Skills used Across the Globe

Transferable skills are skills that everyone possesses and needs to possess, to an extent, when going abroad. Just considering the simple differences of the ways of life in countries across the world, flexibility, active listening, and patience with communication are necessary skills. Looking back at the trip to Vietnam, language barriers were not a huge hurdle because most of the students spoke impressive English. The accents of some students as well as some professors may have been slightly more difficult to understand, but with active listening and putting the pieces together of what was heard, I could capture a majority of their words. Without the listening and patience that comes with understanding accents, it would be very difficult to take away meaningful ideas. Along with patience and listening, when asking questions at the site visits, it was very important to be able to rephrase questions and find the answers to the questions in some of the long responses given. Many times, I or another student would ask a question expecting a simple answer, but the presenter sometimes gave long strung out responses. Being able to identify and take away the answers to the questions is important not only in foreign countries, but in any workplace. The UEF students, professors, site visit presenters, and tour guides all were patient with understanding our thoughts, it is an easy way to show respect by reciprocating the effort of understanding. Along with listening, patience also came with a changing schedule. Being able to handle flexibility and being patient when I did not know the plan for the day was important on this trip. For the most part, I tried to go with the flow and enjoy what was happening in front of me rather than worrying about a strict schedule. Usually, I like to know the general times of when activities start and end but for this trip, I did not look at the schedule provided more than twice. Maybe that’s a bad thing, but I enjoyed just focusing on what was in front of me and giving that all my attention rather than worrying about times. I think the environment and nature of the trip made this so easy, given that there were 20 others that would tell me when its time to go. But for future trips with others or by myself, I also think its important to stay flexible and give full attention to what is in front of me rather than what I’m doing next. One of the most frustrating things, for me at least, was finding the balance between listening to the professor and talking to my IEF student. In each language class (a language that requires patience to begin with), it was difficult for me to find the perfect balance of respecting the teacher by listening and respecting my IEF buddy by getting to know them. A few classes in I started to figure it out, but every so often I would get a different partner for the day and it would start over again. Finding this balance while both respecting everyone and learning the language required a lot of patience. There were some instances where I could tell the professor was getting frustrated with the noise level and when I noticed this, I would ask my partner to help me pronounce words, changing the topic of discussion to the class material. All in all, being able to use transferrable skills in foreign countries is extremely important not only to be able to understand, but to be respectful of their culture and way of life. When traveling anywhere, you have to expect to be eating different foods and interacting with people differently than your home country and to me, this is what traveling is all about. Seeing the different ways of life and being able to integrate yourself in them is a privilege in itself and its important to make the most of another culture using these types of skills.

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