The global social network

International universities are weaving a worldwide web of opportunity for their students, Jessica Moore discovers

The benefits of international study go way beyond a high
quality, internationally respected and accessible education.

They go further than the financial advantages, which can include comparatively low living costs and fees. The opportunity to build a global social and professional network can be incredibly valuable in the long term, as an increasing number of UK students are discovering.

In today’s competitive job market, who you know can be every bit as important as what you know. As international students are likely to live, work and socialise with a broad mix of people, their pool of contacts is likely to be larger and more diverse than those of their UK-based counterparts.

This can improve both the richness of their education and their employment prospects after graduation. As Marie Vivas, director of admissions at Jacobs University in Bremen, Germany, puts it: “Our students graduate with a network all over the world.”

At Jacobs, students are actively encouraged to build international networks from the first day they set foot on campus. It’s a remarkably international environment, with 75 per cent of the student body coming from outside Germany, representing more than 110 nationalities. “Networking is part of our founding mission,” says Vivas.

“The university was set up by a group of physicists who felt that scientific research really happens across borders and through collaboration, so they wanted the scientists who came from Jacobs to be able to work well with people from all over the world, and to have contacts internationally.”

The university makes an effort to ensure that this happens. New students go through a programme of ‘inter-cultural training’, where they encounter different learning styles and cultural outlooks and start to work together in teams.

This type of interaction is attractive to a number of British students and their parents. With an increasing number of international programmes being taught in English, universities throughout the world are drawing students from the UK and America. As well as an academic opportunity, these courses offer students three years of international networking.

That stands them in good stead after they graduate. “Our students go on to further study or into jobs all over the place, and wherever they go, there is likely to be someone there from Jacobs to meet up with,” says Vivas.

Technology can help, too, she points out: “On Facebook and LinkedIn, students might post that, for example, they’re going to be in Sydney for six months and they wonder if anyone can set them up with a job or some advice. That kind of thing happens all the time. Our students and alumni meet up all over the world, both physically and through social media. It’s a very strong international network.”

Networking can be key to the learning environment as well as to the social experiences at international universities. At Bocconi University in Milan, for example, the annual Bocconi & Jobs careers event enables students to meet high fliers from international organisations. At the jobs fair, companies such as Credit Suisse, Morgan Stanley, Deloitte and PricewaterhouseCoopers may recruit students straight out of university.

The university also organises a variety of conferences and round-table events. For example, it has held Investment Saturdays, during which representatives from investment banks visited over a series of Saturdays and spoke to the students about the corporate culture of their organisations.

This offered not only the chance to learn more about potential employers, but also an opportunity to extend contacts. At Jacobs, students are also offered a number of opportunities to start building international professional networks. “We get people from companies all over the world to hold seminars or workshops about employment opportunities,” Vivas explains. “We’ve recently had people come from Kraft foods, Cadbury, Microsoft, and Mars.”

By extending their professional and their social networks beyond their national borders, the international students of today are likely to be best placed to become the high-flying hot shots of tomorrow.

Jacobs and Bocconi are among the universities exhibiting at the Student World Fair, at the Emirates Stadium, London, on 17 March 2012.

Visitthestudentworld.com

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Student

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £45K YR1: SThree: At SThree, we like to be dif...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + competitive: SThree: Are you a recent graduate loo...

Guru Careers: Graduate Editor / Editorial Assistant

£16 - 20k: Guru Careers: A Graduate Editor / Editorial Assistant is needed to ...

Ashdown Group: Graduate UI Developer - HTML, CSS, Javascript

£25000 - £30000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Graduate UI Application Developer - ...

Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Blundering Tony Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

Blundering Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

For Arabs – and for Britons who lost their loved ones in his shambolic war in Iraq – his appointment was an insult, says Robert Fisk
Fifa corruption arrests: All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue

Fifa corruption arrests

All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue, says Ian Herbert
Isis in Syria: The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of President Assad and militant fighters

The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of Assad and Isis

In Syrian Kurdish cantons along the Turkish border, the progressive aims of the 2011 uprising are being enacted despite the war. Patrick Cockburn returns to Amuda
How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields: Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape the US

How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields

Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape to the US
Stephen Mangan interview: From posh buffoon to pregnant dad, the actor has quite a range

How Stephen Mangan got his range

Posh buffoon, hapless writer, pregnant dad - Mangan is certainly a versatile actor
The ZX Spectrum has been crowd-funded back into play - with some 21st-century tweaks

The ZX Spectrum is back

The ZX Spectrum was the original - and for some players, still the best. David Crookes meets the fans who've kept the games' flames lit
Grace of Monaco film panned: even the screenwriter pours scorn on biopic starring Nicole Kidman

Even the screenwriter pours scorn on Grace of Monaco biopic

The critics had a field day after last year's premiere, but the savaging goes on
Menstrual Hygiene Day: The strange ideas people used to believe about periods

Menstrual Hygiene Day: The strange ideas people once had about periods

If one was missed, vomiting blood was seen as a viable alternative
The best work perks: From free travel cards to making dreams come true (really)

The quirks of work perks

From free travel cards to making dreams come true (really)
Is bridge the latest twee pastime to get hip?

Is bridge becoming hip?

The number of young players has trebled in the past year. Gillian Orr discovers if this old game has new tricks
Long author-lists on research papers are threatening the academic work system

The rise of 'hyperauthorship'

Now that academic papers are written by thousands (yes, thousands) of contributors, it's getting hard to tell workers from shirkers
The rise of Lego Clubs: How toys are helping children struggling with social interaction to build better relationships

The rise of Lego Clubs

How toys are helping children struggling with social interaction to build better relationships
5 best running glasses

On your marks: 5 best running glasses

Whether you’re pounding pavements, parks or hill passes, keep your eyes protected in all weathers
Joe Root: 'Ben Stokes gives everything – he’s rubbing off on us all'

'Ben Stokes gives everything – he’s rubbing off on us all'

Joe Root says the England dressing room is a happy place again – and Stokes is the catalyst
Raif Badawi: Wife pleads for fresh EU help as Saudi blogger's health worsens

Please save my husband

As the health of blogger Raif Badawi worsens in prison, his wife urges EU governments to put pressure on the Saudi Arabian royal family to allow her husband to join his family in Canada