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vina del mar Advisory Board

Cari Vanderkar, Ph.D.
Assistant Vice Provost for International Programs - California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo
As the Senior International Officer for Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, Dr. Vanderkar serves as a strategic partner in leading university global initiatives. She is engaged with faculty and the campus community on enhancing international partnerships and with initiatives involving international student retention and success, curriculum internationalization, and diversity and inclusivity. Dr. Vanderkar has extensive experience managing study abroad, exchange, and faculty-led programming; health, safety, and risk management; program development and administration; and consortium leadership.

Dr. Vanderkar earned her Ph.D. in cultural anthropology at the University of Oregon, where she researched post-socialist transition in Eastern Europe and conducted an ethnography on Moravian village life in the Czech Republic. She has been in the international education field for over 20 years and has managed study abroad efforts for thirteen years.
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Cindy Price, Ph.D.
Vice Provost for Academic Affairs - Seattle Pacific University
Dr. Cindy Price is the Vice Provost for Academic Affairs at Seattle Pacific University and has served in this role since 2014. Under Cindy’s leadership, the Vice Provost of Academic Affairs oversees General Education, Institutional Accreditation, Institutional Research, Global Engagement, Student Academic Services, and Study Abroad Initiatives. She is also involved in areas of academic planning, academic policies, strategic planning, parent programs, and faculty development.

Dr. Price earned her Ph.D. in Sociology from Washington State University. Prior to her role at Seattle Pacific University, Cindy was an Assistant Professor in Sociology at the University of Washington.
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Daniel J. May, Ph.D.
Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs - University of New Haven
Daniel J. May was named Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs at the University of New Haven in 2013. As the chief academic officer, he oversees the academic colleges and programs, library and information technology services, and staff members supporting high impact experiential education opportunities, including study abroad.  He also oversees academic affiliation and articulation agreements, including the School-of-Record agreement with CEA.

Provost May has overseen the establishment of satellite locations at the Orange, CT and Prato, Italy campuses; the acquisition of the Lyme Academy College of Fine Arts; and the development of the joint master’s degree program in data science with Galvanize, Inc. in San Francisco. He has guided the campus-wide review and prioritization process of its academic programs and administrative units, and fostered the use of information technology in instruction, evaluation, and assessment.

Provost May earned his bachelor’s degree in geology at Stanford University and a Ph.D. in geology at the University of California at Santa Barbara. He served on the faculty at Victoria University in Wellington, New Zealand from 1986 to 1989, at Bowling Green State University in 1990-91, and at the University of Findlay in Ohio from 1991-2003. Dr. May chaired programs in environmental, safety, and occupational health management prior to becoming dean of Findlay’s College of Sciences in 2003. He served there as vice president for academic affairs from 2004-2013, overseeing the addition of innovative undergraduate majors, online offerings, professional graduate programs, and a variety of continuing education and consulting services.
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John Peters, Ph.D.
Dean of International Programs - Marist College
Dr. John Peters is the Dean of International Programs at Marist College. In this role, he supports Marist students studying abroad over six continents and divides most of his time between the Marist Poughkeepsie and Florence Campuses. Some of his interests and experience include curriculum development, community outreach, intercultural communication, and program development. John is passionate about developing and helping to connect students with innovative, empowering international and intercultural experiences.

Dean Peters received his bachelor’s in Economics and Japanese from California State University, Sacramento. He also holds a M.A. in International Studies from Ohio University and a Ph.D. in Political Economy from the University of Southern California.
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Kelli Smith
Assistant Vice President for Student Success- Binghamton University

Kelli Smith has over 25 years of experience in higher education, mostly within the area of career services. She was promoted to Assistant Vice President of Student Success after serving as the Director of University Career Services for 3 years at Binghamton University (SUNY) in upstate New York. There she provides overall vision and leadership for the Center for Civic Engagement, Fleishman Center for Career and Professional Development, Student Employment, Public Speaking Lab, First Year Experience, Emerging Leaders, the Student Affairs Assessment and Strategic Initiatives office, Transfers, the peer academic support Discovery program, and general student success initiatives. Kelli is also an adjunct faculty member for leadership within Binghamton University's School of Management and teaches leadership courses to both undergraduate and graduate students.

Prior institutions where Kelli worked include University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL), Nebraska Wesleyan, Georgetown University, Doane College, and Indiana University.

She has served on the Directorate for an ACPA commission on career development and on the NACE First Destination Survey Task Force, the NACE Leadership Advancement Program, and the 2016-17 NACE awards committee where she proposed the “Career Champion” award. She co-chaired the 2017 Global Career Services Summit in Leicester, England and co-chaired the most recent NACE Standards Task Force.

While serving as the Director of University Career Services at Binghamton, the comprehensive center she led grew from 14 to 21 staff lines, and within that timeframe, the center received 6 regional awards and the international “Exemplary Career Center” award given by the National Career Development Association for 2017.

Kelli’s relevant publications include the Jossey-Bass/Wiley sourcebook Strategic Directions for Career Services Within the University Setting (2014), the chapter, “Preparing Students for After-college Life: The Context,” in Stepping Up to Stepping Out: Helping Students Prepare for Life after College (2012), and the Jossey-Bass/Wiley sourcebook co-sponsored by NACE, Leadership Development for Career Readiness in University Setting (February, 2018).

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Martha McGivern, Ph.D.
Director of Study Abroad - DePaul University
Dr. Martha McGivern is the Director of Study Abroad at DePaul University and is responsible for directing the strategy and implementation of study abroad programs across DePaul’s 10 colleges and schools. She oversees crisis and emergency responses for 80 annual programs. Her current priorities are program assessment, term-long program development strategies, and team leadership.

Prior to DePaul University, Dr. McGivern managed faculty-led study abroad programs at New York University and center- and hybrid-based programs at IES Abroad. She earned an M.A. and Ph.D. in International Education from New York University, with research focusing on issues of gender and cultural learning in study abroad, particularly as it plays out in cross-national relationships among peers. She regularly teaches a course on international partnership, project management, and proposal writing in the Master’s of Global Health program at Northwestern University.

Dr. McGivern’s international experience is strongest in Latin America, including doctoral research in Mexico, volunteer teaching in Ecuador, and undergraduate study abroad in Argentina.
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Meredith Blumthal
Director of International Programs, College of Engineering- University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Meredith Blumthal has been in the field of international education for 12 years. As the Director for International Programs in Engineering (IPENG) at the University of Illinois, she leads the study abroad initiatives and programming for the college. Ms. Blumthal’s team includes three study abroad advisors, a receptionist, and peer advisors. Together the IPENG office provides study abroad advising, expertise, international exchanges, and cultural experiences in over 60 programs throughout 20 countries, with the goal of providing transformative learning experiences that empower students to develop global competency skills. Through partnerships with universities abroad, alumni, faculty, staff, and student groups, Ms. Blumthal leads the IPENG team to provide study abroad advising, informational events, and class presentations. She works with the 12 engineering departments to develop and grow studying abroad programming with overseas partners to grow connections with universities, and facilitates the study abroad fair. Meredith is responsible for developing faculty-led programing and engagement within the College of Engineering.

Her areas of expertise include ideation, program development, partner collaboration, faculty training and development, comprehensive program management, marketing and promotion, co-curricular development, study abroad advising, and student development.

Ms. Blumthal received her bachelor’s degree in Horticultures and her master’s degree in Horticulture and Agriculture Economics from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. As a student, Ms. Blumthal studied abroad at Wageningen University in the Netherlands and was a Foreign Language Areas Fellow (FLAS) in Ecuador, where she studied Quechua and conducted field research during her graduate program.

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Patrick Morgan
Chief International Safety Officer, University of Michigan
Patrick provides guidance to all U-M units concerning travel abroad health insurance, the International Travel Policy, and unit-specific policies. As the chair of the International Travel Oversight Committee, Patrick stewards the Travel Warning and Restriction destination list and is the point-person for Safety Plan inquiries. Patrick is available to facilitate unit-specific program leader workshops; consult on health, safety, and security for individual travel and managed education abroad programs; and create common travel resources for M-Compass and Global Michigan. He serves as the primary international emergency responder for all U-M travelers overseas, actively monitors international events, and coordinates communications with U-M travelers and their U-M units in times of crisis.
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Vannessa Kramer, M.Ed.
Assistant Dean, Global Programs - Eller College of Management, University of Arizona
Vannessa Kramer has been in the field of international education for 10 years. As the Assistant Dean of Global Programs for the Eller College of Management at the University of Arizona, she is responsible for designing and implementing study abroad opportunities and programs for Eller undergraduate students. She approaches her position in an entrepreneurial way, recognizing that business students seek out international experiences that enhance both personal and professional development. In addition to this businesslike approach, she has great respect for the student experience and strives to deliver a high-quality, memorable, well-coordinated international student experience.

Ms. Kramer manages a diverse portfolio of study abroad options including faculty-led programs, international internships, international service experiences, and study abroad partnerships. She advises for the Global Business Program, coordinates the annual Global Perspectives Conference, and is the club advisor for the Eller Global Business Association. She also teaches a Topics & Careers in the Global Environment course, in which she applies a critical global perspective pedagogy.

Her areas of expertise include program development, partner collaboration, faculty training and development, risk management, comprehensive program management, marketing and promotion, cross-cultural communication, co-curricular development, pre-departure and post-return programming, study abroad advising, and student development. Ms. Kramer is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in sociocultural studies with an emphasis in global perspectives.
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vina del mar Faculty

Buenos Aires
CEA Virtual Center

Dr. María Victoria López

Gender & Body Politics in Latin America

María Victoria is currently a political advisor to the National Ministry of Internal Affairs of Argentina and a Professor of Contemporary History of Argentina at various institutions. She received her Ph.D. in Social Sciences, with a focus in Political Science, from the University of Buenos Aires, a landmark higher education institution where she has also taught courses in Latin American History, Political Theory and Civic Education during the last 13 years. María speaks Spanish, Italian, English and French, she is a published author, has participated as Visiting Researcher at the National Autonomous University of Mexico and completed a fellowship at the CONICET (National Council for Scientific and Technical Research).

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Paula Judkin
International Marketing

Paula is originally from Argentina and received her MBA in Business Administration from the IE Business School in Madrid, Spain. Since 2004 she has taught multiple courses in the fields of Business and Marketing at the University of Palermo, Universidad Argentina de la Empresa, Torcuato Di Tella University, University of Belgrano, UADE Business School, University of Salvador as well as at the Army Polytechnic School in Ecuador and the European Open Business School in Bolivia. Paula has provided Marketing Consulting Services in Argentina, Uruguay and Brazil during the last 27 years, for companies such as GeoAgris (Argentine company, computer science applied to the agro), Ipiranga Argentina (Brazilian Petrol Company) and Starrett Argentina (American Tools Company). At CEA she has taught the International Marketing course for the past 10 years.


Dr. Griselda Lassaga

Business Ethics

Griselda holds a Ph.D. in Sociology from the University of Belgrano and serves as the current Argentina Center President of the Latin American Society of Strategy (SLADE), and has been a researcher and educator on sustainability for 16 years. Griselda is also the Academic Director of the MBA Double Diploma Alliances initiative between several business schools in Europe and the University of Belgrano, CEA’s partner institution in Buenos Aires, where she also currently teaches the “Ethics and Corporate Social Responsibility” course at a graduate level and “Social Economy” at an undergraduate level. Her book “Corresponsabilidad” has been printed three times since 2010, and her current research is focused on women in leadership and cultural change for sustainable development.

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Paris
CEA Virtual Center

Dr. Dovilé Daveluy

Media & Democracy in the Digital Age

Dr. Daveluy is a permanent faculty member at a leading Parisian business school. She is interested in the role of business in society and the impact of big businesses on democracy as well as the new forms of journalism and digital activism. She routinely teaches courses on Media and Democracy, Citizen Journalism, and Corporate Social Responsibility in the Fashion Industry. She holds an M.A. in Political Science and Economy from the Central European University and a Ph.D. in Media Studies and Journalism from Rutgers University.

Dr. Linnéa Tilly

History of Paris: An Architectural Perspective

Specializing in Parisian Architecture and Urbanism, Dr. Linnéa Tilly is a Research & Teaching Fellow in the History of Architecture and Construction at one of France’s leading Architecture schools. She has participated and contributed to several multidisciplinary French and European research projects. At CEA she routinely teaches courses in History of Architecture as well as 19th Century Art: Impressionism & Post Impressionism. She holds an M.A. in Art History from University Le Mirail II in Toulouse, an M.S. from the Center of Higher Renaissance studies (C.E.S.R), at the University F. Rabelais in Tours and a Ph.D. from Paris IV la Sorbonne University (Centre André Chastel). Linnea’s publications include works on transfer, collections and adaptations of technologies and building models, notably in between France and Sweden.

Pascal Yrissou

International Business

Pascal Yrissou is a business development professional experienced in operational and financial auditing, corporate finance, M&A and International project management. He has handled transactions spanning the globe: acquisitions and joint ventures in Europe, the US, China and Russia; structuring operations for French groups in Europe, the US, Russia, China and South Korea. He has held various positions of increasing responsibility within multinational corporations in the banking, transportation, chemical and pharmaceutical sectors. In addition to teaching courses in International Business and Leadership at CEA since 2012, Mr. Yrissou has taught, for the past five years, in the Executive Education program at the prestigious Centrale Paris Engineering School. Mr. Yrissou holds an MBA from Columbia Business School and he is a lifetime member of the Beta Gamma Sigma Honor society. His publications include works on the Euro zone and on Russia.

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Dublin
CEA Virtual Center

Dr. Stephen J. Cadwell

Popular Culture in Ireland

Dr. Cadwell holds BA degrees in Philosophy, French and History from University College Dublin as well as a Ph.D. in Philosophy from the same institution. He has also completed post-doctoral research at the University of Limerick. Dr. Cadwell has over 13 years of teaching experience, 3 of which are specific to North American students in the study abroad context. He has taught Popular Culture in Ireland at the CEA Study Center for a number of year. Highlights from Dr. Cadwell’s Pop Culture course are lectures on Cultural Nationalism in painting, where students learn definitions and concepts involved in Cultural Nationalism. Students examine paintings from Norway, France, and the United States and also paintings from the Irish National Gallery collection. These are used to prompt students to engage with what they are seeing, not in terms of art criticism but in terms of narratives of national identity. Dr. Cadwell is known for engaging students in lively class discussions and his innovative walking tours of Dublin.


Damien Kelly

International Marketing

Damien holds a Bachelor of Arts in English and Irish from Maynooth University. He also holds a Master’s in Business Management from Dublin City University. Prior to his role at CEA Dublin, Damien worked as a Relationship Manager in Commercial Finance for Allied Irish Banks. He also spent a year in Perth, Australia as a Team Leader for Sales & Marketing Consultancy, Appco. In 2016, he became Assistant Director at CEA Study Abroad and the International School of Business Dublin. In 2018, Damien founded ’50 things to do’, an e-commerce business specialising in products promoting activities in Dublin. Damien’s teaching philosophy views education as a transformational process. He provides students with detailed course information as foundational, and encourages them to immerse themselves in discussion to advance a higher level of critical thinking and analysis. Damien’s classes are focused on an interactive classroom, which allows students to integrate with their peers, with the lecturer, and to move from a mindset of apathy to one of inquiry.


Gráinne McKeever

Social Psychology

Gráinne has taught Social Psychology with CEA Dublin since 2019. She is currently completing a Ph.D. in Sociology at University College Dublin as an Irish Research Council Scholar, where her Master’s thesis was awarded the Mary Kelly Medal in 2015. Prior to her entry into the field of sociology, Grainne taught Art and Design at post primary level for ten years, and published several textbooks on the subject. She has taught sociology and social psychology to Irish and American students since 2017 and currently lectures at the National University of Ireland Maynooth. With a background in theatre and stand-up comedy, as well as a TedX talk as part of the Fulbright Commission events in 2016, Grainne's lectures often incorporate humorous perspectives on film and television clips, as well as an array of interesting guest lectures, from film directors and performers to fellow academics.


Dr Grace O'Keeffe

History of Ireland

Grace O'Keeffe holds a BA (Hons), MPhil and a Ph.D. from Trinity College Dublin all in Irish History. Dr. O’Keeffe taught undergraduate History classes at Trinity for several years, focusing on Irish and British medieval history. For the last decade, during the summer months and outside of the academic year, she has conducted history walking tours in Dublin, to both local and international audiences. Dr. O’Keeffe’s teaching philosophy is to help students understand Irish history not as simply one event following another, but as a complicated and constantly evolving interaction of local and international influences. Students come away from her classes with an understanding of how we evaluate history and provide students with the tools to critically evaluate what they read - a skill students they can carry into their other subjects.


Dr. Ivan Robertson

Communication & Global Competence

Ivan Robertson has a BFA from New York University, an MFA from Trinity College Dublin and a Ph.D. from Trinity College Dublin as well. Ivan is a native New Yorker that has made Dublin his home for the last 20 years. It is this ‘fish out of water’ experience that gives him the backdrop to lecture in Communications and Global Competence where he examines the social, cultural and political ramifications of being a “global citizen”. Having gone through that culture shock himself, he asks students to look at their own cultural identities and how their cultural influences effect their relationships with others, especially in the their new cultural context of Dublin. Ivan, a published writer, is a born story teller and a natural narrator who runs highly interactive, discussion-based classes. Ivan’s Ph.D. focused on the creative processes of certain New York districts and he draws on those creative findings to run highly entertaining and stimulating classes and study visits. Ivan has a wealth of experience in teaching and lecturing to Irish, International and US students across Dublin’s top institutions.


Dr. Caroline West

Psychology of Marketing

Dr. Caroline West holds a Ph.D. from Dublin City University. Her research is interdisciplinary, focusing on Sexuality Studies and Cultural Studies. Caroline also holds an MA in Sexuality Studies, a Higher Diploma in Psychoanalysis, and a BA in Social Science, both from DCU (Dublin City University). Caroline has presented her research nationally and internationally to a mix of academics and students on the university circuit and also to a wider mainstream TV, radio and newspaper audiences, as she is a regular media contributer and commentator in Irish media. Caroline has been teaching at third level since 2015, and has taught both undergraduate and postgraduate students across Ireland. She runs one day intensive training workshops for therapists and psychology students. Caroline utilizes the work of Carl Rodgers and uses blended learning in order to facilitate different learning styles of students. Her lectures encourage critical thinking and promote research literacy, applying marketing theories to marketing on a variety of platforms such as traditional marketing, social media marketing, and the use of celebrity influencers. Her industry, media and academic connections mean that she has access to an amazing wealth of leading guest speakers and insightful study visits.


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Florence
CEA Virtual Center

Clive Woollard

Family Business and Entrepreneurship

Clive is a British professor and entrepreneur who has been living in Italy for over 20 years. He holds an MBA from Aston University (Birmingham, UK). He has been teaching for 12 years at graduate and postgraduate level in the UK system and 9 years with North American students. He teaches a variety of business topics, such as entrepreneurship, sustainability, food Business, family business, governance, ethics, mergers, acquisitions, and divestments. Clive is an entrepreneur, business owner and business consultant, who can convey the academic rationale and the practicalities of business in European and Global contexts.

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Dr. Zachary Androus

Sport & Culture

Zachary has a Ph.D. in Anthropology with an Interdisciplinary Concentration in Race, Gender, and Social Justice from American University, Washington, DC. His expertise ranges from research methodology to indigeneity, sovereignty, and nationalism, sport, gender, and endangered language revitalization. He has been teaching for 17 years, including fourteen in study abroad. Zachary is a very active scholar and, among other things, he has directed an ethnographic field school and has organized international research conferences. He was an invited guest professor at Ilisimatusarfik (University of Greenland) and has several publications on sport, nationalism, and sovereignty. Zachary is also a master goldsmith.


Dr. Katharina Giraldi-Haller

The Great Masters: Leonardo, Michelangelo & Raphael

Katharina is Austrian by birth and a Florentine at heart. She obtained her Ph.D. from the University of Vienna and specialized in Italian Art History and International Modern Art. Her interests include Italian art from the medieval to modern periods, in forensic methods, and diagnostics. She is currently working on the psychological stakes of art competitions and artists’ rivalry. She has been teaching for 20 years, many of which with north American and British Universities and Institutions. This year she received a Grant at Washington University to participate at the CAA 2020 (in February) in Chicago with the paper ‘Mapping Cosimo I. de Medici & Propaganda, the Laurentian Library and the Garden in Villa Castello’.


Dr. Angela Oberer

Secrets, Signs & Symbols in Italian Art: Exercises in Iconography;The Great Masters: Leonardo, Michelangelo & Raphael

Angela is a German art historian and chose Florence as her second home. She obtained her Ph.D. from Technische Universität in Berlin and her main interests include Italian Renaissance and women artists, even though she is currently working on Italian Rococo. She has 20 years teaching experience with North American students. She won the Kress Foundation Scholarship, New York, to carry out research at the National Gallery of Art in Washington. She is about to publish her latest book entitled, The Life and Work of Rosalba Carriera (1673-1757), Queen of Pastel, which is forthcoming (July 2020).


Dr. Lorenzo Picchi

The Policies of Organized Crime: Mafia and anti-Mafia in Italy

Lorenzo began his teaching career in 2003 after completing his BA and MA in political science at the University of Florence, Italy. He earned his Ph.D. at Freie University, Berlin, Germany. His academic experience includes journal articles and conference presentations. His field of research is mainly in the area of Italian mafias. He is an honorary member of the Antimafia organization Fondazione Caponnetto and the editor-in-chief of the newspaper Florence News. Lorenzo has been teaching the online course “Mafia: Evolution of a Criminal Enterprise” for University of New Haven (UNH) since the fall of 2010 after being trained on online teaching methodologies at UNH.

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Rome
CEA Virtual Center

Joanna Skrzelinska

Positive Psychology

Joanna is a psychologist, life coach, researcher and lecturer in Positive Psychology at the CEA Study Abroad in Rome. She has worked at various educational institutions in Italy, Portugal, Poland, the UK and Ireland. Her main academic interests include positive and cross-cultural psychology, mindfulness, compassion and promotion of mental health and well-being. Joanna has a BA in English Literature and an MA in Psychology both from the University of Warsaw. She has completed postgraduate studies in Life Coaching as well as in Counseling and Coaching Skills. Along with teaching, counseling and holding workshops on personal growth, she is completing her Ph.D. in Psychology of Well-Being at the University of Coimbra, Portugal, on the role of gratitude in life.

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Ieva Jakobsone Bellomi

International Business

Latvian by birth and a certified lawyer, Ieva obtained an M.B.A. from Boston University and a Finance and Accounting Diploma from the London School of Economics. Before moving to Rome, Ieva worked for over 10 years in economic and commercial public diplomacy in the Baltic States, Russia, United Kingdom and China. Ieva was in fact one of the earliest public policy experts promoting the China’s One Belt One Road initiatives in the Eastern and Central European countries. In addition, Ieva holds over 5 years of corporate experience working for the British FTSE 250 companies in London in the field of international business analysis, corporate strategy and change management. Currently she serves as a non-executive director at CYPE Investment Consulting Co (Beijing) residing in Europe and consulting Chinese companies on the European markets. At CEA, Ieva teaches International Business and supervises students enrolled in the Internship program.


Mario Cacciafeste

Italian Language & Culture

Mario Cacciafeste is a native of Rome. After studying Classics in high school, he graduated in Humanities at La Sapienza University and earned his Diploma as teacher of Italian as a Second Language at Dilit International House of Rome. In the past he has taught Italian language and culture at UPTER, Università Popolare per la Terza Età and has collaborated with various embassies and institutions such as the Parsec Association and the Centre for Migration Studies (CSER). Prior to joining CEA in 2008, Mario taught for various study abroad programs including Cornell University, Rhode Island School of Design, the University of California and DePaul University.


Ippolita Conestabile

Italian Language & Culture

Born in Rome, Ippolita graduated in Contemporary Italian Literature from La Sapienza University of Rome with a thesis on Vitaliano Brancati, and obtained a Ditals II Certification to teach Italian as a foreign language from the University of Siena. Additionally, she is completing an MA Degree at the University of Tor Vergata in Rome specializing in the transmission of the Italian language. In the past Ippolita has been actively engaged in service learning, focusing on the integration of Nomad children in Italian secondary schools and training fellow teachers. Ippolita has taught for over 15 years at the Pontificia Università Urbaniana, the American Academy, the Spanish Academy, the FAO U.N. Agency, the Pontifical Swiss Guards, as well as various study abroad programs affiliated with Cornell University, Dartmouth College, the University of Washington and John Cabot University.


Dr. Marcello Di Paola

Business Ethics; Environmental Ethics; Smart Cities

Marcello is currently a Research and Teaching Fellow in the Department of Political Science at LUISS University Rome, and recently held a post as Researcher in the Department of Philosophy at Vienna University. Marcello designed CEA’s Ethics and Sustainability Program, teaching courses like Business Ethics, Environmental Ethics and Smart Cities, Sustainable Economies and Business Innovation. Half Sicilian and half Dutch by birth, Marcello holds an M.A. Degree from University College Utrecht (2001), a Master of Science from the London School of Economics (2003), and a Ph.D. from LUISS University (2010).His most recent books include: Canned Heat: Ethics and Politics of Global Climate Change, with G. Pellegrino (Routledge, 2014); Gardens of Consequence: A Philosophy of Urban Environmentalism (Springer, 2017); The Global Environment: Ethical and Political Issues (Routledge, 2018).


Eldamaria Francia

Italian Language & Culture

Elda, as her students affectionately call her, was born in Rome and graduated in Foreign Languages and Literature from Roma Tre University. Specializing in Russian, in 2001 she was awarded a six-month scholarship from the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and moved to Moscow. Since then Elda has earned a Diploma as teacher of Italian as a Second Language from Dilit International House of Rome and has worked as interpreter and teacher both in Russia and Italy. Since 2008 she has been teaching for study abroad programs affiliated with the University of New Mexico and CEA.


Marshall Langer

Operations Management; Cross-Cultural Management

A native of Miami, Florida, Marshall received his MBA from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and has additionally taken extensive graduate coursework in counselling psychology at New York University. Marshall comes to CEA to teach Cross-Cultural Management and Basic Operations Management from a 12-year career in diverse business and finance sectors in the U.S. and Europe. He has worked on Wall Street on investment banking and risk arbitrage for firms like Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette as well as in trading for BNP Paribas. He further worked in the areas of corporate management, marketing strategy, management consulting, and real estate. Before joining CEA, Marshall has taught at New York University’s Stern School of Business, Fordham University, University of Connecticut, American University of Rome, University of Malta and Loyola University Chicago.


David Pollon

International Finance

David joined CEA Rome in Fall 2017 to teach International Finance. Additionally, he has taught on finance, economics and the entertainment industry in various institutions in Rome, including the American University of Rome and the Rome Business School. He also teaches graduate seminars for the M.B.A. program of the Institut Superieur de Gestion in Paris, France. Prior to entering the academic world, David served as Finance Director for The Walt Disney Company. After working at the company's headquarters in Los Angeles, he became Finance Director in the UK and then Italy, where he was in charge of all cinema, video, and DVD financial operations. He is currently completing his Ph.D. with the International School of Management in Paris.


Dr. James Schwarten

Critical Perspectives on Italy; Social History of the Italian Mafia

James received his Ph.D. in Italian Studies from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and has lived in Italy intermittently since 1989. His academic interests include Italian organized crime, sociology, anthropology, translation, and literature. James has taught at the Umbra Institute in Perugiaand the Rome Center of Loyola University Chicago. He currently teaches literature and sociology courses at John Cabot University, including Contemporary Italian Society.. A member of the CEA faculty since 2008, his courses are among the most popular. James is well known for his English translations of classics in contemporary Italian literature, such as Dacia Maraini’s Extravagance and Three Other Plays and On Mafia: Small Personal Thoughts. He has organized a major art exhibit in Rome on Nordic painters in the mountain village of Civita D'Antino (Abruzzo) at the turn of the 20th century, and he is a certified sommelier.

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Barcelona
CEA Virtual Center

Rob Giardina

Cross-Cultural Management

Rob was born in the Greater Philadelphia area, USA, and got his BS from Saint Joseph’s University in Philadelphia, majoring in Food Marketing and English. He directed a non-profit organization in the US food distribution sector, and then he moved to Barcelona, where he completed his International Masters in Conflict Resolution from Universitat Oberta de Catalunya. Rob has more than 20 years of experience teaching courses in Intercultural Relations, Conflict Resolution, Cross-cultural Management, Business English, and Communication at several universities as well as for private clients such as Sara Lee, Bayer, Motorola, and Wrigley. Moreover, he is an Intercultural Consultant for BGRS, Dwellworks and BBi Communication, and has experience in offering online training sessions and presentations for expatriate intercultural programs. He is a founding board member of SIETAR Spain (a European-wide professional association on intercultural studies) and was President of SIETAR Europa in 2009-10. Rob is extremely passionate about innovation in education and is currently engaged in a new program to teach virtual intercultural communication courses with enrolled students located in different countries.

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Ariadna Olivé

Spanish Art

Ariadna was born in Barcelona and lived in London for six years. She graduated from the University of Barcelona with a BA degree in Art History, specializing in Twentieth Century Avant-garde Art. Afterwards, she left for London and got her master’s degree in Museum Management at the University of Greenwich, focusing her research on the examination of advantages and drawbacks of staging blockbuster exhibitions. In 2004, Ariadna came back to Barcelona where she started working as a researcher and project manager assistant organizing history exhibitions before becoming a professor. She has been working at CEA as a faculty member for more than 13 years, and has extensive experience teaching Art History courses on visual arts, architecture and urban design. Ariadna has recently finished a postgraduate course in Contemporary Art at the online university UOC, which she is currently extending to a master's degree. She has specialized in public art, encompassing a vast array of visual interventions in public space from authorized artistic interventions to graffiti, and has designed a variety of cultural activities on this subject. She has a passion for Asian cultures and has traveled to many countries in Asia exploring their art, traditions and culture.

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Dr. Marga Carnicé

Social Media: Digital Identity & the Virtual Community

Marga was born in Catalonia and received her Ph.D. in Social Communication from Universitat Pompeu Fabra. She has extensive experience teaching at the university level at different local institutions, including Universitat Pompeu Fabra, Universitat de Barcelona, TecnoCampus Mataró-Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya, Cinema and Audiovisual School of Catalonia-ESCAC, and ESERP Business School. Her area of expertise is Audiovisual and Film Studies, in which she has carried out several research projects, published academic articles and given numerous conference presentations.


Dr. Marina Díaz

Contemporary Spain: History, Politics & Society

Born in Madrid, Marina moved to the United States to get her Ph.D. in History from Tufts University, Massachusetts. She has more than 25 years of teaching experience in college and study abroad settings in Spain, England and the United States and has taught virtual courses at Open University of Catalonia. Marina has been working at CEA Barcelona as a faculty member for more than 10 years and has developed and taught several courses in her areas of expertise such asSpanish history and politics, Jewish history and nationalist movements.


Myriam Hikimura

International Finance

Born in Mexico, Myriam graduated in Industrial Engineering from Tec de Monterrey, Mexico and got her MBA from EGADE de Monterrey, México. She moved to Barcelona, where she completed a Master’s in Research with a focus in Marketing from the Univeritat Autónoma de Barcelona and became aware of her passion for teaching. Since then she has been teaching International Marketing, International Finance and International Business courses at the university level for more than 15 years and has more than 10 years of experience teaching online courses at Open University of Catalonia. Myriam loves traveling abroad, getting to know new cultures around the world but mostly spending as much time as she can with her family.


Alex Martínez

Supply Chain Management

Alex was born in Catalonia and graduated in Agricultural & Food Engineering from University of Lleida before getting his MBA from ESADE Business School. Alex has been teaching business and management courses at the university level for the last 10 years and has more than 20 years of experience working in Industrial companies, in the areas of Supply Chain, Sales/Marketing and Business development. He is currently working as the European Industrial Sales Manager for SWM International, which he combines with his job in the education field.

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Seville
CEA Virtual Center

Kevin Whalen

Entrepreneurship: The Art of Creative Business; International Internship: The Multicultural Workplace

A native of New York City, Kevin has been residing in and in love with Seville for over 15 years. Having completed a Master’s Degree in Marketing and Management from ESIC Sevilla and holding positions in Consulting and Sales at several Spanish and International firms in Seville, Kevin is a seasoned professional well-prepared to support CEA students in and out of the classroom. He first joined CEA as faculty for courses in Entrepreneurship and the Internship Seminar, and has since transitioned to take over Seville's International Internship coordination. In this role, Kevin serves students with unique, hands-on, international experience, overseeing the placement process and cultivating host companies in diverse fields, as well as a strong commitment to our student's professional development. He also continues to teach CEA’s Internship Seminar and the Entrepreneurship courses.

See Kevin's Video

Ana Barcenas

Cross-Cultural Perspectives on Disease, Wellness & Healthcare

Sevillian from birth, Ana learned to nurture an affinity with the English language from a young age as her family hosted American exchange students. But it was when she lived and worked for 5 years in the UK, that she truly fell in love with the language. After completing her MS in Pharmaceutical Science, she went on to complete a Master's Degree in Marketing and Management from the University of Seville. After that she first held positions as a pharmacist dealing with patients in Spain and the National Health Service in the UK. She then combined her role as a Business and Marketing Consultant and Trainer for Healthcare Staff for pharmacies within the Pharmaceutical Industry. These experiences allow her to be a skilled professor for CEA students. Ana spends her spare time pursuing her passions of learning, technology, English and supporting others. She collaborates with a number of local groups such as an Entrepreneurship association providing knowledge as a coach for Startup Weekends Edition’and a local NGO, Pharmacists Without Borders.


Elena Gavira

Beginning Spanish I & Intermediate Spanish I

Born and raised in Seville, Elena has been teaching languages for over twenty years for organizations such as CEA and the University of Seville. She is passionate for languages and speaks Spanish, English, French and German, and has also studied Italian and Latin formally. Elena has a Master’s in English Language and Literature from the University of Seville, with a second degree in German Language. She enjoys being involved in seminars and conferences about language teaching and the use of new technologies in class and has taken several training courses and seminars on online teaching. Presently, she is involved in a MOOC on Spanish Online Methodology. Elena has worked in both the education and tourism sectors, both of which have always kept her in contact with other cultures and languages and given her the opportunity of travelling widely. She has an extremely proactive approach to teaching, keeping her students engaged by incorporating in-class and out-of-class activities, culture differences projects, and music.

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vina del mar Leadership

Magdalena Fitzgerald
Center Director
Magdalena earned a bachelor’s degree in Tourism and Hotel Management from the Universidad del Salvador (USAL) and an MBA degree with a double specialization in Marketing and Operational Management from Universidad de Palermo (UP). She has worked for fifteen years in the hospitality industry in Argentina, Uruguay and The Netherlands, gaining extensive experience in luxury services, intercultural relations and teams management. In addition to her corporate experience, Magdalena has always had a special interest for education. She has been a professor since 2007 in different Universities and Institutions for undergraduate and graduate students. In 2016, Magdalena started up her own Marketing and Communication business, working with companies from diverse industries, helping them achieve their goals, grow and increase their performance.
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Dr. Louis Berends
Vice President of Academic Affairs
Dr. Louis “Lou” Berends comes to CEA from Syracuse University where he most recently held positions as Director of Strategic and International Partnerships, and Director of Academic Programs under the Provost’s Office. UnderLou's leadership, Syracuse Abroad increased study abroad participation and is ranked highly as a national leader in study abroad.Louhas worked extensively in international education at U.S. universities and providers of global education since 2000. He holds a Ph.D. from Loyola University Chicago in cultural and educational policy studies with a concentration in comparative and international education. Additionally,Loustudied at Brunel University (Uxbridge, UK), the University of Oxford (St. Catherine's College), as well as in Rome, Italy, and has visited and conducted research in numerous countries. Furthermore,Louhas presented many papers in various settings including Harvard's Graduate School of Education, the Comparative and International Education Society (CIES), the Forum on Education Abroad, and NAFSA (among others).
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Frans van den Bliek
Program Director - Amsterdam

As the Program Director for Amsterdam, Frans van den Bliek is responsible for the day-to-day management of the onsite program experience, including student services, host institution relations, local vendor relations, program logistics, health and safety, and program administration. Frans also advises students on issues related to academics, housing, cultural adaptation, wellness, and navigating the city, and assists with university site visitors and custom programs. 

Frans brings several years of professional experience to CEA, including a wide-ranging background in the commercial education field. He was a Graduate Recruiter at his alma mater Webster University, focusing on master's programs in Europe, Africa, and the Middle East, and a Country Product Manager at the company Education First, responsible for sales, marketing, strategy, and operations of EF language courses in the Dutch market.  

He holds a bachelor's degree in Commerce, with a concentration in Sports, Economics, and Communications; an MSc in Marketing Management from Tilburg University; and an MBA from Webster University.  

Born in a small Dutch town, Frans has lived in Amsterdam for ten years and loves hanging out in the city. When he’s not working, he enjoys spending time with his son, Tom, and traveling. He’s seen 47 countries in person and plans to visit more. He also likes to hike, cycle, and run.   

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Caroline Walsh
Senior Vice President - Program Development

Caroline Walsh is responsible for the alignment and growth of CEA’s current product portfolio and expansion into new markets. She works closely with leadership within University Relations to identify university needs and trends and collaborates with Academic Affairs and CEA staff worldwide to design and deliver new programs and academic partnerships that are best suited to meet the needs of our U.S. university partners.

Prior to joining CEA, Caroline worked in the Public Information Office for the Santa Clara Water District, at the World Affairs Council in San Francisco, and at the Office of International Student Scholars at UW-Madison. She has a Master of Arts in Latin American studies from UW-Madison (Wisc.), a certificate of global leadership from the Thunderbird School of Management (Ariz.) and a Bachelor of Arts in Spanish from Santa Clara University (Calif.).

While living for a year in Madrid, Spain, Caroline used her school breaks and weekends to travel throughout Spain and many other countries within Europe. She also lived in Bolivia and Brazil, and traveled throughout Peru, Chile, and the Amazon. Caroline thinks it's OK for students to be uncomfortable when traveling abroad: "It is in these moments we learn about ourselves and the new culture we are visiting. When you leave your comfort zone, you grow. You'll feel awkward and out of place many times, but that's OK. Don't shy away from difficult moments or stay where you are comfortable, you may be surprised at how strong you are."

ORGANIZATIONAL MEMBERSHIPS

  • Association of International Education Administrators (AIEA)
  • NAFSA: Association of International Educators

PRESENTATIONS/PUBLICATIONS

  • "Planning Quality Short-Term Study Abroad Programs," Co-Presented at NAFSA: Association of International Educators Region II and III, Bi-Regional Conference 2005, Colorado Springs
  • "Crisis Management in Study Abroad," Co-Presented at Arizona International Educators Conference 2002, Tucson

HONORS/AWARDS

  • Recipient of a University Fellowship as well as the Intensive Foreign Language HEA Title VI Fellowship from University of Wisconsin – Madison
  • Recipient of an Intensive Foreign Language HEA Title VI Fellowship (Portuguese)
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Kristin Kerr
Program Director

Kristin's role is the day-to-day management of CEA's French Riviera and Berlin programs, including student services, host institution relations, local vendor relations, program academics, student evaluations, health and safety, and office administration.

