ve returned from abroad. The workshop is focused on exploring the abroad experience and its relationship with career readiness, employer perceptions, unpacking skills, and selling the student’s story, which includes practical focus on customizing resumes, tailoring cover letters, and crafting elevator pitches.
Again, welcome to Missouri State University. The Office of Education Abroad staff looks forward to working with you to develop the global leaders of tomorrow!
Director, Office of Education Abroad