I attended my first Fulbright event at UCLA. This was the alumni reception where they made many toasts and speeches about the impact of Fulbright and where you got to meet with the other Fulbrighters. At this event I met Mr. Richard J. Frank who has applied to be a Fulbrighter in Finland. He was very interested in the Finnish culture and everything relating to Finland and its world famous education system. During this time my husband was waiting for his work visa and started to apply for jobs. Richard was very very helpful in giving tips about the culture (for example when to send a thank you note after an interview and all that which was very unfamiliar to us). He also introduced me to Lotta, a Finnish Fulbrighter also studying in Los Angeles.
After the event I send Richard an email saying how his tips were very helpful etc. This is something I learned from one of the UCLA infos. Always follow up with people you have met and who you would like to connect at some later point. Whether for career purposes or not.
Richard did not only reply but he invited me, my husband and Lotta to his home in the Hollywood hills for a BBQ evening! He invited his neighbors too and we ended having a very fun evening with all of them. All of whom were very successful professionals from very different fields. It was great to hear their stories too!
Another time when my networking turned out to a very interesting and fun opportunity was at one of the UCLA events. Me and my friend went to talk with different people and one of them turned out to be one of the studio executives. He invited me and my friend for a tour at the studio and we of course said "yes" and had a fun afternoon at the studio! He also gave us valuable insight about the career of an entertainment lawyer in Los Angeles.
At first I didn't really enjoy the networking part of the US culture. In Finland we don't do this to this extend. In the US people are more open to new things and meeting new people (in general) so this goes very well with the culture here. Just have fun with it and meet new people! If it happens to lead to something - great! If not, just enjoy the conversations with new people.
- S -