As Vice President, Spain, Mr. Figueras establishes a country strategy to ensure consistency among all sites, and to lead and support all program development initiatives geared toward enhancing quality. Mr. Figueras also monitors the academic standards of our programs and ensures that CEA policies are in place to serve the CEA community and deliver study abroad programs of quality and rigor.
Mr. Figueras has over 10 years of experience in the field of academia. Before joining CEA, he taught at Boise State University (Idaho), where he created an online language teaching program, developed Spanish course curriculum in the fields of Spanish Linguistics and Spanish for Heritage Learners, coordinated the Spanish Language Program, and served as the Director of the Undergraduate Spanish Program. Mr. Figueras also contributed to the development of a variety of teaching tools for various U.S. publishing companies, including two published workbook manuals for U.S. college students.
Mr. Figueras sees study abroad as a magnificent opportunity for personal growth and development, alongside academic advancement. Exploring new horizons not only opens doors to new ideas and views, but also helps you calibrate your potential and abilities in a new environment. This experience supports the development of a lifelong set of skills highly transferable to the personal and professional arenas.
Mr. Figueras holds an Executive MBA from La Salle (Universitat Ramon Llull, Spain), a master's in Spanish from Middlebury College (Vt.), and a bachelor's in Communications/Journalism from Boise State University (Idaho). He is trilingual in English, Spanish, and Catalan, has extensive knowledge of Portuguese, and working knowledge of French.
As Program Director, Laura's role is to provide leadership to the Student Support team at CEA Barcelona. She is responsible for management of staffing, financial logistics, student services, students accommodation, and Health & Safety issues.
Prior to joining CEA, Laura coordinated European Language Exchange Programs in both Barcelona and London, working to offer accommodation and cultural activities to language students. Laura holds a Bachelor Degree in Psychology from the University of Middlesex in London and has over 15 years of experience in the study abroad field, with extensive expertise in the planning, execution, and delivery of student services.
Originally from Barcelona, Laura has extensively travelled around Spain, Europe and the U.S. She speaks Catalan, Spanish, and English. Laura firmly believes that traveling and study abroad are the best ways to expand and invigorate one's mind. She loves the fact that her job contributes to students' personal growth and to a better global cultural understanding.
Ana Martínez, Ph.D.
Ana's role is to ensure the academic quality of all CEA Barcelona programs. She reviews the curriculum and coordinates the development of new courses, reviews and maintains consistency of academic policies and practices, oversees the resolution of all important student academic issues, and provides support to faculty to guarantee academic excellence.
Prior to joining CEA, Ana worked with another study abroad organization as a resident coordinator and faculty member. She's also held several university positions: Assistant Director of the Advanced Spanish Language Program at Georgetown University (Washington D.C.), Teaching Associate at Georgetown University and Universidad Antonio de Nebrija (Spain), and Teaching Assistant and Director of the Spanish House at Middlebury College (Vt.). Ana earned her Ph.D. in Spanish Applied Linguistics at Georgetown University, which also conferred to her a Master of Science in Linguistics. She also holds a Master of Arts in Teaching Spanish as a Second Language from Universidad Antonio de Nebrija and a Bachelor of Arts in Spanish Philology from Universidad Complutense de Madrid (Spain).
Ana first travelled to Dublin, Ireland in high school and subsequently studied in London for four months. She also spent her senior year of college studying in Pisa, Italy and completed her graduate studies in Washington, D.C. She loves traveling and believes that understanding the world from different perspectives is the one of the most enriching lessons that students can learn while living abroad.
Antoinette Hertel, Ph.D.
As Program Director, Antoinette provides leadership to the Student Support team at CEA Barcelona. She oversees program operations, manages staffing, financial logistics, student services, student accommodation, and health & safety.
Prior to joining CEA, Antoinette spent over 15 years working in higher education as a professor and chairperson of the Department of Modern Languages at St. Joseph´s College, New York, where she also spent 2 years as Director of the Office of Global Studies. During her years on the faculty, she led short-term study abroad programs in Buenos Aires, Nicaragua and Cuba embedded in courses on Latin American literature & culture and service-learning.
Antoinette earned a Ph.D. in Hispanic and Lusophone Languages & Literatures from New York University, where she taught Spanish on the New York City campus and in the NYU Buenos Aires summer program. As a Spanish and French major at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, she spent her junior year abroad at the Universidad Complutense in Madrid and her final undergraduate semester in Paris.
