Networking and Making Connections While Abroad
When most university students think of networking, they likely are thinking of career fairs and other professional events that their campus offers. Often students forget about the importance of networking with other students. We tend to get into a rhythm of spending time with the same people, get comfortable with our friends, and reduce our effort in making meaningful connections with the other couple thousand students on campus. I, like most students had fallen into that trap.
Coming to Manchester was a great opportunity to meet people that are my age from all over the world. I did not know anyone when I arrived here, but that would quickly change. The International Programs Society at Alliance Manchester Business School offers many great networking events such as hosting a Super Bowl party and hosting a mini golf event to connect us with students that will be attending our home institutions in the future. They also organized a scavenger hunt for us to take part in during our orientation, which was a massive help in connecting with other students. Another great organization is the University of Manchester International Society. This is a group that is not specific to business students. Through this group I attended afternoon tea along with having the opportunity to go on day or weekend trips around the UK. They also ran most of the orientation week events to help us get settled in. Through both of these organizations, I have made friends and connected with people from Australia, Canada, Norway, Sweden, and every corner of the US.
I have also had various opportunities to make friends in my residence hall and in class. My Sustainable Business course had a group project very early in the semester, which allowed me to work with local students and get to know them. In our seminars, we often have group discussions which can be very helpful for connecting with other students. I also have found that some of my closest friends are the ones I live around. My residence is the only one on campus that has formal dinners on every weeknight. We begin promptly at 6:30 and are served a three-course meal. The dress is casual; however, we are required to wear a black robe. These formal dinners have helped me to connect with people that live in the same building as me. I have been able to befriend people from across Europe. Our residence hall also hosts social events many nights that all helped me to network with students across all majors.
I haven’t had many opportunities to network with local professionals, but I have been keeping my eye out for events hosted by the Business School and the Student Union. Being able to network and make new friends from all over the world has already provided me with so many cultural opportunities. Whether someone is showing me around Manchester or giving me recommendations of things to do while I travel on my spring break, I have been able to learn so much about everyone around me. I look forward to having more of these opportunities in the future. I also look forward to networking with other students when I return to Ohio State.
Although the opportunity to network with professionals in your career field is extremely valuable, students often forget the importance of networking with other students. We tend to join our student organizations, make some friends, and stick with those people, while underestimating the opportunities that other connections can bring. My entire semester has been filled with great opportunities to meet and spend time with people that I never would have had the chance to meet, had I not come abroad. I see many of my friendships lasting for years to come. Whether I am visiting Melbourne, Australia and need a place to sleep, searching for a job in Washington DC, or even just need a restaurant recommendation while in Los Angeles, I will always have a friend that can help me out.