Today an increasing number of U.S. students are choosing to study abroad. Europe is continuously the region that welcomes the most students and Portugal, in its southwest corner, is growing as a study abroad destination as well, although most of its potential remains untapped. SiPN can proudly say it is one of the leading providers operating in Portugal and the receiver of more than a third of the American students that chose the country as their study abroad destination in 2017-2018 (Open Doors Report, IIE).
Over the past few years a little bit more than a thousand American students choose SiPN to help them incorporate an overseas study experience within their education, taking Portugal as the place to further their studies. Together, they make up SiPN’s alumni and they play a special role in widening Portugal’s global reach and outlook as a study abroad destination.
To date, however, their role has been largely undervalued as there wasn’t a formal set up to promote alumni engagement. We have now repositioned alumni engagement as an advancement priority, trusting that it has significant implications for not only the professional future of our students, but also for SiPN and FLAD and, by extension, its partners, who wish to strengthen their ties to the academic community in the United States.
Currently, we are dedicating efforts in delineating a new strategy and approach to alumni engagement and we hope to launch a platform in 2021 that will help all individuals affiliated to the program to connect and network. In the meanwhile we invite all of our alums and community member to join SiPN´s Linkedin, as well as to join SiPN´s Community page on Facebook.
All SiPN participants (from regular programs, as well as students participating in faculty-led programs co-organized by SiPN), become SiPN alums automatically.
We at SiPN tend to assume that we are developing a set of Portugal ambassadors, the best a country can have. It is our idea that during our student´s stay in Portugal, and especially when they return to their home campuses, SiPN alums will be doing all they can to share the message on how transformative a study abroad can be and how Portugal is the one of the greatest places on earth to go study and live abroad.
If an alum is especially engaged with SiPN´s purposes and wants to directly support SiPN´s cause and values, we kindly ask them to get in contact with SiPN (during of after their stay) who will furnish them with all the appropriate resources say for a previously approved event to showcase SiPN and its attibutes at our student´s academic community, or other kinds of initiatives. It can be at a study abroad fair, at a center of some form (either on campus or outside), etc.
FLAD highly supports its alums who are willing to consider Portugal for future academic and professional experiences. SiPN alums should consider reaching out to FLAD for sponsorship opportunities, discuss ideas and projets, or simply to ask for general support. Given FLAD/SiPN prestige and network both in Portugal and in the US, we will put all of our efforts at work for our alums.
See FLAD´s website for a better understanding on the institution´s mission, areas, and current program portfolio.
An active SiPN alum will:
- Host fun events to tell their story and gain professional experience along the way;
- Develop skills to share their experience in their community, on their campus, and in job interviews;
- Be empowered to transform the world in a concrete way;
- Work closely with SiPN and FLAD´s team to increase SiPN´s awereness ;
- Learn more about how to apply your international experience to your career. Gain in-depth knowledge about how to appropriately reflect your international; experience on a résumé, cover letter, and in job interviews!
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SiPN is very much proud of its alums. Here we feature some alums who have included Portugal in future initiatives after being SiPN participants. A new SiPN alumni platform (to be launched during 2021) will list all of SiPN´s alums and community members of this unique Portuguese and American network.