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How To Describe Your Semester Abroad Experience On A Resume

Posted by Jen King on 3/12/15 10:51 AM


So you've completed the incredible experience of taking a semester abroad. It's hard enough trying to explain to your friends and family who have never been there exactly what you saw and went through, let alone listing your experiences professionally on a resume. Here's some tips.

While some employers may not put much stock in a resume, more than half say they scan a resume for at least 2 minutes. That means you need to quickly stand out! Guess what? Volunteering for 4 months in a foreign country is pretty noteworthy. Actually, international experience is starting to be more and more necessary for your career.

First, let's get some resume wording tips. Forbes reported on a survey that CareerBuilder did for what key phrases are good to use.  Let's talk about the words to avoid though...


I'm guilty of some of these words for sure. So let's edit our old resumes with these better choices.


So, lucky for you...volunteer is one of the best words to use! You did that! 


How to list some (there's plenty more!) of the noteable things you did throughout your semester and a possible phrasing...

Resume phrases for ILP volunteers

Volunteered to manage a classroom for four months

Set weekly teaching goals and aimed to improve based on feedback from my mentor

Created daily lesson plans ideas and submitted for review on time

Learned to respect unfamiliar cultures and customs

Resolved conflict with peers

Resume phrases for ILP Head Teachers

Evaluated performance of those I mentored and gave creative feedback

Increased learning in the classroom by managing teacher's skills

Resolved conflict within a group setting by suggesting ideas for compromise

Managed expectations from local coordinators, program directors, and peers

Led weekly training meetings


There are many ways to list your experiences on your resume. These phrases actually only list things you did within the classrom, but you know your semester encompassed much more!  We hope these tips help you get started.


If you haven't had international experience but would like to improve your resume with a semester abroad, learn more about being an ILP volunteer below!

International Language Programs

Topics: Benefits of Volunteering, Build Your Resume

Exploring The World For Over 25 Years

Over the years of assisting more than 6,000 volunteers in their desire to travel and make a difference in the lives of others, ILP has seen what works and what doesn't.

We've gathered our tips here for making your semester abroad a successful one.


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