5 Quick Networking Tips for International Students
- It’s never too late to throw yourself into campus life. There is no better way to practice English and make friends. If there are organizations on campus related to your major, become involved as soon as possible to build networking contacts and references.
- Take advantage of all networking opportunities, including those provided by professional organizations, social networking, and your university. You may need to come out of your comfort zone, so take it slow at first. Start with engaging more with your American classmates.
- Americans are more comfortable with people who are friendly and speak up than with people who remain quiet. Don’t worry that you may make a mistake in English grammar or vocabulary. Americans understand that English is your second language, and most will be impressed that you are bi-lingual. Speak slowly and clearly. Look at the person’s face to see if they are showing understanding. If not, repeat your message using different words and/or by speaking even more slowly and clearly. Ask your American friends to help you judge if you are speaking slowly and clearly enough.
- Build references starting with your professors and other faculty on campus. Even if you don’t get straight A’s, you can impress them by your work ethic and commitment to your field of study.
- Develop your value statement (“elevator pitch”) so that you will have something prepared and practiced when you meet people who are in a position to help you in your job search or career. Watch the following short video: “An International Student Prepares and Practices Her Elevator Pitch.”