In today’s job market, graduates with an international perspective are seen as more marketable and savvy applicants. ISU’s International Strategic Plan aims to make ISU’s students better global citizens and give them a leg-up in the job market.
“We live in a global society,” assistant provost and chairwoman of the international strategic plan committee Rita Bailey, said. “Students today aren’t just applying for jobs in central Illinois, they are competing for jobs around the world.”
The plan aims to “provide rigorous, innovative and high-impact undergraduate and graduate programs that prepare students to excel in a globally competitive, culturally diverse and changing environment” by increasing opportunities to study abroad, the number of international students on campus and collaborating more with institutions in other countries through research and service partnerships.
A globalized education and providing students with a more international perspective is especially vital today with the advancement of social media and the Internet. The distance between countries does not seem so great when you can communicate with a student in Cairo or Tokyo with just the click of a button.
“We’re interacting more with individuals from different cultures,” Bailey said.
Students today need to be more educated and informed about different cultures than ever before. This is where international studies courses and studying abroad can make a big, and often extremely valuable, difference.
“Study abroad allows students to gain independence, increase cultural awareness, experience personal growth, gain foreign language skills and build communication skills,” study abroad advisor Haley Daignault said.
The opportunity to gain credit toward a degree in a new environment is a big perk, but she says the benefits don’t end when students come home.
“Students who study abroad often develop a different perspective on their home culture and make friends from all over the world,” she added.
Additionally, having that experience on a résumé sets students apart from the crowd, as only 6% of students study abroad annually, according to the Open Doors Report 2013.
“The working world, regardless of industry, is becoming more and more global. Employers are looking for candidates that can prove they are able to thrive in an environment that is multicultural,” Daignault said.
Students interested in studying abroad should stop by the Study Abroad Fair which will be hosted Feb. 13th in the Prairie Room of the Bone Student Center from 12-4:00 p.m. Students will have the opportunity to speak with representatives of partner universities, recent study abroad alumni from ISU, and representatives from the Study Abroad Office. The Office of International Studies and Programs will also be raffling off ten $2,000 scholarships to students who attend the event.
For more information on studying abroad, contact the Study Abroad Office at (309) 438-5276.