How to make the most of Exchange for Professional Development!

Written by Julia Clarke, Maddy Whitting and Gabi Price

An international study experience allows you the opportunity to travel overseas, develop your professional skills and challenge yourself, all whilst furthering your academic studies.

We are three students studying Media and Communications that have completed a one semester exchange as part of our degrees. As the media industry is constantly evolving, graduates are required to be adaptable and to demonstrate that they can work in challenging and new environments. We have found that undertaking an exchange has not only given us a once in a lifetime travel experience but has improved our professional attributes and provided us with skills that will benefit our future careers.

Life Skills

Undertaking an exchange is the opportunity of a lifetime. Through this journey, you are faced with many challenges and are taken completely out of your comfort zone, undoubtedly allowing you to expand as a person and gain a lot of skills throughout the journey. These skills include:  

  • Independence:
    • Moving to a new city without the support of your family and friends requires you to take full responsibility for yourself and live completely independently.
  • Goal setting:
    • The process of applying and preparing for exchange can sometimes feel overwhelming but as you work towards your goal and eventually reap the rewards, the experience is extremely satisfying.
  • Resilience:
    • Travelling, and particularly travelling alone, comes with its own set of challenges which require you to solve the problems at hand and be adaptable to all the circumstances you may find yourself in.

Professional Development

When asked, “80% of employers ” said they would actively seek out graduates with who had undertaken an international exchange experience. The skills you gain through the exchange experience can be directly transferred to skills that benefit your future career, such as:

  • Showing initiative
    • By being proactive when faced with challenges on exchange, you are illustrating initiative by overcoming problems, a common skill needed in the workforce.
  • Risk taking
    • The experiences you have from going on exchange demonstrate that you are not afraid of taking risks, which can be transferred to innovative thinking in the workplace.
  • Interpersonal skills:
    • Making friends on exchange can be seen as one huge networking event, often with people from many different cultural backgrounds who speak different languages. You develop the skills to successfully communicate with a diverse range of individuals and build lifelong friendships.

For more ways we believe that exchange has prepared us to enter the workforce, please watch the video below which details our international experiences.

If you’re interested in a semester exchange, or an equally rewarding short-term exchange, please check out the “QUT Student Exchange ” website on HiQ for information about where you can go, how to apply and the financial support available to you.

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