In today’s digital age, it is very easy to connect with anyone from anywhere, till you know where to look for the connections. With Facebook, Instagram and several other social media channels, a lot of students make friends and acquaintances in their host university even before landing there. Networking beforehand also helps in making informed decisions about the essentials to carry and the general code of conduct of the university and the region. Here are a few tips to build your network as a would-be international student:
Know Your Professors:
Before you move to your dream country for studying abroad, find out as much as you can about the university, major and the professors who you will be interacting on a daily basis. Many times, there are ways to connect to the professors before reaching the university. Ideally it is suggested to connect formally when connecting for the first time. Later once you have introduced yourselves, you can add them on social media channels.
Find A Purpose:
Networking isn’t all about just making friends and having fun. Networking should have a purpose, which could be seeking contact for career advancement or looking for a companion to travel to your university from your home country. Know the questions you want to ask and let the conversation flow naturally towards your goal.
Every international university has Indian associations which helps students from India coming abroad for studies to make the transitions easy. Sometimes universities also assign Indian mentors for better understanding of the requirements of the newly enrolled.
Social Media Groups:
Follow your university’s page on all social media channels you are present on. These groups and pages can be a source of a lot of important information needed when beginning your course abroad. You will be able to interact with fellow students as well as make new acquaintances and friends from your major or your academic year.
Many universities have their own specialized forums for students to exchange information and knowledge. Find out about more about it and know how one can join these digital networking spaces.
Reach out to Alumni:
Connect with alumni from your university or better, your course alumni. LinkedIn is also a great platform to connect with alumni and build your network. Alumni can also be great source of inspiration as well as important contacts in the network when looking for internships and jobs.
Home Country Seminars and Meetings:
A lot of times, associations and consultants conduct seminars and meetings for students who are going to study abroad in different countries. These form a great networking platform for the students before they even go to their host country. Consultation services also provide contacts of prospective students going to the same university/region.
Remember while building your network, it is always great to touch the details of the events in their life or things that they are interested in. Make sure you’re well-groomed when meeting for the first time, even if it is just an informal coffee at Starbucks.