Making the Most of My Canadian Connection

Upon arrival on campus, new students are barraged with clubs to join: cultural, religious, political, professional, general interest. I only joined one or two at the beginning of my freshman year to minimize extracurricular time commitments. Later on, however, I joined a few more, and now I have friends in various circles on campus. One such circle is made up of my Canadian friends.

As an American who also holds Canadian citizenship, I decided to join the Canadian Club at Penn mainly for amusement, but also for networking purposes. I usually spend a few weeks of every summer visiting my relatives in Canada, so the prospect of having Penn contacts in the Toronto region is very appealing in terms of internship and job opportunities. Until a month ago, my involvement didn’t extend much beyond buying Tim Hortons’ coffee and Timbits (mini-donuts that taste different from Munchkins), poppies for Remembrance Day and, most recently, paying for a club T-shirt with a big moose on the front.

At best, I thought my contact with the club would give me the names and contact information for alumni I could reach out to. Little did I expect that my involvement would lead to an alumna approaching me.

Last month, an alumna from the Penn-Wharton Club of Toronto posted on the campus club’s Facebook page. She introduced herself as a recent graduate who was hoping to acquaint us with the alumni club’s happenings and members. In case we choose to move back to Canada at any point, we would then be familiar with the network. She invited us to contact any of the board members and to attend club events if ever in the Toronto region during school breaks. She added that she was going to friend each of us on Facebook, which would give us automatic access to the Penn-Wharton Club of Toronto’s Facebook group.

I never thought that a graduate of the University would reach out to me via Facebook, let alone one I had never met personally. After all, she had no idea what I study or what my future plans are. She only knows that I am a Canadian student who might appreciate the resources that she and the alumni club have to offer.

That is the power of the Penn and Wharton network. Alumni express interest in us, offering us their time and their wisdom to help figure out the undergraduate experience and career possibilities—all simply because we’re current students.

I have not reached out to the Penn-Wharton Club of Toronto yet, though I am sure that I will at some point. And I know that no matter where I go after graduation, a Wharton Club will be nearby offering exclusive services and resources to its members.

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