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Woodbridge Hosts Alumni Panel

Alumni advise international students about employment in the U.S. and abroad

By Lena Chen, Contributing Writer

In an effort to foster closer relations with its alumni network, the Woodbridge Society of International Students held an alumni career panel Friday afternoon that brought together seven Woodbridge alumni and 40 current undergraduate members.

The panel, held in the Lowell Junior Common Room, featured alumni representing different professional fields who answered questions from the audience and offered advice on a diverse array of opportunities, sharing their personal post-graduate experiences. They also discussed issues unique to the international set, such as the merits of seeking employment in the United States versus in home countries.

“We noticed that international students have special needs for information regarding career choices after graduation in areas that might not be covered by other institutions,” said Woodbridge Director of Alumni Affairs Yinliang He ’08.

He added that the panel comes as part of Woodbridge’s new focus on its alumni network. Founded in 1994, the organization has primarily served a social function, providing a community for Harvard’s international constituency, according to Woodbridge President Hugo Van Vuuren ’07.

“When I ran for board last year, I had a feeling that we needed to do more to foster the alumni relationships,” He said. “Until the [formation of a Woodbridge] graduate board, there hasn’t been a lot of contact between alumni and current students.”

The graduate board of Woodbridge alumni has existed since 2002 but has only begun to become more active in the past year. Made up of five former members who are now Harvard graduate students, the graduate board’s greater presence allows the Woodbridge Society to seek out former members for advice on post-graduate options.

“One of our hopes in doing this event is trying to reactivate relationships between Woodbridge Society and its alums,” said Darryl Li ’01 of the graduate board.

Van Vuuren said the group hopes to make the alumni panel an annual or biannual event.

“I hope it helps international students in their search for what they want to do,” He said.

Van Vuuren added that Woodbridge aspires to further publicize global vocational options by putting on an international career fair both for international students and their American peers.

“Slowly but surely, we’re trying to get the international community aligned and together,” Van Vuuren said. “I feel that an organization like this one could play a key role in getting information out there about international opportunities.”

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