Antoinette has always had a love for languages and the worlds they open to us. In addition to her native English, she is fluent in Spanish and a lifelong learner of Portuguese, French and, more recently, Catalan.
Dr. Hertel believes in global learning´s potential to be transformative. The process of critical reflection that CEA cultivates in students in their programs abroad is key to developing a global self-awareness and an understanding of multiple perspectives that can equip them to successfully face global challenges that arise in our culturally diverse society.
Sandra is the primary contact for students in all issues related to student services. She keeps the Director informed and responds to student concerns in a timely manner. Sandra provides support to housing and academic coordinators and is responsible for assisting in planning and implementation. She also provides students with weekly email bulletins and supports students in their transition into the local environment.
Sandra was born in Brussels to Spanish parents. Thanks to her origins, she has always experienced the Spanish culture. After finishing her studies in 2001, she moved to the Catalan capital where she started her career in the tourism industry, working mainly for incoming travel agencies. She was also involved in projects for a European business women's association, financed by the European Commission.
Sandra earned a degree in Tourism at the Superior University School ISALT in Brussels and did a four-month internship in Barcelona during her last academic year. Sandra speaks Spanish, French, English, and Catalan.
As a Senior Academic Advisor, Blanca works across different fields at CEA, including academic administration, teaching Spanish, and coordinating cultural activities. The combination of these three things allows Blanca to explore and develop her main passions: culture, arts, and languages.
Blanca was born in Salamanca, Spain, where she graduated from the University of Salamanca in English Philology and Art History. After finishing her degrees, she decided to pursue her education in Barcelona, where she earned a master’s degree in Art and New Media Curatorship at ESDI (Barcelona), qualification issued by Ramon Llull University.
Before Blanca joined CEA, she worked freelance in the cultural world for institutions such as Arts Santa Monica (Barcelona) and in the studio of the international artist Antoni Muntadas. She also taught Spanish to foreigners and designed cultural activities to connect them to the Spanish culture.
Her main interests lie in all the expressions of the artistic and cultural world, reading, cinema, and travelling around the world, when she has the chance. She also likes to design and curate art exhibitions, a hobby she combines with her present job.
As a Spanish Language Coordinator & Senior Academic Advisor, Sonia manages the Spanish language courses to ensure high academic standards and course quality, as well as students’ registration in Spanish courses at CEA and our partner universities. She also manages the tutoring program, and organizes and supervises cultural activities designed to enhance language acquisition. In addition, Sonia teaches several Spanish language courses.
Sonia was born and raised in Alcoy, Alicante, and graduated from the University of Alicante with a degree in Hispanic Philology. She speaks Spanish, Catalan, English, and some French. After graduation, Sonia accepted a job teaching Spanish at a small high school in Massachusetts, an unforgettable experience for her. After two years in the U.S., Sonia returned to Spain in 2002 to begin an M.A. in Teaching Spanish as Second Language at the University of Barcelona, which is how she ended up in Barcelona. She has taught Spanish for various study abroad programs in Barcelona, as well as at ESADE Business School. In her free time, Sonia enjoys reading, cooking, hiking, and traveling.
Sonia became involved in study abroad because her two years abroad showed her what an incredible experience it is to live in a different country. The time she spent in the U.S. helped her to understand the world—and herself—a bit better, and this is why she encourages her students to make the most of the wonderful opportunity they have to live and study abroad.
Vanesa Toquero has joined the CEA Barcelona Academic team as Spanish Language Coordinator & Senior Academic Advisor in January 2022. Vanesa oversees day-to-day academic matters and monitors performance in the Spanish Language area to ensure adherence to CEA and UNH policies and fulfillment of student learning objectives. She also coordinates large university cohorts by providing them with academic advising and general assistance.
Vanesa majored in English Studies from the University of Valladolid and had the opportunity to study abroad in Dublin, Ireland, as an undergraduate student. After graduating, she lived in West Virginia for two years, studying a Master’s Degree in TESOL / Latin American Literature while working as a teaching assistant at West Virginia University. After completing her master’s degree, she moved to Lafayette, Indiana, where she worked as a Spanish Teacher at Purdue University. Vanesa came to Barcelona in 2006 to pursue a Master’s Degree in Applied Linguistics at Pompeu Fabra University and has worked as a language teacher and teacher trainer for several higher education institutions since then. On a more personal note, some of her hobbies include travelling, going camping, swimming and hanging out with her loved ones. She also loves music and languages.
