Accessing your alumni network in another country can be difficult, even when you know there must be alumni out there who are eager to get in touch. Switchboard gives alumni an easy way to connect with each other abroad.
Sasha '15 of Reed College wanted to get in touch with alumni in Berlin after she received a Watson Fellowship to spend a year in Europe. She immediately turned to Switchboard for help and connected with nine alumni in Berlin within weeks of reaching out.
We asked Sasha to share her story.
Why did you start using Switchboard?
I can't remember the exact reason I started using Switchboard, but that's because I've used it to ask for so many things. I've asked for advice on jobs and fellowships, for places to stay, and for meetings with people I've never met before.
You most recently used Switchboard to find contacts in Berlin. Could you share your story?
I used Switchboard to ask for advice on getting a Watson Fellowship, and once I got it, it made sense to use Switchboard for help during the fellowship year.
I started the year off in Berlin, and I casually posted asking for a place to stay or people to meet. For my first four weeks, I stayed for free on Reedies' couches. They were all people who offered me places to stay because of my Switchboard post! For the next month, I sublet an apartment from a Reedie who was going out of town.
I also met Reedie journalists who connected me with the journalism scene in Berlin, helping me figure out how to do this podcast thing on my own. And I met some friendly Reedies for coffee, just to talk about our experiences. I can't believe how many people I met who were so willing to help in any way they could.
Would you recommend Reed Switchboard to other Reedies? Why?
Yes, I always recommend Switchboard to other Reedies.
If we were still living in a pre-Switchboard era, it's likely I wouldn't have met a single Reedie in Berlin. But Reedies ended up being my gateway to the city in ways I wouldn't have thought possible.