According to the traditional definition, “networking” or the international network of contacts consists in the creation of a contact base for the professional world, but nowadays the contact networks are extended to the field of acquaintances and even friendships. To expand your network of contacts you just have to talk to the people you work with, strengthen relationships with your fellow students if you are studying something, and keep in touch with your group of friends as time passes.
Your network of contacts will acquire an international character when you have relationships with people abroad or when your contacts move to another city or country. Developing a diverse international network of contacts may take more time and effort, but you can be sure that meeting people from other cultures and maintaining a solid base of contacts from other parts of the world is something that will bring benefits for years to come. The list of reasons goes on and on, so buckle up, here are a few.
To have even more reasons to travel
One of the easiest ways to expand an international network is to study abroad. your classmates have traveled from different countries to join you, and you will also be going in different directions once the course is over. Your new contacts could move anywhere in the world. What better excuse to travel than to go to see a friend abroad? With an international network of contacts, you will have people to stay with when you travel, tour guides ready to show you the best secret places in the city, and people who will come to visit you in your city of residence.
For the endless possibilities of learning
One of the best ways to relate to someone is to share experiences. The general recommendation is to do more than just exchange business cards to create solid contacts. For example, cooking classes, hiking trips or a language course. And learning does not have to stop once you have made contacts; with an international network of friends you will always be interacting with different cultures and learning from them. Learn new culinary skills by making their favorite dishes at home, keep up with your language skills by chatting frequently and keep your mind open to different perspectives on life.
To have an international support group
If you were about to move to a new city, wouldn’t it be nice to know that when you get there you will have at least one friendly face there? Your former exchange colleague could be that person. Are you thinking about changing careers or working in another country? That classmate of the course you took abroad a few years ago could give you valuable advice about the sector, the company and even the city in which he earns his living. Your support network could span every aspect of your life, and several continents.
For future business opportunitiesMeeting new people by networking internationally, dressing appropriately and trying not to make a fool of yourself… Business networking is scary. But they don’t have to be that way. Not all networking is done in crowded conference rooms, with business card exchanges and forced conversations. Often, your friends, classmates and former colleagues will follow career paths that you will find interesting, or they will have contacts in their own networks that will be important to you.
You never know, you could talk to someone who knows about a career opportunity that you would never find on the internet, or who can put you in touch with another person who is in a position to offer you an experience, or even a job. If you are not clear about which direction to take in life, keeping in touch with your old acquaintances could inspire you to pursue a similar professional career. Don’t forget to return the favor: maybe one day you too will be in a position to help someone from your own network of contacts.
What are you waiting for? Connect with people and stay in touch!