Have you ever sat in an interview and been asked for an example of when you have “thought outside of the box” or “worked with a team to overcome a challenge”? Difficult as they are, these types of questions are extremely common. A gap year overseas is a fantastic way to provide unique and impressive answers to these questions and boost your employability!
Here are five important skills you are sure to gain on a Lattitude placement abroad, and how they can help you along in your career path.
Whether you are instructing an activity with a group of children or planning the next weekend away for yourself and the rest of the volunteers, there will be plenty of opportunities for you to develop your leadership skills. Having the ability to make key decisions with confidence is an important attribute and an interesting story from your time volunteering overseas is a bonus! Prospective employers are always looking for evidence of leadership in young applicants no matter what type of job you might be applying for.
2. Planning and organization
The planning needed to organize your gap year overseas can often be hard work. It requires dedication, diligence and a lot of research. You need to choose which country you want to travel to, what sort of placement you’re most interested in and how long you’d like to be overseas for. Then there's the small mountain of paperwork to wade through: fights, visas, insurance, inoculations, police and medical clearance and more! Although your Lattitude coordinator is always on hand to help and guide you with all of these things, it is ultimately your responsibility. Being able to plan your own experience shows commitment, independence and great organizational skills – things that potential employers are always looking out for!
3. Problem solving and adaptability
Volunteering internationally really gets you out of your comfort zone. Being in a completely new environment helps you push your boundaries and become a lot more confident in situations you’re not used to. Navigating new cultures and ways of life teaches you how to quickly adapt to new situations and it also teaches you to think on your feet. In job interviews it’s important to have examples of times where you’ve been challenged and have had to work hard to persevere and solve the problem.
As a volunteer abroad, your communication skills will be in high demand. Whether you are teaching, working as an outdoor instructor or a caring assistant, you will need to communicate effectively with your colleagues and students to ensure that you carry out your role effectively. In a country where English is not widely spoken, your communication skills will be further tested on an everyday basis as you get to grips with the local lingo.
5. Working as part of a team
Volunteering abroad is a great opportunity to learn how to work with a other people, even those with backgrounds and lifestyles vastly different from yours. Living in a new place, thousands of miles from home encourages you to learn how to be adaptable and flexible, which are key skills that employers will often look for. Being able to show off your success at thriving in another country and with people from a different culture will absolutely impress your potential employer.
Volunteering abroad is not only a life-enhancing experience in itself, but also a stepping stone to securing yourself a career when you get home!