Being a student at Columbia University offers great opportunities of expanding your friend or working network! What’s more it’s located in NYC which is one of the greatest city to do so as well.
At Columbia University, you get the chance of meeting American and foreign students from all over the world. It is highly recommended that since the beginning you go towards people in order to know them. Don’t be surprised, American people often act like you are their best friends from the moment they see you but sometimes do not keep contact… It is a very different culture from the French one. In a sense, this is nice because you can approach people easily, but staying in touch with them is up to you! That is in fact, one a first thing the coordinator tells us, the French students, on our arrival.
On campus, you have lots of opportunities of meeting new people. First, in class of course… The first week when you choose your classes can be a good way also to meet people that won’t necessarily be in the same course as you. It is highly encouraged that you mixed with other students and yield to the temptation of staying between French so that we speak more often English and meet more people than we would otherwise. In class, you also get a chance to meet very interesting teachers that are sometimes more or less famous… You can also meet other students on other campus’ facilities such as one of the 16 libraries or at the Gym which are free accessed to everyone that owns the Columbia student card.
But the University also creates lots of networking opportunities. For example, in early September, there is one afternoon on campus where you can learn about all the clubs of Columbia – some of which you can even register too. You cannot join sports’ one since it is only for one semester but it is nice to register to the other ones (even if you are not sure you will like it) to receive propositions of events by email throughout the semester. Talking about events, the Eventbrite app also offers plenty parties you may want to join. On the university website, you can also have access to the database of previous alumni and you can also register to “networking hours” which sets specific hours of chatting between you and alumni or ex-alumni that have the same professional interests as yours.
Finally, even before coming on campus, you can register on facebook’s Columbia groups once you have your Columbia mail address, called “Groups at Columbia”. Once you get in, you can register to plenty of other groups for example to search a flat or a roommate which can be quite useful before arrival. This also applies for the French community which has a group called “Les Frenchy à NY”. You will probably not meet foreign people on this group but it is sometimes nice to get in touch with other French people or get some French advice when needed.
(By Capucine Boussard)