3 Grads Share How Studying Abroad Helped Them Be Successful

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Speaking Spanish in Chile. Studying Renaissance art in Italy. Learning about international business in Singapore.

Whatever and wherever you choose to study abroad, you’re bound to have an unforgettable experience.

Not only will you grow on a personal level, but you might even discover your professional calling. Even though they didn’t expect it, studying abroad helped these three graduates discover their dream careers. See what they learned below.

1. My international experience helped me land jobs and start a business

Before she was the founder and CEO of Mavens & Moguls, a global marketing and branding firm, Paige Arnof-Fenn was an economics student in Florence, Italy. It was her second time living in Europe, as she’d spent several months as a high schooler living with family in southeast France.

“These experiences were both incredibly special, and started my lifelong love affair with both France and Italy, and my desire to pursue a career in international business,” says Paige.

Once she started her job search, she impressed interviewers with her foreign language skills. “Speaking foreign languages is a way to differentiate yourself in interviews,” Paige says.

After getting hired, Paige continued to put her travel experiences to good use, especially during meetings with international clients. “My experience overseas made me more culturally sensitive and relevant,” she says. “I believe I got better assignments, faster promotions, and more interesting projects because of it.”

These days, Paige leads her own global firm, where she works with clients like Microsoft, Virgin, The New York Times, and Colgate, along with nonprofits and startups.

She attributes much of her success to the benefits of studying abroad and the people she met overseas. “My global contacts have been instrumental in my career with local intelligence, product launch support, [and] referrals,” she says.

She remains grateful for the study abroad benefits she enjoyed as a student and how they have impacted her today as a global entrepreneur. “Travel enriches your life by exposing you to new people, sights, sounds, smells, and flavors,” says Paige. “To travel is to learn, to grow, to appreciate.”

2. I learned I’m a born storyteller

Shelby Rogers wasn’t sure what her future career would look like when she packed her bags for England during the spring semester of 2013. Once the semester started though, she discovered her affinity for writing and research.

“I noticed that I would typically get major research papers and projects done well in advance of their deadlines,” says Shelby. “Because I was tired of waiting for my friends to hurry up and finish their essays, I would help with planning, writing, and editing their research papers.”

When the faculty learned about her informal role as a writing tutor, they started recommending her help to other students. Shelby couldn’t formally get paid for her work, but she did “amass a small fortune in free beer and pub meals.”

Perhaps even more valuable than the pub food was her realization that she could turn her passion for writing into a career. “I realized that I was not only an effective academic editor; I also had a knack for storytelling in places where one wouldn’t expect,” she says.

Shelby was skilled with sifting through ideas and using effective language to make her points. “Strangely enough, those exact skills are what I use as a content marketer,” Shelby says. “I look for the story, help my company determine the story we’re trying to tell our readership (aka potential clients), and then I help them tell that story with effective language.”

Her study abroad experience helped her in job interviews, too. “When I applied for marketing and copywriting jobs, I made sure to talk about my international travel experience,” she says.

Besides learning how to craft good stories, Shelby also developed valuable “soft skills” from traveling. “It taught me to be independent and intrinsically motivated,” she says. “I know how to put myself out there and appropriately communicate with people of different backgrounds.”

At the same time, she acknowledges that she was in a privileged financial position to enjoy her experience abroad. She earned a number of scholarships, and her university also helped offset the costs. When she was traveling, she also kept costs down by tracking her budget and staying in hostels.

She encourages anyone looking to study abroad to apply for scholarships and speak with your school’s financial aid office about funding opportunities.

3. Learning another language helped me get my dream job

Studying abroad isn’t just for undergraduates. When she was studying for her master’s in corporate communications at Seneca College, Melissa Andrade sought out a four-month internship in Italy.

“In order to successfully complete my post-grad program, I had to take part in a mandatory four-month internship,” says Melissa. “Studying abroad was always something I wanted to do but never had the chance to while completing my undergrad. I figured this was the perfect semester and opportunity to do just that.”

Melissa landed a gig at a public relations firm in Milan, Italy where she helped out on press days and during Milan Fashion Week. Not only did the internship give her hands-on experience in the industry, but it also helped her add a valuable skill to her resume: fluency in Italian.

“It made me extremely marketable upon my return home,” says Melissa. “I now had a third language to add to my resume and was able to boast about my international work experience — something that was extremely valued at some of the larger companies I interviewed with while job hunting.”

For Melissa, the professional benefits of studying abroad were not short-lived. “Little did I know this experience would also help me land my next big dream job a few years later,” says Melissa.

