Interview with Soledad Santos class of 2007
ISP has recently entered into a partnership with Education First, a Swedish company, which offers varied learning opportunities for students young and old, who are looking for ways to broaden their horizons. It just so happens one of our very own ISP Dolphin Alumni works for EF here in Panama. We took a moment to have a chat with Soledad Santos, Class of 2007, to learn more about her experience working at EF and what she has been up to since graduating from ISP.
I graduated in 2007, it seems like a long time ago, but I remember school fondly. After graduating from ISP I went to the United Kingdom and attended the University of Sheffield, where I studied International Relations.
That is where I experienced the biggest cultural shock ever. I thought that everything would be similar to what I had seen at an American college, and have that international feel, but what I experienced is that there is so much more out there to learn from in the world. I then went on to study at the London School of Economics, where I focused on media and communications for development. This went in hand with my learning at ISP because I participated in THIMUN, HACIA, PANAMUN, having that base of experience going into both universities quickly proved invaluable.
There is nothing better than being in a school where you meet people from all over the world every day. At ISP you had new classmates almost every year, people that teach you about their customs and their ways so it makes you absolutely adaptable and flexible to being exposed to any type of culture and atmosphere. So there is definitely an advantage in having that enriched background, where you are constantly learning about the world through your friends, and moreover what you learn making friends is how to navigate a multicultural and international community moving forward. Something which has been very advantageous for me, professionally and personally.
What I most remember about ISP are its people. I still have friends from ISP. And we have met them all over the world in Puerto Rico, France, and Spain. I even have a friend who is in South Korea now, and we still speak on a regular basis. It is amazing to realize how big the world is, but how small it feels because we have these connections. While I was a student I loved everything that had to do with the model united nations. This was some of the best preparation for me, and it really helped guide what I chose to study in university. These types of opportunities are especially unique and not many other schools offer them.
The IB especially helped prepare me for university. I remember arriving at university and saying I know this already. I know how to write an essay and how to structure a dissertation. Something IB truly prepared me to do 2 years before I even started university.
Education First is a Swedish company that has been running for over 50 years, it is currently headquartered in Switzerland, Boston, and Shanghai. We offer a vast array of courses and educational programs that allow students, 13yrs old to 65 yrs. old, to continue developing themselves in languages, masters programs, MBAs, Au Pair programs, we even run tours for students to find and seek adventures and learn about different cultures around the world.
Nowadays language is so important, the world is truly globalized and communication is the way we connect. Therefore learning a second, third or even fourth language, it's something that is not only beneficial on a personal level, it is also a professional advantage. Multinationals are now asking many applicants to have more than one language as part of their skill set. English is now a must and an additional language is a plus.
EF Panama, which celebrated 10 years of operations in the country last year, offers 10 languages and an array of courses that span from a minimum of 2 weeks to 11 months. Students can choose from summer camps, individual courses that start every Monday of the month, academic semesters, gap year courses, and even university preparation programs all with the aim of immersing you in a native speaking country in order to accelerate the learning process and also give you that awesome travel adventure experience; which I know is of interest to ISP students and parents.
“Had I known about EF when I was a student at ISP, I think the first thing I would have said to my parents is please send me to the UK for a camp so I can learn the culture at that point all I knew was what I saw on T.V. and movies”. So obviously having the opportunity to go there for a short time in a safe environment, where I knew my parents felt safe sending me there, would have helped me understand the culture better and pick the city I wanted to live in. EF has 8 schools all over the UK so it would give you the opportunity to explore where you want to go.
I think the most important part is that ISP and EF are organizations that are interested in helping students advance in their journey in life. Be it from, both educational and giving international exposure. What we would love the partnership to become is, is a long-standing relationship where we can help students get that international exposure in the country where they want to go or learn more about.
ONCE A DOLPHIN ALWAYS A DOLPHIN