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Cultural Agility

7 Must Have Skills to Be Guaranteed a Job After Graduation

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7 Must Have Skills to Be Guaranteed a Job After Graduation

universitiy admissions are at an all time high.jpg

Once considered a path for the intellectual, enrollments to universities and colleges around the world are at all-time highs. This, of course, means that a record number of graduating students are finishing their degrees and searching for relevant jobs. Competition for such positions has never been so fierce. While obtaining such a sought-after position may be a little more difficult in the modern day, that doesn’t mean the opportunity is off limits to you.

With the right skills, you can drastically improve your chances. We’ve put together 7 must-have skills as viewed by management and recruiters across a range of industries.

 

Cultural Agility

In the modern day, the majority of businesses are often operating in a global environment. Whether through clientele, outsourcing projects or ordering supplies from abroad, it’s likely you’ll encounter foreign cultures in some respect. To succeed in such an environment, it’s necessary to have an understanding of cultural norms and to be culturally sensitive. Business practices invariably change from one culture to another. The understanding of these differences could mean the difference between obtaining or losing prospective business.

 

Communication Skills

Communication can take many forms and is viewed as one of the key attributes an employee must have by recruiters. The spread of ideas, the sharing of information and the resolving of conflicts are all part of communication that can take place both internally and outside an organization. This can also include the aforementioned cultural knowledge and communication across a range of cultures and business environments.

 Teamwork

Perhaps the most important of all attributes for prospective employees to possess is the ability to work as part of a team. This means co-operating on projects and addressing issues as they arise, ensuring small problems don’t escalate. It also means managing conflicts. Not only conflicts with the work itself but clashes between personalities and personal agendas.

 

Leadership

Perhaps a graduate fresh out of college wouldn’t expect leadership to be a trait they are judged on. They’d be wrong. Leadership can take various forms and isn’t solely reserved for upper management or ownership. The ability and confidence to make decisions is one aspect of leadership, as is encouraging and motivating fellow employees. This doesn’t have to take a verbal form, but can be demonstrated through commitment and dedication to the task. Delegation of tasks is another essential component of effective leadership, something new employees should already be looking at executing.

Organization

The ability to plan and prioritize work leads to efficiency in the workplace (a major corporate buzzword) and ensures the most important tasks are delivered first. Deadlines have to be met and how you demonstrate your ability to meet them will be taken into account. While organization comes naturally to some, there’s no doubt it’s a learnable/teachable skill. If you can demonstrate this effectively, starting with your resume, you’ll get a considerable jump-start on the competition.

 

Specific Technical Skills/Knowledge

Gone are the days where it paid to be a jack-of-all-trades, master of none. In our current day and age, corporations look for highly skilled individuals, with expertise in 1 or 2 specific areas. Obviously, it pays to build this expertise for the position you wish to apply for.

School specific training isn’t necessarily adequate to demonstrate this, practical and extra-curricular coursework/training is viewed favorably.

 

Ability to Analyze Data

The need to understand analytics is essential to most industries. Whether you are working in a field such as marketing, law or human resources, part of your position will involve data analysis in some aspect. Whether it be analyzing the performance of a marketing budget or understanding demographics of your target customers, numbers allow a more effective service or product to be delivered.

It is essential to give yourself an evaluation of the 7 areas listed above and determine where your strengths and weaknesses lie. Perhaps with the help of a trusted source who knows you well. In the areas you lack, it’s a good idea to take a course or study relevant material that will allow you to improve. While it’s better to excel in a few select skills rather than be average or above average at all of them, it’s also important not to forego competence in any.

By focusing on the 7 skills highlighted above, you’re drastically improving the chances of landing the job you’ve spent such a long time studying for.

Are there any other skills you’d add to the list? Let us know in the comments below.

Join our China Internship Program and Take the time to develop your professional skill sets. Contact Miranda for more information at mm@mychinaopportunity.com or find more information here

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8 Ways Travel Changes How You Think

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8 Ways Travel Changes How You Think

For many, home becomes comfortable. The same faces, places, and things to do. Leaving your childhood bubble for an overseas adventure can be a great way to break free!An opportunity to see new cultures, food, and entertainment that the world offers.

How can travel change the way you think?

I can tell you! I am an international student in the US studying finance that has left a tight knit community to travel abroad.

