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This week is the last article in my three-part series called “Welcome and Support: How Educational Institutions in Spain and Latin America Can Effectively Recruit and Support U.S. Students.” The first post discussed recruitment strategies. The second post was all about how to support English-speaking students after they arrive in your country. Today’s article is about how universities in Spain and Latin America can stay connected to their English-speaking, international alumni in order to help spread the word about programming and keep up enrollment.
Following up with your alumni as to how their study abroad experience changed their lives and increased their skill set will help you know what to talk about with future potential students. It will also give you insight as to what improvements your program can make for future growth. For example, Samantha DiBacco of 4.0 Tours shares insights her company gained when measuring the impact of their alumni’s study abroad experiences in Europe.:
Carrying out your own alumni survey and sharing out those insights is really beneficial for all involved, such as future students and their parents.
In addition, consider social media strategies to connect with alumni. Email newsletters are a good start, but are not always read. Having a LinkedIn group for study abroad alumni or a specific Twitter or Instagram feed for your international alumni creates community after the time on your campus is complete.
Finally, think about having an alumni contact representative that can play host if anyone comes back to visit. This individual can also reach out during fundraising efforts in the future. It’s typical for universities in the U.S. to reach out to their alumni base for fundraising efforts and capital campaigns. This is another way you can stay connected with prior students.
As we enter these uncharted waters when international travel and study abroad experiences are so deeply affected by the Coronavirus pandemic, universities in Spain and Latin America have a golden opportunity to effectively connect with U.S. students who either have plans on hold to study abroad or who plan to study abroad in 2020-2021. Become a “home away from home” where students will feel welcome and comfortable. This will benefit all involved.
Thanks to 4.0 Tours for sharing your insights and allowing the use of your findings for this post!