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Becoming globally agile

There are a number of ways in which you can boost your global agility whilst at university. As well as the more well-known options to students, such as the study or work abroad opportunities and Languages for All – all of which develop excellent skills and experiences that can be transferred into a global marketplace – there are other opportunities that can also be explored.

  • Volunteering overseas

    There are a number of organisations who have created overseas programmes for volunteers, lasting from 1 week to 1 year. Volunteering overseas will give you the chance to develop skills and knowledge in areas linking to your subject, or in something completely different! Develop new skills or build on existing ones in a different culture and country, taking part in new experiences that can be added to your CV. Here are some websites to get you thinking:

    Teaching English is a safe bet – in some countries (such as Japan, Korea, or Japan to name the more exotic ones) you are likely to get paid, whereas in other it might be a wonderful volunteering experience (think Nepal, Laos, or Latin America). You can volunteer even if you don’t have a TEFL certificate, but knowing how to teach helps.

  • Join Student Societies

    Many of our student societies on campus have a multi-cultural element to them. Join different societies to create and strengthen your experiences of working with people from different cultures. Develop your intercultural communication and team working skills by collaborating on projects with people from different countries, who may have a different way of working to you. These opportunities provide excellent examples you can detail on your applications or at interviews. See more info at University of Essex, student societies at:

  • Develop strong intercultural communication skills

    As well as developing this particular skill by joining student societies on campus, think about the way you communicate in lectures/seminars with academics and friends / class colleagues. There are a multitude of people from different cultures and backgrounds at the university; take the time to network with people and find out more about their country, the cultural differences and how they have coped with adapting to study in a different country.

  • Acquire internationally recognised qualifications

    Aside from your degree programme, what else would be good as an extra on your CV for employers to look at? If you are interested in working abroad in the future, think about which professional qualifications in your area of interest an employer may favour, depending on the country you are interested in. If your degree includes a professional qualification, does the country you are interested in working in accept this?

Global graduates require a complementary mix of skills and attributes which cross areas such as cultural agility and operating with a global mind-set; they must be able to apply these flexibly. Skills that can be developed from engaging with activities that can boost your global agility include:

  • Higher degree of flexibility and ability to adapt to different circumstances, environments and cultures
  • Greater degree of independence and self confidence
  • Working effectively with people from different backgrounds and countries
  • Excellent communication skills
  • Patience and tolerance; a better understanding of people
  • Global outlook and mindset
  • Language skills
  • Seize opportunities and use initiative