- Can I be an IPSA if I went on a study abroad program outside of the Business school?
No, however we do encourage you to consider the UF International Center Study Abroad Peer Advisors (SAPA).
The main role of IPSAs is to promote Heavener International Programs and Warrington Exchange Programs. To do this effectively, you must have studied abroad on one of those programs.
- I loved my study abroad, and I like the idea of sharing my experience with my peers. Is that the main idea o f the IPSA program?
In some ways, yes…but the IPSA program involves much more than just sharing your best travel stories. Our group is both outward and inward facing, you should expect to gain personal and professional development through your involvement with the program. It is our desire for IPSAs to continue developing intercultural awareness and personal growth which began during their time abroad. This requires members to go below the surface of their experiences to identify undiscovered lessons learned and meaningful connections to future goals.
- What are some examples of the events I would participate in?
As an IPSA you would have the chance to represent Heavener International Programs at events such as the UF Study Abroad Fair and Business Bash. Each semester IPSAs volunteer to deliver study abroad presentations to Warrington Welcome classes and various student groups. You would also be instrumental in the Pre-departure and Survival sessions for outgoing students. IPSAs also meet at least twice a month for meetings/training, organize special events and have a semester retreat!
- What would be my biggest responsibility as an IPSA?
There are three main responsibilities:
- To ensure that you make yourself available as a resource for peers seeking your advice and help.
- To assist the Heavener International Programs office by volunteering for various events, such as presentations, tabling opportunities, information sessions, etc. The most impactful IPSAs are well-known by every Heavener study abroad advisor simply because they are an engaged and present.
- To serve in an IPSA committee, dedicated to keeping the group running and working on projects that are of use to the group and the Heavener International Programs office.
There are participation requirements each semester to ensure every member is contributing to the overall IPSA team, as well as developing as an individual.
- Are there leadership opportunities available within the program?
Yes! All IPSAs are required to be part of a committee. One or two experienced IPSA(s) will be appointed as committee chair(s) for each committee. These committee chairs work directly with the IPSA advisor and are responsible for ensuring the committee is completing its tasks and that all members are contributing.
- I have a full course load and I am active in other groups, what is the time commitment?
Each semester, IPSAs are expected to attend and participate in bi-monthly meetings/trainings, the semester retreat, and volunteer for events. Events include tabling opportunities, classroom presentations and special outreach socials and information sessions. Some events will be required, though the majority are based on a sign-up system. Current and past members praise the flexibility of the program.
- Is there a mentor-like element to the IPSA program?
Depending on your time and ambition, you can meet prospective students for one-on-one discussions in which you will have the opportunity to give a unique glimpse into the excitement and scholastic benefits of participating in study abroad. However, this is mostly self-initiated and will depend very much on conversations you chose to have away from organized IPSA events. If you are available to your peers, they will value your perspective. These relationships can be very meaningful and IPSAs have become informal mentors to their peers in this way.
- Is the process to become a member of the IPSA program competitive?
Yes, it is. At this time, the program is limited in size to no more than 50 members at one time, and we typically prefer a smaller group size than that. Most IPSAs maintain their membership for one or two academic years. The application process is thorough, consisting of an online form with short-answer questions and a resume upload section. Those that make it past the initial screening will be invited for an interview. Ultimately, around 15 new IPSAs tend to be selected, though the exact number can vary.
The ideal candidate is able to genuinely and enthusiastically share the impact study abroad has had upon their personal, academic, and professional development. We understand each individual has areas in which they can grow, and we look forward to helping students do this, so don’t be discouraged from applying. Standout applicants will also be able to articulate how their study abroad experience was unique (i.e., to differentiate them from others who completed the same program).
Essential must-haves include:
- Willingness and ability to follow through with commitments and volunteer time;
- Enjoyment when working with and learning from others;
- Accountability within teams and timely in communication
Lastly, it is important for us to consider the overall composition of the group relative to program representation. The London and Madrid programs are consistently the most well attended, as such, we receive a lot of IPSA applications from students on these programs. This means students from the London and Madrid programs have a larger pool of applicants in their group as compared to Paris or Exchange Programs, for example.