Many of those who have participated in the Europe’s most exciting mobility project would say:
‘Once Erasmus, always Erasmus’.
Even if the motto could seem far from an affirmation of your career skills, analyzing it on a deeper level, actually your Erasmus can be a formative experience that sets you on a path of growth. The months that you spend abroad as an Erasmus student or trainee can be very constructive and benefit you on a more long-term basis. Statistics demonstrate that taking part in the Erasmus program improves your cultural awareness, adaptability and language skills, transversal traits highly appreciated by employers.
But how can you develop yourself during your stay abroad?
Here following 4 tips for you to enjoy and take advantage at most of your Erasmus experience.
1. Learn the language of the hosting country
First and foremost, if you don’t already speak the language of the place where you are living, make a real effort to learn it. Sure, employers consider being bilingual or multilingual as a hard skill, but they will also appreciate the intercultural competence, tolerance and perseverance that learning a new language requires. Even if the language is not necessary for the position, learn it: employers will value the hours of hard work and bravery that you putted into it.
2. Networking events
During a period abroad you have the chance to meet with a much wider variety of multicultural people, including those that could teach you something or that could become valuable contacts for your future career. Websites like meetup.com can provide you with social as well as professional opportunities to learn new things and expand your network.
3. Get involved in event planning and organisations
Just like university at home, Erasmus participants are lucky enough to be part of a community that is well catered for in terms of events, organisations and societies. Probably much of the activities will be voluntary, but you will be rewarded in terms of friendship and experience! The majority of students leave the university with little or no working experience at all: your extra-curricular organising skills and activities will demonstrate to employers your enthusiasm and willingness to get involved.
4. Work or train part-time
While Erasmus trainees are already involved in this step, also as Erasmus student you may have enough free time to look for a part time job or training, especially in places where your native language is in demand. Working abroad is hugely beneficial for personal and professional development because you will leave the university with the added advantage of a fresh international outlook: taking the plunge into a foreign job market proves courage and will make you a great communicator.