As part of the Student Support Team, Mónica's role is to oversee and coordinate all logistics related to Student Services. She focuses on health and safety issues, acts as procedures and Health Services liaison, contributes to the organization and operation of student arrival and orientation, and to the execution and continuous improvement of the Academic-Integrated Cultural Activities (AICAP) program. By creating initiatives to facilitate global competence and personal growth, Mónica works to ensure CEA students receive the quality assistance and guidance they need to make the most of their experience abroad.
Born in Barcelona, Mónica has spent time in England, France, and Morocco. While still in school, Mónica spent some months as a hotel trainee in Paris and rural England. It was here she discovered her love of travel and meeting people from different places. After finishing her studies, she worked in London's hotel industry. As a result of her interest in other cultures, she lived for a while in Fès (Morocco) doing volunteer work and learning about the Moroccan culture, language, and way of life. When she came back to Barcelona, Mónica worked as a group organizer and tour leader for incoming travel agencies.
Mónica earned a Tourism Degree at the University of Girona. She speaks Spanish, Catalan, English, and French.
As Senior Housing Advisor, Romà is responsible for providing the best housing experience for CEA students while they are abroad in Barcelona. As part of the Student Support Team, he works to ensure the suitability and quality of our apartments and residencias and the responsibility and engagement of host families. Romà will always be there to listen to students and help them throughout their semester in Barcelona. He also provides support to the departments of Student Services and Students Affairs.
Romà has a degree in Tourism from the University of Girona. Prior to joining CEA, he worked in study abroad as a housing advisor, in student services and on faculty-led programs between Barcelona and Paris. He believes the experience of study abroad can forever change students and wants to help make a positive impact on them. He has also worked in real estate providing lodging for students studying abroad in Barcelona, as well as in hotel reception in France. His last position before joining CEA was managing a rental building of 92 apartments for professionals and students in northern Paris.
Originally from Catalonia, he has lived in Greece, the U.S., Colombia and, most recently, in France. Thanks to different job opportunities and his travel experience, he loves learning about new cultures and traditions and is always eager to meet new people. Romà loves to try new restaurants, travel the world, go to the movies, or just enjoy a live concert of his favorite band.
Bea is responsible for creating the best experience for CEA students while in Barcelona. As part of the Student Support Team, she focuses on student accommodation, ensuring the commitment and enthusiasm of our host families as well as the quality and suitability of our apartments and residencias. Bea provides students with the assistance and guidance they need to become familiar with their new surroundings and adapt to life within a new community. Creating initiatives to facilitate global competence and personal growth, Bea also participates in the onsite Academic-Integrated Cultural Activities (AICAP) program.
Bea earned a degree in tourism through the University of Barcelona. She has worked in a holiday apartment company and participated in internships in the hotel industry in Barcelona and in the Costa Brava in Girona, and as the coordinator for summer programs for international students in Barcelona. She has also organized academic year programs and summer camps abroad for Catalan students, mainly in the U.S., England, and Ireland.
After her positive experience abroad in a boarding school in Ireland, Bea recommends students be open to a different culture and gain the most of the each unique moment.
As Student Affairs Advisor, Laura is part of the Student Support team at CEA Barcelona. Her role in CEA is to assist students with any Health & Safety matters, manage the Emergency services and protocols, as well as handle preventive measures and H&S Communications, among other tasks.
Laura has previous experience in cross-cultural communications, international travel and international education organizations. She was a Student Ambassador for another study abroad program in Barcelona and worked in the Marketing Department of a student accommodation company. Prior to joining CEA, Laura obtained a Master’s Degree in Strategic Management of Events and Protocol at the UPF Barcelona School of Management, taught English to speakers of other languages and worked in Tourism and the High Fashion Industry.
Laura earned her undergraduate degree in Applied Languages in English and French from Pompeu Fabra University. She is a native speaker of Catalan and Spanish, speaks fluent English, and different levels of French, Italian and Mandarin. She studied abroad in Canada and the United Kingdom, which is why she strongly believes in the importance of living abroad when it comes to personal growth. These experiences give her insight into the challenges that come with studying abroad, and how to overcome problems and build resilience.
Xisca has been a member of CEA Barcelona’s team since 2012 and has always been engaged in its experiential learning programs. She was involved in the implementation of the Internship Program in Barcelona and has fond memories of how exciting it was to host the first 17 interns back in the summer of 2017. Her role within the internship program is to develop and maintain a network of host sites, assist intern candidates throughout their placement processes, and provide onsite support. She is delighted to be able to contribute to the professional development of interns.
