How to build a global alumni community
Globalization was a turning point for the evolution of education. Let’s use it in our favor and build a global alumni community.
Turning information into knowledge
What does it mean to live in a globalized world? Such a big question would require an equal answer. But, as a whole, in our current context, physical borders don’t define us anymore; cultures interact from opposite corners of the planet, and we absorb everything in a new way: information, misinformation, and confusion are the order of the day.
We might think of this as old news, but it could be considered brand new in historical terms. Actually, those generations born in the midst of the Information Age are still students or have just graduated from college. So, to be honest, we are not talking about ancient times. The most complex challenge in education is adapting to these newcomers and create a globalized education for globalized minds. And, why not? Open digital borders to welcome more students from different countries that could enrich your classrooms.
By building a global alumni community, you would:
- Promote diversity within the academic environment
- Encourage tolerance among teachers and students
- Inspire future generations
- Embrace global citizenship
- Grow as an educational institution
But, how can we achieve all this?
If you are already convinced and want to take the next step but don't know what to do, you just have to stay with me and read the following steps.
Step 1: Build a digital presence
The time has come for you to live in the clouds. If you aren't on the virtual map, you virtually don't exist (yes, pun intended). Colleges who want to go international need a reliable and solid website to handle their new needs. No need to rush! It can start small or aim at your local students-to-be. Take your time to build the best foundations for the future. Today it is a little landing page; tomorrow, the world.
Need another little advice? A lot of people will navigate your website at the same time. Create a scalable site that can perform well even at peak hours.
Step 2: Foresee possible needs
Being a multicultural institution may come with challenging situations. We can't ask the Oracle of Delfi what to do, but we can predict possible outcomes. For instance, the what-if scenarios can come in handy when developing the plan. Write down a list of these questions and talk with your team to find solutions. It would also be advisable to seek help from a group of developers. Both the academic and the technical points of view can create magic.
In general, as an international institution, you need:&
- A responsive design that can adapt to any viewport (desktops, tablets, and smartphones).
- Easy-to-use and trustworthy online payment channels.
- Open and direct messaging with multilingual counselors.
Step 3: Translate your website
Translating a website will be more welcoming to your international students. Even if they speak your language, they feel better taken into account. It won't be like stepping a foot on an alien land but a second home for everyone. But beware: don't boil the ocean. I'm not saying that your college site has to be in the 7,151 languages spoken worldwide.
Ask yourself: who will I be receiving? You can make your decision based on a real scenario or a dream. Each of them works; it doesn't matter. The next phase would be to translate your content to the desired languages. Once you have a website that spicks and spans, you are ready to navigate new waters (or have students navigate yours).
Step 4: Launch a campaign!
Being in the cloud, speaking many languages, and foreseeing possible needs is just the first part. What's your next challenge? Being on the map. Don't run! It's not a moment to flee when you have come so far. Your website has everything to catch the world's attention; you just need a window of opportunity.
A campaign can be of great help to be on everyone's lips. Yes, it can be an extra investment, but it's worth it. Nowadays, any business plan requires marketing and self-promotion. After launching your campaign, keep track of your results and measure your progress. Bear in mind that this can be a non-linear process. You may have to re-check some of the previous steps with your results.
Step 5: Create a community
After months of work, you will achieve your objective and see your global alumni community grow. What comes next? The alumni may vary from college to college, but they will always have one common goal: building a community. Since time immemorial, universities have been places to exchange ideas and knowledge. Take that to an international level!
The making of your international agora will have to take many factors into account. Cultures and societies can collide or find it hard to interact. Also, depending on your programs, you may or may not have virtual students. Connecting the virtual and the in-person students can come with its difficulties. However, these are tiny drawbacks compared to the benefits of having international alumni.
How can we create a community?
- Emphasize community in your messaging and make everyone feel included.
- Share your achievements! Even if some may be on the other side of the world, it's good to celebrate each other.
- Connect in-person and virtual students with group activities or virtual classes.
- Add international teachers that enrich your academic body and bring cultural variety to your curriculum.
Honestly, I organized the article as a sequence of steps to be crystal clear with my explanation. In the real world, that dimension that is far from the comfort of written letters, everything is unpredictable. It will be like entering a maze blindfolded: you will find the exit, but it will require time (and tons of patience). Also, as weird as it may sound, going back to the beginning is a normal part of progress. For some reason, this is starting to feel more like a video game.
At Awkbit, we believe that this process will always mean growth as long as there are solid foundations. Our developers are always happy to travel with you looking for new students. Would you like to start this journey with us?
Take a nap, your new tech partner is on the way.