As the end of your time in college draws near, there’s bound to be a lot on your mind. In the short-term, you need to pass your exams and get that degree under your belt. In the long-term, you need to figure out what the rest of your life is going to look like.
A huge, important chapter is now over, and a daunting decision awaits. A lot of students use this time to travel the world before facing the working world, if you've got the budget to do it. Heading straight for your first job to start earning can leave you wishing you’d taken the chance to go abroad instead, as you nurse a terrible case of Instagram-based FOMO.
For Irish grads, the unique 1-year US Graduate Visa allows you to improve your CV and still get that travel time under your belt. If you’re stuck in two minds about what to do after graduation, here are 7 reasons to consider working abroad.
1. A New Environment
A new challenge awaits when you go abroad. You’re making your own way and will be learning as you go, giving you plenty of real world experience to draw on.
No matter what area you want to work in, learning from some of the most talented people in their fields - from Wall Street to Silicon Valley - will make you better qualified.
2. Fill up your CV
Fighting to get noticed in a pile of applications is a tough challenge, and having international experience like a graduate visa makes your CV stand out a mile.
Companies also know that they’re hiring someone with their head on their shoulders who had to fend for themselves while they did the hard yards abroad, and that means a lot. You’re trustworthy, you want to challenge yourself, and you know how to make one bag of pasta stretch for two weeks.
3. Travel bug
The travel bug can bite in a number of different ways. Maybe you didn’t go on a J1 because you were working your way through the summer, or you went on an Erasmus year and now you need to see more of the world.
But if you’re worried about jetting off because you want to get started on your career, you don’t have to sacrifice one for the other. The graduate visa gives you the chance to work and travel, gaining experience for your CV and incredible pics for your Facebook too.
4. Growing up
Even if you’ve never been the ‘gap yah’ type, going abroad gives you a valuable new set of skills. You’ll meet new people, try different foods and learn about other cultures, but most importantly you’ll learn to stand on your own two feet.
That maturity will definitely give you a head start on the competition in the job market, but could also lead to you discovering your new passion or dream job, and set you down the path to making it happen.
Having the degree is one thing, but learning to network and make a list of contacts you can call on will help you no end in getting ahead.
Before you even arrive, you’ll need to talk to companies and people who you can work for, and once you’re there you can get out to events and meet as many people as possible. With your phonebook full of new contacts, doors will start to open for you both at home and abroad.
6. The value of Irish charm
Being from ‘the aul sod’ is a huge advantage abroad, you just might not know it yet. You’ll meet plenty of Irish people who have settled down in the US and are happy to offer help and advice, and loads of others who simply love your accent and want to buy you a beer.
Blogger Erika Fox (better known perhaps as @retroflame) took the chance and set up in the New York City on a graduate visa, and hasn’t looked back since.
It is the land of opportunity, after all...
7. What’s the worst that could happen?
Even if it’s not everything you hoped and dreamed of, spending a year abroad making new friends, seeing new sights and overcoming new challenges will stand to you.
The opportunity for Irish graduates to live and work in the US is unique; no other country gets a chance like this. You’re more likely to regret not going than wishing you’d never been.