Common Rooms

Connecting Yalies Around the World in Small Groups

What happens when Yalies from Europe, the US, Africa, Latin America, Asia, Oceania, and the Middle East walk into a (virtual) room?

Enter the Yale International Alliance Common Room, for Yale alumni who are interested in the world and its citizens. Your small group of 6-8 Yalies will reflect different geographic areas of the world, and will meet online for 40 minutes twice a month for three months to create new relationships with far-flung Yalies, discuss perspectives, further cross-cultural understanding, and continue that conversation you were having in your Common Room at Yale. Choose from a General Conversation CR or one of our many internationally-oriented Themed CRs.

“One of my dreams of going to Yale was going to a place where everyone was interested in the conversation topics I was into… the Common Room revived my dream and I relished all of it!” 

“YIA Common Rooms are nothing short of life-changing”

Join a YIA Common Room

Sign ups for the Spring 2024 cycle are now closed. Please contact [email protected] with any questions and check out our FAQ below.

Registrations for the next series of Common Rooms will be open soon! Our Common Rooms are hosted by alums, who are either enthusiastic about connecting Yalies through general discussion, or are passionate about discussing a particular topic. Our Common Room themes have included US-China Relations, Favorite Museums, Threat of Nuclear War, Art and Design around the World, Classics, Consciousness and Identity, and many others.

Interested in participating in or hosting a Common Room? Browse past Common Room themes here and get inspired!

Each cycle also has General Common Rooms where alumni meet to discuss a variety of topics, without a set theme or agenda.

71 Countries (and counting)

Telling Your Story

Our General Conversation Common Rooms start with the CR members introducing themselves, and we offer a Yale alum filmmaker’s advice on ‘Telling Your Story’.

Frequently Asked Questions

Where and when are YIA Common Rooms?

YIA Common Rooms meet twice a month on Zoom for 40 minutes, with the role of ‘host’ rotating among participants. You do not need a paid Zoom account to participate.

Join your group by RSVPing to a calendar of open rooms. You’ll be able to choose a Common Room based on your time zone, geography and availability. So, an early riser in Seattle might be joining a Common Room that includes an alum who’s just finished work in Dubai, and a night owl living in Tokyo.

What topics will be discussed?

We will provide your group with expert tips and subject prompts to get the conversation going, but ultimately each Common Room will determine the content of the discussions, and choose how thought-provoking, inspiring, or simply entertaining they want their Common Room to be. Members of some Common Rooms may decide to join together to create some impact in the world around them.

General Common Rooms are for alums to meet and discuss whatever they like as a group, with topics often changing each week. Themed Common Rooms have a focus on a particular topic, at least as a starting point! We encourage participants to sign up for no more than one General and one Themed Common Room per cycle. 

How long will each Common Room last?

Each Common Room will run for three months (six sessions), after which there will be a one-month pause for feedback before a new cycle begins. Alums may switch to a new group or take a break, or two groups may merge. Some Common Room groups may choose to continue as they are. 

We expect that some groups will become a lifelong forum for friendship and common interests, while others will give alumni a brief but meaningful opportunity to see the world from other perspectives and to share a sense of global citizenship.

How are the YIA Common Rooms run?

Each group will have one member who has volunteered to act as host and:
-send out the Zoom invite.
-serve as a sounding board for group members and to share feedback with the relevant YIA committees.
-initiate the conversation around a chosen theme.
-facilitate discussion by making sure that everyone has a chance to speak.
-keep track of time and close the session, making sure the group knows the date and time for the next meeting.

As the group members take over ownership of the process, you will ultimately determine the organizational details that suit your group best, from meeting length and frequency to rotating the coordinator role if desired.

What will be expected of me?
  • Bring yourself to the session in an honest and open way. Everyone has something to contribute, no matter what their life experience. 
  • Give everyone a chance to speak and a space to share their thoughts.
  • Attend as many of the sessions as possible.
  • Let the host know if you won’t be able to attend a session.
  • Join in with any pre-reading/watching that your group agrees on for a session. 
  • Follow the simple YIA Common Room guidelines, listed in the FAQ as well, along with the privacy policy for the YIA Common Room groups.
How do I sign up?

Login to your YIA Alumni account, click “Join a Common Room,” browse the calendar of open rooms, and choose a room that works best for you.

You’ve had the Yale conversational experience. Now, in a different phase in your life, revisit the Common Room online, make new friends and hear unexpected perspectives from around the world. 

Community Guidelines and Privacy

Community Guidelines

Participating in the YIA Common Rooms means you’ll be joining a community. Participation in the Common Room acknowledges your agreement to these guidelines, which are designed to create productive and stimulating discussions for you and others.

  1.  YIA Common Room conversations are not to be recorded, so that we create an open community space with informal, off-the-record conversations.
  2. One voice, one mic. Let people speak one at a time and try not to speak over one another. But remember that the time lag in an internet connection may inadvertently thwart this. 
  3. Help create an environment for everyone to contribute. Be mindful of how much you participate, as everyone in the group should have a chance to speak and a space to share their thoughts. 
  4. Try to avoid making generalizations and assumptions, and speak from your own perspective.
  5. Ask questions and listen. Recognize and respect that people are at different stages of life and of the process of learning. 
  6. Create a space of honesty and accountability for everyone to learn from their mistakes. If someone says something harmful or inappropriate, trust that person is speaking not from ill-intent, but name the harm that has been done to make it known to the group.
  7. Attend as many sessions as possible and let the host know if you will not be able to attend.
  8. Be prepared to take on the role of host when it is your turn, facilitating discussion to make sure that everyone has a chance to speak.
  9. Provide feedback to the YIA Common Rooms Committee when surveyed, to help us improve the program.
  10. Respect the confidentiality of personal stories that are shared with the group and maintain confidentiality about any personal information or contact details you are given. 
  11. If clashes in personality or topics of discussion cause problems within a small group, participants should be prepared to leave or switch groups if asked by the YIA Common Rooms Committee in order to ensure a smooth working of the program. Any decisions about group participation will be made by this committee and on occasion by the YAA, and all decisions will be final.
  12. If a participant’s behavior in a YIA Common Room is determined to be detrimental, the YIA reserves its right to remove the individual from participating in this and other YIA Common Rooms.
  13. The YIA is not responsible for the personal interactions in your YIA Common Room, as each alum is a unique individual. Some group members will become lifelong friends, while others may find that their personalities don’t click. You agree that your remedy, if persistently dissatisfied with your group, is to stop attending.
  14. You may not use the YIA Common Rooms to job hunt, advertise for commercial or partisan political purposes, or for any unlawful or fraudulent purpose. Nor may you represent that the YIA or Yale name is affiliated with any outside activity in which you or your group become involved without the YIA’s or Yale’s express permission.
  15. All participants must be over 21.
  16. Views expressed in the YIA Common Rooms, or in material used to foster discussion, do not necessarily express the views of the YIA, YAA, or Yale University.

Your personal information from the YIA Common Rooms survey will not be disclosed by the YIA to your group, aside from your name and, where necessary for organizational purposes, your email address.  

Common Room Announcements and News

Alumni: Are you interested in connecting with other alumni around the globe? Create an account today to access the YIA Alumni Map!