Kristin earned a master's degree in German language and Literature from the University of Nice, Sophia Antipolis, France, and is fluent in English, German, and French. Prior joining CEA, she worked as a Program Planner in London for a U.S. organization specializing in educational tours of Europe for high school students, as well as a Program Director for a study abroad organization in Paris, Cannes, and Krakow, Poland.

A native of Leipzig, Germany, Kristin has lived and worked in France, Germany, England, Poland, and Canada. Kristin loves the great outdoors and would love to run a marathon in Alaska one day.

The best piece of advice Kristin would give to students going overseas is, "Make the most of every minute of this experience. It will be with you for the rest of your life."

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Justine Mons
Program Director

Justine comes to CEA having worked at a student accommodation in the center of Grenoble. Through this work, with French and foreign students, she discovered her desire and passion for education. Prior to CEA, Justine studied English and foreign civilizations and cultures. She has previously worked as a buyer, a role requiring her to remotely coordinate with 50 other colleagues. These roles bring Justine into the Director position with prior experience in working with students, local stakeholders in Grenoble, and working remotely with teams to accomplish tasks.  

Justine has lived abroad in Australia but was born in Grenoble, and is excited about our CEA commitment to deepening student learning and engagement in the local community.

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Lilian Trigo
Program Director
Lilian attends to student issues including academics, housing, excursions, and social activities with our partner universities. Before joining CEA, Lilian taught for more than 20 years at various levels of elementary school, high school, and higher education. She has also participated in international programs for students from Germany and the U.S., including student exchange programs and volunteer work in Chile.

Lilian holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in ESOL from Pontifical Catholic University – Valparaiso. She is a Teacher of English as a Second Language and has a bachelor’s degree in English Literature.

Lilian has traveled to the U.S. and across England as a group leader of a Teen Summer Program, aimed to provide insight into British culture. During the exchange program, the group took part in cultural visits, spent time at Woking & Brooklands College, and stayed with host families in Addlestone, Southport, and Worcester.

Lilian would love to visit Italy’s historic and artistic monuments and views. But she would love to travel with all of her family, because any place is much better when traveling with the people you love the most. Her best advice for study abroad students is to take full advantage of the program, to immerse in the culture as quickly as possible, to get in touch with a lot of local people, to “forget” about home for a while, and to participate in all the activities available.
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Richard Stock, Ph.D.
Center Director

As Center Director, Rick oversees all CEA Prague operations and manages CEA staff in Prague. Rick leads the development of CEA Prague programs both on-site and in cooperation with CEA Headquarters and other CEA sites, which includes setting strategy and standards, managing change, and facilitating communication across the organization. The Center Director also works directly with CEA University Relations staff in the U.S. to keep our connection with our partner universities strong.

Originally from the Chicago area, Rick has lived in or near Prague since 1998 with his wife and three daughters. Rick has been with CEA since 2016. He’s taught in study abroad programs in Prague and served as Academic Director at CIEE Prague. He also directed the creation of a new M.A. program at CERGE-EI for European students. Rick holds a Ph.D. from Charles University in Prague, an M.A. in Literature and Theory from the University of Illinois, and an M.A. in the Teaching of English as a Foreign Language from the University of Reading in the U.K. His teaching and research at the university level focuses on American Literature and Literary Theory. He also teaches a course on the Prague writer Franz Kafka aimed at American study-abroad students. Rick studied Teacher Education as an undergraduate and is deeply interested in teaching, education, and learning.

Rick enjoys spending time with his wife and daughters and participates in sports as often as possible. He is always in the middle of reading one or more books and enjoys writing critical articles on literature.

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Brian J. Boubek
CEO & Chairman

Brian is an entrepreneur and leader in global education who has built his career helping today's student become globally competitive. In 1997, Brian founded CEA Study Abroad after a life-changing study abroad experience in Dijon, France. Brian felt that his time in France was so empowering and insightful that he wanted to provide the same opportunity to everyone.

"CEA's success is built on our ability to design and implement innovative, high-quality academic programs that meet the needs of today's university student. In the current higher education environment, global competency is no longer a luxury. CEA is meeting that challenge by providing the skills and knowledge necessary to succeed in the global economy."

Since its beginning as a study abroad provider, Brian has led CEA as the company grew to become one of the largest for-profit international education companies in the U.S with operations throughout the world and more-than 170 employees worldwide. CEA enrolls more than 4,000 U.S. university students annually in over 100 academic programs.

Brian earned a Bachelor’s of Science in Commerce (BSC) degree in both Marketing and Finance from DePaul University (Ill.). He studied French language at the University of Burgundy in Dijon, France and the Alliance Française in Paris. In addition, he is also a graduate of the "Birthing of Giants" Executive Education program hosted by the MIT Enterprise Forum and Inc. Magazine.

A resident of Phoenix, Arizona, Brian is married with two children. He enjoys hiking, mountain biking, worldwide travel, new business start-ups, and anything related to food and wine.

ORGANIZATIONAL MEMBERSHIPS

  • NAFSA: Association of International Educators
  • Forum on Education Abroad
  • American Marketing Association (AMA)
  • Young President's Organization (YPO)

HONORS/AWARDS

  • Excellence in International Business Award, Arizona District Export Council in cooperation with the Phoenix Council on Foreign Relations
  • Spirit of Enterprise Center, W.P. Carey School of Business
  • Global Impact Symposium Award Finalist, Eller College of Management
  • Two years on the Inc. 500 list as one of the nation's fastest growing private companies
  • Arizona Corporate Excellence Award as the 13th fastest growing organization in Arizona
  • BizAZ Hot Growth Award as the Top 10 fastest growing company in Arizona
  • Small Business Association Exporter of the Year
  • Featured in the Wall Street Journal, Arizona Republic, BizAZ, Phoenix Business Journal, Arizona Business Gazette, Inside Higher Ed, and the Chronicle of Higher Education
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Alvaro Sánchez
Program Director

As the Program Director for Alicante, Alvaro Sánchez is responsible for day-to-day management including student services, host institution relations, local vendor relations, academic program development, and student evaluations. Alvaro advises students on issues related to academics, housing, cross-cultural information, health and safety; assists in management of city finances; and hires and trains other staff (and faculty).

Alvaro, a native of Alicante, has experience in both the U.S. and Spain. His experience with U.S. students includes working with a late youth program at a local TV station, travelling through Central America as a U.S. program supervisor, and coaching NCAA 1st division college tennis. He has also written two documentaries and continues to enjoy work in the field of media arts.

Alvaro earned his undergraduate degree in Media Arts from the University of Arkansas – Little Rock. He is fluent in Spanish and English.

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Silvia Martínez
Program Director

Silvia Martínez ensures that all CEA standards are maintained in Madrid. Silvia oversees all educational programs, including short- and long-term program planning, products, and services, and maintains the financial plan for Madrid. She also manages student services, host institution relations, local vendor relations, program improvements, and staff.

Silvia was born in Cádiz, South of Spain, but has always had close contact with the American culture and the English language. She lived in a U.S. Naval Base for two years and has many relatives in the U.S. Silvia has studied and worked in Spain, England, and Canada in the fields of Administration, Tourism, and Study Abroad. She interned at an Irish Building Society in London and worked in a Canadian study abroad company leading groups of Spanish students in Toronto.

Before joining CEA in 2002, Silvia worked at the North American Universities and Institutions Centre at the University of Alcalá de Henares for two years.

She holds a degree in Tourism Management from the Univeristy of Alcalá. Silvia speaks Spanish and English fluently and has studied French and German for several years.

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Emily Schiavone
Center Director

With CEA since 2008, Emily Schiavone is responsible for the management and development of the Florence Study Center and all study abroad programs that it hosts. Since 2014, Emily has provided leadership and direct oversight to the Student Services team, and works closely with the Academic Director on academic matters regarding the Florence Center and partner institutions. 
 
Emily hails from northeast Ohio, and holds a BA in Art History from Carleton College and an MA in Italian Renaissance Art from Syracuse University. Two study abroad experiences in Florence prompted Emily to remain after her third stint abroad, and she has called Florence her permanent home since 2004. Before joining CEA, Emily worked at an American university in Florence, where she helped to create an archive and database of digital images for teaching purposes and travelled to towns in central Italy to teach students art and architectural history on-site.  
 

Emily’s life would not be the same had she not come to Florence as a university student.  She hopes that students embark their own journey with an open mind, preparedness for unpredictable situations, and confidence; attributes that allow students to discover new things about the world and about themselves. 

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Lilian Trigo
Program Director
Lilian attends to student issues including academics, housing, excursions, and social activities with our partner universities. Before joining CEA, Lilian taught for more than 20 years at various levels of elementary school, high school, and higher education. She has also participated in international programs for students from Germany and the U.S., including student exchange programs and volunteer work in Chile.

Lilian holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in ESOL from Pontifical Catholic University – Valparaiso. She is a Teacher of English as a Second Language and has a bachelor’s degree in English Literature.

Lilian has traveled to the U.S. and across England as a group leader of a Teen Summer Program, aimed to provide insight into British culture. During the exchange program, the group took part in cultural visits, spent time at Woking & Brooklands College, and stayed with host families in Addlestone, Southport, and Worcester.

Lilian would love to visit Italy’s historic and artistic monuments and views. But she would love to travel with all of her family, because any place is much better when traveling with the people you love the most. Her best advice for study abroad students is to take full advantage of the program, to immerse in the culture as quickly as possible, to get in touch with a lot of local people, to “forget” about home for a while, and to participate in all the activities available.
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Begoña Correa-Flores
Program Director
As the Director of CEA Granada, Begoña is responsible for the successful day-to-day management of the Granada program, including on-site student services, host institution and local vendor relations, program academics, participant health and safety, and student evaluations. She also identifies and implements opportunities for program improvements, makes development recommendations, and designs faculty-led and custom programs. She provides leadership to her team, as they support her in creating a superior student experience.

Begoña pioneered CEA's internship program in Granada, as well as the Arabic Cultural Studies program at our partner institution in Granada.

Begoña holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Translation and Interpreting and a Postgraduate Certificate in Education from the University of Granada. She has completed an online Specialization in Foundations of Management at the IESE Business School. Begoña is also a certified coach with the International School of Coaching, and a sworn translator authorized by the Spanish Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Begoña worked as a teacher and congress coordinator before joining CEA in 1999.

Begoña first studied abroad in high school, when she spent an academic year at Wisconsin’s Shorewood High School. As an undergraduate student, she was awarded scholarships to study at Dublin City University (Ireland), the University of California San Diego (U.S.), and Palacky University of Olomouc (Czechia).

Begoña is passionate about international education. She works enthusiastically to provide meaningful study abroad programs that allow students to experience authentic growth and prepare them to tackle real-world challenges by developing solutions.
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Anna Felberbaum
Center Director

As Center Director for Rome, Anna Felberbaum is responsible for office administration and the day-to-day management including staffing, student services, host institution relations, local vendor relations, and student evaluations. Anna advises students on issues related to academics, cross-cultural information and health and safety.

Anna was born in London, England, but has lived most of her life in Rome with brief periods in the UK and the U.S. for both study and work. Anna has over 11 years of experience in all aspects of study abroad. Before joining CEA, she worked for John Cabot University for four years as the Coordinator of Student Services. Previously, she managed Rome's main English bookshop.

Anna has a BA in English Literature from John Cabot University and is fluent in both written and spoken Italian.

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Victor Gonzalez
Center Director

A native of Havana, Cuba, Victor holds an undergraduate degree in Political Science and History from Skidmore College, where he graduated Cum Laude and was elected to the prestigious national honor society Phi Beta Kappa. Victor is currently completing his MBA at Escuela de Administracion de Empresas (EAE).

Victor brings more than 15 years of experience in undergraduate education to his position at CEA, first as Director of a College Access and Opportunity Program in Saratoga Springs, New York, and recently as Director of a study abroad center in Madrid, Spain, a position he held for more than a decade. He currently serves on the Executive Board of the Association of North American Programs in Spain.

An avid global traveler, Victor has traveled across Asia, North Africa, Western and Eastern Europe, North and South America, and the Middle East. Victor’s other passion is tennis; he holds several titles in both singles and doubles in amateur international tournaments and competitions. Victor’s advice to incoming study abroad students is to embrace each day with a heightened sense of adventure and to focus on the journey, with the certainty that an open mind and the courage to face unpredictable situations will offer life-long skills and transform life in unimaginable ways.

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Maggie Banchs
Program Director

Maggie's role is to oversee all student services and housing including orientation, excursions, and cultural activities. She advises students on issues related to cross-cultural information, health, and safety, and is responsible for responding to student inquiries and concerns. Maggie serves as a resource to students as they transition into Costa Rican culture, and functions as their primary point of contact.

Maggie holds a master's degree in Entrepreneurship and Family Business from Escuela de Administración de Empresas (EAE) in Barcelona, and a bachelor's degree in Photography and Artistic Direction from the Universidad Centeroamericana de Ciencias Empresariales in Managua, Nicaragua. She also studied photography at Veritas University in San José, Costa Rica, and taught several photography courses at Universidad Creativa in San Pedro, Costa Rica.

Prior to joining CEA, Maggie developed skills working in the Communications Department of the Escuela de Administración de Empresas in Barcelona, and as a manager at the Universidad Centroamericana de Ciencias Empresariales in Managua, Nicaragua. After studying abroad, she returned to San José to work with foreign students at Veritas University.

Maggie truly believes that studying abroad changes your life in many different ways, so she encourages the students to set their fear of new experiences and cultures to the side, and to come to a new country with an open mind and positive attitude. Maggie invites students to come and explore Costa Rica's beautiful scenery, friendly people, and warm weather.

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Enric Figueras
Vice President, Spain

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.

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Kristin Kerr
Program Director

Kristin's role is the day-to-day management of CEA's French Riviera and Berlin programs, including student services, host institution relations, local vendor relations, program academics, student evaluations, health and safety, and office administration.

Kristin earned a master's degree in German language and Literature from the University of Nice, Sophia Antipolis, France, and is fluent in English, German, and French. Prior joining CEA, she worked as a Program Planner in London for a U.S. organization specializing in educational tours of Europe for high school students, as well as a Program Director for a study abroad organization in Paris, Cannes, and Krakow, Poland.

A native of Leipzig, Germany, Kristin has lived and worked in France, Germany, England, Poland, and Canada. Kristin loves the great outdoors and would love to run a marathon in Alaska one day.

The best piece of advice Kristin would give to students going overseas is, "Make the most of every minute of this experience. It will be with you for the rest of your life."

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Thomas Fisher
Program Director
Born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Thomas has an undergraduate degree in history from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. In 2008, his passion for Irish history and culture led him to Galway, where he earned a master's degree in Irish Studies at the National University of Ireland – Galway (NUIG). Since 2010, Thomas has worked with international students studying abroad in Galway on both semester and summer programs. He is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Irish Studies at NUIG.
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Alexandra Mitchell
Director of International Programs – France

As the Director of International Programs for France and Director for the CEA Paris Center, Alexandra is responsible for overall programming and operations for CEA sites in France, maintaining CEA standards across all educational programs. There's a lot to keep her busy on-site, including long and short-term Program Development, managing Finance and Human Resources, overseeing Student Affairs and Academic Affairs, and working with students in and out of the classroom.

Alexandra earned a Bachelor of Arts in Art History and French at Washington University in St. Louis (Mo.) and completed a DEA after earning a Master of Arts in Art History at the Université de Paris-IV Sorbonne (France). As a student, Alexandra was drawn to study abroad straight away. A high school travel program in Western Europe inspired her to complete study abroad programs in Florence, Italy and Caen, France as an undergraduate.

Before joining CEA, Alexandra started her career as a one-person office Program Coordinator for CAPA International Education in Paris, where she gained experience in hands-on programming. Through experience and professional development, Alexandra has taken a particular interest in questions of health & safety abroad, and how meaningful integration can help students better understand their host environment and, consequently, stay safer while studying and travelling abroad.

Originally from Nova Scotia, Canada, Alexandra also lived in the U.S. for many years, as well as France, Italy, and Greece. She often tells students that, "studying abroad is not easy, but when home starts to feel foreign and your host country starts to feel like home, you know that you have been profoundly marked by your experience."

ORGANIZATIONAL MEMBERSHIPS

  • APUAF: Association des Programmes Universitaires Américains en France, President, 2013 and Executive Board Member 2008-2013
  • Washington University in St. Louis APAP (Alumni organization)
  • OSAC France: Active member of OSAC Steering Committee, U.S. Embassy in Paris (Overseas Security Advisory Council)

PRESENTATIONS/PUBLICATIONS

  • “After the Paris Attacks: Education Abroad & the New Normal”, co-presenter, Forum Webinar, January 2016
  • “After the Paris Attacks: Working with Students Facing the New Normal”, co-presenter, Forum Post-Conference Workshop Athens, Greece, October 2016
  • “Post-Paris: Study Abroad in the New Normal”, co-presenter, AASAP Workshop, London, England, March 2017
  • Status Report on Gender Studies in France : Resources for Accommodating LGBT Students in France, APUAF Annual Meeting of US Program Directors in France, March 2011
  • Homestay and Apartment Living Arrangements: APUAF Annual Meeting of U.S. Program Directors in France, March 2011
  • Participation at Resident Director's Fireside Dialogue, Forum European Conference – Dublin, Ireland, December 2012
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Francis Kelly
Center Director

Francis's role is to manage the CEA Dublin Center including facilities, staff, activities, housing, excursions, and pastoral support. Francis is also the Founder and Director of the International School of Business, Dublin, CEA's partner institution in Dublin.

Francis has worked in international education for the past 25 years in both the private and public sectors. He has lectured in both France and Ireland and created two business schools. Francis holds a Bachelor of Arts in Irish and French Language and Literature from University College Cork, a Master of Arts in Irish Studies from the Université de Lille III, France, a Master's in Business Studies in International Marketing from the Smurfit Graduate School of Business (University College Dublin). He speaks Irish and French fluently and has a good working knowledge of Spanish and Italian.

Francis has traveled widely across five continents, including a volunteer placement in Ghana, West Africa, eight years living and working in France, multiple trips to the U.S., Canada, and across Europe. He is passionate about cultures and believes that the real richness of study abroad comes from experiencing cultural differences first-hand.

ORGANIZATIONAL MEMBERSHIPS

* European Association of Institutes of Education (EAIE)

* BUSINET

* ASAPI (American Study Abroad Providers Ireland)

* QQI (Quality and Qualifications Ireland)

* The Marketing Institute of Ireland

Irish Council for Overseas Students

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Dr. Louis Berends
Vice President of Academic Affairs
Dr. Louis “Lou” Berends comes to CEA from Syracuse University where he most recently held positions as Director of Strategic and International Partnerships, and Director of Academic Programs under the Provost’s Office. Under Lou's leadership, Syracuse Abroad increased study abroad participation and is ranked highly as a national leader in study abroad. Lou has worked extensively in international education at U.S. universities and providers of global education since 2000. He holds a Ph.D. from Loyola University Chicago in cultural and educational policy studies with a concentration in comparative and international education. Additionally, Lou studied at Brunel University (Uxbridge, UK), the University of Oxford (St. Catherine's College), as well as in Rome, Italy, and has visited and conducted research in numerous countries. Furthermore, Lou has presented many papers in various settings including Harvard's Graduate School of Education, the Comparative and International Education Society (CIES), the Forum on Education Abroad, and NAFSA (among others).
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Monica Francioso
Academic Director

Academic Director Monica Francioso joined the CEA Florence team in 2015, and is responsible for the oversight of all aspects of Florence academics including academic integrity, curriculum development, and faculty training and assessment. She serves as a leader for students and faculty, and her work ensures compliance with the standards established by our School of Record agreement with the University of New Haven. Monica holds regular on-campus office hours and is always happy to talk to students and faculty on academic matters, and to respond to all substantive inquiries and concerns. 

Monica obtained a BA in English and Russian from the Università degli Studi di Padova, an MA in English Studies, and a Ph.D. in Italian Studies from Royal Holloway, University of London. Her thesis, which she is currently editing for publication, focuses on narrative theory in post-war Italy. She has published articles and books, both in Italian and English, on Celati, Calvino, Palandri, and migrant writers. 

Monica lived abroad in the United Kingdom and Ireland for 13 years. Prior to joining the CEA Florence team, Monica held several teaching positions in Italian language, literature and culture at various higher-ed institutions, including Royal Holloway University of London, University of Durham, University of Bath and University College Dublin. She earned a CELTA certificate to teach English as a foreign and second language. She also taught English to students of all levels, preparing them for the Cambridge English exams. Monica also holds a DITALS II certificate to teach Italian as a foreign and second language, and she worked as a teacher trainer for the same program. 

Monica firmly believes in the importance of studying abroad as a means to broaden horizons and better oneself. Her experiences have shown her how enriching speaking/learning other languages and knowing other cultures can be. She believes she would be a different person today had she not experienced life abroad.

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Cassandra Peacock
Program Director

Cassandra Peacock's role as Program Director at CEA encompasses both administrative and operational duties. She helps students understand that their experience is not only about attending school, but about how much potential they have in their particular circumstances. Cassandra ensures students experience smooth arrivals, a ride from the airport, proper housing, and advice on what to eat, where to go, and things to see around London.

Prior to working for CEA, Cassandra was an English teacher and worked for Royal Caribbean International as a 2nd Guest Relations Purser, traveling all around the world. Cassandra graduated with honors in both her bachelor's degree in Tourism Administration, and master's degree in International Business from Universidad del Valle de Atemajac (Mexico).

Cassandra has lived and travelled around the globe, including the U.S., Germany, Finland, Panama, the Caribbean, Russia, Egypt, Argentina, Brazil, Estonia, and the U.K. She hopes her travels will soon take her to South Africa or Kenya. She enjoys reassuring students they've made a wonderful decision by choosing to leave the U.S. and embark on a study abroad adventure. "It's like seeing a small seed grow, becoming independent and secure."

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Jessica Hankiewicz
Associate Director of Student Affairs

In her role as Associate Director of Student Affairs for CEA Prague, Jessica is responsible for Health and Safety issues, the Wellness program, and disciplinary procedures. She also oversees communications within CEA Prague. Her work with students often focuses on the processes of acclimation and healthy cultural adaptation, a topic she finds very rewarding. Prior to joining CEA in 2015, Jessica worked as a Media Relations assistant, a TEFL-qualified English teacher, and a TEFL Course Coordinator. She then entered the field of study abroad, working as a Program Manager for an organization in Prague, where she handled all aspects of the study abroad experience.

Jessica earned her BA degree from Nottingham Trent University in England. Originally from Virginia, she has spent half of her life in Europe, since falling in love with the continent during her first study abroad experience at the age of 16. Her experiences have given her valuable exposure to multicultural environments and foreign languages. She has lived in England, Germany, Peru, and the Czech Republic. Jessica is fluent in Czech and German and speaks basic French and Spanish. She enjoys learning new languages, creative writing, and exploring the Czech Republic’s amazing forests.

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Mary Alice Soriero
Academic Director

As Academic Director, Mary Alice ensures that CEA Sevilla’s academic operations seamlessly develop and implement programs of academic excellence; reviews and maintains academic policies and practices; oversees the coordination and resolution of student academic issues; and supports faculty to ensure academic quality.

Originally from the U.S., Mary Alice brings over 25 years of international work and volunteer experience to her position at CEA. She’s lived in various cultures all over the world and uses her acquired knowledge to both inform her thinking and enable others to understand culture.

Mary Alice earned a Master's of Science in Education, Culture and Society from the University of Pennsylvania. She earned an undergraduate degree in East Asian Studies from Pennsylvania State University.

Upon arriving in Spain in 1998, she worked as a cultural advisor for newly arrived U.S. military personnel and U.S. university students and spent more than 10 years with TCU coordinating their Sevilla program. These experiences allow Mary Alice to help students arriving in Sevilla quickly transform from excited traveler to awed and informed long-term visitor.

Mary Alice's love of foreign cultures and her knowledge of English, Spanish, Japanese, and Thai have taken her all over the world, including Peru, Japan, Thailand, Taiwan, Spain, and the U.S. Her work as a Peace Corp volunteer, a language teacher, and a public speaker on cultural values, combined with her travel and language experiences, have provided Mary Alice with a knowledge of extreme cultural differences and supplied her with a series of personal anecdotes that help her empower students to analyze and investigate cultural values and differences.

ORGANIZATIONAL MEMBERSHIPS

Teaching English of Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL)

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Lenka Vystrčilová, Ph.D.
Academic Director
Lenka serves as the primary contact for students and staff regarding all academic issues, including academic process management and student academic advising. She is also charged with strengthening and developing the unique relationship we have with Anglo-American University, our partner institution in Prague.

A native of Slovakia, Lenka spent a significant portion of her life living and studying in the U.S. Other travels have led her to explore much of Central and Western Europe, and she would love for her next personal adventure to take her to Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam.

Lenka holds a doctorate in political science from the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universitaet in Munich, a master’s degree in Russian, East European, and Eurasian studies from Stanford University, and a bachelor’s degree in international relations and German studies from Lewis & Clark College. Lenka has worked as an assistant director and academic coordinator for a U.S. study abroad program in Munich, and as an academic director for international students in Prague.
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Ana Martínez
Academic Director

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.

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Christopher Edwards
Academic Director

Christopher oversees academic programs offered through CEA Paris. His responsibilities range from curriculum development to faculty training, as well as student advising and partner program oversight. He has developed an extensive working knowledge of academic approaches to topics ranging from world health care systems to global management information systems.

Christopher holds a Masters of Arts in French from New York University (N.Y.) and a Bachelor of Arts in Economics and French from Auburn University (Ala.). Prior to joining CEA, Christopher was an Instructor of French at Clemson University (S.C.). In addition to his teaching responsibilities, he facilitated study abroad programs for Clemson's College of Art, Architecture and Humanities, and directed a summer language program in Paris.

As a long-time U.S. citizen living overseas, Christopher thinks that "students should be increasingly aware of the monumental competition they will face in an increasingly globalized job market. Learning languages and developing an ethical and responsible contact with non-U.S. cultures through structured study abroad programming is one way in which to do so."

ORGANIZATIONAL MEMBERSHIPS

* Phi Beta Kappa

* APUAF : Association des Programmes Universitaires Américains en France

PRESENTATIONS/PUBLICATIONS

* Facebook training for study abroad professionals, APUAF Annual Meeting of U.S. Program Directors in France, March 2010

* Student travel abroad: ensuring your student's safety, APUAF Annual Meeting of U.S. Program Directors in France, March 2013

* Digital Video Conference (DVC) Presentation, U.S. Department of State, Africa Regional Services, Paris, France (with US Embassy in Cotonou, Benin). Activism and the LGBT Community. June 2013.

Digital Video Conference (DVC) presentation, U.S. Department of State, Africa Regional Services, Paris, France (with US Embassy in Brazzaville, Congo). Study in the US. November 2013.

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Darragh O Briain
Academic Director

As Academic Director for CEA Dublin Center, Mr. Darragh O Briain manages faculty relationships and appointments, schedules courses, manages student and faculty grievances, assists in recommending curriculum updates, provides academic advising, and oversees the day-to-day academic activities of the CEA Dublin Center.

Mr. O Briain has vast lecturing experience in Market Research, Event Management, Marketing Communications, Sales Management and Entrepreneurship with the American College Dublin, Griffith College and the European Business School. In 2005, he was elevated to the position of Academic Director of the European Business School, where he was responsible for overseeing faculty and academia for visiting U.S. and European semester students. Mr. O Briain is the Academic Dean of The International School of Business, where is responsible for faculty, students, curriculum development, assessments and course validation. Mr. O Briain has also sat on the Academic Executive Board of Dublin Business School and been involved with an expert panel for degree course validation on behalf of HETAC (Irish State Higher Education Accreditation Committee).

Mr. O Briain holds an MA from Trinity College, where he focused his thesis studies on advertising, communication and media. He also has an Advanced Diploma in Marketing techniques and a BS in Marketing, jointly awarded by Dublin Institute of Technology and Trinity College.

ORGANIZATIONAL MEMBERSHIPS

* HETAC (Irish Government Accreditation Agency) Expert Panel for Programme Validation

* Sat on Dublin Business School's Executive Committee

HONORS/AWARDS

* Diploma in Advanced Marketing Techniques - Dublin Institute of Technology

* Certificate in Applied Merchandising and Display - Dublin Institute of Technology

* London Chamber of Commerce Certificate in Advanced Business German

* 2007 Acknowledged for "Outstanding Contribution to Youth Work" by Dublin City Vocational Education Committee

* 2008 Honoured by the President for 10 years of quality adult service to Gaisce/The President's Award (The Presidents Citizenship scheme for young people)

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Alexandra Massini
Academic Director

Alexandra serves as academic leader for faculty and students and provides oversight for academic integrity, program and course design, faculty hire, training and assessment, relations with local universities and select US partner colleges. She responds to all inquiries relevant to academic matters and offers support for educational development and student mentorship. A faculty member since the opening of the Rome campus in 2008, she also teaches History of Art and Archaeology.

Alexandra was raised in Italy and Germany, before moving to the UK where she studied History of Art. She holds a Ph.D. from the University of Warwick, BA and MA degrees with Double Distinction from the Courtauld Institute of Art, as well as a Diploma from the Study Centre for the History of the Fine and Decorative Arts. Her main research interest is the Renaissance and the reception of Classical Antiquity. Her doctoral thesis on ‘Dionysus in the Arts of the Modern Era’ is currently under review for publication.

Prior to joining CEA, Alexandra has taught for various study abroad programs in Florence, Siena and Rome. Aside of her academic activity she works as author, consultant and speaker for documentaries on art and history, collaborates with the Colonna and Doria Pamphilj galleries and curates the Art Collection of the Rome Cavalieri Hotel (Waldorf-Astoria). As a licensed guide she conducts specialized visits for embassies, governmental institutions, collectors and museum curators and has acted as study leader for U.S. organizations such as the World Monuments Fund and the National Trust USA. In the past she has written for Blue Guides and has published her own guide book to Rome, has worked for the Thyssen Museum in Madrid and Sotheby’s Auctioneers and has organized large scale events for international investor groups. She is tri-lingual in German, Italian, and English, fluent in Spanish and has a working knowledge of French.

Alexandra’s international background make her a firm believer of global education. Curiosity and a passion for ‘piecing together the puzzle’ of the cultures she encounters help her enrich her own. To her students and her children (who are Mexican/Italian) she hopes to transmit the tools to ‘think outside the box’, broaden their horizons and become aware of the globalized world they live in.

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Lenka Vystrčilová, Ph.D
Academic Director - Prague

As Academic Director, Lenka provides leadership and management for the Academics Division, as well as oversight and quality control for all academic matters in Prague. Lenka is responsible for student advising during both pre-departure and onsite, ensuring that students are well-informed on all academic policies and procedures, as well as managing student academic concerns. She is also charged with maintaining strong ties with our partner institution in Prague, Anglo-American University, and ensuring that program content and delivery are not only of the highest quality but also meet the needs of U.S. universities and students.

A native of Slovakia, Lenka spent a significant portion of her life living and studying in the U.S. Lenka holds a doctorate in Political Science from the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universitaet in Munich; a master's degree in Russian, East European, and Eurasian studies from Stanford University; and a bachelor's degree in International Relations and German Studies from Lewis & Clark College. Prior to joining CEA Prague in 2013, Lenka worked as an assistant director and academic coordinator for a U.S. study abroad program in Munich, and as an academic director for international students in Prague. Lenka is a life-long study abroad enthusiast, likes to read, and her primary academic interests include democratization theories and EU studies.

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Laura Salvadó
Program Director

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.

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Devon Derousseau
Director of Student Affairs

Devon oversees the Student Life department at CEA Paris, working closely with the Student Life Advisor and Student Housing Advisor. She is responsible for program logistics, including orientation, excursions, social activities, student well-being, housing, and program budgeting. Devon also manages social media at the CEA Paris Center.

Devon holds a Master of Arts in International Relations and Geopolitics from l'Institut d'Etudes Politiques, Toulouse, a Bachelor of Arts in Global Studies, and a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance from the University of California, Santa Barbara. Before joining CEA, Devon taught English at Lycée Saint-Sernin (Toulouse, France), while assisting the Education Abroad Program through the Toulouse-based University of California study center. A position in event management then brought her to the French Riviera in 2007.

A big part of Devon's experience abroad has been what she calls "life learning." Managing the day-to-day ups and downs that come with life in a foreign country, like figuring out the French grocery store, getting the broken sink fixed by the Toulousain plumber, mastering the red tape at the Préfecture, and trying to find humor along the way. Devon believes that "if you can find the funny, you can get through any situation, wherever your adventures may take you. You may even find inspiration for a great blog post while you're at it!"

ORGANIZATIONAL MEMBERSHIPS

* APUAF: Association des Programmes Universitaires Américains en France

PRESENTATIONS/PUBLICATIONS

Presentation: "L'Animation culturelle et sa promotion", APUAF workshop, November 2013

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Caroline Walsh
Senior Vice President - Program Development

Caroline Walsh is responsible for the alignment and growth of CEA’s current product portfolio and expansion into new markets. She works closely with leadership within University Relations to identify university needs and trends and collaborates with Academic Affairs and CEA staff worldwide to design and deliver new programs and academic partnerships that are best suited to meet the needs of our U.S. university partners.

Prior to joining CEA, Caroline worked in the Public Information Office for the Santa Clara Water District, at the World Affairs Council in San Francisco, and at the Office of International Student Scholars at UW-Madison. She has a Master of Arts in Latin American studies from UW-Madison (Wisc.), a certificate of global leadership from the Thunderbird School of Management (Ariz.) and a Bachelor of Arts in Spanish from Santa Clara University (Calif.).

While living for a year in Madrid, Spain, Caroline used her school breaks and weekends to travel throughout Spain and many other countries within Europe. She also lived in Bolivia and Brazil, and traveled throughout Peru, Chile, and the Amazon. Caroline thinks it's OK for students to be uncomfortable when traveling abroad: "It is in these moments we learn about ourselves and the new culture we are visiting. When you leave your comfort zone, you grow. You'll feel awkward and out of place many times, but that's OK. Don't shy away from difficult moments or stay where you are comfortable, you may be surprised at how strong you are."

ORGANIZATIONAL MEMBERSHIPS

  • Association of International Education Administrators (AIEA)
  • NAFSA: Association of International Educators

PRESENTATIONS/PUBLICATIONS

  • "Planning Quality Short-Term Study Abroad Programs," Co-Presented at NAFSA: Association of International Educators Region II and III, Bi-Regional Conference 2005, Colorado Springs
  • "Crisis Management in Study Abroad," Co-Presented at Arizona International Educators Conference 2002, Tucson

HONORS/AWARDS

  • Recipient of a University Fellowship as well as the Intensive Foreign Language HEA Title VI Fellowship from University of Wisconsin – Madison
  • Recipient of an Intensive Foreign Language HEA Title VI Fellowship (Portuguese)
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Tim Boubek
Vice President - Strategic University Partnerships

Tim Boubek is the Vice President of Strategic University Partnerships. CEA established its University Relations department to serve as a vital resource to enhance university outreach efforts throughout the U.S. Tim leads the team of CEA Regional Consultants to foster collaborative relationships with university partners, and provides U.S. institutions with a keen knowledge of CEA operations, from student recruitment, admissions, and planning through their time abroad and return to their U.S. campus.

Tim brings many years of study abroad experience to the position, having served previously in several operational capacities at CEA. A current member of NAFSA, he graduated from Western Illinois University with a Bachelor of Science in Law Enforcement - Criminal Justice and a minor in Business Administration. He earned a certificate in Human Resources Management from the University of Phoenix.

ORGANIZATIONAL MEMBERSHIPS

  • AIEA: Association of International Education Administrators (AIEA)
  • NAFSA: Association of International Educators

EDUCATION

  • BS, Law Enforcement – Criminal Justice, Western Illinois University
  • Minor, Business Administration, Western Illinois University
  • Certificate in Human Resources Management, University of Phoenix
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Ahmad Refky
Vice President of International Operations
Ahmad is originally from Cairo, Egypt, where he lived for 22 years. His first foray into study abroad came when he lived in the U.S. as an exchange student during his senior year of high school. That experience inspired him to work in international education, where he has built his career over the past decade. After graduating with a BA in International Relations from the American University in Cairo, Ahmad immigrated to the U.S. in 2001, where he pursued his graduate studies at DePaul University and studied abroad in The Netherlands as part of the Summer Institute on Sexuality, Culture, and Society.

Ahmad’s first position in the study abroad field was as a Group Study Exchange Coordinator at The Rotary Foundation, where he worked on short-term exchange programs for young professionals interested in learning how their vocations are practiced internationally. Next, as a Training and Development Manager at the Center for Cultural Interchange, Ahmad trained field staff on J-1 visa regulations and worked with vendors to develop an online application and monitoring system for exchange students. He was also the Illinois Regional Director, responsible for recruiting field staff and placing students with qualified host families during their academic year in the U.S. Finally, Ahmad served as a College Relations Manager for Customized Programs at IES Abroad. During his four-year tenure, he oversaw the development of short-term, quarter, and semester-long programs for schools in 17 states, and represented the organization in regional, national, and international conferences.

An avid traveler, Ahmad has traveled to Lebanon, Indonesia, France, The Netherlands, Belgium, United Kingdom, Canada, Mexico, and Costa Rica. He looks forward to traveling to Italy, Spain, Morocco, Australia, New Zealand, Argentina, Brazil, and maybe one day Antarctica.
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Ahmad Refky
Vice President of International Operations
Ahmad is originally from Cairo, Egypt, where he lived for 22 years. His first foray into study abroad came when he lived in the U.S. as an exchange student during his senior year of high school. That experience inspired him to work in international education, where he has built his career over the past decade. After graduating with a BA in International Relations from the American University in Cairo, Ahmad immigrated to the U.S. in 2001, where he pursued his graduate studies at DePaul University and studied abroad in The Netherlands as part of the Summer Institute on Sexuality, Culture, and Society.

Ahmad’s first position in the study abroad field was as a Group Study Exchange Coordinator at The Rotary Foundation, where he worked on short-term exchange programs for young professionals interested in learning how their vocations are practiced internationally. Next, as a Training and Development Manager at the Center for Cultural Interchange, Ahmad trained field staff on J-1 visa regulations and worked with vendors to develop an online application and monitoring system for exchange students. He was also the Illinois Regional Director, responsible for recruiting field staff and placing students with qualified host families during their academic year in the U.S. Finally, Ahmad served as a College Relations Manager for Customized Programs at IES Abroad. During his four-year tenure, he oversaw the development of short-term, quarter, and semester-long programs for schools in 17 states, and represented the organization in regional, national, and international conferences.

