After graduating from university, students often regret not using the resources and opportunities available to them to build valuable social and professional networks. Students who pursue a degree or study abroad in Italy are particularly well positioned to build relationships with students, organizations, and professors from all over the world. As so much of our personal and professional lives shift to interactive online platforms, it makes more sense than ever to grow meaningful connections with others – mutually beneficial networks where knowledge, help and advice can be shared across time zones and beyond borders.
And what better place to meet and nurture new contacts than at an international university in the cosmopolitan city of Rome? Whether you’re striking up a friendship with someone sitting next to you in class, or swapping email addresses with a colleague at your internship, the relationships you build now can open up amazing opportunities later, at graduate school or in the workforce.
Campus events like career fairs, symposiums and open-access lectures can be a great way to start meeting people related to your field of study or future career path. Keep your eye on city hot-spots and local activities connected to your interests – for example, students who study art history in Italy will have excellent opportunities to meet and mingle with experts in Rome, a city known for its rare and beautiful collections. Making connections with art curators and other enthusiasts could help students gather meaningful insights for an assignment, or offer opportunities for getting more involved in the Italian art scene. The same applies of course, to students who study politics in Italy or pursue a degree in International Affairs. There is no better way to complement your academic learning than by reaching out to other students and professionals in your field. Internships are obvious networking goldmines, but so is volunteering at a local political event or non-profit organization.
While a large part of networking is reaching out and meeting new people, it is also crucial to maintain contact with all of your amazing new connections. Keeping an up-to-date LinkedIn profile and Facebook page (as a start) is essential for nurturing relationships once your time abroad has come to an end. Keep an eye on what your contacts are doing, share your own achievements, and most important of all – offer your help and advice wherever they can be of service. The secret of successful networking is generosity. Do what you can for your contacts and when you need that letter of reference or career path advice, they will surely be willing to reciprocate.
For many students, networking means breaking out of their comfort bubble to approach people they don’t know. This isn’t always easy, but when you’re attending an international university and everyone is in the same boat, it’s easier to find your outgoing side. Plus, the more you reach out and connect, the easier it gets. And the networking skills you hone during your degree will be invaluable while you carve out your professional path – wherever it may take you.
How do you approach networking? Is there a certain strategy you find works well?