The networking events for family members can contribute to both the researchers' and their families' better integration in the host country. Regular meet-ups can improve opportunities for networking, making in-person contacts, sharing knowledge, asking questions, and for receiving advice about the local environment.
In addition, regular meetings can strengthen the local community, also involving local players - HEI management, research, administrative staff, and local stakeholders among others.
Improved quality of service Better communication and cooperation Social integration
|Categories||Family Matters Networking Social Integration & Daily Life Promotion & Visibility|
|Mobility stages||During mobility phase|
|Importance||Nice to have|
|Scale of organizational change|
|Target groups||PhD student/Early career researcher R2 - R4 researchers Internationals spouses/family members|
|Types of contracts of researchers||Permanent employee Visiting scholar Employee in training (interns, research fellows, postdocs) Exchange student|
|Career stages of researchers||Less than 6 months 6-12-months of experience 1-3-years of experience 3-10 years of experience 10-15 years of experience More than 15 years of experience|
|Lengths of stays of researchers||0-3 months 3-6 months 6-12 months More than 12 months|
The programme of networking events can bring a lot of benefits and a good pay-off to the host organisation.
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|Time required for practice setup|
|Personnel effort required for practice setup|
|Actors involved in practice setup||
|Partners involved in practice setup||
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@All: Consider inviting other local organisations to be co-hosts for the events. This can additionally strengthen the local community and provide opportunities for better collaboration.
For each event, set aside about a month for planning and preparation. Think about possible co-hosts, help, and assistance and determine the place, the programme, the logistics (if there will be food/drinks), and the fee (if applicable). It is good for the first event to start in the office/ at the university premises and to focus on networking activities.
Announce the date and send out invitations three or two weeks in advance. In the invitation, specify clearly the date and time, the place (add a map, if necessary), the food/drinks (if any), the fee (if any). Highlight the event co-hosts, the goals and the networking activities, invited guests, and expected duration.
Consider the expected number of guests (f.ex. up to 10, up to 20, up to 50, or 100) and decide how to reach them. Together with the co-hosts, prepare the programme, consider including some ice-breaking activities, and appropriate get-to-know-each-other games. Taking into consideration that some spouses are not bilingual, possibly engage volunteers that can provide support/translation. Invite guests from your organisation's management board, staff members, researchers, and their spouses.
Welcome everybody in person and help them to introduce themselves and to network with the other guests. Make sure that the guests feel comfortable. It is expected that the spouses can be shy, so try to involve them in different activities, without being too "pushy". Prepare conversation starters, and plan how spouses can share some knowledge about their countries of origin, local customs, and specific terms. Ask some of the more experienced spouses to support the newcomers and to take part in organising the next events. Introduce the ice-breaking activities and get-to-know-each-other games. Make sure there are enough breaks and time for free conversations and sharing about encountered problems, questions, and answers. Take photos, but always ask permission to use them publicly.
Ask for feedback, comments, and suggestions and analyze the results. It is a good practice to make regular reporting to the management board about the statistics and the feedback received. Consider some changes and improvements for the next round of events.
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@all - other local organisations can be invited to co-host the events which can additionally strengthen the local community and provide opportunities for better collaboration.
RWTH Aachen University regularly offers workshops, excursions, and events, including many in cooperation with other RWTH institutions. The catalogue of activities can be downloaded from download our current semester program here. Also, the university runs LinkedIn group for international researchers which can be used for networking with other international researchers in Aachen.
EURAXESS Austria fosters networking between local and international PhD students, postdocs and researchers including their partners and families. The platform “EURAXESS Meeting Point VIENNA” offers different tools to support exchange and collaboration of researchers in the Vienna area in order to facilitate social integration of internationals.
The “EURAXESS Meeting Point Czech Republic” is an information-sharing platform and offers different tools to support researchers, families and couples in order to facilitate social integration.