Taking stock of your international experience

Busy Market in the Philippines
If you are an international student, a domestic student who has studied abroad, or a professional who has worked in multiple countries, it will be useful to take stock of your international experience in order to become more comfortable marketing it to prospective employers. But you may be wondering if you have any international experience that would be valuable to an employer. The following list of questions is intended to help you begin to identify some of the international knowledge, skills and experience you possess.
Language and Communication Skills:

  • What languages do you speak? Write? Understand?
  • In what languages are you fluent?
  • Do you have a professional network (i.e. professional contacts) in other countries?
  • Do you have an ear for understanding different accents?
  • Are you able to recognize different meanings in gesturing from more than one culture?
  • (For example, hand waves and head nods can mean vastly different things from one culture to the next.)
  • Do you understand slang words in more than one language or dialect?

Knowledge of culture, both traditional and popular:

  • With what cultures and nationalities have you had close dealings?
  • What ethnic or religious traditions do you observe?
  • Are you familiar with the nuances of ethnic or religious traditions beyond your own?
  • Can you cook traditional or popular dishes associated with your country or culture?
  • Are you closely familiar with specific cultural, religious or national festivals and their significance?
  • Can you identify traditional and/or contemporary forms of art from multiple countries?
  • Are you familiar with social trends in other counties (i.e. what’s popular in music, fashion, movies, etc.)?
  • Do you use, or are you familiar with, technologies or gadgets that are currently popular in other countries?
  • Do you know of websites that are popular in other countries?

Knowledge of business and employment practices:

  • Are you familiar with the predominant management styles in more than one country? Can articulate differences and similarities of these styles?
  • Are you familiar with labour standards and/or hiring practices in multiple countries?
  • Are you aware of specific labour laws from multiple countries?

Education:

  • In how many countries have you studied?
  • Are you able to articulate the similarities and differences in educational systems with which you are familiar?
  • Have you observed a noticeable difference in teaching and/or learning styles in different countries?

Ability to adapt:

  • How many countries have you visited? Lived in? Worked or volunteered in?
  • Do you adjust quickly to new surroundings?
  • When faced with a new environment, do you fit in quickly?
  • Are you comfortable using public transportation in multiple countries?

Global thinking skills:

  • Do you follow the news from multiple countries on a regular basis?
  • When news happens in one country, do you often think of its implications on other countries?
  • Can you clearly describe the political parties from at least one other country?
  • Do you know how to access social services in another country?
  • Have you participated in providing humanitarian aid in another country?

2 comments on “Taking stock of your international experience”

  1. Sweet - aka Grace Kutney Reply

    Diane,
    Thanks again for linking to the site! So glad this post has been useful!

  2. Diane Reply

    This is a great post for international students (I blogged about your site yet again!). I know it’s sometimes difficult for international students to get a US job. Specifically turning their international experience into a business asset is an important thing to do.

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