An avid traveler, Ahmad has traveled to Lebanon, Indonesia, France, The Netherlands, Belgium, United Kingdom, Canada, Mexico, and Costa Rica. He looks forward to traveling to Italy, Spain, Morocco, Australia, New Zealand, Argentina, Brazil, and maybe one day Antarctica.
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Anthony Rotolo
CEA MOJO Blogger in Florence, Italy
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CEA Spring 2017 MOJO Blogger
CEA Study Abroad Location: Florence, Italy
Home University: Santa Monica College
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Caitlin McCollum-Martinez
CEA MOJO Blogger in Seville, Spain
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CEA Spring 2017 MOJO Blogger
CEA Study Abroad Location: Seville, Spain
Home University: Humboldt State
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Caitlyn Bilow
CEA MOJO Blogger in London, England
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CEA Spring 2017 MOJO Blogger
CEA Study Abroad Location: London, England
Home University: DePaul University
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Colin Brennan
Vice President of Finance & Accounting
Originally from Chicago, Colin joined CEA in 2010 after studying abroad with us in San José, Costa Rica. He graduated with a B.B.A. in Finance from the Tippie College of Business at the University of Iowa. Studying abroad inspired him to work in international education, and Colin was brought on as an intern in the Finance & Accounting department. During his internship, he worked cross-functionally with all departments to gain a comprehensive understanding of the organization. He was promoted to Financial Analyst in 2012 and became responsible for creating an accurate budget process using the software Host Analytics. He spent two years refining what is now the foundation of CEA’s budget process. As a Financial Analyst, Colin also worked through several operational projects like mapping out and implementing the marketing lead hierarchy, creating revenue and enrollment goals across all departments, contributing to the enrollment contact strategy, and creating the sales pipeline in Salesforce. These and other achievements have helped CEA develop a standard of analytical reporting across the organization.
Colin enjoys taking trips back to Chicago to visit his niece and nephew, who are also his godchildren. He likes traveling both domestically and internationally, and has so far set foot in Spain, Costa Rica, Colombia, the Czech Republic, and the United Kingdom. He’s a skier who has been on the slopes of several U.S. mountains, and he also likes to golf.
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Eliza Jason
CEA MOJO Blogger in Prague, Czech Republic
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CEA Spring 2017 MOJO Blogger
CEA Study Abroad Location: Prague, Czech Republic
Home University: Point Loma Nazarene University
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Elizabeth Durosko
Alumni Ambassador

1. What was your favorite course abroad and why? 

My favorite course abroad was International Marketing. I learned about the importance of cultural literacy when doing business abroad. Additionally, I learned how to create a detailed marketing plan in a new environment, when we did our final project. My group introduced Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups to Ireland with thorough research and an extensive presentation. This not only developed my marketing skills but also my presentation skills. While this class was extremely valuable for my education, it was also very fun and exciting. We went on a field trip to the Guinness Store House, where we got to pour our own pint, tour the museum, and learn about their advertising strategies. All aspects of this class were enjoyable and educational due to the interesting material and engaging professor.


2. How has your study abroad experience shaped you? 

My study abroad experience has completely changed my college experience. Being introduced to business in an international environment prompted me to develop a growing interest in International Relations, which I hope to pursue in a graduate program. Additionally, it gave me independence. Being in a new, unfamiliar city, without knowing anyone was a true test of my independence. It taught me to rely on my instincts, ask locals for help, and to manage my time more effectively. Before studying abroad, I thought I could adapt easily, but now, I know I can.

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Emily Sturgeon
CEA MOJO Blogger in Paris, France
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CEA Spring 2017 MOJO Blogger
CEA Study Abroad Location: Paris, France
Home University: University of Alabama
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Gabriella Gebo
CEA MOJO Blogger in French Riviera, France (Sophia Antipolis)
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CEA Spring 2017 MOJO Blogger
CEA Study Abroad Location: French Riviera, France
Home University: Vanguard University
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Gracie Darland
CEA MOJO Blogger in Madrid, Spain
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CEA Spring 2017 MOJO Blogger
CEA Study Abroad Location: Madrid, Spain
Home University: University of Mississippi
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Hannah Kersey
CEA MOJO Blogger in Paris, France
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CEA Spring 2017 MOJO Blogger
CEA Study Abroad Location: Paris, France 
Home University: Belmont University
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Julia Dixon
CEA MOJO Blogger in Barcelona, Spain
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CEA Spring 2017 MOJO Blogger
CEA Study Abroad Location: Barcelona, Spain
Home University: University of Michigan
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Karoly Kopasz
Program Director – Budapest

As Program Director for Budapest, Károly’s mission is to provide CEA students the opportunity to see the real faces of Hungary and make their stay a life-changing experience. Károly is responsible for onsite operations and services.

Károly has over a decade of experience in international education. He was Erasmus program officer and coordinator at Pázmány Péter Catholic University (Hungary), and later he served as the Head of the Campus Hungary Scholarship Board office at the Balassi Institute. This program helped over 10,000 Hungarian university students to gain international experience abroad. For a year at CIEE Budapest, Károly was responsible for the coordination of the Hungarian-American Enterprise Scholarship Funds program and also had responsibilities at the CIEE Budapest Study Center. He currently holds a position at Budapest Metropolitan University, the biggest private university in Hungary, managing exchange programs and other EU projects.

Károly holds two M.A. degrees from Pázmány Péter Catholic University from History and Communication and Media Studies. In his free time, he enjoys spending time with his family, cooking, reading, and gardening. He loves to travel. His furthest North: 69.6492° N – Tromsø, Norway. Furthest South: 45.0312° S – Queenstown, New Zealand. He’s hoping to push the limits and go beyond them.

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Kelsey Bardach
CEA MOJO Blogger in Buenos Aires, Argentina
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CEA Spring 2017 MOJO Blogger
CEA Study Abroad Location: Buenos Aires, Argentina
Home University: Indiana University
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Kyle Spencer
CEA MOJO Blogger in French Riviera, France (Sophia Antipolis)
Read my blog!
CEA Spring 2017 MOJO Blogger
CEA Study Abroad Location: French Riviera, France
Home University: Cedarville University
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Lillian Huckabee
Read my blog!
CEA Spring 2017 MOJO Blogger
CEA Study Abroad Location: Prague, Czech Republic
Home University: University of Georgia
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Margaret Prittie
Alumni Ambassador

1. Why would you like to be an Alumni Ambassador? 

My semester abroad has proven to be more influential than I could have ever expected. I was encouraged and assisted by Alumni Ambassadors before embarking on my journey and would love nothing more than to be given the opportunity to return the favor. I was very impressed with CEA throughout both my pre-departure and my time in Barcelona. The program catered carefully to individuals, provided meaningful and memorable opportunities, and created a very attentive and resource-filled environment. I feel confident that I would be able to give valuable academic and social advice to those contemplating or planning their unique semester abroad. As an Alumni Ambassador, I would be able to share my passion for my experience and guide others to develop the same.

2. How has your study abroad experience shaped you? 

I embarked on my journey abroad with very few expectations. I traveled to Barcelona by myself, selected a random roommate, and had no prior weekend travel plans. The ambiguity of my semester abroad was the most influential aspect of my experience. I am very grateful for the opportunity to be independent and be comfortable with myself. I was able to meet new people and create lifelong friendships. As cliche as it is, I feel more myself now than I ever had before coming to Barcelona. I am confident in my newly acquired problem solving and time management skills. From a potential career perspective, I am even further inspired by the experiences I have had. I am planning to apply to veterinary school next year and am seriously considering applying internationally, a thought that did not occur to me before this semester. This experience as a whole is one that I will never forget and am excited to see its influence extend on my life back home.
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Meghan Leslie
CEA MOJO Blogger in Granada, Spain
Check my blog!
CEA Spring 2017 MOJO Blogger
CEA Study Abroad Location: Granada, Spain
Home University: University of Dayton
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Molly Hulsey
CEA MOJO Blogger in Galway, Ireland
Read my blog!
CEA Spring 2017 MOJO Blogger
CEA Study Abroad Location: Galway, Ireland
Home University: Covenant College
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Riley Doerge
CEA MOJO Blogger in Barcelona, Spain
Read my blog!
CEA Spring 2017 MOJO Blogger
CEA Study Abroad Location: Barcelona, Spain
Home University: Washington State University
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Samara Rosenthal
CEA MOJO Blogger in Florence, Italy
Read my blog!
CEA Spring 2017 MOJO Blogger
CEA Study Abroad Location: Florence, Italy
Home University: University of Arizona
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Shawn Coover
Vice President of Human Resources and Project Management

Shawn Coover is the Vice President of Human Resources and Project Management. In this role, he oversees the development and implementations of policies, processes, and best practices to ensure CEA continues to be a great place to work. This includes consultation on strategic business initiatives, employee relations, staffing plans and recruitment, compensation and benefits, communications, training and development, and legal compliance. Most importantly, Shawn and his team work diligently to make sure that everything we do is true to the organization’s Core Values, Mission, and Vision.

Shawn earned his bachelor’s degree in Economics and MBA from Northern Arizona University. He joined CEA in 2018 and brought with him 19 years of international leadership experience, including 8 years in Human Resources. His professional background also includes leadership experience in operations, project management, development, customer service, and purchasing with Honeywell, AT&T, and Belden Wire and Cable. 

An avid traveler, Shawn has traveled to over 30 countries.

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Summer Selden
CEA MOJO Blogger in Buenos Aires, Argentina
Read my blog!
CEA Spring 2017 MOJO Blogger
CEA Study Abroad Location: Buenos Aires, Argentina
Home University: University of Wisconsin- La Crosse
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Vonnai Phair
CEA MOJO Blogger

Why did you choose to study/intern abroad?
The decision to study abroad in France comes from a combination of my family history, my love for traveling, and the time I have dedicated to taking French courses throughout my education. Having the opportunity to study in a historically rich and beautiful country culturally separate from mine is truly a once in a lifetime opportunity, so I couldn’t pass it up!

Why did you choose your study/intern city?
I have always thought French was a beautiful language, and I have now been studying it for more than eight years. I have also traveled to Paris twice throughout my education, and I have fallen in love with literally everything about the city. Deciding to study in Paris was a no-brainer for me, and it’s just a bonus that I get to wrap up my French language education while I’m there -- finally!

What are you most looking forward to during your abroad experience?
I’m most looking forward to completely immersing myself in French culture, from mastering the language to eating my way through the culinary world and everything else in between. I also can’t wait to visit my friends who are only a short flight away in Florence and Barcelona.

Fun Fact (hobbies, interests, accomplishment, etc.)?
I’m a Ravenclaw. And I have the biggest sweet tooth ever, so catch me chasing every meal with Parisian dessert!


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vina del mar Team

Amanda Moline
Site Specialist Team Lead

Some of my very first and fondest memories are the ones that I made while living in Japan with my family from ages five to seven. I don’t remember much, but the little I do remember—things such as images of cherry blossoms, the refrains of traditional songs, and the energy at local festivals—instilled a life-long passion for Japanese language and culture and languages and cultures in general.

After moving back to Arizona, I studied Japanese, German, and Russian at Northern Arizona University, where I majored in modern languages. I studied abroad in Fukuoka, Japan for a semester and volunteered to teach English to Japanese elementary school students. This experience inspired me to work abroad as an assistant language teacher on the JET (Japan Exchange and Teaching) Program for over three years in Fukushima, Japan. I also spent an additional two years working as an English teacher and international exchange program coordinator for a small town in Hokkaido, Japan.

As someone whose life was changed by studying and living abroad, I feel privileged to help CEA students with their own life-changing experiences. I want to help equip students with the knowledge they need to feel confident and excited about their upcoming international adventures. When I’m not at CEA, I enjoy watching Netflix, besting my friends at Mario Kart, playing with my dogs, and brushing up on my language skills for my next trip!

 

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Tristin Collins
Admissions Counselor Team Lead
I was born and raised on my family farm in a small Ohio town. Staying close to home, I went to college 45 minutes away, where I obtained my Bachelor’s in Organizational Communication and a minor in Psychology from Ohio University in Athens. Go Bobcats! After graduating, I was the Manager of the Athens Country Club for two years. With an unshakeable urge to see more of the world, I packed up my bags, drove what fit in my car across the country, and here I am in Phoenix, Arizona.

I started as an intern here at CEA, helping the Enrollment team make various types of contact with new students. In two short weeks, I heard there was an Admissions Counselor position available and applied for it immediately. In this new role, I have the pleasure of advising students through the study abroad process and matching them with a program that is best for their personal and academic goals!

When I am not at CEA, I enjoy various activities with my Boston terrier, Penelope, hiking with friends, finding new breweries, and attending local concerts. Traveling is slowly becoming one of my leading passions in life, and my goal is to visit every country in South America (for starters)!

Did you know? My first vacation and plane ride were to Costa Rica in 2016 to visit my girlfriends who were studying abroad!
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Gina Mahfood
Director of Enrollment Services

As the Director of Enrollment, Gina delivers continuous support and guidance across the entire enrollment team. Knowing that our CEA students and staff come first, Gina brings talent and drive to provide superior assistance and leadership within this organization. Gina has been working in education for over 15 years, with experience in admissions and enrollment, learning and educational development, and industrial and organizational improvements. Gina also took her passion for education a step further by co-authoring and designing a college textbook, which is used at colleges across the United States.

Gina earned a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Washington and Jefferson College in 2003 and began her admissions and enrollment career in 2006 back in Pittsburgh, PA. Since then, Gina relocated to Phoenix, AZ, earned a Master of Science degree in Psychology with an emphasis on Industrial and Organizational Psychology from Grand Canyon University. She remains a member of the Psi Chi International Honor Society.

Gina recognizes the value of higher education and encourages all potential students she meets to pursue their educational goals and dreams!

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Elizabeth Kather
Director of Health, Safety & Student Affairs

Elizabeth grew up in the Midwest and traveled to Australia on a one-year study exchange in high school, an experience that changed her perspective on what she could accomplish. Elizabeth attended college and graduate school in the Southwest, gaining 12 years of student affairs/residential life professional experience at small, mid-size, and large universities along the way. She's passionate about impacting the student experience "outside the classroom" and helping students realize their role as responsible global citizens.

As CEA's Director of Health, Safety & Student Affairs, Elizabeth is responsible for overseeing student life issues worldwide and acts as the lead Student Affairs professional in the home office. In this role, Elizabeth establishes and coordinates protocols regarding CEA responses to student emergencies; serves as a point of contact for escalated parent concerns and issues; oversees all web and print materials related to health & safety; advises Center and Program Directors on student disciplinary procedures; reviews student medical information and provides pre-departure assistance to students with health concerns; leads the Health & Safety Team; stays abreast of industry research and organizes training opportunities for staff around the world; and leads cross-functional working groups to review policies and best practices.

Overall, Elizabeth is responsible for enhancing the quality of student life through the development and coordination of programs and services that promote student well-being and reflect the organization's values and mission.

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Sara Troy
Director of Program Development

Sara Troy leads and manages the program development team. Her primary focus lies in creating programs that facilitate students’ ability to achieve their academic and personal goals.

Sara holds a Master of Science in Educational Leadership from Miami University (Ohio) and a Bachelor of Arts in French from the University of Central Missouri. Prior to joining CEA, Sara worked with another study abroad organization with a focus in student recruitment and university relations. She's also been a Scholastic Standards Advisor at the University of Northern Colorado, Program Coordinator for the Border Studies Program at Earlham College, and Residence Hall Director at the University of North Carolina.

Sara serves in NAFSA's Trainer Corps, which delivers NAFSA Core Education Program Workshops throughout the year. She has delivered the CEP workshops for Campus and Community Programming and the Expanded Roles of the Education Abroad Advisor. Additionally, she has presented at many state and regional conferences for NAFSA and NACADA.

Sara first travelled to Paris after high school and subsequently spent her junior year of college studying in Rennes, France. Other travels have led her to Dublin; Belfast; Cuidad Juarez, Mexico; Rome; Florence; San Jose, Costa Rica; and all over France, from Normandy to the Loire Valley to the gorgeous Cote d'Azur. Sara would love for her next personal adventure to take her to Scotland where she’ll explore the Moors, the Highlands, and the castles while wearing warm, Scottish sweaters.

Sara believes students shouldn't let fear guide their lives: "Try to look at each new possibility, regardless of how scary it might be as an opportunity to learn, grow, and do something different. Be open to new experiences. Cast judgment aside and be willing to learn about a new culture, different ways of life and living."

ORGANIZATIONAL MEMBERSHIPS
  • National Association of Student Personnel Administrator (NASPA)
  • National Academic Advising Association (NACADA)
  • Forum on Education Abroad
PRESENTATIONS/PUBLICATIONS
  • Best Practices in Faculty-Led Programming, NAFSA, May 2014
  • Connecting Study Abroad Students to the Local Community, Arizona International Educators Conference, March, 2013
  • Creating Meaningful Online Communities for Study Abroad Students, Poster Session, NAFSA, May 2012
  • Becoming Mainstream: Using Technology from Pre-Departure to Re-Entry, Region VI NAFSA, November 2009
  • Retention and Outreach: The Fartlek's of Advising, CO/WY NACADA, March 2008
  • Current Issues in Study Abroad, Indiana State NAFSA, April 2007
  • Experiential Education in Study Abroad, Region VI NAFSA, November 2006
  • Quarterlife Crisis, Senior Disorientation, Earlham College, January 2005
  • Setting the Lines: Transition from Graduate Student to New Professional, SEAHO, February 2004
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Jayna Winn
Director, Custom & Faculty-Led Programs
Jayna Winn oversees and manages CEA’s custom and faculty-led programming. She works hand-in-hand with CEA’s onsite international staff, and in collaboration with the academic, program development, and university relations teams. Her team is responsible for partnering with university staff and faculty to develop and facilitate high-quality custom programs that support their specific learning outcomes and student population.
 
Jayna holds a Master of Arts in International Education Management from the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey (MIIS) and a Bachelor of Arts in International Studies from the University of Utah. Before joining CEA, she worked in the field as a Program Coordinator at MIIS and through consulting projects focused on program design and assessment. Additionally, Jayna spent five years managing international teams and partnerships for a digital marketing agency, where she developed an intercultural training program. Jayna is a member of NAFSA and has presented and facilitated at regional conferences.
 
Jayna has spent time working and/or studying abroad in Peru, Costa Rica, England, and India. An avid traveler, she has also had the opportunity to explore Australia and Israel, as well as several countries in Latin America, Europe, and Africa.
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Adriana Gonzalez
Student Services Coordinator

Adriana was born and raised in Madrid, and relocated to Alicante to attend the Universidad de Alicante, where she majored in Tourism. She has a professional background in the tourism industry and has also worked in a university helping students to integrate to their new city. As a Student Services Coordinator in Alicante, Adriana advises students on issues related to student life, immersion, and cross-cultural information about the city, health and safety. She is responsible for day-to-day management of student services and for maintaining close contact with student families.

In her free time, Adriana enjoys learning new languages.
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Natalia Cascante
Student Life Advisor

As a Student Life Advisor, Natalia acts as a liaison for student services onsite. She provides support for the planning and coordinating of housing, excursions, trips, and volunteering.

Born in Costa Rica, Natalia studied abroad as a 16-year-old for a full semester in West Palm Beach, Florida. Currently, she is completing a Product Design degree from Veritas University, where she has also studied Photography. In addition, she is certified in Hatha Yoga.

In her free time, Natalia enjoys spending time with her daughter, Luciana; they both enjoy playing at the park, doing yoga together, listening to music, and traveling around Costa Rica. She describes herself as someone who really enjoys learning from new cultures and meeting new people.

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Álvaro J. Sanjuán
Student Services Advisor 

Álvaro J. Sanjuán studied English Literature, History and Linguistics at University of Oviedo (Spain) and continued his studies on Applied Languages at Dublin City University (Ireland). After being an Art History professor in UNIPEC in Burgos (Spain) he worked as Web Manager and Community Manager until he began to collaborate for several years as a tour guide with CEA Madrid where, eventually, he became Student Services Coordinator. He loves arts, history, opera and classical music and also running and outdoor sports.

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Cynthia Engel, MA
Director of Internships Abroad

Cynthia Engel oversees and manages CEA’s internship abroad programs. Her primary focus is ensuring that students are able to engage in an academically rigorous and quality pre-professional experience that will inform their professional pathways upon graduation. She works hand-in-hand with CEA’s academic team and CEA Study Center staff to cultivate internship placements and academic programming that support students’ integration in their field-based experiences abroad. She also works closely with CEA’s enrollment, university relations, and marketing teams to build awareness of CEA’s internship programs, obtain university approvals, and align CEA’s internship model with student and university needs.

Cynthia comes to CEA with 18+ years in international education, including eight years directly related to internship program management and development in Europe, Central Asia, and Oceania. After completing a master’s degree in Comparative and International Development Education (CIDE) from the University of Minnesota in 2000, Cynthia was fortunate to be a part of a team tasked with building the student development and international programs components of a new branch campus of a major research university. From there, she turned her focus to developing academically rigorous international internships as part of a university consortium in the Western U.S. After 16 years in the field, she chose to take a break from higher education to gain some experience in the dynamic and fast-paced world of start-ups as a strategic communication and program development consultant. Cynthia’s passion for the remarkable learning and growth that can come from well-facilitated international experiences brought her back to international education and to CEA.

Cynthia worked and studied for several years in France and worked for a year in Japan, as well as throughout Europe, Australia, and New Zealand. She has travelled extensively throughout SE Asia, West Africa, Western Europe, and South America, and she speaks French at a non-native level of fluency. Cynthia’s passion for travel and the field of international education is born from a belief that if we continually seek to understand and honor others, we are better able to understand ourselves and then recognize the interconnectedness of each of us in the process. She believes creating opportunities to experience the world in new ways is one of the best pathways to truly internalizing a respect for the diversity of lenses through which we all perceive and interact with each other.

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C. Thomas Whitehouse
International Director of Risk Management

As International Director of Risk Management, C. Thomas Whitehouse serves as a resource in the handling of routine incidents and case management involving student health and safety issues. He works with CEA staff as well as Resident Directors, students, parents, CEA's emergency assistance company, medical providers, legal advisors and others to monitor important developments and acts as an advisor to the CEA Leadership Team.

Mr. Whitehouse brings more than 40 years of overall business experience to CEA, with 15 years as a senior executive and risk manager for the American Institute for Foreign Study (AIFS), a large educational/cultural travel company. In 1992, he established Cultural Insurance Services International (CISI), one of the largest and most respected student/cultural travel insurers. He gained his extensive casualty/property insurance knowledge in a series of positions with increasing responsibility at CIGNA Insurance Company and Travelers Insurance Company. In 2005, Mr. Whitehouse established RLC Advisors, a risk management and insurance consulting firm that primarily focused on international travel programs.

Mr. Whitehouse holds a Bachelor's degree in Political Science and a MBA. He is actively involved in community service as Vice President on the Board of Directors of Kiwanis Club of Stamford, Conn. He is an active member of the Risk and Insurance Management Society.

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Matthew Janus
Regional Director - West

Matt Janus' role at CEA is to oversee CEA's institutional relationships with schools in the Western United States. Matt and his team work closely with university advisors, faculty and staff to support the student exploration, advising and registration processes, as well as to identify ways in which CEA can assist in the success of the campus' agenda for internationalization.

Prior to joining CEA, Matt worked as a Mortgage Consultant at Countrywide Loans and as a National Accounts Manager at Alansis Corporation. Matt obtained his Bachelors of Arts in Literature from the University of California, Santa Cruz (Calif.). While there, he studied abroad in Morelia, Mexico and Barcelona, Spain. His next anticipated adventure will be a tour through Southeast Asia, with extended stays at each notable surf spot.

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Alex Henderson, M.Ed.
Associate Academic Coordinator

Alex Henderson is CEA’s Associate Academic Coordinator. In addition to supporting the Academic Team in day-to-day operations, Alex is responsible for Curriculum Integrations and Educational Technology projects. Before moving to the Academic Team, Alex previously worked as a CEA Admissions Counselor.


Alex is an alumnus of the College of Charleston in Charleston, SC, where he earned a B.A. in History. He is also an alumnus of Northern Arizona University where he earned his Master’s in Educational Leadership. 


Alex also lived in Japan, Italy, and the United Kingdom. For future travel destinations, Morocco and Argentina top of his list!

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Camille Ivery
Enrollment Operations Manager
I was born and raised in Chicago, and moved to Arizona in 2007 to finish high school and attend Arizona State University. During my time as a Sun Devil, I participated in a study abroad program in Florence, Italy. Florence will always have my heart; it's an incredibly beautiful city and became a second home for me.

Cinque Terre would be next on my list. It's actually five small villages on the coast of the Italian Riviera, all linked together by the “walk of love,” an incredible day hike through all five villages, even for those (like me) who would rather avoid exercise. During my time in Florence, I was able to explore Rome, Venice, Cinque Terre, the Amalfi Coast, Verona, Capri, Milan, and many other small towns across Tuscany.

I have fond memories of my time in Florence, and I love to share my passion for exploring the world with my students. One of my favorite memories is of one of my last nights in Florence when all six of my roommates and I hiked to Piazza Michelangelo, a famous viewpoint of the city. We spent the night listening to a street musician and reminiscing over our semester together, before watching the sun come up over the city. My next big travel adventure is Prague—I am drawn to the historic art and architecture the city is famous for.

As a CEA Enrollment Operations Manager, my job is to coordinate the CEA scholarship program while working closely with the Academic Affairs and Enrollment Teams. Outside of work I like to spend time with friends, volunteer at an art studio, and watch way too much Netflix.

Did you know? Penguins were my favorite animal as a kid, and I would beg my parents to get me one as a pet. One Christmas I got my wish; my parents adopted/sponsored a penguin family for me!
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Jorge Garay
Student Life Advisor

As Student Life Advisor, Jorge serves as the primary contact for students in Granada. He coordinates the student registration process and monitors students’ academic progress, helping them achieve higher language attainment through courses and internship placements. Jorge also executes students´ arrival and excursions, and addresses student questions or concerns.

Before joining CEA, Jorge worked as an administrator, quality manager, and study abroad program coordinator at the Universidad de Granada for 3.5 years. He was appointed as a French-Spanish sworn translator by the Foreign Affairs Ministry, worked as a freelance sworn translator and interpreter for some translation agencies in Andalucía, and volunteered for the Immigrants Bureau at the Red Cross in Granada. Jorge holds a bachelor’s degree in Translation and Interpreting and Immigration Laws from the University of Granada and a master’s degree in Foreign Trade and Quality Management from the Universidad Autónoma de Barcelona.

Jorge’s travels have taken him around the world to the U.S., France, Portugal, Morocco, Italy, Tunisia, England, Scotland, Belgium, Holland, Germany, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Poland, Russia, Monaco, Malta, and Austria; he’ll soon travel to Thailand, Cambodia, and Singapore. Jorge advises study abroad students to: “Make every effort to get immersed into the Spanish

culture and way of life. Meet locals and talk to them as much as you can. You will learn from them much more than from any book.”

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Nancy Walden Lemaire
Program Advisor

Nancy organizes immersion activities for students—including language exchange meetings, volunteering placements, and sports activities—addresses student questions, coordinates medical appointments, and helps processes health insurance claim forms. Nancy serves as students’ primary contact for housing; she identifies housing providers, carries out student placements, and follows up on housing issues. She also provides program support for arrival, orientation, and excursions.

Originally from England, Nancy first moved to France in 1995 where, as part of her university degree, she worked as an English Language Assistant in a French high school in the Pyrenees, before working in Paris for six years. She moved to Aix-en-Provence in 2003. Nancy has experience working in areas including tailor-made luxury travel, organizing British ministerial visits to France, PR, communications, and teaching English as a foreign language. Prior to joining CEA in 2014, Nancy provided concierge services to U.S. and British visitors throughout Provence.

Nancy received a B.A. Hons in Modern European Studies from Nottingham Trent University and speaks French fluently.

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Jami Jaimes
Health and Wellness Advisor

Born in Texas. Jami Jaimes moved to the great state of Arizona when she was a child. She loves calling Arizona home and being a desert dweller in the Phoenix metropolitan area. 

A licensed clinician with the state of Arizona who works with individuals, families, and companies to aid in their areas of need, Jami has vast experience providing clinical assessments, brief interventions, crisis interventions, program development, and management. She has worked for many years evaluating the adult and children’s behavioral health systems in Arizona. She provides consultation, coaching, and training to corporations wanting to improve and enhance their work. Jamie is also a private counselor for individuals, all of which she finds exciting and rewarding.

She finds all of her different work exciting and rewarding. Jami believes the best way to help people on any level is to listen to their needs and understand what is important to them, either on an individual or professional level. For her, engagement is key in getting to the root of problems and that starts with listening and getting to know people. As a sign of her commitment giving back to the community Jamie sits on a Maricopa County Foster Care Review Board, serving children and families in the child welfare system.

Jami is a Masters-level clinician with the state of Arizona. She received her Bachelors’ degree from Arizona State University, her Master’s degree from Northern Arizona University, and is currently a Doctoral Candidate for the Doctorate of Behavioral Health program at Arizona State University.

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Damien Kelly
Assistant Director

As Assistant Director, Damien manages various American and European student programs, organizes cultural visits such as trips to Galway, Belfast, and Glendalough, is responsible for the management and promotion of the social media platforms and is responsible for day-to-day duties such as scheduling, student well-being and academic activities.

Damien took on the role of Digital Marketing Manager for The Irish Teaching and Learning Festival in 2010 before leaving Ireland to travel for two years. Damien travelled across South East Asia, Australia and New Zealand. He worked as Sales Team Leader for Appco Australia in Perth for a year and came back to Ireland in 2013 to work in Finance as a Relationship Manager. He spent 3 years working in Ireland’s premier bank, Allied Irish Bank, where he managed relationships with some of Ireland’s most successful corporations and SMEs. Damien took on the role of Head of Communications & Development at CEA Dublin Center in January 2016. Having enjoyed several summers teaching Gaelic in Connemara, Damien now lectures in International Marketing, Marketing Communications and Digital Media for ISB and CEA programs.

Damien holds a Bachelor of Arts in English and Irish from Maynooth University and a Masters in Business Management from Dublin City University. Damien’s passion in life is discovering and exploring new cultures and experiences abroad and as a member of the CEA Dublin Centre team he yearns to promote the same passion amongst the students each semester.

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Jose Balza
Academic Coordinator

Jose has a BA in Communication from Arturo Michelena University in his home country Venezuela and is a TEFL certified instructor from the Hunter College of the City University of New York.

Before relocating to Buenos Aires, Jose spent eight years working as an English professor for private institutes and universities, gaining experience in teaching and supporting students from all ages and with different language needs. He also has a professional background as a cultural events producer, handling logistics and social media presence and in management assistance for a health-related organization.

Having travelled through the USA and visited different Latin American countries, Jose is passionate about working in an international environment and using his communication, teaching oriented and social skills to bring cultures together and provide a great academic experience and support for CEA students in Buenos Aires.

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Margit Pugh
Operations Manager

As Operations Manager, Margit serves as a leader on data management initiatives for the Program Development department, managing the integrity of program data for internal and external stakeholders, as well as serving as the Department’s primary liaison on large-scale organizational data initiatives. This collaborative position regularly engages international staff to ensure the accuracy of program data, and requires Margit to work with staff across the organization to identify and implement process improvements in the areas of program data collection. In addition, Margit plays a valuable role in the development of new programs, from research to launch, and provides strategic support to other Program Development team members with data-related tasks such as research, database entry, marketing tasks, and training. Margit interacts heavily with CEA international staff and consistently works to enhance connectivity with our international colleagues. 

Margit is originally from Slovenia and holds a degree in Political Science from the University of Ljubljana, Slovenia. Margit started traveling abroad at an early age and has since checked more than 20 different countries off her long ‘must visit’ list. During her undergraduate education, she participated in two study abroad exchanges—at the University of Miami in Miami, Florida, and at the University of Arizona in Tucson, Arizona—which gave her the opportunity to immerse herself in the American education system and culture. Prior to joining CEA, she worked for the Embassy of Slovenia in Washington D.C. as a Consular Advisor. Margit speaks 3 languages: English, Slovenian, and Italian.

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Rebecca James
Regional Director - East

Rebecca's role at CEA is to cultivate and maintain relationships with study abroad offices, faculty and staff at U.S. colleges and universities to help support their education abroad goals. Based in New York City, she works primarily with schools in NAFSA Regions X and XI.

Rebecca serves as NAFSA’s France Country Coordinator through service on NAFSA’s Education Abroad Regulatory Practice Consular Affairs Liaison Subcommittee (CAL). She has been on the CAL Subcommittee since 2010, and enjoys helping study abroad advisors and students navigate the French visa process.

Rebecca holds a Bachelor of Arts in French, History and International Studies from University of Chapel Hill at North Carolina (UNC) and a Master of Arts from NYU in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages for adult learners. Before joining CEA, Rebecca developed a study abroad program for Dublin Business School. She established partner institution and third party provider relationships that doubled the program's annual revenue and was solely responsible for admissions and overall program management and administration.

Rebecca first traveled abroad at 14, to England, and was keen to learn French from an early age. She participated in a French immersion program in Chicoutimi, Quebec and spent a year in Paris as an au pair after graduating from UNC.

Rebecca traveled to Hong Kong in May 2016, took a cruise up the Norwegian coast in 2017, and she is currently looking forward to (another) trip to France in 2018. Future travel suggestions are welcome, she says.

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Sadi Foltz
Placement Operations Manager, Internships Abroad

Sadi Foltz oversees and manages the integrity and efficiency of the internship placement process for all signature CEA Internships Abroad programs. Her primary focus is to ensure CEA delivers on our promise to students and university partners. She works hand-in-hand with CEA’s domestic and international internship teams to cultivate an engaging education experience for all internship students throughout the pre-departure process.

Sadi hails from Washington, where she completed her undergraduate degree in Business Administration, specializing in Marketing Management. She earned her minor in Spanish Language & Literature while studying and volunteering abroad in Seville, Spain. Sadi is a NACE (National Association of Colleges and Employers) certified career coach and has earned a certificate in education abroad advising. In addition to her career and education abroad experience, Sadi also contributes project management and marketing knowledge to CEA to support the development of CEA Internships Abroad.

She has travelled, volunteered, and studied throughout Europe, Africa, Australia, and South America, and she speaks conversationally in Spanish. Sadi’s passion for immersive travel experiences led her to the field of international education. She believes in creating meaningful opportunities that help us understand and support others, which is increasingly important as the world continues to become more interconnected.

ORGANIZATIONAL MEMBERSHIPS

NACE: National Association of Colleges & Employers

EDUCATION

BS, Business Administration, Marketing Management, Central Washington University

NACE Orientation to Coaching Certificate (2018)

NAFSA Education Abroad Advising Certificate (2019)

Project Management Certificate, University of Washington (2019)

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Michelle Esche
Coordinator - Custom & Faculty-Led Programs

Michelle Esche works closely with university staff and faculty, alongside CEA’s University Relations team and international Program Directors, to develop and facilitate high-quality custom programs that meet and support both university and student needs.  

 Michelle holds a Master of Arts in International Education from SIT Graduate Institute and a Bachelor of Arts in Communication Studies from DePaul University. Before transitioning to her most recent role, Michelle was a CEA Student Services Coordinator for custom programs. In this role, she advised hundreds of students through the pre-departure process on topics such as course registration, visas, and housing selection.  

As an undergraduate, Michelle studied abroad through DePaul University’s Madrid custom program; she attended La Universidad Complutense de Madrid to complete her Spanish minor. While studying abroad, Michelle took the opportunity to travel throughout Spain and Europe, where she visited destinations including Paris, Rome, Florence, Venice, and Lisbon. 

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Letizia Ialini
Student Affairs Advisor

With CEA since 2009, Letizia Ialini liaises with local housing providers to ensure quality accommodation and services to all CEA Florence students.  She also collaborates to design and implement Custom and Faculty-Led programs. As well as working frequently with colleagues on various aspects of programs and to help resolve student issues. Her wide-ranging experience in administration makes Letizia a strong asset to the Florence team. 

Letizia studied Economics at the University of Florence. As a student, she moved to Bournemouth, England where she worked as a trainee in the financial department of an industrial company. This first experience abroad sparked her interest in traveling and learning, inspiring her to study for a year in Melbourne, Australia. There she perfected her English, travelled often and made friends from all around the world.  Prior to joining CEA, Letizia managed the technical office of Prato Trade, a branch of the Industrial Union of Prato, where she organized expositions for national and international trade fairs. She also worked for a Florentine cooking school.  

In her spare time, Letizia enjoys cooking, reading, and traveling. She loves to help students connect with Italian culture, and believes that overcoming the challenge of culture shock results in growth and flexibility that can help students in their professional and personal lives.

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Chiara Ortolani
Internship Programs Manager

As Academic Advisor for the CEA Rome Center, Chiara Ortolani serves as the primary contact for students and faculty regarding everyday academic issues. In addition, Chiara works with the Italy Assistant Academic Dean in all aspects of course registration, the coordination of class schedules, classroom use, and academic facilities management.

Chiara is responsible for keeping the Italy Assistant Academic Dean informed on a regular basis of the progress of the academic program and any issues that need her attention. A native of Rome, Chiara has many years experience working for American multinational companies such as Microsoft, Hertz, and Merck Sharp & Dohme. She earned her MA in Marketing and Product Management from Il Sole 24 Ore Business School in Rome, and holds a BA in Business Studies from Staffordshire University (UK). In addition to her native Italian, she also speaks English, Spanish and French.

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Colin Hogan
Assistant Director

Colin’s role is to assist with managing the CEA Dublin center. His responsibilities include overseeing various custom programs for CEA and the International School of Business, as well as managing CEA’s international internship program. Colin also provides support in the areas of student welfare, accommodation, events and excursions, and immigration.

Colin began working in international education in 2009, when he came to Dublin as a postgraduate student and coordinated custom programs on a part-time basis. Having also worked for FIE, IES Abroad and Groupe IGS, Colin has extensive experience in study abroad for both North American and European students. As well as working for CEA Dublin, he also looks after a few Dublin-based programs for Groupe IGS, a consortium of private business schools in France. Colin lectures at both institutions, teaching courses in marketing and communications. Prior to relocating to Dublin, he was based in Chicago, Illinois and worked in sales and marketing.

Colin has a master’s in Marketing from Dublin Business School and a bachelor’s in Communication Studies and Business Administration from The University of Iowa.

