FIVE Ways to Gain International Experience

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FIVE Ways to Gain International Experience

By: Courtney Novotny | Communications & Marketing Assistant ,SFU International Co-op
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Feeling your resume is lacking in international experience as you search for work internationally? 

If you feel unsure about your international and/or travel experience, there are some things you can do to improve your chances at securing opportunities abroad, while keeping travel-related anxiety at bay. These types of activities can boost the international section on your resume and help you feel more confident when applying for international postings.

Study Abroad
Participate in an academic exchange to one of SFU's partner institutions. This is a great way to have a structured international experience. While you are abroad, you can make friends with other exchange students, as well as students from your host country, and  make international connections. These  connections are great for future travel - you can always call up your old  friendfrom when you studied abroad  to visit. These connections can also  provide you with first-hand knowledge about an area you may be travelling to,  and the tips and tricks can prove beneficial to a successful experience. Many students also practice, improve, or  learn foreign languages - which can be invaluable when applying for  international work placements.

Take Part in an International Field School
Like studying abroad, participating in a  field school through one of SFU's programs, is a structured way to see the  world. You will be living with and  learning from a variety of students and likely have the opportunity to travel  before, during, and after your experience.  Field schools are a great way for you to get your bearings abroad and  learn about international travel.

Volunteer  Abroad
For the adventurous and independent, volunteering abroad can be a great way to  gain some international experience. Volunteering  shows huge initiative in those involved and a strong sense of travel, passion  for social participation, and adventure.  Once again, the connections you make while volunteering abroad may prove  to be invaluable for future international experiences. Your supervisor or co-volunteer might connect  you with a friend whose company is hiring interns, or your new friend might  know a cheap place you can crash for a few nights or even offer up their own  home for you to stay in. For a unique  volunteer experience, visit Work Away and Idealist, to find  opportunities around the world.

Internationalize Yourself in Canada
Become an International Student Mentor and get to know international students who are studying at SFU. This program gives you the opportunity to make  friends with international students, and to gain an appreciation for things  like culture shock, budget living, and making friends abroad. You can also join the Global Partnering  System help incoming international students transition to life in Canada.
Join an international student group - browse the tables during club days. You could also hang out at the International  Student Lounge and make new, international friends.
Another great intercultural experience is to live in Residence at SFU. This will allow you to get a  sense of how you do living away from home for a semester or two. Residence is also a great place to meet and  network with international students who are studying at SFU - you can have some  great study break chats over dining hall food or a midnight coffee run.

Simple and traditional - the easiest way to  gain international experience tailored to your personal interests is to up  front travel to your chosen destination. The main concept here is networking - get out there in the  world and get to know your international peers.  Having a contact in a country you've never been to can be extremely  comforting (for both you and your parents) when you arrive at the airport or  train station. International contacts  can also help immensely with trip and internship planning. Go ahead and get started!

Beyond the Article:

Visit the International Co-op and SFU International websites to see how International Travel can benefit you.

Posted on February 05, 2012