Alumni Spotlight: Paraguay

Global UGRAD alumni and U.S. Embassy officials in Paraguay

Over the past several months, Global UGRAD alumni from Paraguay have been busy spreading the word about the program. Alumni spanning several cohorts have gathered on multiple occasions to raise awareness about Global UGRAD amongst prospective applicants and future program participants. Silvia Alvarenga, who completed her exchange semester at SUNY Plattsburgh in the fall of 2022, summarized these events and efforts.

Global UGRAD alumni gather in preparation for informational sessions

“This past fall, Global UGRAD alumni from all cohorts got together to share stories, projects, and laughs. Everyone introduced themselves and shared an anecdote from their exchange semester; the best ones were awarded with U.S. Embassy promotional materials. The president and other members of State Alumni Paraguay gave a brief presentation about State Alumni Paraguay and encouraged us to lead Embassy-funded projects. Eliana Tolces, who serves as the link between the U.S. Embassy and ExchangeAlumni in Paraguay, thanked us for our commitment to the program and wished us the best in our coming projects. We are excited and look forward to organizing different activities for the application process of a new generation of UGRADs.”

In the following weeks, these alumni assisted in recruitment efforts by leading informational sessions about the Global UGRAD Program and sharing their own exchange experiences on several university campuses.

Juan Serafini talks about Global UGRAD at his alma mater in Paraguay

“We received invitations from four main universities in Paraguay to attend international scholarship events and to share information about our program to all students. Throughout the month of October, we participated in these events and many alumni were present. In addition to these visits, Juan Serafini, a UGRAD participant in 2021 at the University of the Incarnate Word, spoke about his experience to his alma mater, the main public university in Paraguay. We are all very happy to share how great of an opportunity the program is and expect to have more activities in the future.

We want to share about all the amazing activities we organized in 2023. First, UGRADs from the 2022-2023 cohort hosted two “Get Ready” events for students applying to the program. These consisted of an hour-long talk to share our experiences and highlight the information needed to apply to the program. We were also invited to participate in the Youth Fest, an activity organized by groups of young people at the U.S. Embassy. At this event, we had a booth to talk about the program.

Global UGRAD alumni at Youth Fest

Finally, with the assistance of an organization that helps people access scholarship opportunities, we participated in a workshop and mentorship program. It included meetings with select students that had started the Global UGRAD application. We reviewed the important points of the application and discussed how to write essays and request recommendation letters. Students were also assigned a tutor to help them in their application process.”

Promotional material for the workshop and mentorship program that alumni offered to Global UGRAD applicants

We are thankful to Silvia, Juan, and the rest of our alumni in Paraguay for their help in reaching out and supporting these students!