For the past several years, “networking” has been one of the professional world’s most buzz-worthy words. Everyone seems to be talking about the boundless benefits of having an extensive network. Many even say that in today’s job landscape, “it’s not about what you know, it’s who you know.” Although it sounds hyperbolic, the significance of networking cannot be exaggerated. It is such an important part of finding opportunities and growing in professional settings. It may seem like networking is only relevant for people who are already active in the job market, but in reality, it is never too early to start building a global network.
I didn’t have the opportunity to go to an international high school, but when I turned 18 I moved across the world to attend a small university with students from all over the world. It was the best decision I ever made. Not only was I able to learn from an extraordinary group of faculty, but I also studied, lived, and explored alongside people from a wide variety of cultures and backgrounds. We had the privilege of getting to know each other during a transformational time in our lives, and the bonds we created have withstood the time and distance that separate us today.
I can’t overstate how beneficial my international network of friends has been, both personally and professionally. Not only do I have friends all over the world, but I also have strong connections in almost every industry and career field. I’m so thankful that I seized an opportunity to get to know such a wide variety of people at such a young age. Networking is like investing: the earlier you start, the greater the benefits will be in the long-run. It should never feel transactional, but the mutual exchange of value that occurs when making genuine connections with others has the potential to create life-changing opportunities down the road.
Immerse your child in an international community
Immersing your child in a diverse community of ambitious learners is an excellent way to help them begin networking early. Having the ability to build relationships within an international educational setting will not only enrich your child’s perspectives and strengthen their social skills, but it will also put them on a networking fast-track. An international boarding high school is the perfect opportunity for students to learn how to socialize with new people from a variety of backgrounds.
It’s also great preparation for the future, where relationships will be strong assets to your child’s job exploration and growth. Most young people don’t find their footing with networking until well into their university careers. A student who is already confident about socializing with new people in a genuine way will be at an advantage in comparison to those who are unfamiliar or uncomfortable with networking. Creating meaningful connections with peers in a multicultural setting while in high school will make large networking events less intimidating in the future.
Surround your child with supportive and knowledgeable adults
The other adults in your child’s life will also become great sources of advice and support as your student begins to seek out new connections and opportunities. Asking questions about specific career paths and university options is a great way for your child to learn more about what they may want to do in the future. Teachers, counselors, and advisors who are experienced in their field can offer a wealth of knowledge. Having strong connections with adult mentors creates another avenue for students to gain insights into possible career fields and meet other qualified professionals. Adult mentors can introduce students to a wider range of people, enhancing your child’s network even further. This is a great way for them to learn more about university programs, internship opportunities, and possible jobs down the road.
Encourage your child to take advantage of opportunities for relevant hands-on experience
By giving your child an education that emphasizes experiential learning, you will expand the space for them to make connections in a community that extends beyond school. Students who are able to explore their interests in hands-on settings have additional opportunities to meet other individuals who are pursuing similar paths. Taking classes and participating in clubs that provide hands-on learning opportunities allows students to more intimately understand their passions while providing them with a space to ask questions about how to reach their educational and professional goals. Class trips to nearby museums, workshops, or universities not only enhance learning opportunities but also introduce students to professionals in a variety of fields.
Sending your child to an international boarding high school is an invaluable way to prepare them for university and beyond. They will develop the skills necessary to build strong relationships with their peers and mentors and simultaneously lay the foundations for a meaningful network of lifelong friends. The people and relationships that your child chooses to invest in during high school may be instrumental in opening doors to their future university and professional careers.
At EF Academy, students learn and grow alongside a diverse group of students and faculty. Give your child the educational opportunity of a lifetime in a setting that will transform their perspective, expand their network, and prepare them for a future that knows no borders.