Undergraduate Study Abroad

Making Connections while abroad

In addition to academics and intercultural immersion, studying abroad provides great opportunities to expand your personal and professional networks. Many students return from study abroad experiences with lifelong connections. Establishing connections is incredibly rewarding and it requires a great deal of intentionality and effort. 

Below you’ll find a few recommendations for making connections while you’re abroad:

  • Join local clubs and organizations. These can be through your host university/overseas program or community opportunities such as a gym, house of worship, or a book club.
  • Find a volunteer opportunity.  Inquire with your host institution or on-site program staff to learn what volunteer opportunities might be available that align with your interests and skills. Volunteering is a great way to positively contribute to your host community and connect with like minded locals. 
  • Utilize Brown’s Alumni network - As an institution with a global footprint, Brown has connections all over the world. We encourage you to leverage these connections to build your own network. A great place to start is visiting the Regional Brown Clubs webpage and Brown’s CareerLAB webpage to foster overseas connections - especially Brown Connect which provides additional Alumni connections.

Push yourself out of your comfort zone to make some connections beyond your fellow study abroad participants (although these are a great network as well!).  You’ll be glad that you did.

Career Development & Study Abroad 

The time spent studying abroad can also be time spent thinking about what you will do after you graduate. In order to start or continue career exploration, some students arrange an internship while studying abroad to complement their studies. If you are thinking about pursuing an international career, you’ll want to plan ahead to best take advantage of opportunities. Check with counselors at CareerLAB before you leave or plan to email with them while you are away. 

Considering working abroad while you are studying or is an international career in your future? Some things to think about... 

Before you go... 

  • Contact Alumni Relations to find alums who are living in the city/country where you’ll be. Brown students should note that there are Brown clubs in over 60 cities around the world. 
  • Talk with current students who are back from your study site. Did any of them work or have an internship while there? If yes, did they do it during the semester or after? How did they arrange it? 
  • Prepare a resume. You never know when you will need it.
  • Meet with a counselor at CareerLAB for other ideas and resources. 

While abroad... 

  • Maintain a “contacts” notebook of every interesting professional you meet. Don’t forget to get an email address. 
  • Contact alumni. Meet them at their place of business or socially. If you are in a city with a Brown Club, try to attend their events. 
  • Interested in teaching English in the future? Look for schools that teach English. Go check them out. What qualifications do the teachers have? 
  • If in a homestay, talk often with adults in the family about the local economy. Take every opportunity to meet the family's friends and extended family to network. 
  • Practice, practice, practice the local language, if it is not English. Speak with locals in all walks of life. Read newspapers and magazines to learn about opportunities. 
  • When you encounter other Americans, of any age, living in your city, introduce yourself. Make note of where they are employed, and ask for tips that might help you obtain a position. 
  • Pay attention to the cost of living abroad. Figure out how much money you would need to live there, or other places you might consider. 
  • Become a student ambassador through BRIO, the Brown International Organization, which is a peer support group for international students. Find information about BRIO and other GBC Affiliated Student Organizations.
  • Volunteer Abroad:  International Volunteer Programs Association: an up-to-date search site for international volunteer and internship opportunities.

When you return... 

  • Make the most of the resources offered by Brown’s CareerLAB. Scheduling an appointment with a counselor will help to get going.
  • Check out the calendar and other important information on Brown’s study abroad website. 
  • If you are thinking about going back to the country where you studied, keep in touch with all the contacts you made. Let them know what you are considering for after graduation.
  • Talk to the study abroad staff about your study abroad experience. We love to hear from returned students!