The Global Advantage
Students, you know that college is an important time to figure out what kind of career you want to pursue and to acquire the knowledge and skills you need to enter that field. But has anyone explained to you why global competencies are so important for leadership in our interconnected world?
Consider this: Unlike your grandparents, and to some degree, your parents, you are entering a global job market and youth employment numbers aren't good. In fact, the global unemployment rate was 12.7% in 2012, though in some countries, such as Greece, the rate is double or even triple! A 2012 report by the International Labour Organization, reported that one in eight young people was expected to be unemployed, and this isn't just a third-world problem. In fact, the recession hit young people in rich countries the hardest with youth unemployment climbing to 27% between 2008 and 2011.
How to combat this unfortunate reality? One way is to build your resume in the areas of cross-cultural and intercultural understanding and competency. While studying abroad for a full year is consider the "gold standard" for experiencing another culture while learning more about your own culture and yourself than you could ever imagine, there are many ways to build your resume right here at UW-Whitewater. You might:
- Study, intern, do research, or volunteer abroad. Again, this is the gold standard. To get the most out of such an experience, connect your experience abroad to your academic major or minor in some way. If you are interested in become a teacher, consider doing your student teaching abroad. If you are studying history and Spanish language, find a program in Peru where you can improve your language and get a new perspective on Spanish colonization. Interested? Attend a Global Café event in Andersen Library to hear returned study abroad students describe how they benefited from time abroad. Then attend a Global Pathways session at the Center for Global Education.
- Engage with international students right here on the UW-Whitewater campus! Check the box asking for an international roommate, befriend an international student or apply to be a Global Ambassador, or join the International Student Association. If you aren't outgoing by nature, imagine yourself studying abroad. Wouldn't you love it if a local student wanted to be your friend and introduce you to his/her culture, friends and family?
- Attend some of the many campus lectures, films, and other events focused on other cultures or perspectives such as the Southeast Asia Heritage Lecture Series, Latinos Unidos, or the Pride Center. If you made a goal to attend two each semester, at the end of four years you might have learned about eight different cultures! In your resume or graduate student application you can highlight how these extra-curricular activities allowed you to gain an awareness and appreciation of other cultures.
- Play a leadership role in an international or diversity club or apply for a student job at the Center for Global Education. This will signal to employers that you are able to work with people of diverse backgrounds, seek out new challenges, and can handle some ambiguity and consider other perspectives.
To read the full Huffington Post article, see: "Youth Unemployment: One in Eight Global Youths will be Unemployed This Year," by Bonnie Kayoussi, posted on line May 23, 2012.
Jump into the global scene. Once you get your feet wet, you'll want to dive into this exciting sector of life in the 21st Century! The world awaits...