Sep 28
Meredith Blumthal, Director of ACES Education Abroad Program

The workplace is becoming more global, and cross cultural skills are now a top skill that employers seek out of new graduates. Just this past August, at the 2016 Ag & Food HR Roundtable, sponsored by AgCareers.com, which is an event for HR and educational professionals that provides relevant content examining recruitment and retention specifically within the ag and food industry. Jean Drasgow, ACES Director of Career Services, texted me a slide from the session she was attending. The presenter asked all the employers in the audience the following question:

“You are considering three candidates for an entry level position. All have internship experience related to your company’s type of work. They also each have one other unique employability experience. Which one do you choose based on the other experience?

  • 46 percent of the room chose “Cross cultural experience where they had to live and learn to work in a substantially different environment from their home or school.”
  • 15 percent chose “Leadership experience in student government and student clubs”
  • 39 percent chose “Teamwork experience in running a student business or building a project for a national competition, a solar car for example)”.

The easiest and most rewarding way for a student to gain cross-cultural skills is to study abroad for a semester. Not only can you study abroad, but the College of ACES offers several programs that allow you to study and intern in places such as Sierra Leone, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, France, Italy, Argentina, Greece and Costa Rica. These study and intern programs are on the rise, and while most overseas internship programs are non-paid, a few do offer payment or stipends, and some offer room and board in exchange for work. Combining an internship experience with your studies will allow you to even further immerse yourself into your chosen destination and forces you to rely on your intercultural communication skills and push the boundaries of what you are capable of. So what are you waiting for? Go get out of your comfort zone and develop your cross-cultural experience! #adventureisoutthere #acesabroad.

Skills Employers Value