Why Don’t Students Understand The Linkage Between Study Abroad & Employability?
The short answer is–I don’t know and I’m not sure there are easy ways to expain why.
Last week, along with my colleague, Dr. Vera Chapman, Associate Director of Career Services at Colgate University, we conducted a webinar for NACE (National Association of Colleges and Employers) with participants from a diverse group working in career service offices at 71 colleges and universities (public, private, small, large, urban amd rural and in all regions of the country). When asked if their students understood the linkage of studying abroad to their students’ employasbility, 86% responded NO or UNSURE.
You may be saying, students have bigger things to be thinking about – like graduating on time. As a recent essay in the Chronicle of Higher Education by Karin Fischer pointed out (2-23-16), “2 Keys to Success for Underprivileged Students: When to Start College, and Where to Go,” http://chronicle.com/article/2-Keys-to-Success-for/235377?cid=trend_right_a, “If low-income students end up on paths with lower rates of success, they risk ‘being left behind.’ A college degree is becoming the fault line between haves and have nots.”
And this is what ties in concerns about the very low number of minority & low-income students enrolled at a majority of our institutions, and the notion that it is very important for students to learn – early on- that if they do have an international experience, it will BOTH help them gain invaluable skills that employers do value AND it will also mean they are more likely to graduate on time and enter the workforce at home or sbroad.
In 2016, students and their families know it’s important to both get a college degree and graduate with the kinds of skills that will make them more employable; our campuses – and student affairs offices like career services – need to do a much better job at getting the attention of students to inform them of the benefits of gaining international experience – and making it an affordable option for all students to consider.