by Courtney Finnigan & Lizzie Triplett

If you’re a college student interested in studying abroad, you’re probably familiar with the more obvious “pros”. I am sure you’ve heard the, “studying abroad will help broaden your horizons” phrase a million times.  However, did you realize that studying abroad in Barcelona could also help to advance your future career? More and more employers are recognizing the benefits of study abroad and are actively seeking out candidates who have had this valuable experience. Below are four reasons why studying abroad will help your future career and opportunities.

#1. Foreign Language and Cross-Cultural Experience

In today’s global economy, businesses seek out employees who can speak a variety of languages.  In fact, over the past five years, the demand for bilingual workers in the United States has more than doubled. Studying abroad in Barcelona will provide students with the best foreign language experience possible. Not only will they be interacting with professors based in Spain, but they will be speaking Spanish right outside of their classrooms! Students are surprised at how much faster they learn the new language here in Barcelona than they would at home.

Furthermore, students will learn valuable cross-cultural communication skills such as deciphering facial expressions and gestures in order to successfully understand and appreciate the locals and culture in Barcelona. They will be able to infuse these skills into a professional setting, which will allow them to interact with people from all different backgrounds in the workforce.

#2. You’ll Expand Your Network

Studying abroad will help your future career by enabling you to develop a worldwide contact base of young professionals beyond your native country. Since Barcelona is known for its friendly, laid-back culture, locals are constantly going out of their way to strike up conversations with all of you study abroad students!  You will have no problem developing relationships with individuals from many diverse backgrounds. These relationships can be used in the future as you pursue your professional goals beyond your study abroad experience.  Perhaps your neighbor in your apartment building in Poble Nou works for an incredible marketing firm and can provide you with an interview with the manager. Or maybe your professor in intercultural communications can write a letter of recommendation for you to use in an interview with a potential employer. You never know how you might use these connections in the future!

#3. Studying Abroad Shows Future Employers That You’re Adaptable

Leaving home to pursue a quarter of education in an unfamiliar place requires students to be adaptable. Not only will students have to navigate themselves around a large city, but they will also have to learn how to blend into the local culture. Here in Barcelona, blending in is not as easy as it seems! The easy-going culture is much different than the fast pace culture you are accustomed to.  Students are often surprised by the fact that locals do not order food to-go, but rather sit down for hours at a time for lunch.  This is just a small example that shows how even the slightest difference in culture like meal times will affect how students adjust in the long-term.  Such adaptability is highly valued by employers who expect you to fit into their environment and learn how they do things.

#4. Documenting Your Travels Will Help Your Resume

Although creating a travel blog might seem time-consuming and over the top, it is actually a great way to impress future employers. For starters, it shows that you know how to get a blog up and running, which demonstrates your web knowledge. Secondly, the way you choose to design your blog can show off your creativity. Both of these skills are very desirable to employers since many businesses are discovering how useful these social platforms are when it comes to increasing awareness for their products and services.

All in all, studying abroad will help your future career and opportunities. Through your Spanish courses and teachers, internship opportunities, and life experiences in general, you will stand out as the perfect candidate to your future employer. No matter what you’re studying, this experience of a lifetime will bring you life-long benefits that you would not receive otherwise. So fill out your application today!