It’s 5 O’clock Somewhere
According to The Wall Street Journal, there are more than 1 million international students enrolled at U.S. colleges and universities – an 85 percent increase from 2005. In fact, not only is the number of international students studying at U.S. institutions on the rise, the numbers of U.S. students studying abroad and faculty who work and conduct research abroad have been trending upward with record-breaking momentum over the past decade.
With these statistics, chances are your campus boasts a growing internationally-minded student body. How U connect with your graduates who live and work abroad can reap benefits for your alumni programs and ultimately expand your university’s global reach.
It’s all about the alumni family
More and more, international students are returning home after graduation for various reasons, including U.S. visa policies and booming economies in their native countries. As they embark upon their post-graduate lives, it’s both the alumni and their families who want to have a continued relationship with their alma mater.
“Families of international students often take a collective pride in their child going to an American university,” says Andy Shaindlin, founder of Alumni Futures. “For this reason, alumni relations and development teams are keeping the entire family in their database.” Prior to starting his consulting company, Shaindlin worked in alumni relations and university fundraising at Brown, the University of Michigan, Caltech, and Carnegie Mellon—which includes alumni, parents, faculty, and visiting scholars in its extended family.
As executive director of international development at Carnegie Mellon University Jim Dawson explains it this way, “Personal communication, cultural literacy, and local connections are key to our international alumni engagement strategy.” For example, a staff member who speaks Mandarin manages social media groups for alumni in China. Soon CMU will be adding a staff member in India to connect with their 2,000 alumni and parents in India.