On February 23-25, several secondary school students in Madeira had the opportunity to discover what it is like to be an international exchange student through Mara Sousa, who gave the talk “How to Get Lost in the World: A Step-by-Step Approach.” In addition to sharing to the students her U.S. exchange experience and the benefits of studying abroad, Mara also encouraged students to improve their interpersonal and critical thinking skills to succeed in our interconnected world. The talk encouraged students who are in the process of making important career path decisions to have a sense of global awareness as well as learn more about educational and exchange opportunities that are available in the United States. According to Mara “being a youngster nowadays and belonging to a social media generation, it is important to help them filter all the information available out there and point some noteworthy opportunities.”
This program, sponsored by the U.S. Embassy Lisbon in cooperation with teachers and exchange alumni from Madeira, was attended by students from Escola Dr. Horácio Bento de Gouveia, Escola da Ponta do Sol, Escola dos Louros, Escola dos Barreiros, Escola da APEL, Escola Secundária de Francisco Franco, and Escola Secundária de Jaime Moniz.
Mara is one of Portugal’s exchange alumni young leaders. In 2015 she created a community service project proposal that was chosen as finalist in the Alumni Engagement Innovation Fund (AEIF) global competition. In 2014 she participated as a Fulbright grantee in the Department of State’s Study of the U.S. Institutes (SUSI) for European Student Leaders on Social Entrepreneurship program at Indiana University, and she previously studied for a semester at Maastricht University in the Netherlands under the Erasmus Program. Mara is currently a graduate student at ISEG-Lisbon School of Economics and Management.