Thursday, August 20, 2015

Networking 101: 4 Tips from an International Student

 Networking 101: 4 Tips from an International StudentBy Adeola Idowu
Student Ambassador, University of Pittsburgh


You have been accepted to the educational institution of your dreams and taken the bold step of traveling far away from home for an education.

Before you pack up your things to study abroad, make sure to stay in touch with your professional, academic, and social circles. This is an important action to take that many students tend to overlook. Here are some helpful tips to get you started:

Connect Through Social Media
Social media can help keep you updated on what’s happening with your peers and your educational institution. Most, if not all, universities connect with students through Facebook and other social platforms including Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn. Not only will you be able to see fun events happening on campus, but you can also receive important updates on career fairs and information sessions, including language tutorials or immigration-related services, to name a few. After graduating, it may be a good idea to join your institution’s alumni page which can offer you discount benefits and access to former professors, employers, and acquaintances.

Participate at Events
A number of colleges and universities hold educational sessions, conferences, and webinars on a regular basis. Although some of these events might provide academic credit, others are mainly for educational purposes and serve as an avenue to share knowledge. Attending conferences allows you to meet colleagues from all over the country and even gain advice from senior foreign professionals who started off just like you.

Join International Associations
More often than not, you will see an association or group made up of individuals of your nationality on your campus. Joining one can help you adapt more easily and get over the culture shock that you might experience as a foreign student. In addition, events hosted by the organization may attract individuals from all over the country, offering an extra avenue to meeting new acquaintances of your nationality or a similar background.

Try Out Different Social Clubs or Other Organizations
Fraternities are very popular in the Western world, as they are a respectable form of networking and a way to keep in touch with other students. Members of the same fraternity chapter as you in different schools would readily welcome you with open arms. In addition, the student government serves as a representative body for the students. It’s a good idea to participate in their events and become involved in different activities.
It cannot be overemphasized how important networking isboth while you are enrolled and when you are looking for a job after college.
Adeola Idowu, originally of Nigeria, earned his bachelor’s and medical degrees in Nigeria and then came to the U.S. to pursue a master’s in public health. He studied environmental and occupational health at the University of Pittsburgh’s Graduate School of Public Health and graduated in 2014. He currently works as a clinical/health informatician in Massachusetts.

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