By how much can international experience improve your career options?


I'm currently doing an international internship and by such have to wonder about myself a lot. When I sum up my international experience, I have 2 years and a half oversea.

1 year in Japan as an international exchange high -school student. I was 18

1 year in Japan with a Working-Holiday Visa (I have worked a large variety of part time jobs there, figured that it was time to learn about jobs that I will never have to occasions to do again in the future). I was 21

6 months in France for a computer engineering internship on a localisation project. I'm 22.

So it bring me to over 10% of my life was oversea and more than 60% of my adult life.

Realising that I have devoted that much to international experiences, It leaves me to wonder if I have reached a soft cap on the returns it can have on my career options.

I will continue to extend my international experiences, but might slow down to work in my hometown (Quebec City) in more lucrative inernships to gain local experience in my field.

So is there a soft cap on international experiences or does it grows exponentially? 


Thanks you very much


jhack's picture

Careers take odd paths.  International experience is good because it broadens your perspectives and allows you to develop new skills.  Likewise, moving through different roles (sales, marketing, production, etc) also give you perspective and skills.  

At some point, you need to become more deliberate about what you want to do, rather than focusing on skill acquisition.  What industries do you like?  What roles are you best suited for?  With that in place, you can pursue opportunities that align with your strengths and interests.  

In pursuing (and the executing on) those opportunities, the skills you've acquired will help you succeed.  

International experience, like a good education or sales experience, is only part of a larger picture.  And its value will depend on the path you take.  

John Hack

xcelerator's picture
Licensee BadgeTraining Badge

Your international experience is valuable not only in the specific skills or tasks you perform, but also in your understanding and appreciation of other cultures and business environments.Read 'The World is Flat' to see that the role that international understanding and experience plays has changed significantly over the past 20 - 30 years.

I don't think there is a soft cap or continual exponential growth that is guaranteed as a result of international experience. It is your ability to apply that in filling the needs of the organization and helping them to be successful that determines the effectiveness of your experience. But in the end, isn't that true of *all* experience?

Continue looking for opportunities that value your experience. You'll likely find that you'll be asked to take on more of these roles in the future.

- X

Mark's picture
Admin Role Badge

I think you have a lot of experiences in different countries, and that's generally seen as a good thing.  There is no linear relationship, there is no way to generalize it.

That said, in a few years, you may want to be careful describing your experiences in different countries as "intenational experience."  International experience, in the job market, means going overseas for a specific role.  The High School experience won't meet that criteria.  The internship is good but not great.

If you like international experienceS, seek them out, and find roles that offer them.