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Step Two: Contacts

Once you have defined your goals and have an idea of the type of activity you would like to pursue, you will be ready to start exploring your options. One way of exploring your options is to discuss them with trusted advisers and mentors.

  • Think carefully about how to approach each of these individuals or groups.
  • Prepare before each meeting to ensure you are maximising your time together and being respectful of their time.
  • Advising conversations are usually more productive if you present a tangible idea upon which they can give you feedback.
  • Be open to analyzing, criticizing and revising your ideas with whomever you speak to.
  • Be sure to thank the people you have approached for their thoughts, even if you ultimately decide to take a different path.


Advisers within CIPE

While Fellowship Advisers are the people to talk to about fellowship applications, the specifics of your proposal, whom to ask for letters, etc, also tap in to the expertise of our colleagues within CIPE:

Faculty Advisers

Discussing your thoughts with a faculty mentor is especially important if you intend to carry out a research project or apply for funding for graduate study. If you intend to carry out a language program or to undertake a project in a second language, your language instructor may also have useful insights to help you prepare for the challenges of living and working in a second language.

Do an inventory of your faculty connections.

Think of the faculty members you have already interacted with. Which of these share your interests and with whom do you feel most connected?

Do some research.

You do not have to limit your scope to faculty members you already know. You can also approach faculty members whose expertise or research area aligns with your interests. See departmental websites or visit the Research at Yale website.

Talk to your peers.

Ask about research your friends/classmates/peer contacts have carried out. How did they make that happen? Do any of the professors they worked with have expertise that aligns with your interests?

Plan your approach.

  • clarify your own goals and interests.
  • identify the elements of the faculty member's past or current work that align with your goals and interests.
  • Identify the best way to contact the faculty member and have a plan for doing so.
  • remember that faculty members are busy people - be respectful of their time.
  • have a few people in mind - while most faculty members enjoy supporting student projects, sometimes they are simply unable to add another committment to their schedule.

Tip: See these further resources:

Across the Yale Campus

Find advice on international research and more from the regional experts at the Yale University Library. Also, be sure to consult your personal librarian, who will have expert advice on the resources at Yale and other institutions, domestic and international, and how to access them.

The Yale World Fellows are on campus for the fall semester and happy to engage with Yale College students. If the activity you would like to pursue is related to the field of expertise of one of the Yale World Fellows, you may wish to reach out to them.

The Yale Undergraduate Research Association is a student organization dedicated to building a community that promotes undergraduate research here at Yale, as well as connects disciplines, resources, and individuals on campus. Have a look at their database which contains information regarding the work of over 1400 faculty members across all of Yale College's departments and several of the university's graduate programs.

Your Personal Network

Residential College Graduate Affiliates and Resident Fellows often have experience in planning and carrying out projects and undertaking research, and are likely to have some valuable advice for you.

Contacts and acquaintances from your extra-curricular activities may have expertise or contacts in the field in which you are interested.

Previous competition winners are often happy to share their stories and may have some useful hints and tips about preparing your project and the application process. Hear from other Yalies.

Engage with Yale's Cultural Centers or a student organization.

Most importantly, talk to people and tell them about your plans. Don't forget, Yale hosts over 4,000 students and scholars from over 100 different countries each year. Maybe one of your classmates, professors or teaching assistants is familiar with the country or region to which you are hoping to go, and this is a great opportunity to get to know that person better, too.

Yale Alumni

The Yale Career Network is a database of thousands of alumni who are interested in networking with you. This network will allow you to connect with alumni to discuss career objectives and explore career interests. With the right connections, it may be possible to arrange your own internship.

Yale International Alumni Clubs and alumni living abroad are usually very willing to assist current students who are interested in coming to their countries. They can be a great contact to help set up everything from internships to housing.

Outside Yale

Previous employers, community leaders and organizations who carry out work or research similar to the focus of your project may be willing to offer you an insight into what to expect and how to plan.

If you have a specific region in mind, you may wish to explore and reach out to NGOs or community organizations which operate in the area.