Can working abroad make you more employable?

Woman walking at an airport with a bag in hand

Discover the untapped potential within you. In today's interconnected business landscape, global work experience has become the ultimate key to success. Working abroad will help you develop an invaluable skill set that includes cultural understanding, adaptability, and diverse perspectives.

Collaborate seamlessly across borders, conquer complex global markets, and ignite innovation with a workforce enriched by diverse experiences. Embrace the global journey and let your career soar to new heights!

Skills students can gain from working abroad 

We’ve included some of the top skills you can gain from working abroad and examples of how you could explain these skills to potential employers on your résumé. 


Illustration of a gear surrounded by changing shapes held by a human handAn international work term challenges individuals to adapt to new experiences, broaden their perspectives, and become more resilient. In some cultures, direct, assertive language is an expectation, not a criticism. Recognizing differences in communication styles and navigating unfamiliar environments builds adaptability, problem-solving skills, and a deeper understanding of oneself.

Sample résumé statement: Cultivated adaptability in an international work environment by embracing diverse cultures and fostering personal growth through navigating unfamiliar situations.


Illustartion of three people 9around a light bulb -symbolsing idea generation in collaboartive settingsBeing part of a multinational team requires effective collaboration with colleagues from different cultures. In navigating language barriers and developing cross-cultural understanding, students learn effective communication strategies, improve their conflict resolution skills, and gain a multicultural context that helps them to collaborate with colleagues in all future work environments.
Sample résumé statement: Experienced professional skilled in multicultural collaboration, language navigation and effective communication by fostering teamwork and personal growth in diverse environments.


Illustration of various communication mediums

Immersing yourself in an environment with different cultural norms and spoken languages on an international work term will help sharpen your communication skills.

For example, in some countries, it may be considered rude to ask questions of superiors, so it is important to understand communication styles and adjust accordingly. Paying attention to non-verbal cues, active listening, and learning the local language can help students build communication skills that will help ensure success in the workplace.

Sample résumé statement: Adapted communication style, learned local language and leveraged cultural understanding to foster effective collaborations in new country. 


Illusttration of a paper, light-bulb, pencil and gear symbolsing creativityOn an international work term, students learn to be creative and open to different perspectives. For example, when working on a marketing campaign, it is important to consider how the needs and interests of the local culture may differ from your own.

By understanding and incorporating cultural nuances, language preferences, and customs, you can effectively communicate and connect with your target audience, leading to improved brand awareness and building your ability to creatively approach your work.

Sample résumé statement: Creatively tailored marketing strategies to adapt to diverse cultural nuances, languages and customs for international brand success.


    Critical thinking

    Illustration of a human head with a gear and nodes in place of brainsIn a global workplace, it is important to actively seek diverse perspectives on a proposed business strategy, consider cultural nuances and understand local market dynamics.

    By analyzing data, challenging assumptions, and making informed decisions, students build their critical thinking skills that can maximize success in the global market.

    Sample résumé statement: Fostered critical thinking in diverse cultures as a global professional making informed decisions to drive success in dynamic environments.

    Cultural awareness

    Illustration of a globe with 3 people infront of itWhen working in a new country, it’s crucial to understand cultural norms in the workplace. For example, in some countries, bowing can be a form of greeting or show of respect, as opposed to a handshake.

    In others, there can be a strong respect for authority, and so deference to superiors is essential in the workplace. As workplaces become increasingly diverse, the cultural awareness that students build on an international work term can help them to be successful in a variety of workplaces.

    Sample résumé statement: Promoted inclusivity and effective communication to drive collaboration in diverse workplace environments as a culturally aware professional.


      Global mindset

      Illustration of a globe and a magnifying glassHaving a global mindset means understanding the specific needs and cultural contexts of life in different regions. For example, working in a developing country can bring awareness to the lived experience of others, which in turn can enable innovations that address local needs and constraints.  

      Developing a global mindset during an international work term not only helps students demonstrate their cultural sensitivity but can also enhance problem-solving skills and foster cross-cultural collaboration.

      Sample résumé statement: Developed global mindset through international work, fostering cultural understanding, adaptability and successful collaboration in diverse environments.


      Illustration of a person with their hands up and stars in the backgroundInternational work terms offer an immersive platform to explore diverse cultures, challenge one’s comfort zones, and foster new perspectives. Working internationally helps students build self-assessment skills by igniting their curiosity, cultivating their adaptability, and promoting understanding.

      It can ultimately lead to students developing a deeper sense of themselves, broaden their horizons and provide a more interconnected worldview.

      Sample résumé statement: Skilled at leveraging international travel for self-discovery as a global citizen, fostering cultural understanding and embracing diverse perspectives for personal and professional growth.



      Illustration of a person smiling and the word "go" inscribed in a star next to themLearning to overcome obstacles that arise in international environments can help students develop self-motivation and self-management skills that can help ensure success in work terms.

      For example, language barriers can seem daunting, but determination and immersion in the local language can accelerate learning. Not only does self-motivation help in learning a new language, but also demonstrates a commitment to understanding others, breaking barriers, and maximizing collaboration potential.

      Sample résumé statement: Motivated professional leveraged international experiences for personal and professional growth in global collaboration.

      Want to learn more about skills for the future? The University of Waterloo’s Future Ready Talent Framework (FRTF) is a research-backed tool to help students understand key competencies to navigate the future of work and learning.