on May 8th, 2024

From exposure to diverse cultures and perspectives to the development of a global mindset, international work experience equips engineers with invaluable skills and a competitive edge in today’s globalized job market. Let’s look at some of these benefits.  

The job outlook for engineers continues to show a high demand for talent. If you work in another country for an extended period as an engineer, employers might consider you a more attractive candidate when you apply for jobs back in your home country, or you may gain permanent positions in the country of your choice. There are a range of benefits:  

1. Personal Growth 

International experience offers a transformative journey of self-discovery, fostering the development of crucial life skills while broadening your horizons. By immersing yourself in a foreign country, you confront situations that unveil your strengths and weaknesses, enabling personal growth.  

Communication, decision-making, and social interaction skills are honed as you navigate daily challenges outside your comfort zone. Each day spent in an unfamiliar environment cultivates adaptability, problem-solving abilities, and resilience. Through this process, you emerge more mature, independent, and equipped to embrace new opportunities upon returning home. 

2. Professional Growth 

Working abroad can help you develop the soft and hard skills you need to succeed in nearly any industry. Here are examples of professional skills that international experience can improve: 

Problem-solving: Immersing yourself in a foreign country, where language, culture, laws and work ethics may be unfamiliar, presents numerous challenges. Overcoming these obstacles requires honing your problem-solving skills, finding innovative solutions, and building confidence in your decision-making abilities. 

 

Improving your professional growth should always be a priority.

Leadership: Working independently in a new country cultivates self-sufficiency and independence. Without the support and guidance of familiar colleagues and managers, you learn to manage yourself effectively, which can translate into valuable leadership qualities within the workplace.

Adaptability: International experience demands flexibility and adaptability in the face of new and unexpected situations. Working abroad exposes you to rapid changes, and by navigating through them, you become more comfortable and adapt to shifting circumstances. 

Teamwork: Working in a different country provides the opportunity to collaborate with individuals from diverse backgrounds. This fosters the development of advanced social skills and the ability to work effectively with teammates who possess different perspectives. These experiences contribute to your growth as a valuable team member in any professional setting. 

International experience can also help you develop professional skills such as empathy, decision-making, critical thinking, creativity, and initiative. 

3. Global Networking 

When working in a foreign country, you establish a valuable international network comprising friends and colleagues. This network becomes a valuable resource when seeking new job opportunities. Additionally, maintaining communication with these contacts allows you to stay informed about global developments and industry trends. By nurturing these connections, you gain access to a wealth of knowledge and potential career prospects that transcend borders. 

4. Cultural Sensitivity 

In a foreign country, you find yourself immersed in a rich tapestry of diverse cultures and backgrounds. This unique environment facilitates the development of cultural sensitivity in a way that is often more accessible than within familiar surroundings. Interacting with people from various backgrounds enables you to become at ease in engaging with individuals from all walks of life, fostering a deeper understanding and appreciation of different perspectives and beliefs. These invaluable skills in cultural sensitivity and open-mindedness are highly valued by employers in today’s workplace. 

Strong communication skills are highly sought after

5. Improved Communication 

Living abroad fosters the development of effective communication skills, particularly when interacting with non-native English speakers. This experience sharpens your ability to recognize verbal and nonverbal cues and communicate information clearly and efficiently. Strong communication skills are highly sought after by international or multinational companies operating in a global context, making your proficiency in this area an asset. 

6. Confidence-Building 

Relocating to a different country removes you from familiar situations, languages, and norms, presenting an opportunity for personal growth. Navigating a new city and adapting to its customs can significantly enhance your confidence and self-esteem, qualities that can be applied effectively in the workplace. With increased maturity, courage, and independence gained from the experience, you become more inclined to embrace challenging assignments and tasks. This newfound confidence leaves a positive impression on managers and paves the way for career progression and advancement. 

7. Bilingualism 

Immersing yourself in a new culture provides an excellent opportunity to enhance your language skills. You may acquire basic words and phrases that assist you in daily tasks or even achieve near fluency. Speaking multiple languages can be a significant advantage when applying for jobs, as it enables effective communication with customers or clients who speak your second language. This linguistic versatility demonstrates cultural competency and facilitates broader engagement in diverse professional settings. 

8. Resume Content 

International work experience provides valuable additions to your resume. Your enhanced cultural awareness, language proficiency, and skills such as flexibility, adaptability, independence, confidence, organization, and open-mindedness give you a competitive advantage when applying for jobs. Updating your resume to highlight these new skills and experiences acquired while working abroad showcases your readiness to excel in diverse professional settings. 

International work experience is appealing on your resume.

9. Career Opportunities 

International experience opens doors to expanded career opportunities. It can qualify you for roles that may have been previously inaccessible, such as positions requiring bilingual language proficiency or a deep understanding of global markets. The skills you acquire while working internationally, including leadership, ambition, and independence, position you for advancement into senior positions within your field. This diverse experience broadens your horizons and equips you with a competitive edge, paving the way for career growth and professional success on a global scale. 

10. Life Experience 

Traveling, living, and working abroad offer life experiences that extend beyond the realms of resumes and workplaces. It allows you to immerse yourself in new cultures, tries diverse cuisines, engage in exciting activities, explore unfamiliar places, and forge friendships with people from various backgrounds. These experiences may uncover new passions and hobbies that resonate with you throughout your life. They have the power to shape your character, influence your personal growth, and impact the decisions you make in life, leaving an indelible imprint on your journey of self-discovery. 

Ways to Gain International Experience 

There are several avenues through which one can gain international experience.  

Studying abroad as part of a university program offers a structured opportunity to submerge oneself in a different culture while pursuing academic coursework. 

The Engineering Institute of Technology (EIT) has two campuses, one of which is based in Perth and the other in Melbourne. A student who wishes to pursue an on-campus education can apply to this campus from wherever they are in the world. This process includes a prequalifying stage to check if the student is eligible. If proven eligible, they will then be linked with an education agent to assist with the on-campus application process and the visa process.  

Another option is earning a Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) certification and teaching English abroad, providing a chance to engage with local communities and enhance cross-cultural communication skills.  

International internships provide valuable professional experience in a global setting while volunteering with non-profit organizations or community projects allows for meaningful contributions to local communities.  

Attending global learning programs, such as language immersion programs or cultural exchange initiatives, further deepens one’s understanding of different cultures. Lastly, living abroad, whether it be taking a gap year during college or relocating after graduation, offers a phenomenal experience of personal growth, independence, and cultural exploration.  

Each of these paths provides unique opportunities for individuals to broaden their horizons, gain valuable skills, and develop a global perspective.  

Developing your skills anywhere in the world will aid personal as well as professional development. Engaging in international experiences allows engineers to broaden their horizons, expand their knowledge base, and enhance their skill set. By immersing themselves in diverse cultural and technical environments, engineers can gain a global perspective and develop a deeper understanding of engineering practices worldwide. 

REFERENCES  

7 reasons why you should live and work abroad at least once in your life. 

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