Home General Does Study Abroad Experience Lead to Better Work-Life Balance?

Does Study Abroad Experience Lead to Better Work-Life Balance?

by AIFS Abroad
two young women in florence, italy eating gelato on the arno river with the ponte vecchio in the background

Taking vacation can be a great way to get a better understanding of your worth and contribution in the workplace—and gain appreciation for the job that helps you pay for it. As a big factor in work-life balance, we’re curious if millennials that studied or interned abroad fall victim to an emerging trend known as ‘vacation shaming.’ Our hope is that as a result of your student travel and exposure to other cultures and ways of life, you might counter this emerging trend with an ongoing curiosity and interest in the world around you.

Recently, an article came to our attention about the ‘vacation shaming’ phenomenon based on a survey of American workers. According to the results, 59% of millennials and 41% of workers 35 or older feel guilty about taking vacation time, while 42% of millennials and only 24% of workers 35 or older admit to shaming coworkers for taking vacation. Instead of viewing paid vacation as part of compensation to which they are entitled, millennials especially reported feeling pressure to justify time away from work and leaving vacation days unused.

Inexperience and pressure to perform were cited as suspected reasons why greater percentages of millennials fall into vacation shaming according to Alec Levenson, co-author of What Millennials Want From Work, in a recent Entrepreneur article on millennials and vacation shame. He suggests millennials use guilt and shame in an erroneous effort to counter the stereotype that they are not dedicated workers, and they sacrifice vacation benefits because they do not yet understand the true value of time off.

This article started us thinking. Vacation deprivation is an alarming trend. Ultimately, companies benefit from well-rounded and vivacious employees, and vacation time prevents burnout. It’s a time for people to enjoy with family and friends, to travel and try new things and to explore personal interests away from the workplace. It is something people earn and to which they are entitled.

Despite the vacation shaming trend, we suspect that vacation time is something former study abroad participants look forward to with great enthusiasm. Is this the case, or do you also succumb to pressure to sacrifice vacation time to show you are a dedicated employee? What is your opinion on vacation shaming? What can be done to help people enjoy their time off?

We’d like to hear from you. Please share your relevant thoughts and experiences in our comments section. Has your global experience shaped your view of vacation time? What insight can you share to shed light on vacation shaming and the mindset of Americans, especially millennials, in the workplace today? We welcome your feedback.

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