by Blaž Rošer
Sure, we can all agree that studying a Bachelor's degree abroad is a great idea for your future development and career, but should you double down on your international experience and also join a student organization while at it? Here are the top 7 reasons why you might consider doing that:
1. Gain soft skills
Working in any student's organisation will enable us to explore and develop so-called "soft skills". Basic skills that appear in this line of "work" are: time management, team-building and group dynamics, project management, communication skills and networking.
All kinds of organisations, student organisations as well as every company are requiring teamwork as a core skill and usually, everything is based around teamwork and cooperation with other people. Some organisations even offer internal training workshops to sharpen our skills to perform better, evolve as organisation members and ease our work in an organisation and later at our future job.
2. Networking opportunities
As the name international student organisation suggests, those organisations are assembled of students from several countries connections which enables us to network with foreign students all over Europe or the World, depending on the organisation.
Some organisations are "regional" based in specific parts of the world, some are worldwide oriented and that gives us a chance to get international connections on different levels. More or less all international organisations have developed a certain international organisation structure consisting of local committees, regional chapters and a central administration for example.
3. Extracurricular activities
Being part of any organization offers us activities that formal education usually doesn't have in its curriculum. Even though organizations are international, they still perform on local level and offer activities for their members and local students, what enables us again with lots of possibilities of networking, sharpening our soft skills but also with interesting activities to fill our free time and to bond with our friends that we usually also find in that kind of organizations. Activities may range from sport activities, additional knowledge courses, excursions, partying and fun activities.
4. (Cheap) Traveling
Most of the organizations offer some kind of international or inter-cultural cooperation within the organization or in cooperation with other organizations that enables us to visit other countries and experience other cultures. Student's organizations are oriented to be student-friendly what also means that they have experience in cheap ways of travelling and generously share their experience with us when we are preparing for trips to other countries and we have limited budget. Some events are partly or even fully funded by companies or the European Commission for example so that you get reimbursed a part or even all of your expenses.
5. Long-term (long-distance) friendships
During trips to different workshops or exchanges, you will have met a lot of great people. Naturally, quite some friendships can emerge from that and last way longer than your student period. And isn't it nice to have good friends all over the world that welcome you when you are travelling around or starting a new job/study programme?
Friendships aren't just long-distance, though. Because you usually work with a lot of different people also on local level, you will also increase your local network and have some more great people to hang out with.
6. Workshops, exchanges, courses, practice
Most of the international student organizations were formed to enable students international experience with different workshops based on type of studies and exchanges with different cultural experiences. Usually, they are short term and last from few days to few weeks.
Some of the organizations also offer students long-term study experiences like Erasmus studies or student praxis that can last from few months to a year and may also be prolonged in job offerings and long term experiences that may enable us to move to a different country or travel the world as part of the job.
7. Learning a new language
International usually means that you're also gonna cope with a different language. More or less all international organizations have English as their official language, but some of them use also others like French, German, Spanish or Russian if they are more regionally oriented.
Even though we lack the language skills we can travel with low basic knowledge of English and we can develop language skills during events and exchanges, or even attend organized language courses for foreign students for English or local language that are organized by local organizations; where we can sharpen our language skills.