Congratulations on your decision to study in Ukraine. Perhaps you are off to Kiev for a summer course in fashion design, Donetsk to complete an MA in political science, or to Zaporozhye for one semester of engineering. Wherever you are going, your mind is most likely consumed with excitement and anticipation for the new experience—new friends, languages, foods, lifestyle, culture, weather, travel—everything fresh and exciting. While a long list of new things may seem a little scary (and it is), you know the value of going to Ukraine. You will have a good time and you’ll also build international experience to enhance your future job prospects.
In preparation for today’s competitive job market, consider adding one more layer to your experience—super-charge your
time in Ukraine by adding career enhancing professional experiences while overseas. Careers are built step by step, and you can double the international value of your time in Ukraine by doing a few extra things that will look good on your resume and prove to international employers that you understand the international work place. Here are a few tips to help you get the best career punch from your study in Ukraine experience.
PLAN YOUR CAREER GOALS BEFORE STUDYING ABROAD
The new world economy demands that we have international experience as part of our training, and studying in Ukraine is a powerful way to acquire these credentials. You should start thinking about your career before you leave home. Here are a few goals to consider during pre-departure preparations.
· Acquiring professional experience should be a key objective in your study abroad journey. If you don’t leave home with this idea already in mind, you will get caught up in the fun of being in Ukraine, and forget that this is a golden opportunity to gain professional international experience. The first step is to up-date your resume before you leave; then, you need to hit the ground running as soon as you arrive in your host country by immediately launching some of the suggestions found later in this article.
· Use the study in Ukraine experience to gain cross-cultural skills and traits. Future employers, especially if they are international employers, will judge you on your personality, more so than on your academic qualifications (although these are also important). International recruiters recognize that people who succeed overseas have a specific set of skills and traits – a high international IQ. You need to use your time in Ukraine to mix and mingle with people from other cultures, and this includes “professional” mixing and mingling also.
· Don’t focus solely on academics while studying in Ukraine. Future employers will not be impressed by the quantity of courses you took while in Ukraine, and they may not even look at your marks, especially if your stay is eight months or less. What will peak an employer’s interest
is that you succeeded cross-culturally in a new environment.
· Show initiative in a cross-cultural environment. You can prove your worth to future employers by taking the initiative to accomplish a few identifiable career building experiences while in Ukraine. Organize an event, volunteer in your field, or arrange a visit with professionals in your areas of expertise. These small undertakings will prove to future employers that you have what it takes to succeed in a new culture and your future resume will shine brighter if you can provide multiple examples of initiative in a culture other then your own.
GAIN PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE WHILE STUDYING
There are many ways you can extend the professional side of your academic studies while in Ukraine. Even short professional experiences will be a valuable addition to your resume.
· Join a multicultural student work team while in Ukraine. Search out courses that require group work where you can gain valuable cross-cultural work experience. RESUME WORDING: “Consistently sought
out courses requiring team work with students from different cultures. Gained appreciation for the multicultural work environment where my culture was the minority.”
· Intern or volunteer as a researcher with a prominent professor working in your field. It is often difficult for a professor to hire foreign students, so volunteer your services instead. If this fails, try to pair up with a local graduate student doing research work, and offer to work with them on a volunteer basis. Since your time in Ukraine is usually short, start these strategies within the first two weeks of arriving on campus.
· Offer your English skills in cities where English is not the
native language. You can easily use your English language skills to: help a professor edit a paper for an international conference, teach English to fellow students, or help an organization write an English language web site. Consider putting together a lexicon of English terms in your field of study and offer a course on these terms to your fellow students. The possibilities for sharing your English language skills are endless.
· Meet professionals in your field of expertise while overseas. Imagine being part of a small group of foreign engineering students and taking the lead to organize a visit to a local research and development engineering firm in your field. This strategy is easy to execute. Alternatively, as a political science student, organize a visit to meet with professionals at the headquarters of an international organization situated in a neighbouring city. Or, plan to write an essay in one of your courses that requires you to meet local experts in your field. This is an excellent networking opportunity and can even be inserted in your resume. RESUME WORDING: “Initiated meetings with 3 local community development experts (government, social service agency and private consultant) to design research parameters and identify local case studies to match my subject matter. Gained broad insight into the local perceptive on this issue.”
· Volunteer off campus, preferably in your field. Extend the overseas living experience outside of the academic environment and learn about the local community that surrounds you.
· Extend your stay in Ukraine by one month or more with an internship, language learning or cross-cultural travel with a professional purpose. While in Ukraine, you have a golden opportunity to double the value of your overseas study experience. For the cost of one extra month, a month-long professional internship would double the value of your study abroad experience on your resume.
GAIN CROSS-CULTURAL EXPERIENCE OUTSIDE THE CLASSROOM WHILE IN UKRAINE
Make friends and have fun, but professionalize your experience to show employers that you understand the cross-cultural environment.
· Beware of the foreign student ghetto. If you only hang out with students from your home country, you will miss out on a lot of cross-cultural learning.
· Join student organizations where local students are the majority, like the business society, or the political science association. Your aim is to make local friends and perhaps take on a leadership position for one of their projects. RESUME WORDING: “Active participant in two local student organizations (Greenpeace and Milan Students for Human Rights), and key organizer for two social events. Gained valuable intercultural insights while working closely with local students.”
· Learn to professionally describe your host country’s culture. It’s easy to be professional when describing another culture. Read a few books on your host country similar to these: “Good Neighbours: Communicating with the Mexicans” or “Understanding Arabs: A guide for Westerners”. You can then create a short professional description of the cultural norms for your host country and impress future employers. RESUME WORDING: “Able to professionally describe the cultural traits of East Europeans in both a social and professional work environment.”
· Integrate with local families and travel regionally. Befriend local students and get yourself invited into their homes. These visits provide valuable insights and can later be inserted into a resume for professional gain. RESUME WORDING: “While living in student residence, was often invited by host country nationals to travel on weekends to their family homes. Gained valuable insights on family life in a wide variety of socio-economic conditions.”
· Learn the local language. Language learning is a must for any international career. Even learning a scattering of a few local words will do wonders in cementing relationships, and indicates to future employers a propensity for languages. No need to say, but second language learning is important. RESUME WORDING: “Russian and Ukrainian languages abilities for basic greetings and reading travel directions”
· Good luck and best wishes for your golden time studying in Ukraine!
Ejikeme Tobenna is author of Study Cheap Abroad Get the best European standard quality education in Ukraine for as low as $2,500 a year,100% visa guaranteed. visit site to apply. http://www.studyinukrainenow.com Abroad magazine.