1. We now live in a global village:

Traveling teaches that cultures everywhere are beginning to get very intertwined. Not only is there a stroke of foreign influence in your hometown, but it is everywhere else that you may travel! You will hear music from your home country being mixed into music where you are traveling, food blended for local pallets that originated halfway across the world, and languages using colloquiums that you may have thought were your own. And with mom and dad only a free Skype call away, you won’t feel thousands of miles from home. The world is getting smaller, and traveling helps you to understand that.

Travel or Intern in China to experience a fusion of culture

Travel or Intern in China to experience a fusion of culture

2. There is more to this extraordinary world than the bubble you grew up in:

As we can all agree, home is comfortable. We know everyone, our family is there, our high school crush is there, and we know exactly where to go for a late-night bite.  But staying in your bubble also severely limits your worldview and ideas for what is possible with your life and career.

Traveling abroad and seeing new cultures, the people, and the industry helps you to realize that there is a world of opportunity awaiting you. When you start to see some of the architectural, engineering, artistic and infrastructural wonders that the world has to offer, your mind can’t help but begin to dream of big things. Get out of your little bubble, unleash your mind and allow it to dream!

3. It is OK to try new things:

We will start slowly with this one, just try the food! In every traveling experience the food is usually the first and most obvious separator of cultures. Seeing the variety of spices, meats, vegetables, and fruits can be an awe-inspiring experience for some (let’s hear it for our fellow foodies!) and a nerve-racking challenge for others.

For those of us that prefer the tastes of home,  food can be a good first step into understanding the cultures that are available. You’re going to have to eat eventually on that trip, right? But don’t get trapped into buying the generic international fast food that is available at most places in this global village, try the local offerings, learn that other people have different cultures and tastes, and who knows? It may even make you an international friend or two!

 4. You can handle being independent!

Traveling while you’re a student allows you a special variety of independence. Your free to make your own dining decisions, explore wherever you want, and practically do anything your little heart desires. While traveling, you can blend into the local culture as much as you please, unencumbered by the societal norms of your hometown. You can mix and learn from new cultures and people that may not have been available before. You will quickly learn that for some, everyday life is drastically different than what you are used to. Celebrations are different, customs are different and even acceptable personal space is different! Learning to accept new cultures and norms grows your independence and personality. It helps you become confident in who you are separate from peer groups and family. Travel helps you be comfortable with you because you will see that everyone is different!

 5. Pushing the boundaries of your comfort zone can be freeing:

Only on international trips do you get to parade around the city in costume, run with the bulls, participate in a huge tomato fight, or dress up as a gorilla without worrying about what others think of you. Traveling allows you to act in ways you never thought normal. Without old friends and relatives around, you can test the limits of your comfort zone, learning that change is not as scary as people make it out to be! It may even inspire you to try that new class, sport, or partner for a date when you get back to school!

6. Travel teaches you to cope with stress:

Being away from your comfort zone, on your own in a foreign country can sometimes be extraordinarily stressful! Missing flights, loosing travel documents and language barriers can sometimes be huge stressors! Being able to handle these situations, and enjoy the new experiences at the same time teaches you how to cope with stress in everyday situations. Loosing that passport and having to spend a few extra days in a hostel may sound like a horror story, but if you can handle that you can certainly handle those exams. If you can enjoy your experiences abroad despite seemingly monumental challenges, getting through stressors at home will be far less of a challenge!

7. Traveling makes you more accepting:

Seeing different parts of the world, trying new foods, learning new cultures, and embracing differences in new countries teaches us that everyone is unique. It teaches to be accepting of those at home and school that we formally marginalized because of their differences. Often, travel puts us in positions where we are the minority in another country; linguistically, racially, and culturally. Learning to embrace our own differences while traveling makes accepting and welcoming different people far easier when we get back home.

8. Traveling makes you more interesting:

Traveling gives you new insights into the world around you, it gives you new things to talk about and new experiences to share. We all get tired of hearing the same old gossip from our school and hometown and traveling opens whole new conversations and opportunities for relationships when you return. Being able to relate to others who are from the country you have traveled to and being able to relate to those who have had similar experiences makes branching out to new social groups far easier. That cute guy or girl in your class may even be from the country that you just visited, and with your new experience, that ice breaker is going to be allot easier! 

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8 Things I Have Learned About Living in China my First Month & Advice

Intern in China to Adventure to new places 

Intern in China to Adventure to new places 

1. Most Useful Apps For Getting Around- We found that the most useful Apps to have are Wechat (Weixin), Pleco,and Youdao on your smartphone.