“I’ve recently secured a new journalist position in Lisbon, Portugal as a celebrity and entertainment news writer,” she adds. “My new employer liked the fact that I was already well traveled across Europe from my previous time abroad, had knowledge of several languages, and understood how to assimilate myself within different cultures while getting a job done.”

Melissa is excited to return to Europe, and she credits her study abroad experience with giving her the qualifications she needed to land her dream job.

Don’t underestimate the benefits of studying abroad

From learning a new language to making friends across cultures, studying abroad gives you invaluable skills for your future career.

Many colleges offer study abroad programs, plus independent organizations host students in other countries, too. Often, your financial aid will transfer, and you can apply for study abroad scholarships.

You might even find a part-time job in another country to support yourself during a semester abroad. If you go this route, you’ll have one more experience to impress hiring managers with in your future job interviews.

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2 Important Disclosures for College Ave.

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College Ave Student Loans products are made available through either Firstrust Bank, member FDIC or M.Y. Safra Bank, FSB, member FDIC. All loans are subject to individual approval and adherence to underwriting guidelines. Program restrictions, other terms, and conditions apply.

  1. Rates shown are for the College Ave Undergraduate Loan product and include autopay discount. The 0.25% auto-pay interest rate reduction applies as long as a valid bank account is designated for required monthly payments. Variable rates may increase after consummation.
     
  2. This informational repayment example uses typical loan terms for a freshman borrower who selects the Deferred Repayment Option with a 10-year repayment term, has a $10,000 loan that is disbursed in one disbursement and a 8.35% fixed Annual Percentage Rate (“APR”): 120 monthly payments of $179.18 while in the repayment period, for a total amount of payments of $21,501.54. Loans will never have a full principal and interest monthly payment of less than $50. Your actual rates and repayment terms may vary. This informational repayment example uses typical loan terms for a first year graduate student borrower who selects the Deferred Repayment Option with a 10-year repayment term, has a $10,000 loan that is disbursed in one disbursement and a 7.10% fixed Annual Percentage Rate (“APR”): 120 monthly payments of $141.66 while in the repayment period, for a total amount of payments of $16,699.21. Loans will never have a full principal and interest monthly payment of less than $50. Your actual rates and repayment terms may vary.

Information advertised valid as of 7/1/2020. Variable interest rates may increase after consummation. Lowest advertised rates require selection of full principal and interest payments with the shortest available loan term.


3 Important Disclosures for Discover.

Discover Disclosures

  1. Students who get at least a 3.0 GPA (or equivalent) qualify for a one-time cash reward on each new Discover undergraduate and graduate student loan. Reward redemption period is limited. Please visit DiscoverStudentLoans.com/Reward for any applicable reward terms and conditions.
  2. View Auto Reward Debit Reward Terms and Conditions at DiscoverStudentLoans.com/AutoDebitReward.
  3. Aggregate loan limits apply.
  4. Lowest APRs shown are available for the most creditworthy applicants and include an interest-only repayment discount and Auto Debit Reward. The interest rate ranges represent the lowest and highest interest rates offered on Discover student loans, including undergraduate and graduate loans. The fixed interest rate is set at the time of application and does not change during the life of the loan. The variable interest rate is calculated based on the 3-Month LIBOR index plus the applicable margin percentage. For variable interest rate loans, the 3-Month LIBOR is 0.375% as of July 1, 2020. Discover Student Loans may adjust the rate quarterly on each January 1, April 1, July 1 and October 1 (the “interest rate change date”), based on the 3-Month LIBOR Index, published in the Money Rates section of the Wall Street Journal 15 days prior to the interest rate change date, rounded up to the nearest one-eighth of one percent (0.125% or 0.00125). This may cause the monthly payments to increase, the number of payments to increase or both. Our lowest APR is only available to customers with the best credit and other factors. Your APR will be determined after you apply. It will be based on your credit history, which repayment option you choose and other factors, including your cosigner’s credit history (if applicable). Learn more about Discover Student Loans interest rates.
  5. Get a variable interest rate from 2.37% APR to 6.14% APR (3-Month LIBOR + 2.00% to 3-Month LIBOR + 5.77%) for either a 10-year or 20-year repayment term. Or lock in a fixed interest rate from 3.99% APR to 7.49% APR for a 10-year repayment term or from 4.24% APR to 7.74% APR for a 20-year repayment term. The fixed interest rate is set at the time of application and does not change during the life of the loan. The variable interest rate is calculated based on the 3-Month LIBOR index plus the applicable margin percentage. The margin is based on your credit evaluation at the time of application and does not change. For variable interest rate loans, the 3-Month LIBOR is 0.375% as of July 1, 2020. Discover Student Loans may adjust the rate quarterly on each January 1, April 1, July 1 and October 1 (the “interest rate change date”), based on the 3-Month LIBOR Index, published in the Money Rates section of the Wall Street Journal 15 days prior to the interest rate change date, rounded up to the nearest one-eighth of one percent (0.125% or 0.00125). This may cause the monthly payments to increase, the number of payments to increase or both.
Lowest APRs shown for Discover Student Loans are available for the most creditworthy applicants for undergraduate loans, and include an interest-only repayment discount and a 0.25% interest rate reduction while enrolled in automatic payments.