Studying abroad is something Colin experienced later than most but he’s very grateful he didn’t miss out on the opportunity altogether. It opened doors for him on both personal and professional levels and allowed him to discover his greatest passion – traveling. His wanderlust has taken him to more than 45 countries across 6 continents.
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Jon Jorgenson
Regional Director - Midwest

Based out of Wisconsin, Jon Jorgenson works with our university advisors, faculty and staff to support student exploration, advising, and registration processes, in addition to identifying ways CEA can help its university partners be more successful in internationalizing its curriculum.

Prior to joining CEA, Jon worked Expeditors International, PMT Corporation, RAM Center, and Red Wing Shoe Co. Jon's travels have taken him to 24 different countries, and he is most looking forward to visiting the Czech Republic next. Jon holds a Bachelor of Science in International Business and Spanish from Minnesota State University – Moorhead.

Jon advises first time international travelers that: "Studying abroad is magical. Make the most of your time while abroad plus stay true to yourself and your goals. Your time abroad will fly by quickly and if you experience it to the fullest it will be most rewarding, challenging, exciting and fulfilling time of your life."

ORGANIZATIONAL MEMBERSHIPS
  • Forum on Education Abroad
  • NAFSA: Association of International Educators
  • AIEA: Association of International Education Administrators
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Christine Weiler
Internships Coach

As an Internship Coach, Christine’s main focus is to prepare prospective internship students for their experience abroad. Through interview coaching, résumé and cover letter reviewing, and goal-setting, she works closely with the International Placement Coordinators to align students internship placements with their goals and interests, while appropriately setting expectations for their life abroad. Christine comes to the Internships Abroad team with over four years of experience within CEA-first as an Admissions Counselor and then, more recently, as a Site Specialist, helping students to prepare logistically and culturally for their upcoming study abroad experiences. She completed her undergraduate degree in International studies with a concentration in Africa and minor in Sociology from the College of Charleston, in Charleston, SC. Her study abroad experience took to spend a semester in Meknes, Morocco, but not before living in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire for two years. She has travelled, volunteered and studied throughout Europe, Africa, and Central America and looks forward to expanding her horizons even further.

Christine grew up in a multi-lingual household, and is fluent in the Moroccan dialect of Arabic (Darija). After studying abroad, Christine dove head-first into international education by volunteering and interning at her study abroad office, which then brought her to CEA post-graduation. She believes in fostering students passion for travel and career development and is deeply invested in helping students to become more global citizens.

 

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Caterina Marino
Student Services and Programs Manager

Caterina is a native of Rome. Passionate about Italian culture and the arts, she pursued her studies in classics. After university studies in law school, she completed her education by getting her license as a coach and as a counselor.

Caterina's curious mind brought her to England, where she worked as a tourist assistant. In this role, she organized and administered language courses and cultural activities all over Europe. Fond of anthropology and different cultures, she travels extensively, thus far visiting Europe, the U.S., and Africa.

Caterina has significant experience in office management and communication and media relations. She loves teamwork and contributes with enthusiasm and creativity, motivating colleagues to achieve their goals.

In her free time, Cate works as a literary consultant and freelance proof-reader, and enjoys music and swimming. She is sensitive to social cultural issues and she is an active member of voluntary groups.

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Esther Morante
Senior Housing Coordinator

As CEA Seville’s Senior Housing Coordinator, Esther is responsible for managing all aspects of Center housing, including selecting and maintaining a network of relationships with local constituents to offer four different concepts of student housing.  She advises students on issues related to housing, the adaptation process, and making the most out of their study abroad experience. She also joins students and staff at social events, immersion activities, and daytrips.

Born and raised in Seville, Esther holds a bachelor's degree in English Language and a postgraduate certificate in education from the Universidad de Sevilla. As an undergraduate student, Esther had the opportunity to study abroad in France. After graduation, Esther moved to the Canary Islands where she worked in the tourism sector and learned German. She also had the opportunity to spend a year in Ireland, a life-changing experience that increased Esther's interest in other cultures.

Prior to joining CEA, Esther worked in the education field with international students. Esther loves traveling and being in touch with other cultures. She has travelled to several European countries, including Portugal, Italy, France, England, Ireland, and Scotland.

Esther feels that studying abroad influences students' career path, world-view, and self-confidence, all while helping them better understand their own cultural values and biases.

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Radka Semerakova
Student Experience Director

As Student Experience Director, Radka is responsible for the Student Experience Division and also leads the Custom Programs agenda. The Student Experience Division includes Student Services, Student Affairs, and the Housing Department. Radka manages all Student Experience staff and cross-departmental work.

Radka also helps propose, plan, and implement Custom Programs for Prague in cooperation with the CEA Headquarters Custom Program department and University Relations teams. Each program is unique and Radka is responsible for aligning cultural activities and the student experience to the university's academic plan. Radka is in contact with the university during the pre-arrival phase and is also the main contact for Custom Program students and faculty while they are in Prague. 

Radka lived and studied in Canada for four years. Before starting with CEA, Radka worked for travel agencies and as a tour guide in Spain. She also has experience in the corporate sector where she was employed as an HR assistant. During her free time, she enjoys travelling, hiking, cycling, and swimming. She also likes to attend a variety of cultural events and art exhibitions.

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Sonia Priego
Spanish Language Coordinator & Senior Academic Advisor

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.

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Julieta Matilde Cecere
Program Advisor

Julieta earned a degree in Journalism from Salvador University and studied abroad in Bethesda, Maryland, where she completed an Advanced Intensive English Program.

Before joining CEA, Julieta spent six years in the IT, non-profit, and events industries, developing her communications and presentation skills. As CEA Buenos Aires' Program Advisor, she is responsible for planning, budgeting, and executing trips, excursions, and social events, as well as supporting students with their needs on-site.

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Ana Martínez, Ph.D
Academic Director - Barcelona

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.

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Alexandra Massini, Ph.D
Academic Director - Rome

Alexandra serves as academic leader for faculty and students and provides oversight for academic integrity, program and course design, faculty hire, training and assessment, relations with local universities and select US partner colleges. She responds to all inquiries relevant to academic matters and offers support for educational development and student mentorship. A faculty member since the opening of the Rome campus in 2008, she also teaches History of Art and Archaeology.

Alexandra was raised in Italy and Germany, before moving to the UK where she studied History of Art. She holds a Ph.D. from the University of Warwick, BA and MA degrees with Double Distinction from the Courtauld Institute of Art, as well as a Diploma from the Study Centre for the History of the Fine and Decorative Arts. Her main research interest is the Renaissance and the reception of Classical Antiquity. Her doctoral thesis on ‘Dionysus in the Arts of the Modern Era’ is currently under review for publication.

Prior to joining CEA, Alexandra has taught for various study abroad programs in Florence, Siena and Rome. Aside of her academic activity she works as author, consultant and speaker for documentaries on art and history, collaborates with the Colonna and Doria Pamphilj galleries and curates the Art Collection of the Rome Cavalieri Hotel (Waldorf-Astoria). As a licensed guide she conducts specialized visits for embassies, governmental institutions, collectors and museum curators and has acted as study leader for U.S. organizations such as the World Monuments Fund and the National Trust USA. In the past she has written for Blue Guides and has published her own guide book to Rome, has worked for the Thyssen Museum in Madrid and Sotheby’s Auctioneers and has organized large scale events for international investor groups. She is tri-lingual in German, Italian, and English, fluent in Spanish and has a working knowledge of French.

Alexandra’s international background make her a firm believer of global education. Curiosity and a passion for ‘piecing together the puzzle’ of the cultures she encounters help her enrich her own. To her students and her children (who are Mexican/Italian) she hopes to transmit the tools to ‘think outside the box’, broaden their horizons and become aware of the globalized world they live in.

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Cristina Serrano-Baixauli
Student Life Advisor

As Student Life Advisor, Cristina will provide support in the planning and coordination of housing, activities, and trips, including the coordination of volunteering and internship placements. She will also act as a liaison regarding other aspects of student services onsite. Cristina will use her experience and her love for meeting people from different cultures & travelling to provide students the most supportive, enriching & successful time in Granada.

She studied abroad at Wilhelms-Wesfälische University in Münster, Germany. After graduation, Cristina worked in Germany for two years as a Spanish language assistant at Gymnasium am Krebsberg and Gymnasium am Steinwald, then taught Spanish in Poland for a year. She has also worked as a translator of scientific articles for peer-reviewed journals.

Cristina is from Valencia, and she holds a Degree in Translation & Interpreting from the University of Granada. She describes herself as a language enthusiast. In her free time, she loves reading, traveling, and learning languages.


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Martin Brokeš
Internship Program Manager

As Internship Program Manager, Martin maintains a network of host sites where CEA students can complete internships. He counsels students before the program begins to best match interns and placements. He also provides support and guidance to internship students on-site.

He holds a master’s degree in International Human Resource Management from the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow. During his studies, Martin completed two internships in Russia and Taiwan, where he was facilitating cross-cultural intelligence workshops. He taught himself Spanish while backpacking in South America. Martin has held various HR positions in the corporate sector. His work assignments were in the UK, Germany, and the Czech Republic. He has been involved in various NGOs and worked as a camp counselor at summer camps in the UK and Czech Republic.

Martin is passionate about psychology and philosophy, community development, education and facilitation, languages, and foreign cultures. He is a curious learner, explorer, swimmer, hiker, and meditator. Martin is not an artistic soul but likes to sometimes play ukulele.

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Sarah Becker
Coordinator - Custom & Faculty-Led Programs

Sarah Becker, in her role as the Custom & Faculty-Led Program Coordinator, works closely with professors and administrators at colleges and universities to create and execute short-term custom or faculty-led study abroad programs in Argentina, Costa Rica, Czech Republic, and Spain. With extensive experience in the field of international education, Sarah works to develop motivating programs that challenge students to learn through experience.

Sarah holds a Master’s degree in Global Studies and a Bachelor’s degree in Cultural Anthropology and Spanish, and has participated and administered various study, teach, and service learning programs in Argentina, Colombia, Croatia, Israel, Spain, Thailand, and the United States. Immediately prior to joining CEA, Sarah worked as the on-site Program Director of an English teaching program in Colombia, and uses her field experience directly to the development of her programs.

Sarah’s advice to students who want to live abroad is to “forget any expectations you may have going into your experience. Don’t compare this experience to others you may have had elsewhere, and keep your mind open to trying new things!”

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Daniele Bini
Internship & Student Services Coordinator

As Internship & Student Services Coordinator, Daniele Bini helps CEA Florence students acclimate to their new home abroad. Daniele manages the Internship program in Florence, finding local host institutions and interviewing incoming students—while working to find matches that will benefit both hosts and interns. Together, with the internship seminar instructor, Daniele follows Interns’ experiences until the end of the program. He also organizes excursions that help introduce students to Italian locations beyond Florence.

Daniele holds a degree in Languages from the University of Florence, where he studied English, Japanese, and Portuguese. To complete his studies, Daniele fulfilled a 150-hour internship with CEA. But before joining the Florence team as a staff member in 2014, Daniele worked at a hotel in Chianti and assisted CEA with student arrivals and language exchanges.

Daniele loves to travel but did not study abroad as a student, and travels often in his free time. These personal travel adventures have made him an expert on the UK, Spain, and the Netherlands. One of his goals is to spend an extended period of time in the U.S., and one day live in San Francisco

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Andrea Masini
Senior Academic Coordinator

Andrea graduated from the Department of Literature and Philosophy at the Università di Pisa with a degree in the History of the Church. He subsequently earned a master's degree in Human Resources. Soon after graduation, Andrea worked as a social worker, focusing his attention on adolescents and the needy. He then moved on to the field of Human Resources in managerial development and hiring for a multinational company.

His many cultural interests (cinema, theater, art, music, and travel) and his varied work experiences have enabled Andrea to develop unique dexterity in communication, a strong sense of responsibility, and strong organizational skills. These qualities allow Andrea to cultivate and maintain strong social, working, and personal rapports.

In 2009, Andrea conceded himself a important "life experience": he left his native Italy to spend 18 months in Australia, where he traveled, worked in the hospitality sector, and took an intensive course in English. His experience abroad strengthened his mastery of the English language and offered him the opportunity to work in a multicultural and dynamic environment. Upon his return to Italy, Andrea found a place for himself in Rome.

Andrea was born in Viareggio, Tuscany, a beach city famous for its vibrant and cheerful Carnival celebrations. Sun, water, colors, and cheer: Andrea's personality traits reflect these qualities in his positive attitude, his welcoming respectfulness towards those of different culture, ethnicities, faiths, and identities. Everyone is different, and diversity is a treasure!

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Aranoa Roldan
Student Services Coordinator

Aranoa is responsible for the organization of students’ arrival, orientation, immersion activities, and excursions, along with every aspect of daily life in Seville that helps students immerse in the Spanish culture. She also coordinates the communication processes, resources, and health and safety services that CEA Seville provides for students.

Prior to joining CEA, Aranoa organized international congresses and conventions for the Convention Center in Seville, as well as creating traveling initiatives and leading groups both national and internally for different companies in the tourism industry. Aranoa obtained a degree in Tourism at EUSA and completed her education with a post graduate course in Entrepreneur Initiatives from the Confederación de Empresarios Andaluces.

Aranoa was born in Pamplona, although has lived most of her life in Seville, a city she adores. She became fluent in English in England and lived in Boston for a year. She has travelled extensively around the U.S., Canada, and Argentina and enjoys discovering Europe, especially Italy, England, and the beautiful south of Portugal. Her favorite city in the world is San Francisco and she cannot wait to explore Brazil or Mexico.

Aranoa is grateful to have the opportunity to help students grow when they are challenged by cultural differences during their study abroad experience. It is always rewarding for her to lead students into a better global citizen version of themselves.

She dares students to take the chance, dismantle all of their previous conceptions, and really immerse in the culture.

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Blanca Alvarez
Senior Academic Advisor

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.

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Anne-Cécile Couderc
Student Life Advisor and Instructor of French

Anne-Cécile's role at CEA is to accompany students through their time abroad, helping them adjust and adapt to their new Parisian lives and host culture. She organizes orientations, excursions, and social activities throughout the program, and is an excellent resource for things to do in France.

As a professor of French as a Foreign Language, Anne-Cécile also teaches at the CEA Paris Center.

Anne-Cécile holds a Master of Arts in French as a Foreign Language from the Université de Paris X–Nanterre. Prior to joining CEA, Anne-Cécile coordinated the cultural programming for Northwestern University (Ill.) students at l'Institut d'Etudes Politiques de Paris.

After receiving her M.A., Anne-Cécile moved to Amsterdam for six months; however, her experience lasted four years. Even though she stayed in Europe, Anne-Cécile encountered many cultural differences which she overcame with patience and an open mind. Her fondness of travel and discovering new cultures took her to Romania, Croatia, Uzbekistan, Italy, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Finland, Portugal, Spain, Ireland, Germany, Poland, Canada, and the U.S. Her next dream destination is Iceland, with its magical landscapes, self-empowered people, and delightful traditions.

Anne-Cécile also taught French as a foreign language in France, UK, Hungary, and the Netherlands. In addition to her teaching and administrative positions, Anne-Cécile has been a contributing author for several French Language textbooks, developed and published by Clé International. Her dedication to humanitarian work has also led her to positions teaching literacy as a volunteer for non-profit organizations throughout her career.

PRESENTATIONS/PUBLICATIONS

* Pixel 2 – Guide pédagogique with Stéphanie Callet / Clé International

* Pixel 2 – Cahier d'exercice with Stéphanie Callet / Clé international

* Pixel 4 – cahier d'exercices / Clé International

* écho Junior 1, 2, 3 – Guide Pédagogique – with Jacky Girardet / Clé International

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Monica Francioso, Ph.D
Academic Director - Florence

Academic Director Monica Francioso joined the CEA Florence team in 2015, and is responsible for the oversight of all aspects of Florence academics including academic integrity, curriculum development, and faculty training and assessment. She serves as a leader for students and faculty, and her work ensures compliance with the standards established by our School of Record agreement with the University of New Haven. Monica holds regular on-campus office hours and is always happy to talk to students and faculty on academic matters, and to respond to all substantive inquiries and concerns. 

Monica obtained a BA in English and Russian from the Università degli Studi di Padova, an MA in English Studies, and a Ph.D. in Italian Studies from Royal Holloway, University of London. Her thesis, which she is currently editing for publication, focuses on narrative theory in post-war Italy. She has published articles and books, both in Italian and English, on Celati, Calvino, Palandri, and migrant writers. 

Monica lived abroad in the United Kingdom and Ireland for 13 years. Prior to joining the CEA Florence team, Monica held several teaching positions in Italian language, literature and culture at various higher-ed institutions, including Royal Holloway University of London, University of Durham, University of Bath and University College Dublin. She earned a CELTA certificate to teach English as a foreign and second language. She also taught English to students of all levels, preparing them for the Cambridge English exams. Monica also holds a DITALS II certificate to teach Italian as a foreign and second language, and she worked as a teacher trainer for the same program. 

Monica firmly believes in the importance of studying abroad as a means to broaden horizons and better oneself. Her experiences have shown her how enriching speaking/learning other languages and knowing other cultures can be. She believes she would be a different person today had she not experienced life abroad.

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Christopher Edwards, M.A.
Academic Director - Paris

Christopher oversees academic programs offered through CEA Paris. His responsibilities range from curriculum development to faculty training, as well as student advising and partner program oversight. He has developed an extensive working knowledge of academic approaches to topics ranging from world health care systems to global management information systems.

Christopher holds a Masters of Arts in French from New York University (N.Y.) and a Bachelor of Arts in Economics and French from Auburn University (Ala.). Prior to joining CEA, Christopher was an Instructor of French at Clemson University (S.C.). In addition to his teaching responsibilities, he facilitated study abroad programs for Clemson's College of Art, Architecture and Humanities, and directed a summer language program in Paris.

As a long-time U.S. citizen living overseas, Christopher thinks that "students should be increasingly aware of the monumental competition they will face in an increasingly globalized job market. Learning languages and developing an ethical and responsible contact with non-U.S. cultures through structured study abroad programming is one way in which to do so."

ORGANIZATIONAL MEMBERSHIPS

* Phi Beta Kappa

* APUAF : Association des Programmes Universitaires Américains en France

PRESENTATIONS/PUBLICATIONS

* Facebook training for study abroad professionals, APUAF Annual Meeting of U.S. Program Directors in France, March 2010

* Student travel abroad: ensuring your student's safety, APUAF Annual Meeting of U.S. Program Directors in France, March 2013

* Digital Video Conference (DVC) Presentation, U.S. Department of State, Africa Regional Services, Paris, France (with US Embassy in Cotonou, Benin). Activism and the LGBT Community. June 2013.

Digital Video Conference (DVC) presentation, U.S. Department of State, Africa Regional Services, Paris, France (with US Embassy in Brazzaville, Congo). Study in the US. November 2013.

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Mary Alice Soriero, M.S.Ed.
Academic Director - Seville

As Academic Director, Mary Alice ensures that CEA Sevilla’s academic operations seamlessly develop and implement programs of academic excellence; reviews and maintains academic policies and practices; oversees the coordination and resolution of student academic issues; and supports faculty to ensure academic quality.

Originally from the U.S., Mary Alice brings over 25 years of international work and volunteer experience to her position at CEA. She’s lived in various cultures all over the world and uses her acquired knowledge to both inform her thinking and enable others to understand culture.

Mary Alice earned a Master's of Science in Education, Culture and Society from the University of Pennsylvania. She earned an undergraduate degree in East Asian Studies from Pennsylvania State University.

Upon arriving in Spain in 1998, she worked as a cultural advisor for newly arrived U.S. military personnel and U.S. university students and spent more than 10 years with TCU coordinating their Sevilla program. These experiences allow Mary Alice to help students arriving in Sevilla quickly transform from excited traveler to awed and informed long-term visitor.

Mary Alice's love of foreign cultures and her knowledge of English, Spanish, Japanese, and Thai have taken her all over the world, including Peru, Japan, Thailand, Taiwan, Spain, and the U.S. Her work as a Peace Corp volunteer, a language teacher, and a public speaker on cultural values, combined with her travel and language experiences, have provided Mary Alice with a knowledge of extreme cultural differences and supplied her with a series of personal anecdotes that help her empower students to analyze and investigate cultural values and differences.

ORGANIZATIONAL MEMBERSHIPS

Teaching English of Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL)

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Darragh O Briain, M.A.
Academic Director - Dublin

As Academic Director for CEA Dublin Center, Mr. Darragh O Briain manages faculty relationships and appointments, schedules courses, manages student and faculty grievances, assists in recommending curriculum updates, provides academic advising, and oversees the day-to-day academic activities of the CEA Dublin Center.

Mr. O Briain has vast lecturing experience in Market Research, Event Management, Marketing Communications, Sales Management and Entrepreneurship with the American College Dublin, Griffith College and the European Business School. In 2005, he was elevated to the position of Academic Director of the European Business School, where he was responsible for overseeing faculty and academia for visiting U.S. and European semester students. Mr. O Briain is the Academic Dean of The International School of Business, where is responsible for faculty, students, curriculum development, assessments and course validation. Mr. O Briain has also sat on the Academic Executive Board of Dublin Business School and been involved with an expert panel for degree course validation on behalf of HETAC (Irish State Higher Education Accreditation Committee).

Mr. O Briain holds an MA from Trinity College, where he focused his thesis studies on advertising, communication and media. He also has an Advanced Diploma in Marketing techniques and a BS in Marketing, jointly awarded by Dublin Institute of Technology and Trinity College.

ORGANIZATIONAL MEMBERSHIPS

* HETAC (Irish Government Accreditation Agency) Expert Panel for Programme Validation

* Sat on Dublin Business School's Executive Committee

HONORS/AWARDS

* Diploma in Advanced Marketing Techniques - Dublin Institute of Technology

* Certificate in Applied Merchandising and Display - Dublin Institute of Technology

* London Chamber of Commerce Certificate in Advanced Business German

* 2007 Acknowledged for "Outstanding Contribution to Youth Work" by Dublin City Vocational Education Committee

* 2008 Honoured by the President for 10 years of quality adult service to Gaisce/The President's Award (The Presidents Citizenship scheme for young people)

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Cecilia Benedetti
Student Services Advisor

As Student Services Advisor, Cecilia is the first point of contact for all students when entering the center. She supports them in their everyday requests, helping them make the most of their time abroad by assisting them on everyday questions and travel plans and even giving them tips on the Roman culture. She considers this job very important and values the interaction with students as a great opportunity for cultural and personal enrichment.

Cecilia worked at CEA Rome as a University intern while getting her Master’s degree in Linguistics and American literature. Before that, she travelled extensively throughout Brazil, where she taught English and Italian to local students. She is passionate about foreign cultures and arts, and in her free time, she enjoys writing and talking about music and movies.

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Tommaso Bonaiuti
Academic & Student Services Coordinator

Tommaso Bonaiuti joined the CEA Florence Student Services team in December 2015. As Academic & Student Services Coordinator, he works with professors and the Academic Director to ensure that visits outside the classroom run smoothly. And since August 2018 has served as a bridge between Student Services and Academics. Tommaso also helps identify volunteer opportunities for CEA students, as well as working with other members of the Student Services team to help students with non-academic issues during their time abroad.

With a degree in translation and interpreting from the SSML Carlo University in Florence, Tammaso studied English, Spanish, and Russian while he was there. He continued his studies in Turin, Northern Italy, where he earned a Master’s degree in technical and scientific translation, and also worked with several translation agencies before joining CEA.

Travel is Tommaso’s greatest passion, and he dreams of traveling as much as possible. While he did not study abroad during his university career, Tommaso has already travelled to over 16 countries, and is always ready to jump on an airplane and see something new.

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Veronika Gregorová
Housing Manager

Veronika gained her professional experience in the travel industry, having worked for international airline companies and travel agents within the sales, marketing, and customer care fields. She also developed her hospitality skills while running a small hotel in Prague in 2016. During her studies, she participated in the “Work & Travel” program in the U.S. and also lived in London for two years.

Thanks to her interesting work, Veronika has visited countries such as New Zealand, Canada, Costa Rica, Oman, U.A.E., South Africa, and others. Apart from travelling and exploring, she likes running, cycling, and alpine skiing.

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Cali Orr
Manager of International Operations—Program Administration

Cali Orr serves as one of CEA’s International Operations Managers, working across departments and locations to ensure memorable study abroad experiences. As an International Operations Manager, Cali focuses on the effectiveness and efficiency of onsite policies and procedures.  

Cali has worked in international education and operations for the past seven years with a focus on streamlining interdepartmental operations. Her work has allowed her the opportunity to work onsite, collaborate with both domestic and international staff, and leverage her background in research, tourism, and logistics.

Cali’s love of travel and international education stems from her semester abroad in Viña del Mar, Chile. After this experience and receiving dual Bachelor’s degrees in Psychology and Spanish from Denison University, she returned to northern Chile to teach English. Later, she returned to the U.S. as a Host Family Coordinator and obtained her MBA at American University in Washington, D.C., while working as a Program Manager for domestic programs. Cali has traveled to 17 countries and strongly believes in the transformative power of study abroad.

Education:

  • MBA, American University- Washington, D.C.
  • BA, Psychology and Spanish, Denison University- Granville, Ohio
  • Semester Abroad- Viña del Mar, Chile
  • English Teacher Abroad- Arica, Chile
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Kelly Wilkinson
Regional Director - Southwest

Kelly's role is to work closely with university advisors, faculty and staff to support the student exploration, advising and registration processes as well as to identify ways in which CEA can assist in the success of the campus' agenda for internationalization.

Kelly obtained his Master's Degree in International Education from SIT Graduate Institute in Brattleboro, Vt. and his Bachelor's Degree in History from Principia College in Elsah, Ill. He credits his high school study abroad experience in Germany with sparking his interest in obtaining a career in international education.

Kelly has traveled to over 35 countries after first getting a taste of travel through a high school exchange to Germany. After graduating from college, he spent a year each teaching in both Chile and Honduras. Leading high school groups to Mexico kickstarted his professional career in Study Abroad. And since then he has traveled throughout Latin America, Africa, Europe and Asia including some of his favorite locations: Iceland, South Africa, Spain, and The Maldives. Kelly would love for his next personal adventure to take him to Lithuania – where he can do some heritage seeking, explore the Trakai Castle, trace the ancient Amber Road, and see a statue and museum in Vilnius dedicated to one of his ancestors.

ORGANIZATIONAL MEMBERSHIPS:
  • NAFSA Member
  • NAFSA Region III Team and Texas State Representative
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Elisa Dordevic
Academic Coordinator

As Academic Coordinator, Elisa liaises with local academic institutions in Paris, including the Université de Paris IV - Sorbonne, the Institut Catholique, and the Novancia Business School. She also manages registration, course and co-curricular scheduling, and student advising for all CEA Paris academic programs.

Elisa supports the Academic Dean, faculty, and students at the CEA Paris Center, and acts as the main contact for Custom Program visiting faculty. In this capacity, she often finds herself working with faculty to integrate the city of Paris into their curriculum and bring the course to life.

Elisa earned an Associate Degree in Tourism and Hospitality from the Lycée de Tourisme du Val de Loire, after which she spent two years studying at Westminster College in London. Elisa has 15 years of experience in academic administration for Study Abroad programs; prior to joining CEA, she held administrative positions in the hotel and tourism industry, taught English to children in Cambodia, worked as a Tea Lady in London, and as an extra on a film set in Hong Kong.

Elisa spent several years traveling and living throughout Europe, Asia, Australia, and the West Indies, and would love for her travels to take her to the North Pole or Northern Scandinavia to see an Aurora Borealis. Elisa's motto and advice for students is: "Wherever you are, go with the flow!"

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Maria Victoria Sepulveda
Program Advisor

As Program Advisor, Maria Victoria (Vicky) is responsible for maintaining close contact with the students and is usually the first person students see as they enter our Study Center. Vicky accompanies students during their immersion activities and excursions and is a great resource of information about our city’s heritage and traditions.

Born and raised in Seville, Vicky has also lived in Gran Canaria, Canary Island, and Madrid. Her passion for languages and other cultures led her to seek a degree in Tourism. She is very accustomed to working with all types of individuals thanks, in part, to her experience in the hospitality industry.

Vicky has traveled all around Europe, and her favorite European city is London. During her free time, Vicky enjoys listening to and playing music—she started to study classical music when she was 8.

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Kevin Whalen
Internship Coordinator

A native of New York City, Kevin has been residing in and in love with Seville for over 15 years. Having completed a Master's Degree in Marketing and Management and held positions in Consulting and Sales at several Spanish and International firms in Seville, Kevin is a seasoned professional well-prepared to support CEA students in the internship program there.   

He first joined CEA as faculty for our courses in Entrepreneurship and the Internship Seminar and has since transitioned to take over Seville's International Internship Coordination as of January 2020. In this role, Kevin will serve students with unique, hands-on, international experience, overseeing the placement process and developing host companies in diverse fields, as well as committing to our student's professional development.

He will also continue to teach CEA’s Internship Seminar and the Entrepreneurship courses. 

In his spare time Kevin serves as the President and Head Coach of a local Roller Blade Hockey Club, The Sevilla Dragons. 

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Mary Geletka
Site Specialist

The desire to see the world was instilled in Mary at an early age. Her parents often travelled to different locations around the globe during their military enlistment. While they weren’t always able to bring Mary along, they made sure to bring home a trinket from each trip and plenty of stories. It was enough to make Mary determined to see those places for herself.

Mary earned her Bachelor’s Degree in History from Arcadia University with a minor in International Studies. During college, she took every opportunity to travel abroad, hoping to learn each country’s history and culture in the physical location first-hand. While she left a little piece of her heart in London after living and studying there for a year, she also left the city determined to see more of the world and experience each place she visits just as deeply.

Mary’s desire to travel didn’t stop after graduation. So far, she has been to China, Greece, Quebec, England, Scotland, Ireland, Northern Ireland, Spain, France, Netherlands, and Japan. If her collection of travel Pinterest boards are any indication, this list will only continue to grow.

Outside of work, she can typically be found writing in a local coffee shop, enjoying the view after a hike, or fawning over a nearby dog!

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Marissa Racht Ryan
Student Services Assistant

As Student Services Assistant, Marissa Racht Ryan helps CEA Florence students acclimate to their new home abroad. A font of information about Florence, Marissa encourages engagement with the host city, and is a point of reference for everyday questions.  She also helps resolve housing issues in a timely manner.   

Marissa holds a BA from Marywood University in Fine Arts, Theatre, and Broadcast Communications for Set Design and Art Direction for Film and Theatre. She studied abroad for the first time in Florence in 2001 and received a Post Baccalaureate degree in Art Conservation; this experience cultivated her passion for Italian art, culture and language. After she finished her conservation studies, she worked professionally as an art conservator for 13 years, living between Italy and the U.S. In 2014, Marissa moved back to Florence full-time to complete a Master’s degree in Contemporary Jewellery and Body Ornament.  

Marissa occasionally teaches jewellery as an adjunct professor to U.S. and international students studying in Florence. She loves teaching and working with students in general. Living in a different culture fascinates her and allows her to view her own culture from a new perspective.  This cultural awareness allows her to help students acclimate to their new environment, in addition to inspiring her artwork.

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Natalie Hadwigerová
Student Services Manager

Natalie serves as Student Services Manager for CEA in Prague; she is the primary point of contact for student’s everyday questions and concerns. She helps students to make the most out of their study abroad experience by organizing various activities and excursions. She provides continual support for students on issues related to their life in Prague, from travel/cultural tips to practical daily requests. She also manages the Czech Republic visa process and organizes Orientation each term.

Natalie earned her B.A. degree in Humanities, Society, and Culture at Anglo-American University in Prague, where she is now continuing in her Masters Program. As a member of Student Council, she has been actively involved in the development of a lively multi-cultural environment, her main responsibility being the management of various social and cultural events. She has worked as PR Assistant and Social Media Manager for two years.

As a Humanities graduate, she loves to learn about new cultures and enjoys art of any sort. Natalie often visits galleries and multi-functional cultural spaces with a special interest in modern and abstract art. She speaks fluent English and basic French.

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Carissa Williams Murray
Regional Director - Southeast

Based in Atlanta, GA, Carissa's role is to work closely with university advisors, faculty and staff to support the student exploration, advising and registration processes as well as to identify ways in which CEA can assist in the success of the campus' agenda for internationalization. Before joining CEA in January 2012, Carissa worked at the University of Wisconsin-Stout as the Study Abroad and National Student Exchange Coordinator. She was named 'Advisor of the Year,' an award voted on by students.

Carissa obtained her Master's Degree in International Education from SIT Graduate Institute in Brattleboro, VT and her Bachelor's Degree in Business Administration from the University of Wisconsin-River Falls. Carissa is also a graduate of the NAFSA Academy (Class 10).

Carissa credits her love for travel and curiosity of other countries and cultures to her parents who encouraged her to participate in a German exchange program in high school. Carissa's travels have taken her to Mexico, Canada, Germany, Scotland, Taiwan, Japan, England/Wales, Turkey, India, Spain, Italy, and the Czech Republic. She one day hopes to visit Russia, South Africa and Fiji (to name a few). When traveling abroad, Carissa reminds students to go with an open mind and positive attitude; the experience is what you make of it!

Currently, Carissa is the Chair for the Lessons from Abroad Conference in Georgia and is active in the Georgia Association of International Educators (GAIE). Carissa has also presented at GAIE, TAIE, and NAFSA Regional conferences.

ORGANIZATIONAL MEMBERSHIPS

  • NAFSA: Association of International Educators

EDUCATION

  • MA, International Education – SIT Graduate Institute (VT)
  • BA, Business Administration – University of Wisconsin – River Falls (WI)
  • NAFSA Academy Graduate (Class 10)
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Sandra Tomás
Senior Student Services Advisor

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.

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Isabelle Morin
Program Adminstrator

As Program Administrator, Isabelle provides administrative support to the CEA Paris office and is responsible for human resources, legal, facilities, and financial administrative processes. Isabelle also assists the CEA Paris team with event planning and tasks that span all aspects of CEA programming.

Isabelle comes to CEA with extensive experience in business administration, having worked for over 20 years in human resources and general administration for international companies, mainly in the petrol industry. She has held different positions from Executive Assistant to Human Resources Specialist, and has a particular interest in law. She studied law at the Université de Paris XIII – Saint Denis, before spending two years in Montréal, Canada where she participated in the launch of a French grocery store. Isabelle is a born and raised Parisian and still lives in the city with her husband. She has two sons: one who is a chef at his restaurant in Paris and one who is studying psychology in Montréal, Canada.

As a parent, Isabelle believes that she had two precious things to give her children: roots and wings. She says “it is never easy when they go away from the roots, but if they use their wings to study abroad, it is fantastic!”

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Michaela Yisrael
Academic Coordinator

A native of New York City, Michaela has resided in Spain (Madrid and Seville) for the past eight years. Michaela holds an Advanced Certificate in Customer Experience Management from IE Business School and a Master's Degree in Applied Teaching Methods from Universidad de Alacalá de Henares. Michaela brings a wealth of experience to CEA, having worked as an International Admissions Officer at IE Business School in Madrid and in Academic Affairs at Hiedra Centers also in Madrid. In her role as Seville's Academic Coordinator, Michaela manages partner institution matriculation processes and oversees student academic success by guiding CEA Seville students through the different stages of their study abroad experience.  

When she’s not at work, Michaela enjoys experimenting with different gastronomic experiences and learning about the folkloric practices of other cultures. She is a classically trained musician. Having traveled extensively throughout Europe, she looks forward to exploring Asia and Africa in the near future.

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Mónica Rodriguez
Senior Program Administrator

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.

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Petra Mesiková
Senior Program Administrator

As Senior Program Administrator, Petra provides important support for all CEA Prague staff and programs. She handles the HR, Finance, and Center facilities agendas. She also directly impacts the student experience through managing student arrivals.

She holds a B.A. degree in English Language and Literature and an M.A. degree in Culture Management, both from Masaryk University in Brno. During her studies, she participated in an exchange study program in Spain and an internship program in Germany. She also had the chance to take part in a summer course in New York City, and she later returned to the U.S. for a Work and Travel experience.

Petra likes traveling, yoga, hiking, and everything connected with culture and the arts. She speaks fluent English, some German, and basic Spanish.

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Beatriz Rovira
Housing Advisor

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.

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Jose Balza, B.A.
Academic Coordinator, Buenos Aires

Jose has a BA in Communication from Arturo Michelena University in his home country Venezuela and is a TEFL certified instructor from the Hunter College of the City University of New York.

Before relocating to Buenos Aires, Jose spent eight years working as an English professor for private institutes and universities, gaining experience in teaching and supporting students from all ages and with different language needs. He also has a professional background as a cultural events producer, handling logistics and social media presence and in management assistance for a health-related organization.

Having travelled through the USA and visited different Latin American countries, Jose is passionate about working in an international environment and using his communication, teaching oriented and social skills to bring cultures together and provide a great academic experience and support for CEA students in Buenos Aires.

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Martin Zýka
Housing Coordinator

Martin provides direct assistance to students and local landlords to resolve housing issues in a timely manner. Martin is also integral to preparing apartments before arrival and after departure. He assists the Senior Housing Advisor as needed.

Martin graduated from Anglo-American University with a B.A. degree in Politics and Society. During his studies, he explored various fields and domains of activity, working as a personal fitness trainer and a marketing associate among other roles. He also has experience from the NGO sector, particularly with organizations promoting social responsibility and sustainable development.

He is interested in current affairs and follows various local and international media to stay updated on the latest news. His hobbies include games of all kinds, literature, and film. He also enjoys hiking and trekking.

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Alexis Jones
Regional Director – Central States

As a Regional Director based in Kansas City, Alexis works closely with study abroad advisors, administrators, and faculty at higher education institutions in KY, KS, MO, AR, IL, IN, OK, and TN. The goals of this collaborative relationship are increasing study abroad participation and achieving the institutions’ broader vision of internationalization. Alexis cooperates with campus partners to develop custom, faculty-led programs and to advise students about CEA's study abroad and internship programs.

Prior to joining CEA, she was with the University of Kansas for nearly fifteen years, where she served as the Assistant Dean for Recruitment and Retention for the KU School of Engineering and Associate Director for the KU Office of Study Abroad. As Associate Director, she led a campus-wide study abroad curriculum integration initiative where she worked closely with deans, faculty, and academic advisors in over 40 academic units. The initiative identified major-specific study abroad opportunities, produced advising materials and resources, and developed targeted strategies promoting study abroad engagement.

One of her primary goals throughout her career has been to educate students about the international opportunities available to them and to encourage their participation in activities that enhance their academic and professional growth. She looks forward to connecting with students throughout the Central States to share CEA’s study and internship opportunities with them.

EDUCATION:

• MA, Teaching and Leadership – English as a Second Language (Univ. of Kansas)
• BA, Psychology (University of Kansas)

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Maria Mateu
Experiential Learning Coordinator

As CEA Barcelona’s Experiential Learning Coordinator, Maria's role is to ensure the good process of daily operations related to experiential learning programs, including volunteering, international service learning, and career mentoring. Maria teaches Cross Cultural Management and Career Development courses at the CEA Barcelona Center. Along with her work at CEA, Maria delivers intercultural training workshops to individuals and groups, helping them develop and enhance their intercultural competence so they can work and live effectively across cultures.

