Most companies like to have employees who can adapt and improvise when something goes wrong. Just imagine: a co-worker, who was supposed to put on an extremely important presentation to the Board of Directors, calls in sick and you are the only one at work to cover for him or her. This is a stressful situation, but it doesn’t have to be overwhelming. Especially if you can think back on the time you missed the last train to Madrid for the entire week and your flight from Madrid back home was in two days. You found another train heading towards a city two hours north of Madrid and booked a ticket. When you arrived, you used your little knowledge of Spanish to find your way around the new city and get a bus to Madrid that arrived two hours before your flight the next day. If you have experiences like this to look back on, you can realize that those situations were far more stressful than this work challenge. So you can have far more confidence handling this challenge at work. Being able to adapt to the new situation, take initiative instead of giving up, using all of the resources available, and keeping a cool head during the whole event will definitely prepare you to deal with any circumstances at work.
Another skill that you will most likely need to learn in a foreign country (unless they speak your native language with the same accent) is communication. I recommend looking up the 10 or 15 most common phrases and memorizing them during your flight. When I visited Italy, I was able to use a good amount of Spanish (same Latin structure) to get around. However, I had learned some common Italian phrases, such as “Where is,” “How much,” “I would like,” “Please,” and “Thank You/You’re Welcome.” When I entered a local grocery store to get my food for the week, the owners of the store did not understand any Spanish. Somehow I was able to have a full conversation with them using the ten Italian phrases that I had learned on the train ride from France. This is one of my fondest memories of Italy, because it was so exciting trying to speak a new language and being able to communicate with such a nice elderly couple. The locals also enjoy when you try to speak their language, because you are respecting them and showing an effort to learn about their culture. They may even help you with your conversation skills or teach you new words.
These are just a few of the many skills that you will build while traveling. These skills will prepare you for success in any career and in life. So it's time to crack open those traveling books and plan your next trip.