Wechat - Is useful because everyone in Beijing has one, and will add you on there as a contact instead of giving a phone number. It acts as a platform for free calling, text, and video-calling internationally. You can also send someone your location with the app which is helpful since google maps does not work here without VPN(without a VPN, you cannot access many sites blocked in China like Google, Instagram, Facebook, Youtube, and some other sites, mainly social media platforms are blocked).   

Pleco- is an app that is the best Chinese to English dictionary I have used. For $10 US, you can upgrade (which is very extremely helpful) to get the camera option and translate right at that moment.  

Youdao- Is great if you have long paragraphs of text to translate. (Also alongside this, the way that my roommate and I get around, is that we carry notebooks in our bags with some key terms and phrases we have collected over time. While we have memorized most of these phrases and know what to say for some situations, it is nice to have something to reference.)

2. The Bathroom Situation- In China and in many other countries in Asia, the toilets are squatting toilets.

This means that instead of a toilet to sit on, there is (for lack of better descriptions), a stall with a hole that you squat over. While many of the newer buildings do have western style toilets, the less modern ones have these available. Also public bathrooms in the hutongs (the small streets/ alleys in china) will have these squatting toilets.

Also sometimes there is not any toilet paper in the bathroom at all and you are expected to bring your own personal pack of disposable tissues/ toilet paper (which most people do, so it is very important to have on hand in case) to these stalls. Sometimes there is soap but, it is highly recommended that you pack your own hand sanitizer bottle and/ or hand wipes for public restrooms. 

Parkview Green

Parkview Green

3. Language-  While I was told that I could take weekly language lessons during my co-op it is important that before you come you develop a basic understanding of Mandarin.

Not many people in Beijing speak English ( some young people can speak English, not so much the older generation). I have become comfortable with some basic questions and how to get around within a month with pinyin.

4. The People are Amazing- Within my short time here, I really have come to appreciate how kind, hardworking, and good-hearted everyone is here.

It is difficult when you first start out, without being able to express yourself to others because of the language barrier. It is sometimes a challenge to express your basic needs and wants at times, but most people in Beijing are very relaxed. They will work with you and listen when you ask for directions or have questions.

It is important stay calm when you get stuck, and if you make a mistake to take it easy on one’s self. Remain positive and take each experience as a learning experience, remember to smile and try to break down want to know in simpler terms in Mandarin. If you are corrected, simply take note of what vocabulary worked, and what didn’t prevent it from happening again.

5. Safety - If traveling through Beijing from 8am - 12pm you will be perfectly fine, it really depends where you are traveling( in my opinion).

It is fairly peaceful and not many pickpockets (especially compared to European countries I have visited). Just mind your belongings and don’t leave anything loose.

6. Cabs- Avoid black cabs (My coordinator warned me of this during orientation) because they might try to raise the price after you arrive at your destination. 

Personal Experience- About 2 weeks ago I encountered a black cab when I was trying to call a cab, the driver tried calling me over. He then show me a subway receipt in English, (he pointed to the word Taxation) and claimed it was his cab license..

Beijing Sight Seeing During your Internship 

Beijing Sight Seeing During your Internship 

7. Shopping- Large malls are usually for luxury items and have foreign imports.

Besides supermarkets or these malls it is fine to bargain if the store is outside or if you are in a touristy area. The prices are usually inflated. The only time people try to take your money (most people will not try to steal from you)is usually through inflating the price. There are many lovely streets and fun finds in China, you can find some really great finds. My favorite place so far is Qianmen.

8. Air Quality - I already knew about this one, but it is a good one to know.

 Living in the same city you become aware of the effect of air pollution and the source of the pollution becomes more noticeable.

Main reasons for pollution:

-It is densely populated.   

-The surrounding provinces manufacture and the wind brings the pollution. A lot of heavy manufacturing has been pushed out of Beijing in recent years.

-Many places use charcoal and burn firewood as both a source of warmth and to cook (the air quality drops significantly in the summer time because of this).

However, the people in Beijing are taking progressive measures to increase both awareness and improve the health of their environment through initiatives, and events found throughout the city. If you are interested in coming Beijing, bring breathing masks(I recommend 3M brand) to combat the pollution, and since the air is very dry, to bring pack or purchase (when you arrive ) lots of moisturizers (ex: lip balm, body lotion, face lotion).

Blog Post by Joan Suh- Fashion Intern from Drexel University 

 

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