Welcome home: Building international alumni communities

For international students who have recently graduated, entering into a supportive community upon returning home can be game-changing after spending years living in Melbourne.

These new graduates face unique challenges, including undertaking the process of resettling in their home city while also forging new professional connections to help them embark on their careers.

Through the Welcome Home program, ten University of Melbourne Alumni Associations around the world host unique, alumni-led events each year to help returning graduates establish themselves in their home cities.

Attendees at the Hong Kong Welcome event.Alumni at the Hong Kong Welcome Home event networked after listening to a career-focused panel discussion.

The events are usually held between February and May of each year, and the generous alumni volunteers within each local association organise special activities. This helps to welcome recent graduates, allows them to create new personal and professional connections, and assists them in resettling.

From a small barbecue dinner that was held in Japan, to the formal event held in Shanghai where an alum presented on their own experience of returning home, each of the local Alumni Associations created their own unique experiences.

Connecting over Iftar

Recent Master of International Tax graduate Dimas Pradhityo said the Welcome Home event held in Jakarta this year was a very warm and welcoming environment.

“We laughed, talked and ate together,” shared Dimas, “some people brought their families, so it was fun to see some kids in an event full of professionals, making the atmosphere warmer and lighter, like one big family event.”

Held on the evening of 1 April, the event fell within the month of Ramadan, and as such centred around attendees enjoying Iftar together – the fast-breaking evening meal.

“It was a great time with great food and even greater people,” said Dimas.

Attendees at the Jakarta Welcome event.

The Jakarta event had a relaxed atmosphere with nearly 80 attendees coming together for Iftar.

The Indonesia Alumni Association also took the opportunity to hold their annual general meeting within the same event, including an election of new members of the association.

With around 80 alumni in attendance, the event was a fantastic way for alumni to not only reminisce on their time at the University but also make important connections for their professional development.

“I got to know more of the alumni community, of which many were high-profile people in their own field,” said Dimas.

“Building connections with them proved to be professionally rewarding – right now in my phone contacts, I have people from various government institutions and big corporations, and professionals from various fields.”

Dimas also intends to return to the University of Melbourne for further study and finds alumni events like the Welcome event fill him with a sense of passion and enthusiasm for what lies ahead.

“My time studying at the University of Melbourne was an amazing experience and I hope to go back there for my PhD degree,” shared Dimas.

“Through this experience, I can keep my spark to pursue further higher education.”

Sharing wisdom

Earlier in the year on 5 February, the Hong Kong Alumni Association celebrated their Welcome event, the first in-person event since 2019.

The association organised a formal event at Sheraton Hong Kong Hotel and Towers. The highlight of the afternoon was a panel discussion between three VIP University alumni on the topic How to pursue your dream career.

The alumni panellists were Partner at Squire Patton Boggs Nick Chan, Regional Vice President at Hyatt Hotels Stephen Luk, and Co-Founder of KIN Foodhalls Jonathan Yeoh.

Arts alum and Hong Kong Alumni Association President Iris Tsoi took the lead in organising the proceedings which attracted an attendance of 40 alumni both new and existing.

“I communicated with the venue manager regarding the floor plan and logistics of the event, kept the committee updated about the planning progress, and arranged the manpower for the event,” said Iris.

Panel discussion at the Hong Kong Welcome event.

The Hong Kong event’s alumni panellists Nick Chan, Stephen Luk and Jonathan Yeoh, and panel moderator Alvina Chan.

For Iris, being able to provide networking opportunities to her peers motivates her to organise these events.

“Not only do I get to know more Hong Kong alumni and expand my alumni network, there is also a sense of accomplishment when I receive some positive feedback and see the alumni networking.”

Beyond building professional connections, Iris also enjoys seeing her fellow alumni connect on a personal level too.

“It gives alumni a chance to meet old friends and also make new ones. They can build up their alumni network with people who share the same memories in Melbourne,” she said.

Opportunity for friendship and growth

Each University Alumni Association aspires to continue growing their local communities and offer ongoing support and guidance to alumni who are returning home from Melbourne.

Iris says that alumni can get even more out of their experience by volunteering in their local Alumni Associations.

“Volunteering through your local alumni association is a great way to expand your personal experience and alumni network – and get exposure to different local and University-related opportunities,” she said.

Dimas says no alum should hesitate to become a part of their local alumni community and make the most of the many benefits.

“You will surely meet amazing people, such as your University seniors and peers, or other people that may personally or professionally benefit you,” said Dimas.

“Don't feel intimidated by the University of Melbourne’s big name – as you are also part of the University itself. Enjoy the atmosphere, connect with your fellow alumni, and reconnect with the University of Melbourne.”

Learn more about your local Alumni Association and connect with your alumni community.

Learn more

Give Read more - Students & Alumni Impact