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Study Abroad Networking 101
Submitted by Valerie Quickel

Networking is a really good thing to keep in mind as your trip comes to an end. Before you’re on your way back home, be sure to take advantage of your new connections! Your study abroad experiences can be used to your benefit in the future, so make sure you take the time to reflect on your personal and professional growth.

Time to Connect 

If you have an internship, research, or service-learning position, make sure you take the opportunity to reach out to everyone who helped you along the way. It does not hurt to write some thank-you notes to your colleagues to leave a good, lasting impression. If you have any lingering questions or need career advice, take advantage of your resources and ask. Also, solidify your network by connecting with colleagues on LinkedIn. This is not just limited to a work atmosphere – stay in touch with professors, other students, and staff too! There is a high chance that you will want to keep up with the contacts you have made, so make sure you gather their info, and give yours in return. If you have thoughts of wanting to work abroad in the future, it is important to have access to those who have been in your position. No matter your field of interest, having connections in other countries may lead you to future opportunities.

Time to Reflect 

Did you learn a new skill at work? Did you have to face a challenge that pushed you out of your comfort zone? Remember these times and make note of them. More importantly, think about what you learned from them. Your experiences and challenges abroad can certainly be used later on for resumes, cover letters, and interview questions. Potential employers will be impressed knowing that you learned how to handle yourself in tough situations far from home. Also, take the time to think about your self-growth. Studying abroad is a huge step towards independence. Pat yourself on the back for taking the plunge and exploring!
 

Quick-tips:

  1. Resumes: When putting your international experience on your resume, be sure to describe what benefits came from your trip rather than just the coursework. Employers are looking to see what you specifically took from your experience abroad! 

  2. Start a file: Create a place where you can store your information to be referenced later. For letters of recommendation, cover letters, and interviews, having a place to find your notes will make it easier to remember all that you have learned.  


 

With these tips, you can make the most of your international experience!

 

Valerie Quickel is a senior Marketing and Global Management double major with a minor in French. She went on the Plus3 Chinaprogram in Summer 2015 and studied abroad in Paris, Francein Summer 2016. She then interned at Pitt’s Study Abroad Office during Spring 2017.

This article originally appeared in The Traveling Times, an online Pitt SAO newsletter.