4 Important Disclosures for Earnest.

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  1. Rates include 0.25% Auto Pay Discount
     
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    Rates shown include 0.25% APR discount when client agrees to make monthly principal and interest payments by automatic electronic payment. Use of autopay is not required to receive an Earnest loan.

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5 Important Disclosures for Ascent.

Ascent Disclosures

Before taking out private student loans, you should explore and compare all financial aid alternatives, including grants, scholarships, and federal student loans and consider your future monthly payments and income. Applying with a cosigner may improve your chance of getting approved and could help you qualify for a lower interest rate. Ascent Student Loans may be funded by Richland State Bank (RSB). Ascent Student Loan products are subject to credit qualification, completion of a loan application, verification of application information and certification of loan amount by a participating school. Loan products may not be available in certain jurisdictions, and certain restrictions, limitations; and terms and conditions may apply. Ascent is a federally registered trademark of Turnstile Capital Management (TCM) and may be used by RSB under limited license. Richland State Bank is a federally registered service mark of Richland State Bank.

  1. Competitive variable rates calculated monthly at the time of loan approval based on a margin plus the 1-Month London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR) rounded to the nearest 1/100th of a percent. The current LIBOR is 0.667%, which may adjust monthly. Your interest rate may increase or decrease, based on LIBOR monthly changes. Rates are effective as of 06/01/2020 and reflect an Automatic Payment Discount. Automatic Payment Discount is available if the borrower is enrolled in automatic payments from their personal checking account and the amount is successfully withdrawn from the authorized bank account each month. (See Automatic Payment Discount Terms & Conditions.)
    1. Undergraduate Loans: Variable rate loans have an Annual Percentage (APR) range between 2.73% – 13.01%. Fixed rate loans have an APR range between 3.84% – 14.50% based on your credit worthiness and your selected program. Rates reflect an Automatic Payment Discount of 0.25% (for Credit-Based Loans) on the lowest offered rate and a 2.00% discount on the highest offered rate (See Undergraduate Loan repayment examples.)
    2. Graduate Loans: Loans have an APR range between 4.11% and 10.78% based on your credit worthiness and your selected program. Rates reflect an Automatic Payment Discount of 0.25%. (See Graduate Loan repayment examples.)
  2. Payments may be deferred. Subject to lender discretion, forbearance and/or deferment options may be available for borrowers who are encountering financial distress.
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  6. All applicants (individual and cosigner) are required to complete a brief online financial literacy course as part of the application process to be eligible for funding.
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  9. 1% Cash Back Graduation Reward subject to terms and conditions. Click here for details. In order to be eligible for the 1% Cash Back Graduation Reward, borrower must meet the following criteria after graduation:
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    • The student borrower may change majors and/or transfer to a different school, but must obtain the same level of degree (e.g. – undergraduate or graduate)
    • The graduation date is more than 90 days and less than five (5) years after the date of the loan’s first disbursement.
    • Any loan that the student has borrowed under the Ascent loan is not more than 30-days delinquent or in a default status as of the graduation date and until any Graduation Reward is paid.
  10. Students can apply to release their cosigner and continue with the loan in only their name after making the first 24 consecutive regularly scheduled full principal and interest payments on-time and meeting the other eligibility criteria to qualify for the loan without a cosigner.

* Application times vary depending on the applicant’s ability to supply the necessary information for submission.


6 Important Disclosures for CommonBond.

CommonBond Disclosures

Offered terms are subject to change and state law restrictions. Loans are offered through CommonBond Lending, LLC (NMLS #1175900).

  1.  Rates are as of July 1, 2019 and include auto-pay discount. All loans are eligible for a 0.25% reduction in interest rate by agreeing to automatic payment withdrawals once in repayment. Variable rates may increase after consummation.

Our team at Student Loan Hero works hard to find and recommend products and services that we believe are of high quality. We sometimes earn a sales commission or advertising fee when recommending various products and services to you. Similar to when you are being sold any product or service, be sure to read the fine print to help you understand what you are buying. Be sure to consult with a licensed professional if you have any concerns. Student Loan Hero is not a lender or investment advisor. We are not involved in the loan approval or investment process, nor do we make credit or investment related decisions. The rates and terms listed on our website are estimates and are subject to change at any time.