Prior to joining CEA, Maria worked as an intercultural trainer and diversity management consultant for a wide range of organizations in the social, private, and public sectors. Originally from Catalonia, she has lived and worked in Tanzania, the United Kingdom, and the U.S. She holds an MA in Intercultural Communication and Relations from Lesley University (Massachusetts), an MA in International

Development, and a bachelor’s in Communication/Journalism, both from Universitat Autonoma of Barcelona (Spain). She speaks Catalan, Spanish, English, French, and basic Kiswahili.

She is currently a member of the Board of SIETAR Spain (Society for Intercultural Education, Training and Research), the Spanish branch of an international organization that seeks common understanding and cooperation among people from different cultural backgrounds. Maria is passionate about cultural diversity and strongly believes that studying abroad is a wonderful opportunity to broaden perspectives and develop the skills needed in a complex, changing, and interdependent global world.

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Kayla McGuire
Site Specialist

It has been years and I’m still just as in love with Sevilla as the day I stood across the river overlooking the city on my first day.  My yearlong experience as a student through CEA transformed my life—now, working for the Enrollment department, I come to work each day prepared and excited to aid my students in making their experience abroad the best it can be. 

I grew up close to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and earned my bachelor’s degree in Languages and Cultures with a Spanish concentration from West Chester University. While in college, I got the opportunity to study at the Universidad de Sevilla in Seville, Spain through CEA’s program! I was incredibly lucky to get to visit most of Spain while abroad, as well as Italy, France, Portugal, Africa, and Greece. Travel has remained a constant passion of mine—I’ve been back to Sevilla every year since I’ve left, and I hope to explore South America very soon! 

Being an international student was, and remains, both the hardest and best thing I’ve ever done for myself. I learned to be self-sufficient, learned how capable I truly was. I became spontaneous. I fell in love with a city and its people—along the way, I fell in love with myself. 

I think that the ability to see so much light, so much good, in a place that originally seems foreign is such a beautiful thing. What a lesson—both personally and professionally, study abroad pushes a person to be the best possible version of themselves. I look forward to helping future students discover this and so much more! 

Outside of work, I like to sing and listen to live music! I read every day, and spend time with my friends and family as much as I can.

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Seth Weil
Regional Director - Mid-Atlantic

Based in Philadelphia, Seth works closely with university advisors, faculty, and staff to identify ways in which CEA can support campus internationalization efforts through study abroad programs, internships, and customized faculty-led programs.

Seth graduated from Juniata College with a B.S in Biopsychology and spent a semester of his junior year studying in Newcastle, Australia. He also participated in two short-term programs in the Dominican Republic and Cordoba, Argentina. Through these experiences, he developed a passion for working in International Education, wanting to provide these same experiences to other students. Seth has years of professional experience in education abroad administration, working in the areas of advising, program development and management, and university relations. 

Seth has traveled to over 18 countries and has been on every continent except Antarctica. His favorite experiences while traveling involve trying new cuisines and building a global network. Seth's advice for first time travelers is "Be open to new experiences, ask questions, and reflect on your experiences." 

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Laura Madden
Regional Director – West

Based out of Los Angeles, Laura works closely with university faculty and staff to support student growth through study and internship abroad opportunities. She identifies ways CEA can assist its university partners achieve their internationalization goals.

Laura obtained her Master’s in Business Administration with a concentration in International Business & Marketing from DePaul University and her Bachelor's Degree in International Relations & Spanish from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She has 11 years of professional international education experience. Her most recent position was at DePaul University working within the Global Engagement Office.

Laura studied abroad in Oaxaca, Mexico and Madrid, Spain during her undergraduate studies, discovering how study abroad can exponentially enrich your career and your life. Shortly after graduating, Laura worked in Buenos Aires, Argentina, an experience that launched her career in international education. Laura has a deep passion for international education and works tirelessly to enable as many students as possible to study and work abroad.

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Abigail Haley
Alumni Ambassador
1.  What were ways you found to experience the local culture?

During my first few weeks in Paris, I made sure to head out on my own as often as possible. This exercise in self-confidence had me learning the French language, style, and manner before ever even stepping foot in the classroom. As I adjusted to my new learning community I found the CEA Staff to be valuable resources for my cross cultural journey. They introduced me to places, dishes and activities that were beyond my knowledge as a traveller. I also developed some close relationships with fellow students who gave me the courage to step out of my comfort zone and into the local culture.

2. What was your favorite course abroad?

My favorite course abroad (and my favorite course of my college career) was 19th Century Art: Impressionism and Post Impressionism. This art course was catered to the city, and often took place in museums, exhibitions and installations. This interactive way of learning made the city come alive. It reminded me that places at home are worth exploring as well, and gave me an appreciation for places and things I'd dismissed as mundane instead of familiar. This new perspective reinvigorated my passion for making the arts accessible for everyone; I enjoyed this class so much I want others to experience the same joy through learning.
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Abigail Haley
CEA MOJO Blogger

Why did you choose to study/intern abroad?
For as long as I can remember, studying abroad has been a dream of mine. I have always been very independent and eager to learn, so leaving home in pursuit of a more worldly education was a no-brainer.

Why did you choose your study/intern city?
As an art history minor, my study abroad city chose me. Paris, France is a global center for art and fashion, and I wanted to experience that both in the classroom and in person.

What are you most looking forward to during your abroad experience?
I am most looking forward to quiet nights by the Seine with a baguette and a book! While I am excited to travel and study, my favorite part about going to new places is taking a step back and admiring the things that are easily missed by hurried tourists or distracted locals.

Fun Fact (hobbies, interests, accomplishment, etc.)?
I was only 3 years old the first time I travelled out of the country! It took me another 12 years to go abroad again, but since then, I haven't looked back. Before studying in Paris I will have visited 5 countries around the world -- I hope to hit double digits by the time I come home!


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Abigail Suleman
Alumni Ambassador
1. What were ways you found to experience the local culture?

Taking walks and interacting with food were the primary ways I engaged with the Parisian and French culture. On my last day in Paris, I walked around in a nearby park, observing the people who lounged with a partner, walked their dogs, or jogged along the path. I felt like I played an active part, even when I paused to take pictures. While in America I would talk loudly and smile at strangers, but here, I treasured my smile “as a gift.” During these simple and frequent walks, I felt as though I LIVED in Paris.
I also enjoyed France and specifically Paris as I shopped for, cooked, and ate several dishes. Biweekly, there was a fresh market with several pop-up stands lining the street in front of my apartment. I would brave the heat and approach the French vendors for their delicious cherries, a fruit I had hated to eat at home. I bargained and searched, strengthening my French in order to get a better deal. I learned that the French prefer you try to speak French than to expect them to know English. I also prepared several creative dishes for myself and ate out with my peers.


2. How has your study abroad experience shaped you? 

When I left Paris, I joked with my friends that I had become significantly more composed and mature as a person. I giggled after I said that, but in part, it is true. For about four weeks, I sat in meetings that were almost 100% in French, translated for my peers, and tried to engage patiently in bilingual conversations with my amazing internship supervisor. Slowly, I learned about the Parisian response to homelessness for women, children, men, immigrants, refugees, and those suffering from mental disorders. Since then, I have developed my intercultural professional skills and gained a greater respect for the inter-professional work of healthcare providers and social workers in their service. My observations have inspired me to use my position in Campus Housing as the Assistant Director of Service for the National Residence Hall Honorary to support Chicago’s homeless. I have recently led two kit packing events that assist people who are hungry and those who menstruate but cannot afford the necessary hygiene products. Applying the lessons I learned in Paris allows me to appreciate and notice the integration of health, social work, and the prevalent homeless population here in Chicago.
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Adriana Santos
CEA MOJO Photographer

Why did you choose to study/intern abroad?
I've always loved to travel and learn about new cultures. Studying abroad gives me the opportunity to do both of those things while also taking classes and gaining a more global education.

Why did you choose your study/intern city?
I chose Spain, because being from Puerto Rico, I knew I would still get to experience a totally new culture but I wouldn't have a huge language barrier. Barcelona seemed like the most interesting city because of its art, architecture, beaches, and overall lifestyle.

What are you most looking forward to during your abroad experience?
I'm looking forward to learning more about the culture in Spain and seeing all that Barcelona has to offer. Along with that, I'm excited about meeting new people and other study abroad students.

Fun Fact (hobbies, interests, accomplishment, etc.)?
Other than photography, I love painting. I actually got more into photography when I decided I wanted to start painting my own pictures.


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Aileen Curley
CEA MOJO Photographer
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Alexandra Harbour
CEA MOJO Photographer
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Alexandra Isabell
Alumni Insider

1. How has your study abroad experience shaped you? 

My study abroad experience has personally and professionally enriched me because it changed the way I interact with others and even the manner of my self talk. The experience of going abroad allows one to become closer to themselves by observing themself in a new environment. I learned how to intereact with people different from myself, sometimes without sharing a common language! I learned how to respect the space of others even when the definition of respect changes between our cultures. There is so much that I learned abroad that I carry with me each day. Most importantly, it is curiosity, compassion, and a love for people and art that reminds me of my time abroad.

 

2. Why would you like to be an Alumni Ambassador?

Honestly, because I can't stop thinking of Paris. I traveled from CEA in the Marais to CDG and home to the USA on May 11th, 2018. A year later I cannot be more gratful for my experience with CEA. I miss my professors and the material they taught with intention and passion. I miss doing something new, and something scary every single day, but having the best day ever. Since my time abroad, I find myself speaking about the experiences and the cultural value I have pulled from them constantly. I reccomend study abroad to every student I have the chance to and I would love to be able to do this more formally as an Alumni Ambassador for CEA. Lastly, I want to be an Alumni Amabssador because I want to put the 1,000s of brilliant photographs I took abroad to use and share more of my insight with future CEA students.

 

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Alexis O'Sullivan
Alumni Ambassador

1. What was your favorite course while abroad? 

While abroad, I had an internship. Through my boss, a Parisian native, I was able to learn the best spots to eat and shop. By getting insight into their food and fashion, I was able to better understand the local culture. I also loved to sit at a cafe, people watching and practicing my French with the waiters. Observing Parisians from a cafe, a quintessential part of Parisian culture, helped me immerse myself in my new home.

2. How has your study abroad experience shaped you?

My study abroad experienced has shaped me both professionally and personally. It inspired me to take a position at the study abroad office at my college so I can help others have the same incredible experience that I did. It has helped me on job interviews because I have many unique experiences to discuss It also helped challenge me to be more responsible and independent. It made me more comfortable with being myself and doing things on my own.

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Alexis Yvonne Prather
CEA MOJO Videographer

Why did you choose to study/intern abroad?
To improve my language skills and to see another part of the world.

Why did you choose your study/intern city?
I am in the process of learning French, and I love the city of Paris.

What are you most looking forward to during your abroad experience?
Getting better at speaking French!

Fun Fact (hobbies, interests, accomplishment, etc.)?
I love to read, travel, eat, and meet new people.


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Alice Corcoran
CEA MOJO Blogger
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Alice Johnson
Alumni Ambassador
1. What were ways you found to experience the local culture? 

I came into Florence with no idea what to expect. I hadn't traveled much before going to Italy and the only culture I experienced in my life is the native Alaskan culture from my hometowns. This experience was unique in the fact that I was living within the culture. I was not just living in an Italian apartment but also meeting new people from around the world every day. I met Italian people my age and was able to tell them about American "culture" while they recommended the best places to go to eat, etc.

2. What was your favorite course while abroad? 

My favorite course while I was abroad was my Family Business class. My teacher was very interactive and I responded to that style well. The class information related to me because I am taking over my family business and I was able to receive insight into how to go about that. Also, I was able to read about a family business then go and see it. For example, we read about the Ferrari family business, then the next weekend, as a class we went to Modena and visited the Ferrari museum.
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Alicia Bowers
Alumni Ambassador

1. How did you find ways to experience the local culture? 

Experiencing the local culture abroad started with getting to know my host family, asking questions about their day to day lives in Seville, the traditional cuisine and the holidays they celebrate. Additionally, I attempted to be involved in school activities as much as possible, I joined a recreational volleyball team at UPO there I met a lot people including some local people who were from Seville who became my friends and intercambios. Lastly, I made sure I attended local festivals like Semana Santa and Feria this is where I was able to really immerse myself in the local culture.

2.  Why would you like to be an Alumni Ambassador? 

During my time here in Seville I had time to think about how I would like to leverage my experience abroad, one of the ways I would like to do this is encourage other students study abroad, especially students of color and low-income students. I think study abroad is something more students should experience in college. I would like to be a resource for other students who are considering studying abroad.

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Alison Heywood
CEA MOJO Photographer
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Alison Kubeny
Alumni Ambassador

1.  What were ways you found to experience the local culture?

Living with a host family was the best way for me to immerse myself in Chilean culture. Spending time with them doing day-to-day activities (like eating, shopping, or going to church together) made me feel like I was a part of something bigger, and like I belonged. In hardly no time at all, I felt like I was a real part of the family and the culture, not just a temporary visitor.

2. What was your favorite course abroad?

My favorite class I took abroad was undoubtedly Cultura Chilena (Chilean Culture). I loved learning about the history, people, language, food, music, and more that shaped the environment I was in. It made my entire experience abroad more meaningful because I was able to connect to my surroundings with a deeper level of understanding for them.

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Allie Goodman
CEA MOJO Blogger
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Amanda Platt
CEA MOJO Blogger
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Amanda Vecchio
CEA MOJO Blogger
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CEA Fall 2016 MOJO Blogger
CEA Study Abroad Location: San José 
Home University: Philadelphia University
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Ana Lopez Martos
Student Life Advisor

Ana is from Granada, and she holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Translation & Interpreting and a Master's Degree in Events Management from the University of Granada. She studied abroad in Rouen, France, and later she worked for a year as Spanish language assistant in Perpignan.

Ana has also worked as an international patient welfare officer at different hospitals in Granada, and she has a lot of experience organizing national and international events, such as conferences and music festivals.

Passionate about culture and possessing excellent communication skills, Ana will do her best to provide students with the most supportive, enriching, and successful time in Granada.

As Student Life Advisor, Ana will assist with the planning and execution of CPs in all aspects related to student services onsite.

 

 

 

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Anastasia Kingsley
CEA MOJO Blogger
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Andrea Vazquez
CEA MOJO Blogger

Why did you choose to study/intern abroad?
I have spent my life living between two countries. I loved being able to travel within and across each country, Mexico and the U.S., because I was able to visit new places, experience different cultures, and develop a special bond with each country. I chose to study abroad because I wanted to continue exploring and learning from everyone I meet wherever I go. I will have the amazing opportunity of immersing myself in another beautiful country with new sounds, smells, and sights to fall in love with.

Why did you choose your study/intern city?
I chose Aix-en-Provence because it’s a city full of history and rich in culture. It is full of museums, festivals, and theaters. I am very excited about my days after school at the City du Livre.

What are you most looking forward to during your abroad experience?
I look forward to getting lost in new places and through this process, discovering new things and meeting new people. I look forward to immersing myself in French culture and language and making new friends. I also look forward to writing about my experiences!

Fun Fact (hobbies, interests, accomplishment, etc.)?
I have danced folklorico, traditional Mexican folk dancing, for ten years. I am also currently part of my university’s salsa group. I love writing, creating new playlists on Spotify (I can make you a playlist for any genre or mood!), and as can probably be noted, I love dancing.


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Andrew Mantone
CEA MOJO Blogger
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CEA Fall 2016 MOJO Blogger
CEA Study Abroad Location: San Jose
Home University: Philadelphia University
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Andrew Monk
Alumni Ambassador

1. How has your study abroad experience shaped you?

 I could have never imagined that I would learn as many things as I did during my time abroad. I learned many things about myself, other cultures, other people, the list goes on. I learned independence, confidence, and problem-solving through challenges and everyday life. I always knew that I wanted to go abroad and one day I just signed up to do it. The program I went on allowed me to take major required classes and electives that are not offered at my home university. I made so many friends while I was there that I still talk to everyday. These are the college friends that will continue on in my life forever. This semester was so important for me to escape a small city mindset and the typical American perspective. I think this was the most vital piece of my time there. I learned that I want to work for a company that has branches around the world because there are so many beautiful places that I want to see.

 

2. How would you convince someone to study abroad?

Studying abroad is like nothing else. It opens so many doors physically and mentally. A lot of the European students I met have been traveling their entire lives and speak multiple languages. Most of the other Americans in my group have rarely left their own area. There is a great difference between the two and I believe that culture is the reason behind it. Digging deep into culture and how others live is a huge reward of going abroad. We always need to be learning new things and understanding that we are not all the same.

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Angela D'Amato
Alumni Ambassador
1. What would you tell someone considering studying abroad? 

I would tell a friend to study abroad because it is a life-changing experience. There is so much more to the world than just America and what we're used to. Not only are you able to learn about a new culture but you also find out more about yourself. It doesn't matter where you study because no location is the same and each place will teach you many different things that you can't learn anywhere else. Study abroad has been one of the greatest experience in my life and I highly recommend looking at all the different places that are available and seeing where the world could take you.
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Angela Richard
CEA MOJO Blogger

Why did you choose to study/intern abroad?
I chose to study and to (virtually) intern abroad because I knew I would receive an incredible opportunity that would be unmatchable to anything else close to my home university and traditional work experiences. Studying abroad was something I always dreamed of being able to do, and interning abroad fell into place afterward. CEA's Granada program seemed to have chosen me after some searching for the perfect location to buckle down on improving my Spanish skills, and it only felt right to stay in Spain (Seville) for my virtual internship.

Why did you choose your study/intern city?
I chose Granada because it's a small city in the beautiful region of Andalucía, Spain, a region that's often not as recognized as other areas of the country. Granada is absolutely charming and surprisingly affordable, and it offers great opportunities for authentic Spanish immersion, making it the perfect city for me to study abroad in. I chose Seville, Spain, for my virtual internship because I wanted to continue my abroad experience in Spain, especially in the southern region, which I found to be the area of Spain where I felt especially comfortable, confident, and eager to step out of my comfort zone.

What are you most looking forward to during your abroad experience?
I am most looking forward to making lifelong connections, immersing myself in the Spanish language and culture, and partaking in things I've never done before. As a first-generation college student, study abroad seemed a distant, unachievable dream as I was making my way through the first two years of my university education. However, once study abroad became an option for me during the spring of my third year of college, I couldn't wait to go to Spain by myself and truly test the person I had become in a country I had never been to before.

Fun Fact (hobbies, interests, accomplishment, etc.)?
I'm a vegan, basketball-playing, field hockey-mastering, hiking-aficionado who loves to read, cook, and learn about anything and everything. The semester before I went abroad, I started to learn French, and I'll let you imagine how that helped me once I arrived in Spain... I'm also the first student from Champlain College, my home institution, to study abroad in Granada!


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Anjali Patel
Alumni Ambassador

1. How did you find ways to experience the local culture? 

I experienced many cultural differences between the U.S. and the U.K.. Some of those differences I found while I was in London include drinking tea, differences in words, the quietness of British people, the amount of drinking, etc. For the most part, I was not surprised by these cultural differences because I had and have family who live in London and have gone there a few times before. However, I did start assimilating to some cultural norms, such as drinking tea. I was never a fan of tea until I went to London and almost everyone British person would offer me to. From then on, tea became a part of my every day routine. Drinking was also something that I knew about but I did not know the extent to which it went. My internship would have work related events where people would get so drunk that they would go to the hospital or pass out at the event. I have never been a big drinker, so no matter where I went I limited how much I drank but I assimilated to the cultural norm. These are just some examples of how I experienced the local culture while studying in London.

 

2. How has your study abroad experience shaped you?

My study abroad experienced changed me for the better. I became so much more open as a person when I didn’t used to be before. In London, many of the students would strive up conversations with me without even knowing me and that boosted a lot of my confidence. Also, have an internship and being in a professional setting allowed me to open up, as well. Career wise, the fact that I did an internship abroad will definitely look good on my resume. Just the fact that I studied abroad will look good on my resume. This will make my internship search a whole lot more easier because I have differentiated myself from 95% of the other applicants.

 

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Anna Galindo
Alumni Ambassador
1.  What were ways you found to experience the local culture?

While I was studying in Dublin I had several opportunities to experience and dive into the local culture. One of my favorite things to do during my time in Ireland was to go to all the small local pubs and hear all the live music and in some cases even go out on the floor and learn some of the Irish dancing. Through this experience I got to connect with a lot of locals and really learn about the importance of their music and coming together as a community. Another way I got to experience the culture was whenever I would talk to locals I would always ask them what they recommended seeing or doing around Ireland which lead me to some of my favorite times abroad. There was one weekend my friends and I took a trip to the very south of Ireland to a little village called Kinsale and we hiked up to an old 1600's fort that was right on the water and were able to learn the history behind it and the significance of it to the village of Kinsale. Another conversation with a local in Galway ended with me learning the story and importance of the Claddagh ring and how huge the tradition is to the Irish people.

2. How has your study abroad experience shaped you? 

Overall I would say that my study abroad experience has made me more confident in myself and my abilities. Before going abroad I tended to be more shy and hesitant in participating in different activities around campus. But since being back I have spoken on several study abroad panels to try and encourage others to go abroad, before going abroad I would have never thought about doing any public speaking voluntarily. I also have been able to make more international friends because I am more confident in my communication skills with international students because of all the practice I got while studying abroad.

Studying abroad also opened my eyes to the opportunities that are available abroad and how much there is to see in the world. Without going abroad I would not be looking into Master programs over seas and would not be as interested in International Business and Marketing as I am today.



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Anna Hukill
Alumni Ambassador

1. How has your study abroad experience shaped you? 

My study abroad experience has reaffirmed that I would like to work with children and adolescents in a school setting in a supportive role - either as a teacher or psychologist. It also inspired me to return to Spain and I have applied for a Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship to spend a year teaching English in Spain. I have also gained more family members through my host family and developed friendships that I know will last forever.

 

2. What do you wish you had known before studying abroad? 

I wish I had pushed myself to look into internships because I could have gotten even more involved in the community. This also would have helped me learn about psychology in Barcelona, but luckily I was able to volunteer in local elementary schools and see their school system and teaching methodology.

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Anna Sullivan
Alumni Insider

1.How did you find ways to experience the local culture? 

Whether it was walking alongside Galway's lively Shop Street or exploring nearby abandoned castles, I made a goal for myself to find the hidden gems of the city. I also sought out recommendations from my Irish housemates and from other locals to immerse myself in the culture.

 

2. What do you had wish you'd known before going abroad?

Before studying abroad I wish I would have known the amount of on-site support CEA provides. In Ireland, my on-site director held multiple events for our group to bond and he was able to be contacted at anytime. He provided enough support for all of his students to feel comfortable exploring the local culture while providing resources in case we were homesick and to learn about the Irish culture.

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Anna Wojciechowski
Alumni Ambassador
1.  How has your study abroad experience shaped you?

Studying abroad has reaffirmed my desire to move to Europe; however, at the same time, it has made me realize that there's a future for me in more than one place. I genuinely feel as if I left a piece of my heart in each place I visited and I would consider myself lucky to have the opportunity to work in any of those places one day. CEA and my experience abroad has also opened me up to connections in multiple different countries. I feel confident that I will be able to make me goals a reality after I graduate thanks to my experience with CEA.

2. What do you wish you had known before going?

I wish I would have done more research about local places to go to. Coming to the end of the semester abroad and then finding all these places at once I wanted to try, I was not able to get to them all. I would say, if anything, it is important to be open to all opportunities and to constantly seek out new places to try.
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Annalise Pownall
CEA MOJO Photographer
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Annelise Silkaitis
CEA MOJO Blogger

Why did you choose to study/intern abroad?
I chose to study abroad because I love to travel and want the experience of living in a different country!

Why did you choose your study/intern city?
I chose to study in Paris because I have been studying the French language for the past few years and have fallen in love with the culture. I have previously visited Paris twice and love the history and vividness of the city!

What are you most looking forward to during your abroad experience?
While abroad, I am most looking forward to improving my French, experiencing a completely different culture, and meeting new people!

Fun Fact (hobbies, interests, accomplishment, etc.)?
Fun Fact: The Chainsmokers crashed my prom senior year of high school!


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Annie Myers
CEA MOJO Photographer
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Aron Finholt
CEA MOJO Photographer
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Asha Swann
CEA MOJO Blogger

Why did you choose to study/intern abroad?
It has always been a dream of mine to travel the world, but I never had any chances. But I’ll finally, I realized that if I wanted to make my travel dreams come true, I would have to stop waiting and start acting. Studying abroad is the perfect way to gain incredible travel experience while also prioritizing education.

Why did you choose your study/intern city?
I chose Paris because I have come to love the Franch language. Also, I want to learn as much as I can about this city and it’s incredible architecture, culture, and history.

What are you most looking forward to during your abroad experience?
During my study abroad, I am most looking forward to seeing the historic sites around France. I want to see the catacombs, Notre Dame, Normandy, the palace of Versailles, and so much more!

Fun Fact (hobbies, interests, accomplishment, etc.)?
In my spare time I practice digital and film photography. I have a passion for media and I write for my school newspaper. Last year, I won my school’s Journalism Department’s Best Photographer Award!


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Ashleigh Litcofsky
Alumni Insider

1. Why would you like to be an Alumni Ambassador?

I thought about becoming an Alumni Ambassador because I absolutely loved working with CEA as a MOJO Photographer and I love to share my study abroad stories. I feel that becoming an Alumni Ambassador would give me an outlet to share my experience with prospective students, as well as other Alumni. This would be a really great opportunity to encourage others to go abroad for the most important 4 months of their lives.

2. How has your study abroad experience shaped you?

My study abroad experience has allowed me to be much more aware of the cultures, politics, and lifestyles outside of the United States. Now, when I see something on the news about another country, it is more personal, because I have actually been to and seen the people in many of those places. Study abroad has made me realize that I can actually go anywhere. I'm not stuck in my suburban town forever; there is far too much to see!

 

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Ashleigh Litcofsky
CEA MOJO Photographer

Why did you choose to study/intern abroad?
I chose to study abroad because I love experiencing other cultures. Also, I'm studying International Relations, so going to a different country allows exposure that will apply what I'm learning.

Why did you choose your study/intern city?
Aix-en-Provence is the city I chose to study in because of its culture, charm, and history. For an artist, the ability to see where Cezanne lived and worked is an amazing opportunity. Additionally, Aix itself is so charming with its cobblestone streets and old architecture. It's also exciting to be so close to the Mediterreanean Sea, as I have never been to the south of France.

What are you most looking forward to during your abroad experience?
I'm most looking forward to daily life in France as well as the weekends. I'm hoping to adapt to french life through things like the markets and language. On the weekends, I'm excited to be able to visit the surrounding areas of France as well as the countries that border it.

Fun Fact (hobbies, interests, accomplishment, etc.)?
Some passions of mine are painting and poetry. I love to recreate landscapes and subjects on a canvas with just a paintbrush and some paint. Similarly, I love being able to use a pencil and paper to write my thoughts in an artistic way.


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Ashley Binkowski
Alumni Insider

1. What are your tips for learning the language? 

Learning a new language is challenging, being in a country where the foreign language is spoken is very beneficial. One tip I can offer from being abroad is, don't be embarrassed to try out the new language you are learning to the locals. Trust me, they really appreciate the effort that you are trying to learn the language! It's great practice so don't be afraid.

2. What was your favorite class while abroad? 

My favorite course abroad was Documentary Photography because I was able to capture beautiful photos and get credit for it! We had to work on a documentary project throughout our semester and then we showcased our project to all of our friends and classmates. Mine was on Skateboarders of Prague and I made so many friends through this project, so I am very happy I took this class.

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Ashley Cialone
Alumni Ambassador
1. What are your tips for learning the language?

This is what I would tell prospective students: “I’m going to be honest. Studying in a new country where they do not speak your first language is terrifying at first. However, do not get discouraged. By far, the best thing you can do is stay with a host family. They will take such good care of you and teach you all of the colloquialisms of the language without even knowing it. You will be forced to practice the language every day, and it may be exhausting at first, but after a few weeks, it feels so normal. I would recommend going to the country with an intermediate level of the language already. That way, you have foundational knowledge and do not become overwhelmed. Taking language classes while you are abroad is also key because the native professors offer new insights that you would likely never come across in the United States. Intercambios are also very helpful because you get to meet locals and practice the language in a relaxed environment. The amount of conversational improvement you can make in one month is incredible. Imagine two or more months. Being able to finally say you’re bilingual is such a huge accomplishment.”

2. How did you find ways to experience the local culture? 

Experiencing the local culture of Granada, Spain was one of my favorite aspects about studying abroad. I stayed with a host family, so I got to see first-hand the values and traditions of families in Spain. I also had to be very conservative of water and electricity use, and I even continued to be more conservative after returning to the United States. I would go out with friends or locals often because nightlife is very important to the culture of the people of Granada. We would go out for tapas, gelato, or go to a mirador of the Alhambra to enjoy the beautiful views and each other’s company. My friends and I also went to intercambio(exchange) events every Monday to speak with locals in Spanish and in English. It was also amazing to have professors who only spoke Spanish. They each shared unique insights and demonstrated their national pride. Speaking the language every day with professors, my host family, and my friends really helped me to immerse myself in the language and the beautiful culture. We also visited historical sites, like the Alhambra, to see the incredible architecture that was only a 20-minute walk from where we lived.
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Ashley Cooper
CEA MOJO Photographer
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Becky Fox
Alumni Ambassador
1. What was your favorite course while abroad? 

My favorite course was Cultural Values & Stereotypes: Spain & the U.S. This being partly because of the course but mostly because of the teacher. Mary Alice organized it in a way for us to discuss what we're observing. We were taught concepts and theories, but most of the class involved discussions. I learned a lot about the culture in Sevilla, in Spain, and around Europe. We would start every class, with the question, “Did anyone encounter an interesting cultural experience?” This allowed us to really think about what we were encountering and ask ourselves why we thought it was different. I loved comparing stories with everyone in the class and learning about the small cultural differences we probably wouldn’t have noticed, if not being asked this question. This class was something spectacular. I am a Sociology major, meaning a lot of my classes delve into other cultures and people. Though, I have not been a part of a class as successful as this one. Yes, I was physically in another culture but it was more than that. We were taught to be global compassionate citizens and to really appreciate the differences we were encountering, whether we liked them or not.


2. What would you say to someone considering study abroad with CEA?  

There is a lot I would say but first, I would talk about the staff and especially the on-site staff I had. I was blown away with the help I got before I left, and even more blown away with the assistance I got while in Spain. Not only did our on-site staff care about making sure we could get around and have our things in order; they cared about us. I was greeted warmly every day by our on-site staff and they were likely to strike up a conversation with you about how you were doing or what your plans were for the weekend. We had our CEA excursion to Morocco. This trip opened my mind and my heart to the cultures around me, even those I might haven’t even known existed. If it wasn’t for CEA I wouldn’t have had this opportunity, and if it wasn't for our staff it wouldn't have been as special. They knew just how to prepare us and pose questions we could really think about, while we were there. Overall, I would express my gratitude for CEA and the unique sense of family I got while being a part of this program.
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Benjamin Lewis
Alumni Ambassador

1. What was your favorite course while abroad? 

Without a doubt, my favorite course was España y Los Españoles (Spain and the Spanish People). Foremost, I can attribute this to the insights it provided me. We covered a wide array of subjects from national politics, to the cultural shifts Post-Franco. I began to explore Spanish musicians we had heard in class and could actively participate in conversations with locals about the current state of the country. Our instructor would make sure we took this knowledge outside of the classroom as well and assigned projects that required us to team up and explore new parts of the city to share with the rest of the class. I felt that without this class my experience would have been lacking. In addition to the background knowledge this course put me in a great position to hone my Spanish skills as well. The class was quite small, just six people including myself, but I wouldn't have wanted it any other way. It was a Spanish only course and therefore I was in a position to not only learn grammar, but to engage in extended conversations.

2. How has your study abroad experience shaped you? 

My experience abroad will have a positive impact on my professional endeavors, but still this comes second to the feeling of personal development this trip provided me. This was the first time I was truly independent, farther than a hour from home, and in the position to dictate everything about my day to day experiences. The prospect of both being in a major city, but also one that did not speak my native tongue, made anything else I had to face at home seem like childs-play. I came home feeling much more emboldened and confident, ready and willing to take on whatever challenge came my way. Though my repeated successes in these day to day challenges it built me up to feel that I was in a position to handle anything.

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Benjamin Shoemaker
Alumni Ambassador
1. What was your favorite course while abroad?

My favorite course was my computer engineering class. It's one of those classes that you know has been gifted by the lucky stairs: the teacher is nice, you enjoy the class, and you clearly just met your new best friend from Germany.

2.  How has your study abroad experience shaped you?

Personally, my study abroad experience has shaped me to be a dynamic person that is no longer stagnant on the whistle blow. It has taught me that when they raise that whistle, you have to be ready to go.
As for my career, it has definitely taught me to be a better leader. Leading a class exercise is one thing, but navigating Prague decisively and clearly with the people in your group is a whole other challenge and I am proud to usefully bring that to the table at any job.
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Benjamin Vogel
Alumni Ambassador
1. What are your tips for learning the language?

I did not study another language while abroad. To learn from my mistakes, I would advise prospective students to learn a little bit of the local language. I taught myself basic Spanish on DualLingo before arriving to Barcelona and the little Spanish I learned greatly helped when conversing with locals. It became especially useful when I had questions regarding the Metro system or navigating throughout the city. That being said, if you do not speak the native tongue, do not let that dissuade you from studying abroad! While practice makes perfect, it is possible to navigate through most places with only speaking English. I would recommend learning basic phrases (Ex: “Where’s the bathroom?”). Worst case scenario there is Google Translate.

2. What got you interested in being an ambassador for study abroad?

Before the Summer of 2019, I had never been to Europe. I had no idea what to expect. CEA offered numerous resources for me and other prospective students. One amazing resource was an Alumni Ambassador who reached out to me a month before my program started. She was able to answer each of my questions, while offering facts and ideas I had not even thought of (the days started a bit later in Barcelona compared to USA, Lunch is usually had at 2:00 PM-3:00 PM and dinner at 9:00 PM-10:00 PM). Not only did the Alumni Ambassador mentally prepare me for what I was about to land in, it saved me much time and allowed me to hit the ground with a list of what to expect and what to look out for. My experience would have been drastically different had I not had that resource available to me. 
As a CEA alumni, I know what prospective students worry about. There are many logistical questions that when answered can ease someone’s stress and allow them to solely focus on their upcoming experience of a lifetime. I want to offer that resource.
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Betsy Kaplan
CEA MOJO Blogger
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CEA Fall 2016 MOJO Blogger
CEA Study Abroad Location: Prague
Home University: University of Arizona
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Bonnie Cash
CEA MOJO Photographer
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Brianna Bence
Alumni Ambassador

1. What was your favorite course while abroad? 

My favorite course by far was International Marketing with Damien Kelly. Our class was relatively small with about twelve students, and not only was the course extremely interesting, but he made it so much fun. Marketing is my field of study, and as I am interested in the international workplace, this course made sense for me to take. Not only did I learn so much, but I was challenged with real-world situations to think through and activities and field trips with the class that made the information stick so well. One day we just went to a nearby store and answered questions about how it was set up and the marketing they used, while another day we played a "game" for the entire class about trading and using resources and time wisely in order to gain an advantage. Although we worked hard and had multiple presentations and exams, I learned so much more about marketing, and am so grateful for the lessons learned through International Marketing.

2. Talk about how you experienced the local culture while abroad

Two days after arriving in Dublin, I visited a local church right in the city, and this ended up being an incredible way to experience the local culture and immerse myself in the Dublin way of life. Most Sundays I ended up spending at least half the day with these new friends, many of whom had lived in Ireland their entire lives. We would go to pubs, have a backyard barbecue, see a new Irish movie, and explore the local restaurants and cities. This was an amazing way to get a view into the life of a Dubliner and to get to live alongside them as well. One of my friends and I also decided to set up a weekly "tea time" in the city, and by the end of the semester we had been able to visit eleven different tea shops throughout Dublin. Tea is a huge part of the Irish culture, and this was a really neat and unique way to be a part of it and feel like a local as we sipped our pots of tea and bit into our fresh scone with butter and homemade jam. One of my favorite things to do on nice days was simply to take a walk to Phoenix park and join the families, couples, and students on the grass and bring a book to read or study. Little things like these made me feel so much more at home in my new environment, and it helped me adapt so quickly to the Irish culture.

 

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Brianna Boynton
CEA MOJO Blogger

WHY DID YOU CHOOSE TO STUDY/INTERN ABROAD?
I chose to study abroad because I love to learn about anything. One of my favorite things learn about is other people and cultures, so studying abroad was the obvious choice for me. 

WHY DID YOU CHOOSE YOUR STUDY/INTERN CITY?
The short answer is because everyone from my school goes to Spain. The long answer is because I think Latin America is underrepresented in education, and I really wanted to become more informed about the culture and the history of the area. I know that Argentina and South America as a whole has a rich history, and I wanted to learn more about it and its people. 

WHAT ARE YOU MOST LOOKING FORWARD TO DURING YOUR ABROAD EXPERIENCE?

I'm looking forward to travel around South America. The classes are going to give me a good understanding of the history and politics, but traveling like that will give me an entirely different perspective. 

FUN FACT (HOBBIES, INTERESTS, ACCOMPLISHMENT, ETC.)?

When I'm not writing, I run my school's local roller derby team and I play Dungeons and Dragons with my friends on weekends. 

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Bridgette Larsen
CEA MOJO Blogger

Why did you choose to study/intern abroad?
I've always wanted to study abroad. Beginning from the time I was little, seeing college students embark on a crazy journey to a foreign country seemed like an adventure you can only watch in a movie or read in a really good book. Now, it's really happening! Studying abroad is like writing, acting, and producing an action-thriller movie of my very own!

Why did you choose your study/intern city?
You would typically think that anybody who is studying abroad in France would be studying in the country's capital. Well, I've never been somebody who follows the normal methods of living. I chose to study in Antibes, France, at the Skema Business School because of the amazing culture in the south of France. Here, I am able to venture out of my comfort zone and witness the amazing opportunities that France has to offer!

What are you most looking forward to during your abroad experience?
I am mostly looking forward to the adventure aspect of studying abroad. More specifically, I look forward to making lifelong friends as well as exploring Europe, and most importantly, I'll have stories to bring back home with me when I return to the States!

Fun Fact (hobbies, interests, accomplishment, etc.)?
I absolutely LOVE to thrift. Finding old things in a store like artwork, clothing, and even books is so interesting. It's like diving into history without paying museum entry fees!


