At SiPN, our approach personifies two well-known adages, “the best defense is a good offense” and “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of the cure.” SiPN provides students with extensive information prior to their departure, so they are well aware of the academic structure they will experience in Portugal. All students are required to submit a credit transfer pre-approval sheet as part of their application process. This sheet is used in conjunction with the various course descriptions/syllabi available here so that students can have all of their first and alternate course choices pre-approved by their respective department heads/study abroad advisors. We strongly suggest that students pre-approve at least 8-9 courses in case their first 4-5 require substitutions during the add/drop period.
Students should also clarify with their home departments/schools whether each course will/will not count for major or minor distributions, general education requirements, whether grades transfer as well as credits, and how study abroad classes figure into their overall GPA. Every school has its own policy and students need to be aware of this prior to travel.
Faculty advisors are especially encouraged to pay close attention to how many classroom contact hours are required in each class, since contact hours and ECTS credits do not align neatly in Europe. Even within the same university there can be classes with 60 contact hours that are worth fewer ECTS than another class with only 36 contact hours.
SiPN will also work with our semester & year-long students if any obstacles arise during your Visa application process (How to apply for a Portuguese Visa?) with the closest Portuguese consulate/embassy in the US ; Portuguese consulate/embassy in Canada.
Prior to travel to Portugal, SiPN staff works closely with students to answer any doubts or problems that arise as they plan their experience. As SiPN is based in Lisbon, this is typically done through e-mail, phone, or online conferencing. Skype sessions can be scheduled with us as needed by the student and/or their academic advisor. We also encourage our students to take part in any on-campus orientations for study abroad students that may be organized through their home campus.