She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration with a concentration in International Business and Globalization, and is passionate about company growth and profitability. Before joining CEA, Xisca lived abroad in both the UK and Germany, and worked in Marketing and Communication for 7 years in Barcelona, both in the public and private sectors.
Xisca enjoys socializing, traveling around Asia, and early morning swims. She also practices TM Meditation.
Marc is based in Barcelona, Spain, and his role involves supporting students throughout their internship experience as well as maintaining and expanding CEA’s network of host sites in Barcelona. He also provides support to Internship Coordinators across CEA’s destinations for student placement alignment, host site recruitment and retention, and related global initiatives.
Before joining CEA in 2018, Marc held different positions in the Publishing and Localization industries. He has a degree in English from the University of Barcelona and is a certified Secondary Education teacher in Spain. He completed part of Middle School and High School in Rye, New York. While pursuing his degree in Barcelona, Marc was granted a one-year scholarship to study abroad in Kansas.
Marc is passionate about literature, music, cinema, and theatre. He’s an avid and eclectic reader and enjoys playing bass guitar.
As a member of Student Services within the Student Support team, Isamar oversees the logistical aspects of the program, especially those related to assigned arrival and orientation tasks, cultural activities and events, hosting site visits and custom programs. She also records and analyzes attendance data used for statistical reporting.
Isamar is a first generation American, born and raised in New York City where she earned a Masters degree in Clinical Psychology from Columbia University. Prior to arriving to Barcelona, she worked towards transforming the juvenile justice system by advocating for alternative to detention placement, conducting trauma focused therapy and connecting families to mental health resources. Her love for travel began when she was studying Psychology at Marist College, where she participated in two customized abroad experiences to Italy and Spain.
Since her college abroad experiences, she has become an avid lover of travel and cultures. She has documented her travels to Latin America, Europe, Asia, and the Caribbean through her passion of photography.
Anna assists in all aspects of students’ lodging: housing search, maintenance issues, custom service and student support. She also leads and accompanies students during Academic and Cultural Activities and excursions.
Anna was born in Barcelona and earned a degree in tourism through University of Girona and speaks Catalan, Spanish and English.
Prior to joining CEA, Anna was the operations manager in a company that manages different lines of business as touristic apartments, a hotel boutique and residences for students and digital nomads located in Barcelona and Pamplona, on some occasions, Anna stayed in the residence of Pamplona working from there and sharing time with students from around the world and the study abroad experience with them.
She has also worked as a group leader for language students in Ireland and England and it was there where she discovered her passion for study abroad.
Anna enjoys surfing, trekking and she has traveled around Europe and United States.
María Fernanda Tavela
María Fernanda is from Rosario, Argentina. She is an experienced practicing psychologist with a specialty in education. She earned her degrees in Psychology from the Universidad Nacional de Rosario and in Educational Psychology from the Universidad del Centro Latinoamericano.
Prior to joining CEA, Fernanda spent over 11 years working in secondary and higher education and the last 4 years as Social Education Manager at the Ministry of Education for Santa Fe Province, Argentina. The most rewarding part of this work for Fernanda was connecting with students and their families, helping to empower them to return to, stay in, and finish school.
She moved to Barcelona where she joined CEA and continues to accompany students. Nelson Mandela’s vision of education as "the most powerful weapon you can use to change the world" inspires her work.
In addition to her native Spanish, Fernanda is fluent in English and has extensive knowledge of Italian. She is currently learning Catalan.
Elisa (Eli) Figuerola has joined the CEA Barcelona Academic team in the role of Academic Advisor & Internship Coordinator in December 2021. Eli ensures the good process of the daily operations related to the internship program, and supports faculty and students in academic and administrative matters. She started working for CEA in 2016 as Student Services Advisor and focused on the organization of the Academic-Integrated Cultural Activities Program (AICAP) until 2021.
Eli majored in History from the University of Barcelona and was lucky enough to study abroad in Lyons, France as an undergraduate student. After college, she lived in Santa Cruz, CA for a few months before pursuing her Master's in International Studies at the Autonomous University of Barcelona (Fundació CIDOB). Eli started working in the International Higher Education field in 2013 working for a study abroad organization that gave her the opportunity to move to Colorado where she stayed for over 2 years teaching Spanish as a second language. Eli is fluent in four languages and in her free time, Eli enjoys running in Collserola and watching movies with her friends at home.