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Bridgette Stolyar
Alumni Insider

1. What do you wish you had known before going?

Have. No. Expectations. Your experience will be a thousand times more positive if you aren't anticipating what almost every single person anticipates: "Oh my gosh, will it be the best time of my life or will I struggle to find friends and feel lonely?" That is not something to worry about at all! Once you allow yourself to be open-minded and receptive to friendly people, making friends and enjoying the culture only gets easier and easier. Studying abroad is the most beneficial thing you can do for your individual character, just relax!!!!

 

2. If you had 60 seconds to convince a friend that they should study abroad, what would you say? 

Studying abroad will give your life a whole new meaning with different experiences, memories, hardships and successes. Studying abroad with CEA will make your journey smooth as butter, as they will help you with every single step, including assistance with courses at your home university, provide your housing options, and offer scholarships to help with your finances. Beyond that, CEA makes being alone in a foreign country less stressful at the host-country by helping you get acclimated to your neighborhood and the city, plans incredible trips that are included in your tuition, and the on-site staff is always ready to answer any possible question you could have!

 

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Brigid Nealon
Alumni Ambassador
1. Talk about how you experienced the local culture while abroad?

I decided to study in Aix-en-Provence to improve my French language skills. Every time I stepped out the door, I was immersed in the French culture, language, and lifestyle. I ate French food, spoke with French people, and shopped in French stores. I had the incredible opportunity to authentically live a lifestyle other than the one I was so comfortable living in.


2. If you had 60 seconds to convince a friend that they should study abroad, what would you say?
If you are ready for an adventure far out of your comfort zone, study abroad is for you. If you want to improve your language skills, study abroad is for you. If you want to expand your knowledge, study abroad is for you. You will learn about the world and about who you are. It is challenging, but worth it. The more you put into your experience, the more you will take away from it.
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Brittany Fernandes
Alumni Ambassador

1. How has your study abroad experience shaped you?

Prior to my study abroad experience, I always pursued unfamiliar endeavors with an undercurrent of uncertainty. Throughout this semester, each endeavor I pursued moved me further outside the bounds of my comfort zone. These experiences helped me to develop confidence and a sense of independence. I also saw myself adapting and being flexible in the face of unforeseen events, whereas in the past it could be a source of concern. Through the immersive experience of my home stay, I was able to experience French culture directly and improved my French fluency. The exposure to different perspectives through my classes at SKEMA and my home stay allowed me to develop tolerance and open-mindedness. Each opportunity allowed me to ask the questions necessary to understand the perspectives that led to the different interpretations. These various traits are invaluable to a current job seeker within any career field.

 

2 .If you had 60 seconds to convince a friend that they should study abroad, what would you say? 

Selecting CEA as your study abroad provider allows the necessities to taken care of. CEA provides guidance over the course of your application, program acceptance, and during your time spent abroad. Through CEA, the housing options are situated relatively close to areas frequented by the area’s locals and the area’s student population. The CEA organized excursions that will offer participants the opportunity to visit regional sites of interest that may be more difficult for students to visit independently. The Program Director is also an amazing resource if problems occur or if you have any questions. When I mentioned my interest in volunteering within the community, our Program Director was able to introduce me to an organization’s local director. I was able to start the following week! CEA is a provider that will get you situated in your study abroad location. Throughout the semester, you will constantly have access to resources and professional staff who will help you make the most of your experience!

 

 

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Brooke Begich
CEA MOJO Blogger
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Brynn Motal
CEA MOJO Blogger
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Caitlin Cain
Alumni Ambassador

1. What do you wish you had known before going?

One thing I wish I had known before studying abroad would be to really make sure you are financially secure and really plan a budget for your trip. Bigger cities in Europe are very expensive and while you will encounter very cheap flights and suddenly you want to travel everywhere every weekend, you have to take into account how much actually being in the cities (fun, food, hostels, transportation) is going to cost. Those things add up quickly. Nearing the end of our study abroad my roommate, who did not budget efficiently enough at the beginning of our trip, ended up running out of money and had to cancel trips and stop going out around Sevilla with us because she could no longer keep up with the payment schedule she had set up with CEA. Before you go abroad look at the higher end of the budget that CEA gives on the website and shoot for that. Pick out the top places you would want to travel to and plan a budget accordingly.

 

2. How has your study abroad experience shaped you?

My study abroad experience has shaped me into a more confident, independent, and capable person. It helped me improve my skills with intercultural and cross-cultural communication as well as with my language skills. Because I was living in a complete different country in a completely different culture, I feel I am able to problem solve faster and more efficiently using different methods and have found myself to be way more adaptable than I was before. I have been able to find my way around foreign countries alone with a language barrier, with little knowledge of the customs, where I did not know a single person, and I was robbed or lost. As I would like to be a study abroad advisor as my career learning to communicate effectively across cultures and to learn a language and just being apart of a study abroad program including all the traveling I did was extremely helpful to my future career goals.

 

 

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Caitlin Westmoreland
Alumni Ambassador

1. Why would you like to be an Alumni Ambassador?

I would like to be an alumni ambassador because I want other students to have a similar experience as I and others have had. To reiterate, not many people get this opportunity and I want to encourage others to take it if they get the chance. I'd want to be a person that others can come to for help and advice regarding a CEA program. I would gain important experience from this role that will help me in my professional career.

2. How has your study abroad experience shaped you? 

Growing up, I never moved around, I lived in the same house my whole life besides leaving for college; going abroad was one of the first times I was truly independent and able to have freedom. It taught me how to think on my feet, use critical thinking skills, and most importantly, it taught me confidence. I am more confident than I have ever been and thank that for being abroad. It gave me the confidence within my personal life and within my education. Three weeks can change a person, I can only imagine what a year would be like.
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Caley Griebenow
Alumni Ambassador

1. Why would you like to be an Alumni Ambassador?

I was passionate about traveling before I studied abroad, and making it a reality was a goal of mine since starting college over two years ago. Now, I believe leaving a comfortable bubble in the states is so important for students to not only see and experience an unfamiliar place, but to see what you're really made of when you don't speak the language, maybe don't have the cash, don't know where anything is, and no adults are readily available to help. Studying abroad has countless benefits, in my opinion, ones that don't truly emerge until the time abroad is almost up. I'm so fortunate and grateful for the opportunities awarded to me while I've been here in Prague. Leaving will certainly be bittersweet, but I'm excited to share my passion for study abroad when I return home.

2. What was your favorite course while abroad? 

My favorite course was Prague Art and Architecture. My professor was this wonderfully knowledgeable Prague native who took us all over the city to visit different museums, parks, cathedrals, castles, gardens, and more to witness firsthand how Prague's history was shaped by famous rulers and eras. He took us to places I know I would not have gone on my own, all while providing vital information about historical and artistic value. To learn about art, it makes the most sense to see and experience the art in person, not just from a power point, which is precisely what we did. I also respect the professor, who is bilingual and explained everything so well in English despite that not being his native language.
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Caley Griebenow
CEA MOJO Blogger

Why did you choose to study/intern abroad?
I knew I wanted to study abroad during my time in college. I'm so excited to see another part of the world and really expand my worldview. Living far from home is equally scary and exhilarating!

Why did you choose your study/intern city?
Prague checked all the boxes for me: major European city (hello travel-filled weekends), the program had offered the classes I still need, and it's stunning all year round.

What are you most looking forward to during your abroad experience?
Meeting new people and making unforgettable memories as I explore new places.

Fun Fact (hobbies, interests, accomplishment, etc.)?
I write for my school's fine arts magazine, I have a dog with one eye and I'm related to Jimmy Fallon.


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Camille Norton
Alumni Ambassador

1. What was your favorite course abroad? 

Photography or Global Environmental Politics. I loved my photography professor and truly appreciated her direct feedback, honesty, and above and beyond willingness to help. I went into that class a complete amateur and left feeling confident that I, at least, understood the concepts and principles of photography as well as really knowing my camera. As for Global Environmental Politics, as an Environmental Issues minor, I really appreciated this diverse and eye-opening perspective on this topic. It was hefty reading and a lot of in-class discussions but very thought-provoking and opened my mindset which ultimately will make me more understanding and effective as a communicator. 

2. How did you find ways to experience the local culture? 

My experience with the southern French culture was extraordinary. I made sure to go out of my way to meet French students and engage in their lifestyles. I made a ton of friends and learned so much about their habits and routines. From the way in which students interact to Cafe Culture to la bise, the everyday culture of these French students, I felt became my own. I regularly met with students from le FAC between classes and got coffee or lunch. I went out on the weekends with them for aperitifs, to the bars, and out to the local clubs. The nightlife culture in France is so different and something I really appreciated. The students were very welcoming and wanted to mix between speaking English and French so we could all improve our skills. Overall, an amazing experience.

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Cara Stevens
CEA MOJO Blogger
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Carey Kocur
Alumni Insider

1. Why would you like to be an Alumni Ambassador?

I had such an incredible experience abroad, interning for a family business, traveling all over Europe, and taking memorable classes with knowledgeable professors, that I would love to share my experiences with others and help students in their abroad journey. I specifically would enjoy talking to students about the internship program and if it would be the right fit for them.


2. What was your favorite course while abroad? 

I truly enjoyed all of my abroad classes. I took Family Business and Entrepreneurship with Clive Woolland, Food and Wine with Patritzia, Beginning Italian 1 with Angelo, and an Internship Seminar for my international internship. One of my favorite courses that I took abroad was the internship seminar class with Argentina Giusti. While interning for Shake Cafe in Florence, Italy, I was able to analyze the Italian way of business and dive deeper into my internship with this class.
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Caroline Rudloff
Alumni Ambassador

1. How has your study abroad experience shaped you? 

Before studying abroad I had never traveled anywhere by myself, I didn’t leave my hometown for college, and I wouldn’t have considered myself adventurous. By the end of my study abroad experience I felt very capable and confident in myself. I’m sure there's nothing I can’t handle.

2. Why would you like to be an Alumni Ambassador?

I never even thought about studying abroad before someone asked me "why not?". I want to be the person who inspires other people to at least take a look into something that I'm very grateful I got to do.
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Caroline Skinner
CEA MOJO Blogger

Why did you choose to study/intern abroad?
I've known I wanted to study abroad since the first time I visited Europe when I was 15. Each of my older brothers spent a summer in college traveling Europe, and had nothing but great things to say. The only regret they expressed was not committing to a full semester. I also really want to become fluent in Spanish.

Why did you choose your study/intern city?
I chose Spain because of my Spanish minor. I then narrowed my choices to Alicante after deciding I wanted a smaller, costal city that speaks little English. I live on the coast of Florida and I felt the beach would help me feel less homesick.

What are you most looking forward to during your abroad experience?
I am looking forward to everything about the spring semester, but especially getting out of my bubble and experiencing new cultures. I have yet to experience anything more exciting than visiting a new country for the first time.

Fun Fact (hobbies, interests, accomplishment, etc.)?
My major is Retailing, in hopes of being a buyer in the future, but after finishing my career in fashion I hope to teach English as a Second Language to spanish-speaking children! Also, I'm writing this in the airport on the way to San Diego!! #travels


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Caroline Thompson
Alumni Ambassador

1. How has your study abroad experience shaped you? 

My study abroad experience has gone beyond shaping career or personal aspects of my life —it has shaped my life as a whole. All exaggerations aside, being abroad was an eyeopening revelation, unfolding a plan for my life. I have come to realize that study abroad is not a mere phase in my life, rather something to which I want to dedicate my lifestyle. Various cultures are my passion, and Spain has my heart. My perspective on the world has broadened, and I see life from a worldly viewpoint instead of my narrowed, small-town mindset. Studying with CEA in Seville, being my second time studying abroad, has cultivated a passion within me for studies abroad. Therefore, I have come to realize that this is not the end of my journey through studies abroad, and I would like pursue an opportunity to teach abroad following my undergraduate degree. Furthermore, being an international studies and Spanish double major, I now hope to work for a study abroad program, such as CEA, in the future, inspiring others to find their passions through studies abroad as well.

2. What was your favorite course while abroad?

Although I can undoubtedly say that I thoroughly enjoyed each course that I took abroad, my favorite course was the one class that I took with CEA––The Culture of Food and Wine in Spain. This course encompassed more than merely the study of food and wine in Spain; rather, we learned extensive history behind the culture of Spain, leading to the development of such food and wine. The class took numerous excursions around the city to places such as Las Setas, El Mercado de Triana, and the Archivo de Indias, allowing us to see first-hand such historical sites. Additionally, the course took a hands-on learning approach when we took a cooking class right across from the Cathedral, creating local tapas of Seville such as salmorejo and tortilla de patatas. On top of everything, the course was taught completely in Spanish, which aided in my language acquisition skills, and it was taught by the kindest professor who was born and raised in Seville, adding to the authenticity of the course. Overall, I learned not only about local food and wine within Spain, but also about the ancient history of the culture of this long-established country.

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Cate Lewellyn
Alumni Ambassador
1.  What are your tips for learning the language? 

I would recommend that US students try to interact with the local students. It may be difficult to put yourself out there, especially with the language barrier, but you could make a lifelong friend while improving your language skills. Additionally, I would recommend living with a host family. Although I enjoyed the apartment I stayed in, living with fellow Americans does not give you as much of a daily opportunity to practice speaking a foreign language as a host family would.

2. What would you say to students considering studying abroad with CEA? 

You should study abroad with CEA because they have the best resources. Whether it be help with your student visa, questions about local culture, or program costs, there is always someone readily available to help. CEA Alicante was a smaller group of students, which I liked better because I got to know everyone really well. CEA helps create a home away from home for you, something that other programs sometimes don't get right.
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Catherine Fiore
CEA MOJO Videographer

Why did you choose to study/intern abroad?
I am constantly in search of my next adventure and studying abroad offers the opportunity to step out of my comfort zone and expand my worldview. I have had very few opportunities for international travel and am now hungry to soak in an entire semester worth.

Why did you choose your study/intern city?
My family roots tie back to Ireland, so I fell in love with the idea of going back and getting a chance to truly live there, not just visit. In addition, the opportunity to take classes as an international student at the National University of Ireland - Galway (NUI Galway) was an incredibly attractive factor, as it offered the opportunity to fully immerse myself as a student.

What are you most looking forward to during your abroad experience?
I am most looking forward to stepping out of my comfort zone, meeting people from a wide variety of backgrounds and picking up on small cultural habits that only make themselves evident when you live there.

Fun Fact (hobbies, interests, accomplishment, etc.)?
Any time of the year you can find me searching high and low for the best ice cream shops and bakeries in town. If I cannot find the dessert I'm craving, I try to make it. 17% chance of it going horribly wrong but a 100% chance of funky playlists playing in the background. I love to stay active by playing soccer, going for hikes, swimming or kayaking (I have to offset the desserts somehow). Overall, you can find me just hoping to make the most out of every day!


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Catherine Pierce
CEA MOJO Blogger

Why did you choose to study/intern abroad?
I wanted to study/intern abroad to improve my Spanish language skills, cultural competency, and acquire meaningful work experience.

Why did you choose your study/intern city?
I am obsessed with every aspect of southern Spain. The Moorish architecture, food, flamenco, and people.

What are you most looking forward to during your abroad experience?
I'm looking forward to learning Spanish fluently and becoming a real Andalusian!

Fun Fact (hobbies, interests, accomplishment, etc.)?
I love going dancing with friends, playing volleyball and solo traveling. My biggest accomplishment travel-wise is definitely finding my way off of Ibiza after getting my documents stolen.


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Cecily Widmann
Alumni Ambassador

1. What was your favorite course abroad and why? 

My favorite study abroad course was Communication and Global Competency. The course makes students analyze their culture while learning another. In this class, I interacted with french students in their English class at University of Paris-Diderot. It was a unique experience. I got to learn a lot about French culture and society that I would never have known just studying at CEA.

 

2. How has your study abroad experience shaped you? 

My study abroad experience changed the way I see the world. I have been considering going into diplomacy, working with the state department in foreign affairs. Studying in another country with a lot of foreign professors gives me alternate view of the United States I would not have seen on my own. The United States always seems to be the center of everything but, many countries around the world a distancing themselves. I want to help rebuild the US’ relationship with the world. But, I have been thinking about the concept of global competency. I have been in international based classes for a few years now and have never learned of this concept. Maybe I will try and introduce this to the American university system more widely.

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Celia Skvaril
CEA MOJO Photographer
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Chandler Stroh
CEA MOJO Blogger
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CEA Fall 2016 MOJO Blogger
CEA Study Abroad Location: Florence
Home University: California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo
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Charlotte Mabry
CEA MOJO Blogger
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Christopher Young
CEA MOJO Photographer
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Cierra Wilson
Enrollment Operations Specialist

Born and raised in Huntington Beach, CA, I craved a change of scenery and decided to head to the desert to attend Arizona State University. While I enjoyed every minute of life as a Sun Devil, I felt an urge to see more of the world and set my sights on studying abroad my senior year. I made my way to Galway, Ireland, and it was the best semester (and time) of my life. I was able to visit Scotland and England during my semester, but my fondest memories are certainly the time in Ireland. 

I knew I would want to continue to be a part of international education in some way, and a few months after returning to the states, I had the opportunity to intern with CEA twice. A few years later, I have found my way back as a full-time employee and now support our Enrollment Department. As an Enrollment Operations Specialist, I accept students into our programs, serve on the Scholarship Committee, and assist with our student visa process. I enjoy nothing more than being a part of the process to assist students in embarking on one of the most unforgettable experiences of their lives. One day, I hope to live in Europe full-time, but for now, I am enjoying Arizona’s sunshine.

In my free time, I enjoy playing Pokemon Go and disc golf, going to Indie & Alternative rock shows, spending time with family, and, of course, traveling!

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Courtney King
CEA MOJO Blogger

Why did you choose to study/intern abroad?
I chose to study abroad to experience a new culture. I am also excited to meet new people and learn new things. Because I go to school in Alabama, I am ready to be in a new city with lots of stuff to do!

Why did you choose your study/intern city?
I chose Barcelona not only because of the amazing weather and beaches, but because I want to expand my Spanish language skills.

What are you most looking forward to during your abroad experience?
I am looking forward to meeting new people and traveling to different countries around Europe. The culture and architecture in Barcelona are also supposed to be beautiful, so I am excited to take it all in. The food is also something I look forward to trying because I am a huge foodie!

Fun Fact (hobbies, interests, accomplishment, etc.)?
Hanging out with friends, writing, shopping, going to the gym, eating.


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Dalia Bussell
CEA MOJO Blogger
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Dana Fazziola
CEA MOJO Photographer
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Dana Kaufhold
Alumni Ambassador

1. What do you wish you had known before going? 

If I could go back in time and tell myself anything before going abroad, I would want to know that it's not as imposing as it seems to integrate into a slightly different culture. While I was packing, I obsessed over every outfit choice, and I practiced my limited French to the point of overkill. I was terrified that the locals would be able to brand me on sight as just another American, and that I would somehow be unable to fully experience life in Paris. This was absolutely untrue. On the whole, most people just honestly don't pay that much attention to others, or at least not enough to notice every difference we see in ourselves. Everyone is too busy thinking about themselves to over-scrutinize anyone else. Once I got over my fear of appearing different, I was able to relax and have much more fun. Things weren't so different that I got extreme culture shock, so I'm sure that my observations are not applicable to everyone. However, on the whole, the goal of focusing outside oneself is one that every student abroad can definitely strive towards.

2. What was your favorite course while abroad? 

We only took two courses, and both of them were very engaging, but I have to say that my favorite class that I took was called Writing in Paris. The curriculum was all based around writings done by American and English authors who lived in Paris in the early 20th century -- Hemingway, Djuna Barnes, Gertrude Stein, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and their other contemporaries. I was particularly enraptured by Hemingway's writings on his time living in Paris, entitled A Moveable Feast. Though the world had changed drastically in the years since Hemingway walked the streets of the Left Bank, much of what they were feeling at the time seemed to resonate through the ages and still ring true to me. I found truth written in 90-year-old words, and it was like I was reaching back through time and meeting these literary greats halfway through some kind of portal created by the city we both inhabited. Visiting the places where they lived -- a bar Hemingway favored, the apartment that Gertrude Stein lived in, the Shakespeare and Company bookstore -- only strengthened this connection. Writing about their writing in this class, therefore, came as second nature.
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Daniel Lesser
CEA MOJO Photographer
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Danielle Agnello
Alumni Ambassador

1. How has your study abroad experience shaped you? 

My study abroad experience has taught me so much about myself and my career aspirations. Through my study abroad experience I have greatly improved my French. Not only have I improved my French speaking skills, but I have also learned the French cultural expectations and mannerism in various settings. Aside from French, I have mastered the art of navigating around cities and becoming familiar with various public transportation systems. I have become extremely independent and self-sufficient, especially when traveling on my own. My time management skills have also sky-rocketed considering I have found a healthy balance between my weekend travels and weekly academic work. In terms of my career, I have learned that the fashion industry is definitely somewhere I see myself thriving, as I am extremely fascinated by it and want to continue to learn more about it. I have also decided that I am very interested in a job which enables me to travel a lot, possibly even starting my career abroad. I interned with a French company over this past Summer and have now applied to other French companies because of how much I loved working with them in addition to how in love I am with the city of Paris. On another note, I have learned how important it is to balance and separate your personal life and work life. The various experiences and opportunities I have had abroad have helped me to grow as not only a person, but as a student, and professional.

2. What were ways you found to experience the local culture?

Every city I went to I always walked as much as I possibly could. This may sound crazy, but I found myself stumbling upon local markets, hidden boutiques, and the most authentic restaurants while wandering through the city by foot. I also felt that it helped me learned to navigate and familiarize myself with the city streets. Don't get me wrong, the metro is a huge part of Parisian culture and I still took it quite often, but I learned to love walking since it allowed me to see the city and all of its quirks. With that said, the metro in Paris is exceptional and I am going to miss my morning and afternoon commute on the metro where I could just unwind, people watch, and have some downtime. The metro may be a public form of transportation but it's so clear that everyone is so caught up in their own worlds while riding it. I also experienced the local culture by dining at restaurants which flew under the radar and were off the beaten path, steering clear of all places which screamed tourist. When studying abroad I knew I would be labeled as a foreigner considering I was an American in European territory, but I tried my best to distance myself from all the tourist spots whenever I traveled to a new place. I did visit all the major monuments and museums, but I acted a certain way when doing so. There's a "tourist behavior" you want to avoid when traveling to foreign countries and cities in order to blend in and I made sure to follow that code and always remain conscious of my surroundings. Experiencing the local culture abroad has a lot to do with how you act and the level of respect you show towards each culture you're immersed in; the more open you are to fully engaging with that culture, the more opportunities and better overall time you'll have.
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Danny Pasternak
CEA MOJO Blogger
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Darby Hennessey
CEA MOJO Blogger
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Darien Perry
Alumni Ambassador

1. How has your study abroad experience shaped you?

Through this experience, I now realize how much I valued learning Spanish in a larger Spanish-speaking setting abroad. Embracing this opportunity allowed me to learn and view growth in my character, as well as assist members of the community with my native language. I want to continue expanding my education and aiding others, and having exposure to a larger social atmosphere through this program increased my cultural awareness and public speaking opportunities, and allowed me to continue having an active role in other’s lives.

2. Why would you like to be an Alumni Ambassador?

I am a person who wants to continually improve and develop. The Alumni Ambassador Program will give me the opportunity to share the benefits of studying abroad through CEA to other students and give them the excitement to learn, as well as increase my knowledge and skillsets. It will also allow me to educate students on topics I wish someone had told me prior to studying abroad. It will offer much diversity and a plethora of opportunities for me to help others. One of the most compelling reasons to be an Alumni Ambassador is simple: I want to seek a challenging environment. More specifically, I desire to immerse myself in more leadership and educational opportunities than those available from my own city.
The Alumni Ambassador Program will uncover a range of different possibilities for me to engage in discourse with students and other CEA alumni. I believe in a strong student community and bringing people together. Having prior knowledge and experience to lead a group, as well as the proper training in college can help me accomplish greater initiatives within this program.

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Delaney Bresnahan
Alumni Ambassador

1. How did you find ways to experience the local culture? 

While I was studying abroad in Seville, Spain, I had the opportunity to experience the local culture through its people, food, and traditions. From both the small interactions I had on the street to the deep conversations I had with my host mom, I got to catch a glimpse into the lives of the local people. I took a course that was solely about the culture of Seville, and it was amazing to approach it from an academic standpoint as well. I also experienced the culture through Spain’s food and traditions. Staying with a host mom allowed me to taste the authentic flavors of a home-cooked Spanish meal and I even got to take a cooking class to learn specific techniques. While I was in Seville, the city hosted its two largest week-long events of the entire year—Semana Santa (Holy Week) and Feria de Abril. These two weeks are identifying characteristics of Andalusian culture. During the two different festivals, I was fortunate to have locals take me under their wing and show me how to appropriately approach and participate in the festivities. These glimpses into the culture are my most valued take-away of the entire semester.

2. Why would you like to be an Alumni Ambassador? 

I would love to be a CEA Alumni Ambassador so that I can be a bridge between students at my university and the best experience of their lives. I am extremely passionate about study abroad and I couldn’t have been happier with my experience because of CEA. I would love to tell others about that experience while simultaneously advising and guiding them from the perspective of an individual who was in their exact same place. I remember meeting the CEA Alumni Ambassador at my school right before applying to go abroad and she was such a great encouragement to me that I was making the right choice. Even since returning home from my semester abroad this spring, I have had someone reach out to me about my specific program looking for advice and recommendations for when she applies. I loved guiding her and giving her further information and direction. To be able to partner with CEA in this role would help me to find more students and increase CEA’s reach at my university and beyond. I believe in CEA’s mission and would love to be a part of it moving forward.

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Delaney Bresnahan
CEA MOJO Blogger

Why did you choose to study/intern abroad?
Studying abroad has been my dream ever since my first taste of international travel.  This opportunity perfectly blends my love for other nations and my drive to experience life in a new and exciting way.  Pursuing my studies while surrounded by the culture, architecture, and people of Spain will be my greatest adventure yet!

Why did you choose your study/intern city?
I chose Seville, Spain as my study abroad destination because it's unlike anywhere I have ever been.  Seville is a vibrant, colorful place full of passionate people.  I am eager to learn about the city's deep history while simultaneously experiencing the modern aspects of the culture.  I am also pretty excited about that tropical climate!

What are you most looking forward to during your abroad experience?
Being a MOJO Blogger is going to be such an amazing part of my study abroad experience.  I look forward to sharing my experiences through my writing and photography.  On the weekends I'm excited to travel to different European cities through CEA excursions and personal travels.  I also hope to improve my newly-acquired Spanish language skills by speaking with locals.

Fun Fact (hobbies, interests, accomplishment, etc.)?
I took four years of German language classes in high school, so going to a Spanish-speaking country was a great leap of faith for me!  I am an archery instructor, amateur photographer, and avid adventure-seeker.  I spend my weekends hanging out in coffee shops with friends or hiking in the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains.


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Diana Gerardo
Alumni Ambassador
 1. How did you find ways to experience the local culture? 

My experience with the local culture in London began the second I stepped outside the door to my flat. In the six-minute walk to the nearest tube station (Old Street), I heard a diversity of languages, smelled kebabs, burgers, and falafels, and saw outfits so vibrant and daring that they deserved to walk the runway at Fashion Week. I came to attend football (a.k.a. soccer) games and felt the heat rising as the crowds chanted and sang for their teams to the point where the stadium itself was vibrating. I ate fish and chips, Sunday roast, and Yorkshire puddings at pubs. The best way to be immersed in the London spirit was to see the Christmas lights and the festivities that led to them being turned on. Everyone was quite friendly, handing out free hot chocolate, singing along to the Christmas tunes in the stores lining the street, and saying “Cheers”. I got to attend four of the many Christmas lightings with a classmate from uni and we got to meet people from so many backgrounds. No two people looked or acted alike in London, which was absolutely the most exciting part of being present in such movie-like moments.

2. What do you wish you had known before going abroad? 

I wish I would have known how important it is to appreciate every moment in this experience to the fullest and not fear having new experiences. The answer when debating if I should do something, even alone, should have been “yes”. Thankfully, the weekly CEA newsletter from our study abroad program director Cassandra was always very helpful when shaping my plans, but it took me a while before I warmed up to doing activities on my own. Once I did, I was finally able to move according to my own schedule and explore places with a newer, fresher perspective. I visited parks, did day trips on my own, and found some great volunteer opportunities. If I met students who were considering studying abroad as well, I would encourage them to fill their days in their city to the max and reassure them that things can be budget-friendly, even in a city as expensive as London. There were free concerts in parks, the Hyde Park Winter Wonderland that you could walk through and enjoy, places you can visit for free like museums, and more. It just takes a “yes” and Google Maps will (usually) help you figure out the rest!

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Dominique Cornacchia
CEA MOJO Blogger
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CEA Fall 2016 MOJO Blogger
CEA Study Abroad Location: Buenos Aires
Home University: Champlain College
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Eberechi Ogbuaku
CEA MOJO Blogger
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CEA Fall 2016 MOJO Blogger
CEA Study Abroad Location: Aix-en-Provence
Home University: University of Michigan
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Egan Osaki
CEA MOJO Photographer
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Elena Piech
CEA MOJO Photographer
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Eliza Flanagan
CEA MOJO Photographer

Why did you choose to study/intern abroad?
I chose to study abroad to make new friends, go on adventures and create new experiences.

Why did you choose your study/intern city?
I chose Aix-en-Provence because no one else from my school was going and I wanted to meet a new group of people.

What are you most looking forward to during your abroad experience?
All the different experiences and places I will see.

Fun Fact (hobbies, interests, accomplishment, etc.)?
I was the social chair for Kappa Delta Sorority. I love the outdoors, hiking, traveling and meeting new people.


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Eliza Jorgenson
CEA MOJO Photographer

WHY DID YOU CHOOSE TO STUDY/INTERN ABROAD?
I chose to study abroad because it has always been a goal in my life. I thrive off of new cultures and experiences. If I decided not to study abroad, I think it would be something I would regret for the rest of my life. There is just something so important about seeking discomfort and living outside of your comfort zone.

WHY DID YOU CHOOSE YOUR STUDY/INTERN CITY?

I chose to study abroad in Florence, Italy, because of their awesome printmaking program at the art school SRISA. I also have never been to Italy before and thought it would be stupid of me not to study art in one of the most art-historically important countries in the world. There is just so much to do, see, and... eat in Italy, that I just couldn't pass it up! 

WHAT ARE YOU MOST LOOKING FORWARD TO DURING YOUR ABROAD EXPERIENCE?

I am looking forward to learning Italian! I cannot wait until I am able to speak my mind to the locals and get my ideas across coherently. I am also looking forward to having the city inspire my artworks and to just be completely immersed in the culture. 

FUN FACT (HOBBIES, INTERESTS, ACCOMPLISHMENT, ETC.)?

I have actually spent a year abroad in Europe already! I spent my junior year of high school in Germany, so I am conversationally fluent in German. I will actually be heading over to Germany for another semester abroad once my semester in Italy is finished. I have been interested in art for as long as I can remember. It is my passion and I couldn't see myself doing anything else. As far as other hobbies besides art goes: I love to read and consume other forms of stories (movies/TV or podcasts) and I also play the violin. 

 
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Elizabeth Colwell
CEA MOJO Blogger
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CEA Fall 2016 MOJO Blogger
CEA Study Abroad Location: Barcelona
Home University: Miami University
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Ellie Pomer
Alumni Insider

1. How has your study abroad experience shaped you?

Personally, I feel this experience has helped me become much more independent than I anticipated. I have become more securely based in myself, knowing more things I can do and shouldn't be worried about. 
 

I am quite an anxious person who worries much more than I need to, so flying to a different country on my own for just over four months was a big jump for me. Having done something like this and really put myself out there has boosted my confidence and enhanced my life all around. Because of this, I want to help people with similar concerns or issues know that they can do it too.

2. What are your best tips for practicing the language while abroad? 

I was very nervous about the language barrier before going abroad because I have studied Spanish for a number of years, but still did not feel secure enough to call myself fluent or even close to fluent. Once I arrived, it was great to have the site specialists and teachers encourage Spanish speaking, but it is true that everyone is at different levels. There will be at least one person who knows more of that language than you, but there also will be at least one person who is less comfortable with the language than you are. 

I would recommend taking advantage of the professors and cite specialists knowing the language and practice with them whenever possible - even in small conversations. A great help that is still continuing for me now is also making friends with locals. I am still continuing to work on my Spanish as I keep in touch with friends from back there.

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Emilija Razma
CEA MOJO Blogger

Why did you choose to study/intern abroad?
I chose to study abroad because I have always loved adventures. I enjoy learning more about different cultures, and I'm so excited to grow as a person while studying abroad.

Why did you choose your study/intern city?
I chose Alicante because it's a local town, so it will be a more personal experience. I want to experience everyday life in Spain and connect with the locals in the area. Alicante is also one of the most beautiful places I've ever seen, and I'm planning on learning more Spanish.

What are you most looking forward to during your abroad experience?
I'm most looking forward to how much I'm going to learn and grow this semester. Every adventure and every person I meet abroad will show me a new side of this world. I can't wait to meet new friends along the way to experience these new adventures with them.

Fun Fact (hobbies, interests, accomplishment, etc.)?
I speak Lithuanian fluently, love playing the guitar and piano, and hiking and swimming in beautiful places.


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Emily Bozarth
Alumni Insider

1. What was your favorite course abroad and why? 

My favorite course I took abroad was Digital Culture for Social Change. Not only does this course cover everything I am interested in, from social media to social justice and how the two interact, it helped me learn so much about the local Sevillan culture. We completed a variety of projects that opened our eyes to the community around us. My favorite project we completed was making participatory videos on a range of topics from gender inequality in soccer, to the local cultural center’s fight for funding, to how the locals feel about the over-tourism of the city. This was also the class where I learned the most about the political history of Spain, from how the current elections were going to the 15-M movement that had a global impact. Before this course, I recognized that digital media was a powerful tool for change, but never grasped the fullness of that statement. This course taught me things that will carry with me not only to finish my degree back home, but into the workforce and the rest of my life. It has taught me to have a critical eye when analyzing media and helped me become a better global citizen.

2. How has your study abroad experience shaped you? 

My study abroad experience has given me the opportunity to grow as an individual and future employee, but also as a global citizen. I have been able to further my intercultural communication skills, my Spanish skills, and learned from experts in my field that I could never had contact with otherwise. As I return home and begin the dreaded job hunt, this experience will not only look good on paper, but will prove its worth with my newly advanced skill set and newfound confidence in myself and my abilities. Today, I am a more independent, adaptable, and culturally and globally aware person. I am more comfortable getting outside of my comfort zone and experiencing the beauty of new cultures. Research shows that experience in other countries makes us more flexible, creative and complex thinkers; who wouldn’t want to embody those characteristics? Since I have hopes of traveling abroad again, and maybe living abroad post-graduation, this experience has been a major stepping stone in building my global network, improving my personal confidence, and helping me see my future goals as achievable. It also has given me new friends, a new outlook on the world, and a new home away from home.
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Emily Durant
CEA MOJO Blogger
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Emily Lierle
Social Media Manager

As the Social Media Manager, Emily creates the strategy and content for all of CEA’s social channels and runs CEA’s Mobile Journalist (MOJO) program that curates digital content from students abroad.

Emily honed her digital marketing skills and knack for content creation at Markitors, a small digital agency in Scottsdale, where she was a one-woman band managing small businesses’ social media accounts, SEO content, email marketing, CEO branding, and overall strategies. She conducted research, created editorial calendars, wrote social and long-form content, created social objects, edited video, and coordinated with media and influencers to distribute the content. As the first hire at her previous agency, she also helped recruit and onboard new hires as the organization grew.

Before joining CEA, Emily served as Content Marketing Manager for All Told, the integrated marketing team at Allison+Partners in Scottsdale, where she was responsible for a number of content marketing efforts, including researching, planning, strategic support, and writing, as well as influencer and social media marketing. 

While studying at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Barrett, The Honors College at Arizona State University, Emily held internships ranging from reporting at a small newspaper in North Dakota and writing for Arizona Highways Magazine to creating SEO and social media content for U-Haul at their headquarters.

Emily is fluent in French and studied abroad at the Sorbonne in Paris for a semester. Her enthusiasm for international education stemmed from that experience, and since joining the CEA team, her bucket list has expanded and her passion for marketing and engaging with students on digital platforms has grown exponentially.

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Emily Ruby
Alumni Ambassador

1. Why would you like to be an Alumni Ambassador?

I would like to be an alumni ambassador because I thoroughly enjoyed my time abroad. I would love to help other students in their journey and educate them on the great experiences that studying abroad equips you with. Additionally, CEA helped me so much through out my journey and I appreciate all the opportunities I was given on my trip.


2. What do you wish you had known before going? 

Before studying abroad, I wish I had known how common public transportation is. Where I am from, we normally use cars or walk, so this was something very new to me. It taught me a lot about managing my time but also how to be more attentive in order to be partial.
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Emily Slevin
Alumni Ambassador

1. Why would you like to be an Alumni Ambassador?

Before I had even decided on a university, I knew that I wanted studying abroad to be part of my college experience. Needless to say, I had very high expectations for studying abroad and every single expectation was exceeded. I am so passionate about traveling and going on new adventures and would love to encourage others to pursue this opportunity with CEA. I am so grateful for this past semester and everything that the CEA team has done and I know that I would be able to encourage other students because of the excellent experience that I had. I am a people person and motivated to helping others and I feel like my experiences and personality would make be a great alumni ambassador.

2. How did you find ways to experience the local culture? 

Participating in the CEA program allowed me to experience elements of London that I otherwise would not have had the ability to experience. We had a theatre outing to see The Phantom of the Opera on Broadway at Her Majesty’s Theatre. I was able to experience British football culture by going to a Chelsea football game. We enjoyed local food culture by eating a traditional English dinner at a pub and went to get afternoon tea at a British bakery. In terms of traditional tourist activities, we did a night tour of London that ended with going on the London Eye. These were all experiences that I otherwise would have not known how to facilitate on my own so I was able to have these opportunities through CEA to experience local culture.
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Emma Hammerson
Alumni Ambassador
1. How did you find ways to experience the local culture? 

While abroad I truly immersed myself. I am fluent in Spanish and that aspect definitely contributed to my immersion in Spain. I would go to coffee shops, cafes, and restaurants frequently and just sit and try and talk to the waiters and servers to get to know the area and locals. Additionally, I lived in a "casa" and therefore we had house parents. I would talk to them often and always asked about Sevillano life, customs, and traditions. Lastly, I took most of my classes at the Universidad de Sevilla and there I introduced myself to the Spanish students and made friends with quite a few of them which helped me get to know the local culture.

