Activity Information
Recommended Audience
International Students, Study Abroad, General, Community members, University Alumni
Length of Time
Three events in one semester
Food, space, job resource materials
Number of Facilitators
Source of Activity
Katrina Connolly
To help returning study abroad students through transition by encouraging them to pursue their international interests and providing them the resources to do so

Study Abroad Alumni Program

The Study Abroad Alumni Program welcomes returning study abroad students into a unique group of people with international interests. A series of three events during the course of one semester encourages the returning students to continue their international interests that first motivated them to venture abroad. The first event, "Reunion", reunites the students with their fellow travelers giving them the opportunity to continue friendships upon return. The second event, "Community Networking", opens doors for returning students to get involved with local international communities. The third event, "Career Networking", exposes returning students to future international research, study, internship, job, and career possibilities. The Study Abroad Alumni Program seeks to aid returning students as they transition home by providing opportunities and resources for them to continue pursuing their international interests.

  1. Reunion - An intimate dinner setting (at a restaurant, faculty's house, outdoor BBQ, etc.) invites student, faculty, and study abroad advisors from one program or area to gather and "hang out". An informal and relaxed dinner opens the table to chat, banter, reminisce, discuss, complain, exchange phone numbers, etc. The presence of the study abroad advisor gives opportunity to students to share their experience, give feedback, ask worrisome transcript questions, or just say hello. The event recognizes and congratulates the returning students into the Study Abroad Alumni Program.
  2. Community Networking - Increasingly international U.S. cities with expanding ethnic communities have much to offer a returning study abroad student in terms of pursuing international interests. This event encourages students to get involved in communities outside of their home university. Organizing a place and time for community networking provides returning students with the resources to continue applying their study abroad interest after they return.

    A light evening reception can be held in a nice and "homey" commons area in a building with international themes. Invite members and/or representatives from three areas: 1) those of international organizations and communities from the city or surrounding area, 2) those from the home university's international community, and volunteer clubs, 3) all of the university's return study abroad students.

    The event will begin with an explanation and purpose of the gathering. Each person will give a brief instruction of their name and interest or organization. The gathering will disperse into informal mingling around the reception giving those with similar interests opportunity to approach each other and connect, exchange information, and perhaps lead to some exciting new activities. The event provides an opportunity for students to find entry points to the communities in which they would like to get involved as well as an opportunity for organizations to recruit some enthusiastic students with international interests.
  3. Career Networking - In the form of a more elegant reception held in the University's Alumni House, the third event would gather rising professionals, young University Alumni, and current University students to meet, network and explore new ideas for pursuing international careers. The event centered on international careers will include speakers, a paned to serve individual questions, mingling time for networking and printed materials of international internship and job opportunities. This event provides returning students with ideas of long-term international careers to which they can apply their international interest.

    (Formality of event depends on how many people are expected to come; less formal for less in number). The three speakers should give accounts of their experience in international jobs while living abroad and while living in the United States, as well as searching and applying for international jobs. The facilitator should introduce the panel as Q&A resources and ask them to briefly give their specific areas of expertise (e.g. how to apply for a job in Brazil), and encourage those with questions to approach the designated panel members. The facilitator can open the floor for a limited period of time to questions and then adjourn to mingling. The printed resources that provide information about international graduate and professional schooling, research grants, internships, and job opportunities should be made available to all attending. As noted from previous young alumni career networking events, attendees appreciate substantial time allotted to mingling.

Budget:The budget for the Open House is roughly $1500. I have attached the invitation for the three events. Looking at this event, we are spending $700-800 on food, $150 on each dance performance ($300), $250 on the digital camera, and $125 on formal invitations. We invited about 300 returning study abroad students and 350 affiliated faculty and staff at Emory. It will be a grand event.

The second event is still unfolding. With a limited budget ($400 for food) and a desire to keep it an intimate affair (rather than a job fair), I am limiting the invitees. I am currently working on the list of organizations I will be inviting. This event will only be for returning study abroad students. It is being held in a cozy commons area of an on-campus house where internationally-interested students live.

The third event is also in the works. The scale of the event depends on the budget. We are in discussion with Emory's Career Center for co-sponsorship and partnership in this event. We will be inviting Emory Alumni interested in international careers, Study Abroad Alumni, and will perhaps open it up to all Emory students. We will have speakers and resources. It will be an elegant affair.