Will Attending College In Australia Leave Me With No Connections?

Hi Judge Josh!

Well hello there!

I’ve been following your advice columns for a while now and like your practical approach to education. I’ve got a tough question for ya, and would appreciate your take on the situation. Here goes:

Glad to give you my 2 cents.

I’m a 35 year old Canadian and I’ve recently been accepted into a dental school in Sydney, Australia. I am ecstatic, of course, but have a conundrum. I’ve also gotten a couple of interviews at some American schools.

Now, if I go to USyd, I’ll be starting in February, a full six months before any American school. The Aussie dollar is lower than the Canadian one, a nice bonus. BUT I’m worried about *after* graduating. How important do you think the connections you make are going to be in a school after you graduate?

They can be very valuable, actually.  I have done business with a number of contacts from both undergrad & grad school.

Every single job I got after I took my master’s degree was from connections I made in my program. But studying in Aus probably means that after graduating, I’ll be leaving all those connections behind. OTOH I haven’t actually been accepted anywhere in the States and pursuing interviews all over the continent is going to be pricey, very pricey, and the chances of me getting in are low. What do you think? Do you think connections are worth it?

I think you are underestimating the power of the internet in today’s society.  I said I have done business with several of my school contacts – and that is true – however I haven’t been within 500 miles of most of them in about 18 years.  Most of them could easily be in Australia, Tahiti, Zimbabwe or anywhere else on Earth and it would usually make about as much difference as if they were sitting on my lap.   The information age – it’s a beautiful thing, huh?

What do you think – am I oversimplifying things here?  Is it going to hurt him that his connections will stay down under when he moves back to Canada?  Let us all know what you think!

4 thoughts on “Will Attending College In Australia Leave Me With No Connections?”

  1. Hi and congratulations on being accepted at USyd. It’s perfectly normal that you worry about your network, as it is often said that your net worth is closely related to your network. Having said that I think you do not see the whole picture. First, nowadays it’s much easier to maintain your network. LinkedIn, Facebook etc. Provides professionals an easy way to keep old friendship alive. So going to Australia will more likely help you expand your contacts rather than shrinking them. Second, you never know what kind of connection you might develop there, which could take your career to a whole new level. My advice put more emphasis on the quality of the program compared to the ones in USA or in Canada. Check how their school ranked, their placement rate etc. Again congrats and good luck.

  2. Have you considered asking for the interview to be via Skype or to get your travel expenses paid for by the educational institution? One can always ask.

    Networking is the way to go and that is how most positions get snapped up. The positions, except for governmental positions, that one sees written up are sometimes, or often, the ones where networking failed to fill.

    Where there is a will, there is a way. My mother used to say that.

  3. Dear Josh,

    I’ve been a fan for years. Currently, I’m looking at doctoral programs but I still love your site! The questions are ones that I’ve debated myself. As for the young man today, I say go for it. Of course, connections are important; particularly, in the world of business. However, our dear friend is going into dentistry. It’s a career that’s in demand worldwide. No matter where he sets up shop, he’ll be needed. For those of us working within the creative job force with intangible skills, everything rides on who we know. For his, dare I say it…trade, it’ll be a different world entirely. People have teeth, teeth need care.

    My graduate studies were pursued in the UK. Going abroad gave me a different vantage point from my peers. Even now in job interviews, that’s always my clenching factor. Hiring managers tell me that my foreign MA shows that I’m a calculated risk taker. They respect the discipline that it took to finish a degree in a totally different educational system. So, full sails ahead, young man. Send my love to Sydney.

    Lici G

  4. I am from Singapore, did my first degree in Russia and Masters in Australia. Not only do I have Russian & Australian connections but also have international friends who, like me, traveled to these countries. I can’t emphasize enough how valuable the experience was. As an international student, you’ll be surprised to know how diverse the student population is – one will always have friends from outside of that country.

    In my own experience, although network is great, it’s your persistence, determination & patience (read: hard work) is what matters. I’m now comfortably settled in my first job after graduation which I applied off the internet, not knowing a single soul in the organization or ‘friends of friends’.

    I’ve always thought it would be tough to not have connections in your field of interest so I went to various career fairs, meetings, network sessions (all at my own expense) to hook up with people but nothing came to fruition.

    I still think personal connections are important but then, like Judge Josh says, do not underestimate the power of the internet!

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