Five ways to maintain the connections you made while abroad

There are two good reasons that everyone should keep up with the professors,

students and professionals they meet while abroad.

1. You care about the research/careers/studies of the people you meet

2. You care about the people themselves

If you don’t find yourself nodding in agreement, you should be.

This is exceptionally relevant for students who go on exchange programs. Your home university and the international university have a relationship. Other students from both universities will continue to spend semesters abroad. Professors will make trips to the other university.

At least three of my five professors at the University of Navarra had visited Missouri  at least once in their career. You never know when there will be back to visit. And if your paths do cross (whether in person or in the digital world), it’s helpful to know what they’ve been up to.

Here’s how you do that:

1.  Continue to read the newspaper. Even though you aren’t living their anymore, people you know still are. If there is a great success, a natural disaster or a big economical or political news, you want to know about it.

2. Continue to follow people/organizations on Twitter. If you followed certain hashtags will abroad, continue to do so. You can’t catch every story just by reading the online newspaper. This is the easiest ways to keep up with what’s happening with people and organizations abroad. Recently, the twitterverse went wild with conversation about an interview one of my professors recently gave to the Mexican publication El Economista, saying that he believes print publications, not multimedia journalism, is the future. This sparked lots of online commentary, and was a great forum for me to interact with other students from Navarra.

I took this guy’s newspaper design class. He’s now making comments about how multimedia isn’t the best path for journalism. I would have never found this controversial story if I hadn’t followed several of my former classmates on social media.

3. Read their blogs. It’s great language practice, and I’ve found it to be great advice from a perspective other than my current professors. One great blog by one of my former professors, Ramón Salaverría is E-periodistas (E-journalists), where he writes for journalists, journalism educators and students about cyberjournalism. (He and my newspaper design professor clearly stem from different philosophies).

4. Congratulate them when good things happen. Everybody likes to be recognized when they deserve it. When you see a tweet/story/post about something interesting they’re up to about it. Tell them! Passively following and reading will only get you so far. Don’t be afraid to start the conversation.

5. Keep them updated on what you’re doing. Send them your blog posts, projects and recent clips. It’s not narcissistic if you’re maintaining a two-way conversation with them. Professors like to see what their students do, and it’s a great way to get an outside opinion.

This type of networking is important for two reasons: 1. All the reasons we all know we should network and 2. You’re continuing to use your language skills. If you’re going to take the time to read something in your second language, it might as well be something that can serve two purposes.

What ways do you keep up with former professors and classmates?

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