2. What was your favorite course abroad?

My favorite course abroad was Women in Art which I took at the University of Sevilla. This class was my favorite for a multitude of reasons. My professor was passionate about art and all of the artists we learned about. My class was small, and therefore more intimate, and it was more discussion-based which really helped my speaking skills. Additionally, my professor took us on field trips once a week around Sevilla and pointed out all of the different aspects of art in the city. We also went to different museums, like Bellas Artes, and I loved having someone help me understand the art in the museum. I would recommend it to anyone!
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Emma Husakiwsky
CEA MOJO Videographer

Why did you choose to study/intern abroad?
I've always known studying abroad NEEDED to be a part of my college experience because traveling and experiencing other cultures has been important to me since I was little. I come from the small, close-knit hometown of Davidson, North Carolina, and my bustling college town of Athens, Georgia, but I knew there was more out there for me to discover. So, here I am! Let the adventure begin :)

Why did you choose your study/intern city?
Seville has EVERYTHING! It's not too metropolitan and not too small, so I can experience an authentic Spanish atmosphere while also getting to know the community around me. The quaint neighborhoods and city squares enticed me the moment I hit that Google search button, and the culture in Spain has always fascinated me when it comes to food and music, specifically.

What are you most looking forward to during your abroad experience?
Whew, that's a hard one. Interning at an awesome start-up coming as their Global Editor, traveling to other European cities on the weekends, my "Photography in Seville" class, getting to know my flatmates, becoming more fluent in Spanish... I guess I'd have to say EVERYTHING!

Fun Fact (hobbies, interests, accomplishment, etc.)?
One fun fact about me is that my dream job is actually to host my own talk show one day. Lofty, I know... but I have always been mesmerized by the way these brilliant, larger-than-life personalities can captivate audiences night after night with their wit and humor, a combination I would love to master. As for hobbies, I have always loved to sing and play the guitar! I perform at an open mic sometimes at this little coffee shop in my hometown and will never stop fantasizing about what it feels like to sing on stage in front of thousands of people (if it's not already obvious, Hannah Montana and The Cheetah Girls were my absolute idols growing up). One of my proudest accomplishments happened when I was just 14. I came up with an idea for my own television segment when I was a freshman in high school and pitched it to local broadcast stations in Charlotte, NC... and it worked! For the past five years, I've been appearing monthly with the segment I created (and now co-produce) called "From a Kid's Perspective," where I aim to bridge the gap between parents and their kids with topics ranging from social media safety to gun control.


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Erin Crowell
CEA MOJO Blogger

Why did you choose to study/intern abroad?
I chose to study abroad to have the chance to learn from another culture, not simply about another culture.

Why did you choose your study/intern city?
I chose Seville for the history and culture — I love Spanish and am excited to live somewhere I get to practice it!

What are you most looking forward to during your abroad experience?
I am most looking forward to the experience of learning in a new place, and to meet new people and experience things that push me outside my comfort zone.

Fun Fact (hobbies, interests, accomplishment, etc.)?
I am on the debate team at my school, and love debating! I'm also plant-based and am super passionate about environmental advocacy.


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Erin Steinkamp
Alumni Ambassador

1. Why would you like to be an Alumni Ambassador?

I would love to give students who are potentially studying abroad tips and advice that that they would like to know before moving to a foreign place. Sharing my own experience and travels will help others with their study abroad. I had never been to Europe before, and now I have been to 12 different countries in just four months. I have thoroughly documented my time here in Paris and other parts of Europe through videos and pictures. As an alumni ambassador, I would share my travel videos that I have made, and they would be a great tool of advertisement for travelling abroad as well.

2. How has your study abroad experience shaped you? 

Since studying abroad, I have found a love for travel, learning about other cultures, and viewing this experience as a chance of a lifetime! I have realized that I am so young, and there is so much of a life to live! I know that I want to have a profession that allows me to travel and see the world. It is important for me to be happy in whatever my career will be. Being the furthest I have ever been away from home has let me be very independent; I have challenged myself by living in a different lifestyle and gone on many adventures that I would have never gotten the chance to do if I did not study abroad.

 

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Esther Rivera
Alumni Ambassador

1. How did you find ways to experience the local culture? 

I think that my experience in Alicante was great. The people were kind and helpful. The fact that Spanish is my first language really helped me when it came to communicating with people, however, the culture was very different than what I was used to. It was different in the sense that they eat different but delicious food, the lifestyle in Spain is a lot slower that in America and I appreciated that, and the public transportation (bus and tram) were very easy to use. Overall, I really appreciated learning a lot about the Spanish culture and I admired the way locals enjoy life

2.  Why would you like to be an Alumni Ambassador? 

I would love to be an alumni ambassador because my experience has been fantastic and I want others to experience it too. I am a Latina and many Latinas do not study abroad due to the fact that many have not ever traveled. Many Latinas/Latinos come from low income communities and their families have never gone on trips and to simply put it, it is frightening to travel with no past experience and it is frightening because it can be expensive. However, I want to let all minorities and others know that this is a learning experience and they will return home with a lot more knowledge. Also, I would love to help them with their financial fears. For example, I would tell them about scholarships and ways in which they can save up in advance.

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Esther Yoo
CEA MOJO Blogger
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CEA Fall 2016 MOJO Blogger
CEA Study Abroad Location: Granada
Home University: Virginia Commonwealth University
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Evelyn Little
CEA MOJO Blogger

Why did you choose to study/intern abroad?
I wanted to expand my knowledge and worldview by fully immersing myself in what I’m learning about.

Why did you choose your study/intern city?
I have always heard about the French Riviera being a coveted and awe inspiring place to travel to. I did not want to follow other students going to a place I had already heard so much about, like Paris, London, etc. Antibes and Sophia Antipolis are two of the most beautiful places, and they are not on most people's radar. I feel as though going to the French Riviera will be even more enriching and fulfilling than I expect it to be, and I can't wait to find out how.

What are you most looking forward to during your abroad experience?
I am looking forward to learning the French language more than I do now, and along with that, I am looking forward to learning about all of the rich, beautiful history that embodies France.

Fun Fact (hobbies, interests, accomplishment, etc.)?
Something not everyone knows about me is that I am an artist. My favorite mediums to work with are charcoal and graphite, watercolor and pens. I also dabble in wood burning, as well as other fun crafts such as sewing and jewelry making.


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Frances Mylod-Vargas
CEA MOJO Blogger
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Gabrielle Ciuteikis
Alumni Ambassador

1. How did you find ways to experience the local culture? 

Outside of attending university at the University of Seville, I was able to maximize my experiences in Seville thanks to the CEA staff. Living with a host family was a great option for me. Every evening we would eat dinner together. This gave us an opportunity to talk about our daily experiences, and also to share our hidden gems of the city. My host-mother would often take us out to “tapear”, to have tapas, several times during the semester. Each time we went out, I let her order what she knew was good at these specific places. Her daughter also introduced me to leisure activities including snowboarding. It was mind-blowing to find out that the Sierra Nevada was only a couple hours away from Seville. These little experiences accumulated to one beautiful cultural immersion. 
 
I also made friends at “intercambio sessions”, where Spanish university students came to the CEA center to practice their English while we practiced our Spanish. It was a pleasant way to make Spanish friends, since it may be difficult to do so sometimes. My “intercambio” friends were very welcoming in Sevilla. They showed their local perspective of the city. There were many times where we would just get a tapa, or enjoy a walk in the park while practicing Spanish! I learned so much history about Seville’s customs and traditions through my friends and was fortunate enough to experience Holy Week and Fair of Seville with them. Since these two holidays are the most important in Seville, it was nice to learn more about these traditional holidays from Sevillens themselves. 
 
Lastly, I made sure to do my part in immersing myself into the culture. Since Seville is known for people “living on the streets” because they spend so much time out and about, I did it myself. I spent a lot of my free time in romanticized parks that always had new flowers blooming, and by the river that always brought peace to mind. While drawing in one of the parks early in the semester, I met an Argentinian student that was also an international student in Seville. We coincidentally became close friends which was another fun way to experience the culture there. We were both international students, but whenever we would spend time together walking around or in museums, my friend Juanita would always tell me about similarities she sees between Argentinian and Spanish culture. This was an unexpected great way to learn more about Sevillen culture.

 

2. If you learned another language while you were abroad, what tips and tricks can you offer future study abroad students? 

One of the most important pieces of advice to carry around with you during the study abroad experience is to not be afraid to speak the language. The CEA staff are very supportive making sure that if you have the desire to practice the language, they will always engage in the conversation. The professors at both the CEA center and any other university you attend classes in are already accustomed to students learning and bettering their skills in the foreign language. They are here only to help you, especially knowing how much effort you put to come all the way to a foreign country. 
 
In my case, I felt very comfortable speaking to staff and professors just because I know they are here for us students. On the flip side it was difficult for me to break out of my shell while talking to locals in daily scenarios like ordering at a cafe. I think that the dialect being very different than what I am used to intimidated me. I knew that I should be taking advantage of my time here, therefore I just tried to speak my best. Being able to practice Spanish in class and outside was an opportunity only available while studying abroad. Living with a host family had also helped to hear colloquial Spanish. We would talk about a range of topics at the dinner table which expanded my vocabulary just by spending time with the family. You will be surprised as to how much you can improve your foreign language ability by consistently listening and practicing with the environment around you.
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Gabrielle Oliveira
CEA MOJO Photographer

Why did you choose to study/intern abroad?
Studying abroad is the perfect opportunity to travel the world and gain first-hand experiences with other cultures while learning during the whole time. When I found out I had another study abroad chance, I didn’t think about it twice.

Why did you choose your study/intern city?
I chose Italy as my study abroad destination because I’m passionate about the Italian language, culture, and food! Italy is also a really nice place to stay in Europe since I can quickly visit other countries.

What are you most looking forward to during your abroad experience?
I’m very excited to get to know the other students, visit as many places as I can, learn a lot and blend in with the Italians, besides taking lots of beautiful pictures!

Fun Fact (hobbies, interests, accomplishment, etc.)?
A fun fact about me: I was born and raised in Brazil and also lived in Saudi Arabia before going to the US to study. I love to travel, dance, take photographs, and hang out with friends and family.


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Grayson Hennelly
CEA MOJO Blogger

Why did you choose to study/intern abroad?
I knew before coming to college that I wanted to study abroad, but I had no idea where. I was so excited to travel the world that it became impossible to pick only one city. But once I decided to minor in Spanish, it became a lot easier to find a place that was right for me. The ability to go to school in a foreign country was an amazing opportunity I couldn't pass up.

Why did you choose your study/intern city?
I chose Madrid because of its exciting culture, central location, and the ability for me to improve my Spanish while I'm there. Even though I want to travel a lot while I'm abroad, Madrid is the perfect home base for me. Also, Universidad Nebrija is very centrally located within the city, and I am so excited to wander through Madrid on my way to and from class.

What are you most looking forward to during your abroad experience?
Besides traveling and practicing Spanish, I'm looking forward to spending time with my friends in a completely new environment. In addition to becoming friends with the other students and locals, being able to experience Madrid--and all of Europe--with friends from home will make my time in Spain even more exciting!

Fun Fact (hobbies, interests, accomplishment, etc.)?
I love to explore and try new things, whether it's surfing, hiking, camping, beach volleyball, etc., so being in a new place like Madrid will have so many more opportunities for me! In my down time, I love to read in coffee shops or find cute boutiques, so you can expect many of my blogs to be written from a new place I just found deep in the city.


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Griffin Spiess
CEA MOJO Videographer

Why did you choose to study/intern abroad?
I chose to study/intern abroad because I want to explore the beautiful country of Italy, as well as meet new people from different parts of the world.

Why did you choose your study/intern city?
I love art and architecture from the Renaissance time period and thought shooting film in this area would be a fun time and will allow me to expand on my knowledge of filming historic destinations.

What are you most looking forward to during your abroad experience?
I am looking forward to meeting new friends, learning about the beautiful Italian culture and filming during travel and exploration while abroad.

Fun Fact (hobbies, interests, accomplishment, etc.)?
I have recently picked up rock climbing again and plan on doing at least one climbing trip while in Italy.


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Haley Hasen
CEA MOJO Photographer
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Haley Sommer
Alumni Ambassador

1. Why would you like to be an Alumni Ambassador?

I would like to be an Alumni Ambassador so that I can continue to share about my life changing study abroad experience and so that I can lead other people toward a similar experience through studying abroad with CEA. Since coming home from Spain, I have loved sharing about my experiences abroad. I want to continue to share in an impactful and beneficial way. I have so many pictures and videos from my time abroad that I love showing off. My photography and videography skills grew immensely while I was studying abroad. I believe that these pictures and videos may be helpful in my position as an Alumni Ambassador. Since I had such an incredibly life changing experience, I want to give back and help lead others toward this experience. I have a passion for improving the lives of others and I would love the chance to help them discover the adventures of a study abroad experience with CEA. I want to help connect my life abroad with my life home and continue to grow with the support of CEA. I also would love the opportunity to return to Granada as
an onsite Alumni Ambassador.

2. How has your study abroad experience shaped you? 

My study abroad experience is one of the most impactful events of my life. In terms of my career, I was able to vastly improve my Spanish skills and achieve an advanced level of oral proficiency. I also gained a deep understanding of the Spanish culture. Both of these are extremely important as I move toward my future career as a high school Spanish teacher. I gained so much knowledge first hand that I will be able to pass down to my students. Not only was I able to grow academically as I improved my Spanish language skills, but I also grew personally. I gained important skills related to independence as I had to manage a new life without the support of the people who are usually right by my side. I went to a place that was completely new and unknown to me, and 5 months later, it was my home. Leaving the city that I grew to love and the host family that became my second family was harder than I could have possibly imagined. Study abroad gave me lifelong friendships and memories that I will treasure forever. I would not be the person I am today if it wasn’t for my study abroad experience.
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Hannah Grace Burroughs
Alumni Ambassador

1. How has your study abroad career shaped you? 

My study abroad experience taught me that I'm far more capable than I think I am. Before living in Spain, I didn't have the faith and confidence in myself that I should have. Now, I find comfort in knowing that if I can live in a foreign country for four months and LOVE it, then I can do anything else I'm faced with. Spain made me realize that I can handle life's challenges and that everything has a way of working itself out!

 

 

2. What is one thing you wish you would have known before studying abroad?

As weird as it is, I wish I knew to reorganize my laptop before studying abroad! I have so many amazing pictures, blog entries, diaries, and videos from my travels and the idea of losing any of that TERRIFIES me. These are some of the best memories I've ever had, so I they get a special "Study Abroad" folder, and I definitely recommend that everyone else does the same!

 

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Hannah Rohaley
CEA MOJO Blogger

Why did you choose to study/intern abroad?
I have always been passionate about seeing the world and attempting to understand it.

Why did you choose your study/intern city?
I wanted to step out of my comfort zone and immerse myself in a country that doesn't speak my native language. I was very close with my French teacher in high school (who loved the French culture) so studying in the French Riviera struck a cord in me.

What are you most looking forward to during your abroad experience?
I am excited to meet other international students and also have the opportunity to explore an entirely new country.

Fun Fact (hobbies, interests, accomplishment, etc.)?
I was picked to danced on stage with my favorite band, Thirty Seconds to Mars!


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Hannah Valente
Alumni Insider

1. What was your favorite course while abroad? 

My favorite course abroad was History of the Papacy with Eric Walters. The amount of history that this course involves is incredible. As a Theology Major in Rome, I could not have taken a more amazing course that has allowed me to truly understand the Papacy beginning with St. Peter and up to Pope Francis!

2. How has your study abroad experience shaped you?

My study abroad experience has shaped me into a person who loves to travel and explore new cultures. As I was studying abroad, I applied through Providence College to teach for 6 weeks in Sydney, Australia. Without how comfortable I felt studying in Italy and traveling around Europe, I would never have the confidence to apply for this Fellowship. With the skills I acquired abroad, I truly feel like I can do anything, even maybe move back to Rome!

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Holly Hiatt
Alumni Ambassador
1. How has your study abroad experience shaped you?

I feel that studying abroad has just exacerbated my personal development and growth. I have gotten the chance to focus on getting to know myself and how I respond to everything in life, and it's strengthened my resolve to work in public health. Being able to see the ways that people live in society here versus back in the United States has given me a unique and varied perspective to apply to my future career. Additionally, learning a new language has provided me with so many more options as far as meeting people, travelling, and working. Studying abroad has given me the chance to find out what love is and what life is about.


2. If you had 60 seconds to convince a friend that they should study abroad, what would you say?

Not only did they do a great job informing me of what I needed to do and sort out before leaving for Spain, but CEA allowed me to not have to worry about the smallest details of the trip in regards to housing which was a big deal. If I had been required to sort out all these small details and do the research on my own, my study abroad experience would have been much more stressful and much of the growing time that I enjoyed while here would have been filled up with technicalities surrounding basic needs. Having staff to help with academics and with things like gas tanks and cell phones was very useful as well, and overall it helped my experience to go much smoother. Through the oversight of CEA, I now feel that I could travel to another country and know what I need to do before and during my stay without outside assistance. It held my hand in the beginning so that now I don't require it.
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Isaac Chambers
Alumni Ambassador

1. What was your favorite course abroad? 

My favorite course abroad was Customer Experience Management. The course was about exploring what a compelling experience is in B2B and B2C and how to establish reliable and long-term profitable customer relationships. We did this by analyzing a local coffee shop, "The Miner's: Coffee and Characters" in the Vinohrady neighborhood in Prague 3. We conducted a consulting report regarding the customer experience and they could improve. I found this particularly engaging because of how real the course was. Instead of lecturing and taking notes, we were working with an actual business and applying our learning.

2. What do you wish you had known before going?

One thing I wish I knew before studying abroad is how difficult it can be trying to squeeze everything I wanted to in before the conclusion of my program. While there were several people who had shorter programs than the one I was on, I still felt like 9 weeks was too short. There are still several cities in the Czech Republic that I would have loved to visit. Trying to balance both an internship and classes along with traveling became very daunting at one point. In retrospect, I wish I planned my time in Prague better to accommodate the 9 weeks I had.

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Isabel Kinsolving
CEA MOJO Blogger
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CEA Fall 2016 MOJO Blogger
CEA Study Abroad Location: French Alps
Home University: Chapman University
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Isabel Lerissa
CEA MOJO Photographer

Why did you choose to study/intern abroad?
Travel has always been a huge part of my life, so to me it made a lot of sense to continue my education in a foreign country.

Why did you choose your study/intern city?
My whole family is French and I have been there a couple of times, so I’m already pretty familiar with the city. I see this as an opportunity to connect deeper to my heritage and get a chance to feel even more at home in Paris.

What are you most looking forward to during your abroad experience?
Definitely the food! But aside from that, I’m excited to improve my French and to visit other parts of France I’ve never seen!

Fun Fact (hobbies, interests, accomplishment, etc.)?
I absolutely love movies (including French cinema, of course) and I am a big fan of cooking and painting!


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Isabelle Pekarsky
Alumni Ambassador

1.  What were ways you found to experience the local culture?

The culture at while I was abroad was an interesting change to what I was used to. My family are Ukrainian immigrants and although the culture was different in many ways, it was similar in a lot of ways as well. I am used to not understanding and having to adapt to difficult situations. Therefore, doing simple things like the grocery stores was easier for me, whereas my friends and classmates struggled with that. I enjoyed having to adapt and work through situations while learning and growing. This experience made me want to continue studying and exploring the world.

2. How has your study abroad experience shaped you?

It changed the direction of what I plan to do after I graduate. I plan to get my masters in international relations and hopefully find a career abroad.

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Jacob Griffin
Alumni Ambassador

1. Why would you like to be an Alumni Ambassador?

The reason I want to become an alumni ambassador so much is because I understand just how valuable the study abroad experience is. It is the adventure of a lifetime and I think everyone who can should take the chance. Two of my good friends from my university back home were contemplating studying abroad this semester but weren't sure if it was right for them. I was very encouraging towards them and tried my hardest to get them to take the leap, and I know as a fact they are now having an excellent semester in both Prague and Athens. Sharing my experiences, informing others, and encouraging them to study abroad is something I would be very passionate about in the future. In fact, I have already had a couple of people from campus message me and ask about study abroad. No matter what, I will push others from my university to go for the study abroad experience, and I would love to do so as an official CEA ambassador.

2. How has your study abroad experience shaped you? 

Studying abroad for the semester has taughy me a lot about myself. One of the most important things is understanding just how easy it is to meet new people and build friendships wherever you may be in the world. I think this will definitely help me expand my friend group and professional network with back in America as well. There were several times when I had to stop and ask for directions or about different things in the city, and this made me realize that strangers are almost always willing to talk and help you out when you're in need. Also, studying abroad has taught me to be open to any and all cultures. I thought I was culturally understanding before I went abroad, but I am now much more than I ever was. A specific eye-opening experience was the CEA planned trip to Morocco. The lifestyle there is so much different from what I have ever seen, and now I can at least understand somewhat how people there live.
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Jacqueline Drazdzinski
Alumni Ambassador
1. What do you wish you had known before going?

One thing I wish I knew was that everything would be okay. Students tend to stress over every little thing and especially when studying abroad. Whether it is a new language, being away from home for a while, worrying about not understanding the public transportation or even in regards to making new friends; all of these worries immediately went away when I arrived and found out that the other students were in the same situation. We quickly bonded with each other and went to lunch not even two hours after landing in Ireland. We were all so excited to explore this new land and all that the culture had to offer. Even when we were confused or got “lost” while exploring, we had the CEA staff nearby to guide us in the right direction and even make recommendations as to where the best local restaurant was or smaller destinations that would truly show us the Irish culture.

2.  How has your study abroad experience shaped you?

My experience in Dublin has made me realize that we are all the same. We as individuals are all striving to be our best while still wanting to enjoy life. No matter what we look like or what language we speak, we are all people who share common goals despite all of the political aspects and disagreements. For me, this realization occurred when I was observing the everyday life from St Stephens Green in Dublin. Even when I was 3,000 miles away from my house, there were still couples taking walks, children playing like there was no tomorrow, and street vendors advertising their product. I was able to talk to locals and hear their stories and their careers choices. All of this gave me a sense of home, which just made me fall more in love with the beautiful city of Dublin. I have since been encouraged to research more of my ancestry and spend more time with my relatives who are of Irish descent to continue learning as much as I can. My hope is that more people become aware that the world is a lot smaller than it seems and that we really are all very similar.
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Jacqueline Menoret
Internship Coordinator

Jacqueline, the newest addition to our CEA Paris team, is a true global citizen, who has lived, worked, and studied in Washington DC, Montpellier, and London before moving to Paris. Jacqueline is originally from Milwaukee, Wisconsin and completed a B.A. in History, Political Science, and French at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities prior to earning a Master’s Degree in Human Rights at the London School of Economics & Political Science. Jacqueline will be replacing Colin Maunoury as Internship Coordinator in Paris. She will brings tremendous energy, knowledge, and experience in various fields to the team and to her new role helping our students develop their life goals in their Parisian internship placements.

She is passionate about literature and cinema. She loves to read a book at home in Montmartre when it is rainy and cold out, in the company of her cat, Olga Picasso.

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James Benn
Program Coordinator

James Benn rejoins the CEA Paris Office this summer as a Program Coordinator, specializing in Housing and Student Affairs. He will support the Paris team through the busy summer months and help get us started with Fall semester. James brings with him a deep knowledge of Paris and passion for study abroad, having worked in the study abroad sector here for over two decades. James studied abroad three times in Quebec, Canada; in France; and in Sochi, Russia. He loves learning languages and speaks Russian, French, and other languages too (but a spy never tells).

James enjoys cooking Bœuf bourguignon from scratch on a Sunday afternoon.

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James LaRue
Financial Services Specialist

I grew up in Los Angeles, right on the beach, where I spent my early years hiking, surfing, and playing volleyball. I came to Arizona in 2014 when I started school at Arizona State University and fell in love with the state for its beauty and history. Prior to my current position, I worked in a calzone shop and then interned here at CEA!

I do not remember when I developed my love for traveling abroad but that may have something to do with the fact that my parents brought me on a family vacation to New Zealand when I was just a few months old and then to Scotland only a year later. The need to travel and explore has been ingrained into my mind ever since, so I am incredibly proud to be part of a team that makes that dream a reality for others.

A fun fact about me is I spend my free time finding and then exploring abandoned gold mines throughout the state, which is as exhilarating as it is terrifying.

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James Longenderfer
CEA MOJO Blogger
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CEA Fall 2016 MOJO Blogger
CEA Study Abroad Location: London
Home University: West Chester University of Pennsylvania
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Jamie Coles
CEA MOJO Photographer

Why did you choose to study/intern abroad?
I have always admired those who live their lives spontaneously, in constant search of new places, people, and experiences. However, being a person of habit, it’s never been easy for me to venture too far outside of my comfort zone. Not only traveling to, but actually living in Italy is a HUGE step for me and I’m stoked for the personal growth, memories, and travels that these 15 weeks have in store.

Why did you choose your study/intern city?
Growing up hearing my dad’s stories of his time abroad in Florence, I knew I had to follow in his footsteps. With Florence being central to Italy, and Italy being in close proximity to many other European countries, he was not only able to immerse himself in the Italian culture, but travel outside of Italy to experience many other cultures as well. I’m looking forward to being able to establish a home away from home in the capital of the Tuscany region, just a short train/plane ride away from countless other beautiful cities.

What are you most looking forward to during your abroad experience?
I’m most excited for the amount of push pins I’ll be able to add to my travel map when returning to the states. I’ve grown up traveling within the U.S. with my family, mainly for the purpose of either camping or visiting out of state family members and friends. It wasn’t until the summer after graduating high school that I made my way to Europe with my grandparents, and needless to say, it stole my heart. I can’t wait to fuel my travel bug while I’m abroad, where so many new places and experiences are within my reach.

Fun Fact (hobbies, interests, accomplishment, etc.)?
I’m from Southern California and have never surfed a day in my life, but I work at a surf shop? I honestly think I have an addiction to sunsets and Oreos. If I don’t make it through P.A. school, I’ll probably end up living in a van and traveling the country with my dog and my camera. Chris Burkard is my biggest inspiration as a photographer, he’s a cool human, give him a follow.


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Jamie Crane-Mauzy
CEA MOJO Blogger
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Jared Hoffman
Alumni Ambassador
1. What was your favorite course abroad? 

My favorite course at Skema was certainly my project management course. This course gave me the opportunity to be a real life project manager with a team of people. My team was very diverse from all different countries, I had to learn how to communicate with each person, what their skills were, how much workload they could take, and how to manage a project each week. It was a huge challenge, but I gained a whole new skill from this one class. I am now qualified to do something I would have never been able to get qualified to do at my home school. It was an amazing experience.

2. How has your study abroad experience shaped you?

I feel like a totally different person after this experience. Not only has it accelerated my career by giving me a whole new set of business skills it has allowed me to develop so much on personal level. Before I studied abroad I wasn't very dependent, I relied on other people and other things for almost everything. When you study abroad you only have yourself to rely on. I have learned how to be punctual, how to travel alone, plan meals, and really be an independent individual without the help of others. Furthermore, I feel I have much more worldly world view. I don't just think of the U.S. way, I think of many different perspectives. This experience has truly made me a more diverse individual. I will never be the same after this, and for me that is a great thing.
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Jared Knepper
CEA MOJO Photographer
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Jason Schultz
Financial Services Specialist
A few years ago, I was on the same flight across the country as Flavor Flav (a famous TV personality for those who are not familiar). Sometime during the course of our flight, Flavor Flav decided to become a flight attendant for the day and started to hand out pretzels, drinks, and even spoke on the intercom! Random and unique events like these definitely intensify my passion for travel.

Besides Jamaica, the Cayman Islands, and several cities in Canada, I’d have to say the picturesque beaches of Hawaii rank at the top of my favorite places to travel list. But that’s only until I make my way to England next—I’ve never been, but the country’s culture and personality really interests me.

As a CEA Student Accounts Advisor, I try to tie in my love of travelling into day-to-day tasks and interactions with students. I’m responsible for assisting students through the funding process of their study abroad, including aspects such as scholarships and financial aid. When I’m not working, I enjoy swimming, playing tennis, and watching movies.

Did you know? I was a professional on-air radio personality for 13 years before starting a new career in 2010!
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Jazmin Martinez
Alumni Ambassadors

1. How has your study abroad experience shaped you?

My study abroad experience has shaped me in gaining more confidence and build more relationships. I now want to tell the world how I had an amazing time while being in Paris and I am always looking forward to go back. In my academic career, after studying abroad I joined more clubs such as the UIC Study Abroad Ambassadors club that works closely with the Study Abroad Office to promote study abroad and show students what steps they have to take to get there. Through a scholarship I won, I was then able to visit my high school and talk to the students about the benefits of study abroad. In my careers, I now know that there is international opportunities and that I am capable of participating in them.


2. How did you find ways to experience the local culture? 

I was able to experience the local culture while I was abroad by living like a local. I had a small apartment in Paris. Like all the locals, I had to go shopping in my local grocery story and on Wednesday and Sunday's I would pick up fresh fruit from the market in front of my apartment. I took the Metro to my internship site and talked to people in French. At my internship site I would have lunch with the staff and they would give me advice on the city and about school. I was really emerged in the culture and their traditions in the time I was there.

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Jennie Torres
Alumni Insider

1. How did you find ways to experience the local culture? 

My experience with the local culture while abroad was eye-opening, as it revealed how I could persevere through cultural challenges by my ability to adapt to a new environment. The culture compared to the one I've experienced in the United States felt to be much more relaxed as far as how they deal with work related issues. I found myself conflicted with not having enough tasks to do during my internship in Barcelona due to my co-workers valuing more time for themselves versus my prior experience having to constantly be on my feet attending to tasks with only a 30 minute break in a 12 hour long shift. This was by far the most difficult thing to overcome because I am grown accustomed to feeling like I need to work constantly, but I managed to get adjusted to the environment by communicating with my co-workers on what more assignments I can have accomplished, thereby including my own culture within their own. However, that doesn't mean I disregarded the new customs either. I felt like compromising between our two cultures would be beneficial as it reveals to use the positives and negatives that can come from either spectrum. Personally, I did end up enjoying how flexible my internship was with allowing me to relax on the job to complete any personal assignment I had and the dress code appeared to be a little more casual than I was anticipating which brought upon a closer relationship between my coworkers and I. Overall, the local culture especially at my internship helped me reflect on what is more valuable in life, getting the job done or having time for yourself. Although I do believe it's both, I am grateful to have experienced a community where they are not so strict on completing tasks in exchange for allowing their coworkers to enjoy life and not have it taken from them five days a week. It helps me value my personal space and mental health much more.

 

2. How has your study abroad experience shaped you?

My experience interning abroad has shaped me today because I have a greater understanding of what I aspire for in my future career. First off, when it comes to my career I came into this program believing that it would be easy to work at my internship because of the requirements that it described which was to be a content writer and proofread their work for them 8 hours a day, 4 days a week. Being a graduate with an English degree, I thought this would be a walk in the park and I would adore doing this kind of work when in actuality, I found myself wanting more to do in this job. Completing these assignments were in fact easy, but what wasn't was my unfulfilled desire to accomplish more things with my time, things that could've included interacting with more people. My typical work day involved sitting at a laptop proofreading already finished articles, and that showed me that this sort of work is truly not what I want out of life. The internship was certainly fulfilling because without it I would've never known that I require more complexity within my schedule, and that I would like to find a career that makes me feel like I have a larger role in the community. It was amusing to recognize how a job that I thought would give me enough enjoyment to do for the rest of my life was actually proven false, so now after this program I'm searching for career paths that could offer me more to do with my time that could also involve writing but perhaps there can also be days where I am communicating with people so that way I don't feel restricted to a computer all of the time.

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Jennifer Saviski
Alumni Ambassador

1. What are your best tips for practicing language while abroad? 

I was a Spanish major while I was abroad and I definitely improved my Spanish a lot while I was abroad. The biggest tip that I can offer is to not be afraid to mess up. In Spanish classes at school, I would never raise my hand or volunteer to speak because I hated to make grammar mistakes. However, while abroad, I realized how many mistakes I make when I'm speaking English and that locals would rather have you try and make mistakes than not try at all. Plus, if you don't try you won't make lasting connections with the local people that can continue your language growth even after studying abroad.

2. What was your favorite course while abroad?

My favorite course abroad is a tie between the Teaching English Abroad class and my Historia de esclavitud en America latina class. I loved the Teaching class because I got to make real life connections that I still have to this day. (My students just sent me a huge package of letters and drawings recently and now I'm making them a video about the city where I'm from) I also loved my history class because we went on tours of Seville and learned about how Seville had a huge impact on the transatlantic slave trade. It was really cool to see first hand where events took place that I normally only hear about in history books or see in old paintings from those times.

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Jennifer Siegel
CEA MOJO Blogger
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CEA Fall 2016 MOJO Blogger
CEA Study Abroad Location: Barcelona
Home University: Miami University
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Jeremy Dolezal-Ng
Alumni Ambassador
1. Talk about how you experienced the local culture while abroad.
  
The local culture I experienced in Seville was eye-opening and exciting. One of my favorite things in life is food, so getting to experience Spain's famed tapas dishes was incredible. Being able to explore small servings of spanish tortilla, croquetas de jamon, and patatas bravas on the first day was a great introduction to the local cuisine. 
Another fun cultural experience was getting to enjoy flamenco shows. CEA provided students with an excellent showing of Flamenco in the Triana neighborhood. We were able to watch 3 performers show us how it's done and engage with them with cheers and applause. On my last day in Seville, my family and I located a free flamenco show in the central neighborhood. The dancers and singers put their heart into each performance as a crowd of all Sevillanos enjoyed it.

2. What was your favorite course while abroad?

My favorite course was ARCH 460- Architecture and Painting in Seville. I got to learn about why Seville looks the way it does today. Not only that, we got to learn a bit of history of the city through connecting famous painters like Velazquez and Murillo to the development of Spanish culture. Probably the best part about the class was the way I got to study. For our final exam, one of the parts was a walking final where we went around random areas of Seville and answered questions about the buildings. To study for this, I walked around the whole city with my friend, enjoying different Tapas bars as we strolled and pointing out key elements of the Seville architecture around us. We weren't confined to studying in a library or reading a book. Our class knowledge was all around us.
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Joan Komolafe
CEA MOJO Photographer
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John Lamb
CEA MOJO Photographer

Why did you choose to study/intern abroad?
Four months studying on a different continent? Did I mention that the fee is cheaper than the fee to be in Tucson for a semester? Also, the food in France. Yum!

Why did you choose your study/intern city?
I’ve been to Nice once in my life, and now’s my chance to become a local. I’ll find the quality options that are necessities in daily function. I’m from Los Angeles and Nice is practically the LA of France.

What are you most looking forward to during your abroad experience?
I am looking forward to becoming localized in Nice. I want to better understand European cultures and daily habits so that I can model myself culturally better in America. French people experience life just like Americans, except everything they use and revolve on is entirely different. I’m sure I’ll be able to tell more once I can call myself a local.

Fun Fact (hobbies, interests, accomplishment, etc.)?
Big entrepreneur guy. I enjoy new experiences and new habits. My favorite vacation will always be on a cruise ship.


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Jonathan DeMarco
Alumni Ambassador
1. How has your study abroad experience shaped you? 

My study abroad experience has shaped me in more ways than I ever thought it would. You hear of kids coming back from their time abroad calling it “life-changing” and you roll your eyes thinking “we get - you were in Europe,” but it truly is a transformative experience. I am so independent now, far more outgoing and willing to meet and talk to anyone. I am more confident than I ever was, I can plan and execute travel with ease, and I see more clearly now what is important to me in my life. My time abroad has influenced my career path as well. I know with certainty now that I want my job to include travelling, and not just office work. Not only is the life experience incomparable to what I may have learned in the classroom setting at my home university, I am a more versatile student now because I have learned to balance academics with travelling with budgeting with cooking and maintaining an apartment.

2. What would you say to someone considering studying abroad?

The way that we live as Americans, means that almost everybody you know will graduate with a degree and then move on to their full time job with 40 hours a week and two weeks off a year. When in life will you ever have the chance to spend between 4 months to a year in your destination of choice to truly immerse in a different culture and have the opportunity to do all the travelling your wallet will allow without consequence? It’s an experience that will shape who you are for the rest of your life, teach you things that 10 years of university could not, and let you find out who you really are and what you really want to do in life. It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity that I recommend without hesitation to everyone.
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Jordynn Dixon
CEA MOJO Videographer

Why did you choose to study/intern abroad?
I chose to study abroad in order to fulfill my desire of exploring creative and expressive courses while in college. In addition, it has been a goal of mine to explore the world. I am so grateful this trip will provide me with the opportunity to do both.

Why did you choose your study/intern city?
I chose the city of Florence for several reasons. For one, I felt Florence would be a perfect location to study art and to find the most expressive version of myself. Additionally, I feel Florence will offer me the "travel hub" I was looking for. I chose this location because I feel it will be a good location for traveling between countries during my stay.

What are you most looking forward to during your abroad experience?
During my abroad experience, I am most looking forward to learning the ins-and-outs of a new culture. I have always appreciated cultural foods, practices, etc. and this trip to Florence will allow for this on a regular basis. Additionally, I am looking forward to fresh foods and a more relaxed lifestyle (or so I have heard).

Fun Fact (hobbies, interests, accomplishment, etc.)?
I am a Nutritional Science major and have a burning passion for health, nutrition, and an active lifestyle. I love to be active, smile, and cook good food. Ironically, I am an ice cream addict, but how could you not be?!


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Julia Byker
CEA MOJO Photographer
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Julia Diehl
CEA MOJO Photographer
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Julia Griggs
CEA MOJO Photographer
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Juliana Wall
CEA MOJO Photographer
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Julie Van Der Karr
CEA MOJO Photographer

Why did you choose to study/intern abroad?
I chose to not just finish my degree with foreign language courses in my hometown and university, but to experience the language and culture firsthand in another country to optimize my time in school and get the most out of being a World Languages and Literature Major!.

Why did you choose your study/intern city?
I LOVE the cultural history, art, and dance of Argentina! It will be a honor to attend the University of Belgrano in Buenos Aires! !

What are you most looking forward to during your abroad experience?
I want to speak Spanish fluently with native speakers in my everyday life. I want to drink "mate" with them and possibly even take tango lessons there!

Fun Fact (hobbies, interests, accomplishment, etc.)?
I am actually a ballet dancer and also participated in an international yoga competition!


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Julie Vartigian
CEA MOJO Photographer
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Kaitlyn Reif
Alumni Ambassador

1. If you learned another language while you were abroad, what tips and tricks can you offer future study abroad students?

The most important thing about learning another language is to swallow your pride and to just practice, practice, and practice. Everyone says that submersion is the best way to learn a language, and it truly is. I 100% underestimated how difficult it is to learn another language, so living in Spain was a good reality check for me to realize how little Spanish I truly knew. To learn another language, you need to accept failure immediately, and I mean this in the best way possible. Accept that you are going to mess up, say the wrong words, and even forget words, but do not get embarrassed or discouraged. Making mistakes is part of learning, and you need to know that you are not going to be a perfect, fluent speaker right off the bat. Try, try, and try again. Do not be scared to practice another language because locals do appreciate you trying and learning. Many times, the locals were just as bad at English as I was at Spanish, so it was fun to try to communicate in one another’s language. Practice makes perfect, so do not be shy!

