Photo Attribution to rossjamesparker on Flickr
The excitement of going abroad is something that starts long before you leave. A huge part of that thrill is when you surround yourself with people who have already had that experience. Those people will be the ones that will keep you motivated before you leave, that may open other opportunities to you while abroad and that may serve as contacts in the countries that you may live or visit. Building your global network will serve your before, during and after your trip. The best time to start building it is now!
This week focus on finding where those future contacts meet so that you can connect with them. Think of building your network like picking players for a team. Each of your ‘players’ brings their own strengths and capabilities to make that team the best there is. The same thing goes for your network. Having a balanced global network with people from different industries and interests will help you as you build your international career or pursue an international experience. Dedicate 1 hour a day for the next 4 days to find at least 5 people that you want to add to your network. After you have identified those people, learn about their background and reach out to them for a meeting. Here are four places to start looking this week.
International Programs Office:
The advantage of being on campus is the availability of resources at your disposal. The people at the international programs office will be able to connect you with other students or professors that have had international experiences. If you do not have that option available to you, seek out the international development office of your local town. Larger cities will have resources of international businesses that have satellite offices where you can reach out to one of the professionals there.
Building a good relationship with the Alumni of your school is always a good thing to do for your future prospects. They may be the gatekeepers to international opportunities and have the advantage of foresight. By demonstrating your enthusiasm for an international experience, there is the potential to create a strong bond where they can help motivate you to achieve your dreams.
LinkedIn and Facebook:
There is a huge potential on both LinkedIn and Facebook to build a global network regardless of where you live. LinkedIn offers you resources like ‘Groups’ to find like-minded individuals on various subjects. Facebook offers a similar resource through ‘Fan Pages’. Goinglobal has both a LinkedIn Group and a Facebook Group page to bring together people that are interested in pusuing international opportunities. Here are some other great groups to join on LinkedIn and Facebook:
International Higher Education Consulting Blog
Aspire by API – High School and Gap Year Study Abroad
(Remember that in order to join these groups, you must already be a member of either network. Need help building your LinkedIn profile? Check this article out by Chris Brogan for some great pointers)
This is by far an amazing resource for anyone looking to meet people that share similar interests. Meetup is a worldwide directory of groups that meet based on spectrum of topics like traveling, working abroad, studying abroad, being an expat, etc. Check out different groups that you would like to join and start attending the events.
Do you have any suggestions for other ways to build your global network? Please let us know and we will add them to this post.