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International skills speaker to give students study abroad advice

It’s a big world, and learning international skills can be an important step for students to thrive. That idea is the focus of International Education Week and Wednesday’s keynote speaker Jean-Marc Hachey.

Through Friday, Fresno State will host a series of events designed to make students aware of the benefits of international education and exchange programs. Students can learn about opportunities to study abroad and find out how to finance an international educational experience.

Hachey will discuss how students can gain international experience during his keynote address today from 12:30 p.m. to 2 p.m. in Kremen Education Building Room 140.

Hachey, an international employment strategies expert, said students can gain experience to help them work with different cultures in a myriad of ways.

“It’s about building global career skills and encouraging students to build international skills while they are at school,” Hachey said. “That could mean interning abroad, backpack traveling or studying abroad to gain skills employers are looking for.”

Since 1990, he has presented seminars at more than 160 universities and career fairs.   Since 2008, Hachey has collaborated with more than 100 universities to offer his advice and resources online as the publisher of the website MyWorldAbroad.

Hachey, who has a business degree from the University of New Brunswick and a masters in political science from l’Université Laval in Québec City, has worked overseas for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, World University Service, Canadian Crossroads International and the German Volunteer Service.

He recommends students take five years to complete a four-year degree: one extra semester to study abroad and another to travel.

“There is a unique set of skills that define international people and make them different than people who haven’t traveled,” Hachey said.  “I encourage people to travel internationally any way they want.  Maximize the career value of studying abroad. Think about it before you go.  You come back with experiences that look good on a résumé.  It’s about thinking ahead to have professional experiences.”

Hachey, who is fluent in French and English, said knowing a second language is important but not mandatory to be an “international person.”

“It’s also about understanding culture, being culturally astute,” Hachey said. “It’s having a portable set of skills that helps you cross multiple cultures. Any language is important.  It’s not a career-limiting move not to have a second language. It’s about having a set of international skills.”

Hachey said Fresno State purchased access to his website, and students have free access.  Students can go to www.myworldabroad.com/csufresno and register with his or her email address.