Status, Goals and the Future for International Students
Studying abroad is an opportunity to broaden one's knowledge and widen one's horizons. According to the latest news, over 485,000 international students are pursuing their degree in the UK. This blog seeks to explore employability from the perspective of international students and offer some advice along the way.
Out of the comfort zone —— the first step for international students
‘The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page.’
We surveyed international students across all three years of study, and over 50% of them had studied at INTO, believing that it had helped to improve their English skills and coincidently their opportunity for gaining employment both in the UK and back at home. One student said: 'It can reduce the competition from what is a huge population in China, being able to competently speak another language' and another student commented ‘it has helped them adapt to the British environment and a more global market, improving their cultural awareness’
Advice from Tim Hanmer
We interviewed INTO International Diploma Programme Coordinator Tim Hanmer who kindly offered some advice.
Language and Culture
Tim said: “Being multilingual and having international experience will help students in the competitive jobs market – making the most of all the opportunities that students have at university (clubs, societies, trips, networks) will also help students to stand out in the job market and their future careers and students are encouraged to get involved in as much as they can”
UEA provides students with many activities that can improve their skills. International students need to use them to improve their language and cross-cultural experience, which is attractive for employers and opens up many doors.
“Ironically, the difficulties they face can be based on these strengths! Language problems and difficulties adapting to the British academic culture can be an issue for some students.”
International students must learn to bridge the gap between the academic culture. To help, INTO offers courses for international students to improve their language skills and has a good support network and welfare team for students. Furthermore, there is the ability via Blackboard to complete short language courses for free, using the Rosetta Stone platform.
Independent Learning and Time Management
International students should first acquire the ability to learn independently and effectively manage their time. In the job market, employers value employees who can work efficiently and solve problems under time constraints.
UEA and INTO provide a lot of support and learning resources to help international students developing those skills, such as the English Language Support Program.
Tim rightly pointed out that “Employers like to see that a potential recruit has some experience of working, and can demonstrate some real-world skills, as well as their academic skills.”
International students should participate in as much volunteering as possible to learn new skills and add to their work experience. This is what many employers want to see in resumes. Similar to volunteer activities, there are also community activities that can help them reach that.
Finally, not just for overseas students in the UK, but also for home students, we asked Tim “what advice would you give to home students who wanted to study or travel abroad and gain some international experience?”
Lots of degree courses in UEA offer a term abroad, or a full year of study overseas. Students should pay attention to these opportunities when choosing their course, and there are many destinations to choose from.
A 4-week CELTA course (Certificate in English Language Teaching to Adults) is also a good choice for students working and studying abroad. Many countries also offer working holiday visas, such as Australia and New Zealand. Students can choose to volunteer or work in these countries to gain overseas experience, which Employers really value, and it can help Students’ CV’s to ‘stand out’.