Upon returning home after completing their studies, many international students experience what’s commonly known as ‘reverse culture shock’, where they feel out of place back home.
Some may also find it difficult to find a job that’s the right fit for them, as their overseas experience sets them apart, like a square peg trying to fit into a round hole.
One of the best ways to deal with it is to talk to others who have studied abroad … but what if you don’t know anyone who’s gone overseas to study?
This is where the International Alumni Job Network (IAJN) comes in: it’s the first job network created specifically for graduates in the Asia-Pacific region who have international experience.
— IAJN (@IAJN_Official) September 26, 2016
Since its launch in May, the network has garnered over 15,000 registered members, and aims to reach 100,000 by the end of the year.
“The initial feedback from both alumni and employers has been amazing and we are on track to reach 100,000 by the end of the year,” said IAJN’s co-founder, Shane Dillon.
Dillon, along with co-founder and CEO of IAJN, Kate Harden, came up with the idea for the network after meeting a young Australian graduate who had returned from studying overseas, but was feeling a sense of disconnect, in addition to being unable to leverage his education to secure a suitable job.
“I thought there must be thousands of graduates in the same position every year,” said Dillon.
— Intead (@Intead) July 28, 2016
And his hunch proved right, as the alumni network has had nearly 20,000 alumni join within the first few months and has already engaged with over 60 employer groups across Asia.
Francesca Le from Vietnam was a fresh graduate of the London School of Economics in the UK, and was introduced to the network by a friend.
“It was so amazing to be able to come back to Vietnam after so many years away and instantly connect with a social and professional network of other international alumni.
“The value-add has been incredible and I am already being connected with great employers in my chosen industry of banking and finance,” she said.
— Forbes Asia (@ForbesAsia) July 14, 2016
The network has six alumni groups covering each region of study – the U.S., UK, New Zealand, Australia, Europe, and Canada – and allows graduates to connect through its online platform.
Harden told Forbes that the network’s success is backed up by the fact many of their members are working for companies which are looking to recruit local staff with an international education.
“We are finding we have got a lot of buzz in the community in general because [our members] are referring us to their HR managers, or they are the HR manager or the owners of the business.
“There is a really interesting synergy we’ve got with this cycle of education to employment,” she said.
Members of the network represent over 15 countries across Asia, such as Vietnam, Malaysia, China, Philippines, and Thailand. Some of the companies offering positions to members of the network include Microsoft, Prudential, Agoda, and Procter & Gamble.
Harden added that there are also plans to organize several social events for the alumni, allowing them to meet up and share their experiences with fellow international students.
Image via StartupStockPhotos