When designing this website we interviewed students and new graduates who had undertaken international experiences. All of those interviewed stressed the importance of networking. Pushing themselves out of their comfort zone to meet new people opened up many unexpected opportunities while they were away – and led to some exciting career options once they returned home.
What is networking? Networking is a reciprocal communication process that involves you initially reaching out to gain insight about other people’s activities, interests, desires and culture. In simple terms, you:
So how do you start? Introduce yourself to someone you don’t know. That might sound simple, but settling into to your new environment can be a challenging experience. Meeting new people and joining new groups in a new place can be like stepping into the unknown. As your international experience matures you might find that you are more open to people and taking on challenges. In most cases, networking is about taking the leap of faith and getting involved.
My advice to others - Be a proactive participant, not just a passive observer.
Networking is so important. This includes getting in touch with and getting to know your lecturers and the academics that you’re interacting with.
What past students say
An interview with Katie
Katie recently completed a Business degree. While studying, she undertook three separate international programmes in East Asian countries. At the time of her interview, Katie was working in a government department on projects that required continuing engagement with the Asian region.
An interview with Michael
Michael graduated with a Bachelor of Civil Engineering and Diploma of Languages (Mandarin). While he was studying, Michael undertook several exchanges and short-term programs in Greater China and Mexico. At the time of the interview, Michael was working for Austrade in Shanghai.
In many cases, students who undertake international experiences often only realise the power of networking when they come home and reflect on their experience. Amazing things can happen if you just take the time to reach out to talk to people and ask questions. Many of the networks and connections people make abroad remain active and play some part in their future studies and careers.