It is essential for international students to build a social network in their country of education. This will help them feel more at ease and happier in a new environment and keep feelings of isolation or depression at bay. Usually, networking involves meeting others face-to-face at events organized by associations, schools, and clubs, or at conferences and job fairs. Casual meetings will happen while participating in neighbourhood activities.
Developing personal connections leads to a network of professional contacts which can be beneficial when the student embarks on his journey to find a job. By making friends and forging new relationships inside and outside the classroom and on campus, students learn to absorb cultural information and mutually exchange ideas. However, this is not going to be as easy to do in 2020. Because of the global pandemic, social distancing (physical distancing) has become the norm to halt the spread of COVID-19. Since building a network is now a bigger challenge, it will require an effort in a new direction by the international students. They will have to change the way they think about networking.
Reach out to people that you might have lost touch. Relationship-building is more critical than ever. Self-isolation is a good time to reach out to old connections and strengthen existing communication channels and also to evaluate the relationships that need to be reactivated, and nurture and reengage connections.
Practice and improve networking skills from home
Do some research on the person you want to connect with. You will feel more prepared.
Work on your language skills to eliminate any miscommunications and grow your proficiency.
Assemble a short list of questions for the person you are trying to connect with.
Practice networking with an acquaintance who you already know, but might not know very well. Start a conversation.
Start looking for a Potential Mentor
Mentors can help you take your career to the next level and expand your social network. Mentors can help newcomers develop interpersonal skills, find career opportunities, provide advice about specific challenges, and exchange useful information. They can also help you meet new people and grow your contacts. The easiest way to find a mentor is to identify someone you admire and respect. It is also useful to connect with mentors who share your professional background.
Join a Mentorship program that connect mentors and mentees. There are several services that are specifically designed to connect international students with mentors who can guide them through and help them find connections in their career field.
Be active on Social Media- Network Remotely
Make the most of technology. Maintain an active presence online. Let people know what you are doing and working on.
Stay engaged with your friends. Reshare their online webinars or articles.Share advice that can be helpful to others.
Join social media groups that are aligned with your interests and engage with the community.
COVID-19 is making it even harder to take advantage of traditional networking opportunities. But there are plenty of ways to connect with people remotely and remain social even if you’re keeping a safe distance.