2. What was your favorite course while abroad? 

I surprised myself with how much I loved my archaeology class. This class was about the ancient societies that developed and thrived around the Mediterranean. I already love history, but as I mentioned, I initially did not know much about Europe. This class helped me with learning the geography of Europe and its history as well. As I traveled, this class helped me with the history of the cities that I visited. I honestly do not think that I would have enjoyed Athens or Rome as much as I did had I not taken this class and learned about the history behind these ancient towns and their people. My archaeology class was only about 20 students and was split with about half of the students being locals and the other half being study abroad students from many different countries. I enjoyed getting to know my classmates just as much as I did learning.

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Kamila Gardocki
CEA MOJO Videographer

Why did you choose to study/intern abroad?
I chose to study abroad because I have always had hopes of becoming a world traveler and seeing cultures different from my own. Having been learning Spanish since my freshman year of high school, I would really like to obtain a minor in Spanish language and I found the Madrid program to be especially immersive, one that will allow me to dive into the environment and learn everything there is to learn first-hand. One of my ultimate life goals is to become trilingual - I already have native fluency in Polish, which was my first language growing up. I have chosen Spanish as my third because it is such a prevalent language in the United States and I truly believe it is one of the most beautiful languages in the world. Learning new languages is an unmatchable art that challenges and sharpens the mind, and I knew that I would want to study abroad to do just this.

Why did you choose your study/intern city?
Spanish language and culture have especially fascinated me and have made a large impact on many aspects of my life and recreation. I've chosen to pursue a program in Madrid, Spain, because I have a deep appreciation for the people and the culture, and I hope to become fluent in what I think is the most beautiful language in the world. I know that through this program, I will have various opportunities to travel within Spain and visit culturally rich cities including Toledo, Granada, Sevilla, and Segovia. I am also very happy that housing through this program is with host families, because living with native Spaniards will give me an even greater chance of becoming fully immersed in the language and family-based Spanish culture.

What are you most looking forward to during your abroad experience?
I am very passionate about art and art history - I visit the Art Institute of Chicago often and I am already very excited to continue this hobby in Madrid if given the opportunity. When I visited Madrid two years ago, I was able to visit El Museo Nacional del Prado and got to see works by many of my favorite Spanish artists - Picasso, Velázquez, and El Greco. Not to mention, my favorite music to listen to is Spanish rock, including artists such as Juanes, Zoé , and León Larregui and I am excited to maybe attend some live concerts in Spain. Everything about Spain fascinates me, and I am absolutely thrilled to immerse myself in all of its art, dance, and food this fall.

Fun Fact (hobbies, interests, accomplishment, etc.)?
I love health and wellness - I am passionate about finding fun ways to cook healthy foods and creative outdoor workouts or activities.


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Kate Moo
Alumni Insider

1. What was your favorite course while abroad? 

I took two courses in Rome: one centered around engineering (Principles of Engineering Materials) and one culturally-centered elective (Art & Archaeology of Ancient Rome). Though I enjoyed the former, the Art and Archaeology course was definitely my favorite! The course was structured so that every class (except for two sessions) took place on-site at a museum or archaeological/historical location in or around Rome. In three weeks, we visited the Trajan Forum, Hadrian’s Villa, the Pantheon, Colosseum, Baths of Caracalla, Ara Pacis, Old Jewish Ghetto, Vatican Museums, and many more…all at no out-of-pocket cost at the student. The assignments in the class were also creatively-centered and focused on what each student wanted to investigate, whether it be a statue at Palazzo Altemps or an aspect of ancient Roman culture. In all, paired with a passionate and extremely knowledgeable instructor, Art and Archaeology was an immersive and highly effective course that not only taught the subject matter in a chronological and thorough manner, but gave us the opportunity to explore countless cultural marvels of Rome.

2. How has your study abroad experience shaped you?

Studying abroad for over a month in a foreign country opened my eyes to the richness and uniqueness of other backgrounds. Prior to my departure, my pre-conceived notions of Italy involved one of fashion, art, and food, but experiencing the country in both urban and rural, positive and negative settings helped me realize that such aspects of culture are really the ‘tip of the iceberg’. Beneath the surface of these superficial facets of culture are issues and notions of education, manners, ideology, economics, and the perceptions or treatment of the country’s past. Looking for such influential characteristics shaped my understanding of why other nations are what they are, it and drove me to want to learn more about the world’s other cultures. Additionally, though I wanted to work outside of the United States before studying abroad, my experience reinforced this desire. Living in an American college town, it can be easy to perceive the world, or at least one’s personal world, as the bubble of one’s own experience. Exploring Italy’s history and current events brought to light the interconnectedness and influences shared between other countries, and I wish to partake in this global sharing of knowledge in my future.

 

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Kate Nuelle
CEA MOJO Videographer

Why did you choose to study/intern abroad?
I want to learn how to speak French fluently and immersion seemed like the best way to do that. Additionally, I have always lived in the U.S., so I felt that living abroad would be a good opportunity to understand another culture and see American culture through a new lens.

Why did you choose your study/intern city?
I am interested in Paul Cézanne, who lived and worked in Aix. His workshop is even preserved as a museum! Visual art continues to be a big part of the culture in Aix, so living there will allow me to understand French perspectives on art and be part of a community artists as I create work myself. Plus, the environment is great inspiration for landscape paintings!

What are you most looking forward to during your abroad experience?
I'm a sucker for sweets of any kind, so I'm thrilled to be able to try new treats in Aix. I look forward to finding a few favorite pâtisseries and learning how to make some pastries myself.

Fun Fact (hobbies, interests, accomplishment, etc.)?
I love to take photographs and paint in oils. Museums are some of my favorite places on earth, and I am interested in becoming a exhibition designer. Also, I am always fascinated to learn how technology is changing modern life and listen to a lot of podcasts on the subject.


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Katherine Edmonds
CEA MOJO Photographer

Why did you choose to study/intern abroad?
I have wanted to study abroad someday since I was young. I've always had a deep curiosity for seeing the world and exploring it. Ever since my first trip to Europe in 2012, I knew I wanted to spend a part of my life there someday.

Why did you choose your study/intern city?
I had known for a while that I wanted to study abroad in Spain. My sister studied abroad in Spain two summer ago (in Pamplona), and I visited her there. I got to spend a day in Seville and fell in love.

What are you most looking forward to during your abroad experience?
I look most forward to getting out of my comfort zone. I am very much a reserved and set-in-my-routine kind of person. I look forward to experiencing something entirely new and getting out of my shell.

Fun Fact (hobbies, interests, accomplishment, etc.)?
I have played violin since I was 5. I don't get to play much anymore, but in high school, I had the opportunity to visit Europe three times to to tour and perform with my violin group. This deepened my appreciation and interest in Europe and cultivated my interest in living abroad.


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Katherine McClain
Alumni Ambassador

1. Why would you like to be an Alumni Ambassador?

I would like to be an alumni ambassador because I'd like to continue to be involved with CEA. I really loved all the people at our center in Sevilla, and they made my experience fun, and my transition to life there so easy. I am really appreciative of all their work, and I think it reflects well on CEA that they have such great people working for them. I'd also like to be an ambassador because since returning home, I've talked to so many people who tell me their reasons for not studying abroad, and it drives me crazy because they have misconceptions about the study abroad process, and I'd like to share how accessible it is.

2. How has your study abroad experience shaped you?

My study abroad experience has not only helped my resume and my performance in my Spanish class here at home, but it really changed me personally. My mom still tells everyone how proud she is of how independent I became while abroad. Before my trip, I would say I would be uncomfortable taking a trip on my own or exploring a new city alone, but now, I feel like I can do anything. I took a few trips on my own to Germany, Austria, the Czech Republic, and Paris. It was such a growing experience and I couldn't possibly explain everything I learned in this space, but in a few words, it made me more confident, self-sufficient, and it helped me to be a better problem solver. I definitely rely on some of the skills I learned on those trips back at home.
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Kathleen P Garrison
CEA MOJO Blogger

Why did you choose to study/intern abroad?
There are several different reasons for traveling abroad. The main one was simple for me. I can’t understand other people and other cultures if I don’t experience them first hand. It’s giving me the ability to further learn about myself while also gaining an understanding about different parts of the world. Studying abroad will also test my capacity to adjust to different environments and regions.

Why did you choose your study/intern city?
I chose Barcelona for several different reasons. For starters, the history of Spain. The second reason would be for the art and architecture there. The weather is definitely appealing, and in addition to that, it’s a lot cheaper to live there, plus the night life is enticing.

What are you most looking forward to during your abroad experience?
Going into college, I had so many expectations for myself. Going abroad, I don’t want to say there is something I’m most looking forward to. I think the experience in itself will be amazing, and I want to take it day by day. Obviously the food and the shopping sound good, but I really want to find the hidden spots that only locals know about.

Fun Fact (hobbies, interests, accomplishment, etc.)?
Fun facts about me: before I take off on an airplane, I listen to the same song and I’ve been doing that since I was 12. I love solving riddles on my phone when I’m bored. When I am super stressed, I bake, and I will bake literally anything. I love film, photography, and anything that has to do with the outdoors. Accomplishments? Wow, well, I work for a magazine where I am the lead for Content Creation, and I also am lead of Content Creation for another company. But my favorite accomplishment is my ability to eat a row of Ritz crackers without any water.


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Kathryn Farrell
CEA MOJO Photographer

Why did you choose to study/intern abroad?
I chose to study abroad because I love European culture. I think it is really important to travel and see other people's worldview and culture to shape our own. Studying abroad will give me that opportunity in a really impactful way.

Why did you choose your study/intern city?
I visited France in 2017 and felt an instant connection with the culture. The French Riviera had all the classes I needed to take, as well as all I wanted in a town. The French life, all on the Mediterranean coast: amazing!

What are you most looking forward to during your abroad experience?
I am most looking forward to exploring my host city while soaking up the lifestyle. But I am also looking forward to jetting off to amazing European destinations almost every weekend. I can't wait to make new friends and experience this amazing place with them.

Fun Fact (hobbies, interests, accomplishment, etc.)?
I have been a musician all my life, so I love singing in my free time. I am also passionate about photography and videography; I do some form of that almost every day. I like to read, sit at coffee shops with friends, and travel.


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Kathryn Theisen
University Partnership Coordinator
As a University Partnership Coordinator based out of Phoenix, AZ, Kate works closely with the rest of the University Relations team to support the formation of new university partnerships and maintenance of established partnerships. She also works with her team to identify how CEA can help each of our university partners reach their internationalization goals.

Prior to joining the university relations team, Kate worked as an admissions counselor in the Enrollment department, advising students from all over the country on CEA Programs. She helped students through the enrollment cycle and made sure they were confident and prepared to study abroad.

Kate received her BS in Business Administration and Economics with a minor in German from the University of Wisconsin-River Falls. She studied abroad in Edinburgh, Scotland, where her passion for travel and international education grew. Kate then returned to help students at her home campus study abroad on a variety of faculty-led and exchange programs all over the world.  Kate believes that studying abroad is an impactful experience that pushes students outside their comfort zone and teaches them how to learn in a totally new environment. She believes study abroad programs lead young people to gain many skills they can use in their careers after college graduation, and she’s proud to be a part of the team that helps them participate in study abroad.
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Katie Donahue
Alumni Ambassador

1. Why would you like to be an Alumni Ambassador?

I want to an Alumni Ambassador because I believe I could provide students with help and support for any questions/concerns they might have. Although going abroad is a scary thing, it is also the opportunity of a lifetime. I want to convince students, like myself, to be pushed outside their comfort zones and make them want to try new things. I think that every student, if they have the opportunity to do so, should study abroad. Chances are, something later along the line in life will stop you from living in a different place/country and experiencing a new culture. I do not want anyone to miss this opportunity. I also believe I could make peoples process of choosing an abroad destination for themselves way easier because I had a lot of struggle through that process. I love meeting new people and I think I would have a lot of positive energy when talking to students about my time abroad. I would love the opportunity to be an Alumni Ambassador!

 
2. How did you find ways to experience the local culture? 

It was not easy adapting the culture when I first was abroad. Due to the fact that I had never been to Europe before and was not sure what to expect, it was definitely a huge culture shock to me. After I got over the initial culture shock, I loved experiencing restaurants and places off the beaten path that weren't as touristy. It made me feel like I got a more authentic experience than just going to all of the basic places. I became friends with many students who were from the Czech Republic and I was able to see what life was like for them at their homes outside the city, and their apartments around the city.
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Kayla King
CEA MOJO Blogger
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CEA Fall 2016 MOJO Blogger
CEA Study Abroad Location: Paris
Home University: Point Loma Nazarene University
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Kaylee Phillips
Alumni Ambassador
1. What was your favorite course abroad?
My favorite course was Architecture and Painting in Sevilla because I learned so much more about Sevilla than I could if I hadn’t taken the class. Whenever I walk around, I feel like now I truly know the ins and outs of the city with all of its rich artistic history. For example, I know how the cathedral started off as an Aljama mosque and after the Spanish reconquest, the mosque became a cathedral. Mere tourists miss how special the cathedral is with all of its different periods of architectural styles. I can also apply this knowledge to other cities whenever I visit them. Even though this is one of my hardest classes, it’s my favorite because it has helped me connect with Sevilla and fall more in love with the city as a living learning classroom.

2.  Why would you like to be an Alumni Ambassador? 
I would like to be an alumni ambassador because I want the chance for others to go abroad with CEA and have life-changing experiences. I also would love to promote the internship program because it’s such an awesome opportunity to be able to study and work while abroad, especially in a country where you’re learning the language. I feel like not enough people know about the internship program and I think they are truly missing out!

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Kelly McKeon
CEA MOJO Blogger
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Kelly Tesoriero
Alumni Ambassador
1. What were ways you found to experience the local culture?

I frequented the same coffee shops and bodegas— in Spain, interpersonal relationships are of utmost importance, and I noticed that most of the shoppers or diners were friendly with the staff at both kinds of establishments. I emulated this and honestly ended up developing relationships with locals that I'll never forget. I am distraught about leaving my neighborhood Gracia; it has so many unique and local-run businesses that I've come to cherish.


2. How has your study abroad experience shaped you? 

Studying abroad has kindled a passion for travel in me that I suspected was there, but was never ignited. I believe that traveling and immersing myself in another culture has made me much more open-minded and willing to leave my comfort zone. Additionally, it has made me consider moving to Spain for a few years after I finish my undergraduate degree. I'm already considering applying to programs to teach English in Indonesia this upcoming summer. Living abroad has been made not only fathomable, but realistic to me after this semester.
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Kelsey Fredricks
CEA MOJO Blogger

Why did you choose to study/intern abroad?
I want to learn more about different cultures and gain a wider perspective on both the world and myself. The world is much larger than the United States, and I think that oftentimes people tend to forget that. I've heard from others that they have grown tremendously due to their study abroad challenges and experiences; therefore, as a lively and compassionate individual, I am eager to explore this vast and exciting world of ours.

Why did you choose your study/intern city?
I am from Irish heritage, if you couldn't already tell by my picture, so Ireland was definitely on my mind. I knew that I wanted to study abroad somewhere before I graduate next fall, but I just didn't know where. I went back and forth between other locations in England and Ireland for awhile, but I eventually discovered and fell in love with the bright and colorful location of Galway, Ireland. Galway looks absolutely beautiful and it falls right on the Atlantic Ocean, but it also has a lot of green scenery "like the Cliffs of Moher and Connemara Mountains" and is a medieval micro-city. I really couldn't have chosen a better location for myself, and I can't wait to absorb in the music-filled streets, Irish friendliness and this wild adventure as a whole.

What are you most looking forward to during your abroad experience?
I am mostly looking forward to the memories and friendships that I will forever have to hold onto, as well as the connections that I will hopefully make for my careers in writing and journalism. I am also excited to encourage myself to try new things and experiences, since this is truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience (not to sound too cliché or anything). I am currently not the greatest cook, to tell the truth, so this cherished time abroad will force me to make actual meals for myself, and not just simply microwave frozen food. The university I am going to also has a great reputation, from what I have seen, and I am excited to immerse myself into more literature. I have stalked the location of Galway on Instagram a lot, and I believe this could possibly be the next thing to take my breath away since I met Taylor Swift (or at least close to it).

Fun Fact (hobbies, interests, accomplishment, etc.)?
As mentioned above, I absolutely love Taylor Swift, and she even invited me inside her Rhode Island mansion, which is now my usual icebreaker upon meeting people, and this is my favorite experience in this lifetime. Apart from my status as a diehard Swiftie, I am a writer, and I mostly use this talent of mine to expand and enhance my “poetic prose” and journalistic pieces and styles. I also love running, talking with both strangers and friends (for hours on end) about life stories and philosophical thoughts, the smell and sound of rain (which happens a lot in Ireland, or so I've heard), and wildly dancing even when everyone is watching, which I encourage everyone to do more. Make the moves up as you go, and the rest will fall into place. I am so excited for this journey to begin already, and I hope that you have or will become encouraged to apply to study abroad somewhere yourself as well. The world is out there, just waiting for you!


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Kendall Bannowsky
Alumni Ambassador
1. How has your study abroad experience shaped you? 

Looking at how it will affect future careers is tremendous. Studying abroad teaches you many things for example patience, communication, time management, and much more. These are all things that are very important in the workforce and studying abroad pushes these attributes to the max. Personally I have grown so much. I have been able to travel to six different countries, and meet people from all over the world. I have been away from my family and been forced to find a new form of familiarity while abroad. Stereotypes have been broken and I have been able to see the world at its purest form. I did this completely for and by myself and have formed a stronger independence. I have also learned to take life less seriously and enjoy the things I’m surrounded by. Rather I missed my train or can’t understand the people around me it turned out to be a great memory and made my adventure much more enjoyable.

2. What are your best tips for practicing language while abroad? 

I studied German while abroad and I believe I was very lucky with the professor I had. He was always patient and made sure that I understood what was being discussed. I was the only American in the class of 5 and the only one that only knew one language. This was very intimidating on the first day of class and made me very apprehensive to continue on. In the end, my German class ended up being my favorite one and my whole class was very patient and nice. My biggest advice is to stick with it and study often. Create sticky notes to put around your apartment and section of a piece of your day to only focus on your language of course. Also, see if your CEA office has any native language speakers of the chosen language. I met once a week with an onsite staff leader that helped me.
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Kendall Bannowsky
CEA MOJO Photographer

Why did you choose to study/intern abroad?
I have always had a passion for travel and adventure. Study abroad is a great opportunity to combine schooling and cultural experiences together. I believe everyone should at least try to do it because you will never get such an amazing opportunity like this again.

Why did you choose your study/intern city?
I believe Prague chose me. When applying, my major was only open to three countries. The other two I didn't choose due to them being hot. Prague's weather, history, landscaping, and availability to other countries was perfect, and I could not say no.

What are you most looking forward to during your abroad experience?
It would be easier to ask what I'm not looking forward to. Besides the obvious things like food and architecture, I cannot wait to experience a new culture. I have only been out of country once and it was for a mission trip, so I was unable to really see what the whole country had to offer. With an experience like this, I will be able to make my own schedule (besides my schooling) and do the things that interest me the most. I also can't wait to meet other people -- whether they be locals, or my roommates.

Fun Fact (hobbies, interests, accomplishment, etc.)?
Hobbies include photography, cooking, hiking, and recently drawing. My interests include travel, dogs, and people. I love learning and expanding my knowledge of places and languages. I also really love National Parks. My accomplishments consist of winning state in mohair, winning first place showing sheep in San Angelo, and last semester I was student major at Chick-Fil-A.


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Kendall McKee
CEA MOJO Blogger
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Kevin Mooney
CEA MOJO Blogger
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Kristina Araujo
Alumni Ambassador

1. What do you wish you had known before going?

Before studying abroad I read multiple blogs on what to expect and how to pack efficiently, but nothing can truly prepare you for life abroad until you actually get there. One thing I wish I would have known before studying abroad is how fast the semester goes by. Before I left I was really nervous and second guessing my decision, I was questioning whether I made the right decision. I thought the upcoming four months would be the longest of my life. I was scared I wasn't going to get along with the people in my program, I was worried that I wouldn't like the food and that I wouldn't be able to get around with my poor French speaking skills. With all these worries going through my head I wasn't prepared for embarking on the most amazing journey of my life. Little did I know these four months would be the fastest of my life. Towards the end, I was wishing that I had more time to spend there. I would also advise students going abroad to keep a journal while they are there so they can look back on the many amazing experiences they will have.

2. How has your study abroad experience shaped you? 

My study abroad experience has shaped me in so many ways. Personally, studying abroad has allowed me to meet so many unique and different people from across the world. I have returned home with friendships that will last a lifetime. The bonds you create while abroad are unlike any other. When I was first touring colleges I never pictured myself as being the person to study abroad I didn't think it was for me. I never thought I would be able to live on my own for four months. I thought I would be too nervous and anxious, I simply didn't think I was mentally strong enough. As you may already know, almost half of Marist students study abroad at least once during their four years at college. Once I got to be a sophomore I started contemplating it more and realized it may be something I am interested in. I am so happy I pushed myself in the end to go abroad because it is the most amazing experience I have ever had and will look back on for the rest of my life. After studying abroad I realized how strong I truly was being able to travel all the way to a foreign country by myself where I didn't know anyone and didn't speak the language. This is an example of the personal growth that I gained from studying abroad. Studying abroad has also helped me career wise because I found it has been an interesting topic to bring up during job interviews. When asked what sets me apart from other candidates I am able to use my experience abroad as a talking point. This always impresses employers and shows how culturally experienced you are.
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Kylie Forster
CEA MOJO Blogger

Why did you choose to study/intern abroad?
For me, there was never any question about whether or not I would study abroad in college, and early on in my freshman year I declared a Global Studies minor to incorporate a global perspective into my education. I have been passionate about travel and have longed to see the world for as long as I can remember, and I believe that there is no better way to strengthen your understanding and appreciation for other cultures than by immersing yourself in them.

Why did you choose your study/intern city?
It honestly feels as though Paris chose me just as much as I chose Paris. Although I have been to Paris once before, I was only there for one day! I was able to visit the city on the last day of a two-week-long trip to Europe with my high school four years ago, and of all days to go, I was there on Bastille Day! I have been infatuated with Paris ever since then, and I admire everything from the art, cuisine, history, and just the atmosphere in general. A bonus of studying abroad in Paris is that it’s centrally located in Europe, so traveling to other countries will be easier as well.

What are you most looking forward to during your abroad experience?
I’m most looking forward to making new connections and meeting new people, whether they be other international students or Parisians. I also hope to get to know the country better and am excited to explore Paris and surrounding areas across France!

Fun Fact (hobbies, interests, accomplishment, etc.)?
A fun fact is that I know (nearly) every word to the musical Les Misérables, which takes place in France during the nineteenth century. I love all genres of music and in my free time I enjoy finding new artists to listen to and even writing my own songs!


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Laura Bastings
CEA MOJO Blogger
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Laura Claypool
CEA MOJO Blogger
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CEA Fall 2016 MOJO Blogger
CEA Study Abroad Location: Prague
Home University: Chapman University
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Lauren Amador
Alumni Ambassador
1.  What were ways you found to experience the local culture?

While, I loved Florence as soon as I arrived, I experience a great deal of culture shock. I was a bit uneasy about interacting with some locals as I never been to Italy or have any knowledge on the culture. About a month or so of being in Florence, I started to feel more comfortable and I started making new friendships at CEA. I remember eating at Trattoria Za Za and the waiters were all so kind and the food was out of this world. I remember crossing over the Ponte Vecchio during sunset and tears came to my eyes. My favorite part was getting cheese and crackers and eating on the Piazzale Michelangelo on the steps with all the Italian locals. I remember to this day that Florence was wrapped with beautiful music from people playing their instruments in the Piazza della Signoria. I felt like wherever I went in Florence, the people cared for me and everyone was so kind. The local culture really made such an incredible experience for me.

2. How has your study abroad experience shaped you? 

Before going abroad, I wanted to go into broadcasting. I loved writing and saw myself being a television news reporter. After I got back from abroad, I changed my emphasis completely. I now want to go into nonprofits or the Peace Corps. I love to travel and I want to put my time and energy into an a community issue that I care about. After being lucky enough to travel, I found that there are many people in need and I want to be that person to make a difference. Out of college, I hope to travel before going into my career. I found that I'm far more excepting of other people.
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Lauren Gioglio
CEA MOJO Photographer
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Lauren Krupczak
Alumni Ambassador
1.  How has your study abroad experience shaped you?

My study abroad experience has reaffirmed in me the desire to move abroad currently and immerse myself in new cultures. I didn't move to Prague to drink or easily travel to other places- I came here because I knew absolutely nothing about the culture and I wanted a chance to be a pure observer and assimilate into something beautiful. I was given the opportunity to see the world through new lenses, an opportunity I was never sure if I'd be able to have, and I am so grateful. It has allowed me to become more confident in myself, in trying new things, in solitary exploration, and has pushed me both academically and creatively.

2. What do you wish you had known before going?

I wish I would have been warned about specifically food-based culture shock. I ended up conducting research on the subject and presenting on t at the Reflections Abroad Conference due to how severely it hit me. I hadn't been warned about just how scary and confusing a new grocery store is and if I had been warned I not only would have known what to expect, but I could have prepared more. I find it so very interesting that we ask students what questions they have the day they arrive without giving them the proper amount of time to develop questions, so I wish I had known that it is ok to have none at the start and develop them throughout one's journey.
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Lauren Malestic
Alumni Ambassador
1. What are your tips for learning the language? 

DIVE IN! Do not be afraid of making mistakes, that is how we all learn. You have to let go of fear, it is silly and holds you back from a whole new world of experience and growth. Do not be afraid to interact with people. You might put yourself out there and trying it in a new language may result in you having a discouraging experience. Do not dwell on it, move on and use the experience for when you try again. Challenge yourself daily, but also be kind to yourself. You are learning and growing, not even French people learned their own language in a day, it is tough! But that is what makes it worth it! Push yourself and use all aspects of that local culture as gateways to be able to learn more about the language and culture. It all connects, so start at a point A, and take a small step each day, you will be amazed by your growth at the end of it. Read every road sign, practice with people your age, people not your age, waiters and baristas, French native-speakers and people that had to learn it like you. But overall, let go of fear!

2. What was your favorite course while abroad? 

My favorite course abroad was French culture and civilization. This course was dedicated to all the elements of why I love French culture so much in the first place. The class allowed us to not only expand our knowledge on the French, who and what they are and stand for, but also our American culture and why we are so different. The class did not negatively separate us by our cultural differences, but instead taught us the different aspects of the two cultures, and celebrated the diversity between them and that for just a few months, we get to immerse ourselves in a new world of this, with an open mind and clean slate! I not only feel like I know so much more about the foundation of France and Paris and their culture and language, but the class also taught me so much about why I love the culture so much, and why it is so special. I learned so much about myself in this course, as everything from our blog posts, to our papers and presentations were opportunities to look inside ourselves and check in with our growth during our time abroad.
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Lauren Peacock
CEA MOJO Blogger

Why did you choose to study/intern abroad?
I chose to study abroad because I love to travel and experience new things. I want to gain a global perspective from outside cultures, and studying abroad gives me this opportunity. I can't wait to get out of my comfort zone by living in a different country for four months.

Why did you choose your study/intern city?
I chose Florence because of everything the beautiful city has to offer: art, food, music, churches, history, etc. I am happy that I chose Italy, because I can now visit places like Rome, Venice, Pompeii, Amalfi Cost, etc. by just taking a train or a short flight. I am looking to see how people outside of America live; hopefully they aren't glued to their phones and love to adventure!

What are you most looking forward to during your abroad experience?
I am most excited about traveling! The world is so big and has so much to offer, so being able to explore just a small part of it is a dream come true. I hope to travel with my career and see how different people can be when we all live on the same planet.

Fun Fact (hobbies, interests, accomplishment, etc.)?
I became a journalism major after I tried stand-up comedy. I have always wanted to help people and I have always been very open and loud when I want to speak my mind. I was not the best at performing, but I did learn that I am very good at writing. The journalism major allows me to be a watchdog journalist, exposing the big and bad companies to tell the truth or write for a TV show, or both! I would also want to provide a platform for people to be heard that don't always get coverage by big news channels or papers.


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Lauren Rossman
CEA MOJO Blogger

Why did you choose to study/intern abroad?
While searching for the perfect college for me, I envisioned a traditional college campus less than a four hour drive from home. While I love attending the University of Delaware, I’m excited to tackle the challenge of living in a city halfway across the world! Additionally, I am excited to learn about how people my age live in other places including London, but also experience new cultures on weekend trips throughout Europe.

Why did you choose your study/intern city?
If I’m being completely honest, my love for London started with my love for One Direction. But, as I’ve grown older I love the proximity and convenience that London provides to visit other cities / destinations, the fashion and the wide array of food. Furthermore, while this may be an unpopular opinion, I love a rainy day.

What are you most looking forward to during your abroad experience?
I’m most looking forward to making new friends from all over the world. I feel as though living and learning alongside people who live differently than I do will teach me a lot about different cultures. I hope the friends I meet are up for weekend travel adventures, because I can’t wait to explore new destinations.

Fun Fact (hobbies, interests, accomplishment, etc.)?
My happy place is most definitely the beach. I’ve taken surfing lessons before, even though I am absolutely terrible at it. I’ve also pushed myself to try parasailing and indoor skydiving as well. While I would describe myself far from a thrill-seeker, I am excited to see what new things I’ll get to try while studying abroad while documenting it all here!


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Lauryn Huber
CEA MOJO Blogger
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Leah de Leon
CEA MOJO Blogger
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Lily Anderson
Alumni Ambassador

1. What ways did you find to become immersed in the local culture?

The Alameda neighborhood in Sevilla is rich with bars, cafés, playgrounds, trees, beautiful buildings, and most importantly, PEOPLE! So many people stroll down the large, urban boulevard while heading home from mass, eating ice cream from Freskura, playing with children or dogs, or chatting with friends. For four lovely months, I was one of those people. By enjoying coffee from small cafés, chatting with fellow customers, strolling the narrow streets, and learning about the history of the area, or walking with a neighborhood friend and his dog, I was able to feel like part of the beautiful Sevilla tapestry. The neighborhood is young and hip, while still being rooted in deep Spanish tradition.

2. What was your favorite course while abroad? 

I was lucky in my ability to take classes at both the University of Sevilla and the CEA Center. My favorite course was taught by the wonderful Professor Álvarez through CEA. By analyzing the history, economy, politics and culture of Spain, we studied gender roles in present day Spain. No class taught me as much about the valiant liberation of the Second Republic, the atrocities of the Spanish Civil War, or the oppressive regime of General Franco. By utilizing all of this through a feminist lense, we learned about how women were involved and impacted. Additionally, Professor Álvarez went out of her way to expose us to cultural events in the city, take us on walking tours regarding women in Sevilla, and introduce us to a Syrian refugee who impacted all of us in the class with her beautiful story.

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Lindsay Gilman
CEA MOJO Blogger
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Lindsey Carl
CEA MOJO Blogger
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Lindsey Shivers
Alumni Ambassador

1. What are your tips for learning the language? 

While I was studying abroad, I took an Advanced French course. The course was difficult but taking a foreign language course in another country is an incredible experience. My time abroad allowed me to constantly practice my French, something I was rarely able to accomplish while here in the States. The biggest suggestion that I can give a prospective student is to utilize any opportunity to speak in the language you are studying. I was able to significantly enhance my speaking and reading in French by forcing myself to step out of my comfort zone and avoiding speaking English.

2. How has your study abroad experience shaped you?

As a result of my study abroad experience, I have become much more culturally aware, and much more patient. Prior to my study abroad experience, I had very little interaction with individuals from other countries and I was not entirely sure how to effectively communicate with them. After my experience, I feel much more comfortable communicating with individuals who are different than I am. In addition, due to language barrier that was present in some situations, I enhanced my ability to problem solve as well as enhanced my patience. There were many situations in which the individual I was speaking to was unable to understand what I as trying to say, as a result, we had to find alternative ways to communicate our thoughts which tested my problem-solving skills and my patience.
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Lois Charm
CEA MOJO Blogger
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Luca Micheloni
Housing & Student Services Advisor

Luca Micheloni was born in Marino, a small town close to Rome, and he graduated with a degree in Sociology and Social Sciences from the University of Rome, ”La Sapienza.” While at university, he worked within the hospitality sector, and his thesis was about the learning process within a working community connected to the hospitality industry—a great subject for a future Student Services Advisor at CEA!  

Luca moved to London to focus on his language skills, and a few months later, he won a scholarship through the Leonardo Project in Crete, Greece, where he worked as a researcher in the economic department of MaiCh. Luca considers interacting with people an important part of his life, whether personally or professionally, and he often seeks out this interaction. He enjoys travel with the goal of learning a new language and culture, and he finds Spain and the Spanish language fascinating.  

When Luca is not at work, you can find him trekking around the Castelli Romani area or playing soccer. As a child, he used to dream of being a professional soccer player, but he ended up being a professional AS Roma fan instead.  

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Mackenzie Brady
CEA MOJO Photographer

Why did you choose to study/intern abroad?
I chose to study abroad to diversify my education and to help enhance my second language. I love learning about and surrounding myself in other cultures and this was the perfect opportunity.

Why did you choose your study/intern city?
I chose Granada because there is not as much tourism there than in other Spanish cities like Barcelona or Madrid. This will help push me to use the local language rather than English.

What are you most looking forward to during your abroad experience?
I am super excited to make connections and friendships with the people I meet abroad. I’m very excited to immerse myself in a new culture and travel around Europe to see all that it has to offer.

Fun Fact (hobbies, interests, accomplishment, etc.)?
I love playing volleyball, watching my siblings play high school sports, and traveling.


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Mackenzie Pinn
CEA MOJO Photographer

Why did you choose to study/intern abroad?
I wanted the opportunity to travel and experience new cultures while also earning class credits.

Why did you choose your study/intern city?
I've been wanting to study in France since 8th grade, but Aix-en-Provence, specifically, seems like a beautiful town to reside in for my time abroad. Everything about it is a perfect fit for me!

What are you most looking forward to during your abroad experience?
Traveling around and trying new things from different cultures! And taking photos, of course!

Fun Fact (hobbies, interests, accomplishment, etc.)?
I've been interested in photography since I was eight years old. When I was 15, I accepted a national gold medal (for one of my pieces) at Carnegie Hall!


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Madeleine Collins
CEA MOJO Blogger
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CEA Fall 2016 MOJO Blogger
CEA Study Abroad Location: Aix-en-Provence
Home University: University of South Carolina
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Madeline Inoyue
CEA MOJO Photographer
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Madison McCormick
CEA MOJO Photographer
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Madison Rettew
CEA MOJO Photographer

Why did you choose to study/intern abroad?
Like so many students, not studying abroad often stokes discussions of regret. That seems to be a common thread, and I’m determined not to make the same mistake. Grateful for the opportunity to study in Antibes this fall, I look forward to embracing the French culture, meeting new people from around the world and visiting other European cities. I’ve even dreamt about returning home to the U.S. speaking French fluently! For whatever it’s worth, I’ve got the travel itch again, and I can’t wait to immerse myself as a local!

Why did you choose your study/intern city?
Having traveled throughout Europe since childhood, I wanted to choose a study abroad destination that wasn’t as popular as most. Also, I was mindful not to choose a big, busy city to avoid that touristy feeling. And although Antibes was a place I had never been, the French Riviera seemed rather intriguing. Prior to signing on with the CEA program, I extensively researched the small towns along the Cote d'Azur and fell in love. I was mesmerized by the beauty of the entire region and relished the thought of easily traveling to Monaco and Italy. Also, I liked the idea of attending an international university described as the "Silicon Valley of Europe.” That really caught my eye being a technology major. I’m really looking forward to arriving in Antibes this September to live among the locals and to experience the food, the culture, and the coastline. I’m confident my Antibes experience will present as more than I could have imagined!

What are you most looking forward to during your abroad experience?
I cannot wait to learn French in France while immersing myself in the culture!

Fun Fact (hobbies, interests, accomplishment, etc.)?
I was only 4 months old when I went on a plane for the first time! My hobbies include traveling, cooking, and playing tennis.


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Margo Ward
Alumni Ambassador

1. How did you find ways to experience the local culture?

Being abroad is much more than going to a different country and learning. It's about learning about their culture and traditions. While I was abroad, I experience the local culture by participating in cooking classes, going to sporting events, eating at local restaurant, and communicating with locals. Some of my favorite memories from being abroad is getting to experience the local culture because it's something different than what I am used to. Once you experience a different culture, it opens up your mind.

 

2. How has your study abroad experience shaped you?

My study abroad experience has shaped me by allowing my mind to grow and it has taught me to more independent. After traveling through Europe I am able to look past the US ways and keep an open mind to other people and other cultures that I don't think I would have been able to do if I didn't go abroad. By that, I think that can also help me with my future career by being more open minded, communicate with all types of people and have better people skills. Going abroad has many benefits that I could have imagined.

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Marley Lucas
Alumni Ambassador

1. What was your favorite course while abroad? 

My favorite course I took abroad was my Art and Architecture in Sevilla course. I think it was a combination of the content and my professor but I looked forward to that class each day. I was able to learn about the culture of art in Sevilla. I love being able to walk down the streets and know what type of archway is on a building or the history behind it. I learned a lot about Spain’s art scene but the history and culture as well since it is reflected in the architecture and artwork. Additionally, I enjoyed the class because of my teacher Dan. Dan is the type of professor who makes it enjoyable to come to class. Often times when he was describing something on a powerpoint he would just take us to see the building. This type of experiential learning is something you can only get abroad. I really enjoyed this type of class as I got to learn about the history of Sevilla and see it at the same time. Not only that but Dan’s style of teaching helped me retain the information better and he made everything fun, even the boring stuff.

2. How has your study abroad experience shaped you?

My study abroad experience has allowed me to personally grow in ways I never would have thought. I have seen my strength and patience tested many times, especially in travel. I have dealt with booking wrong flights, a lost train ticket worth $120, and extra baggage fees. As small as these inconveniences are they add up in stressful situations and you have to breathe and tell yourself that everything is ok despite the inconveniences. I also have noticed my creativity has blossomed since being in Sevilla. The magic of the city and the lifestyle of the Spanish have inspired me to create. This is shaping me to be who I am today but will also help with my career as the Communication field is driven on creativity. Lastly, this trip has taught me small life lessons that I will keep with me for the rest of my life. From accidently separating from all your friends at night to how to fall asleep quite literally anywhere this trip has given me experiences that will follow me forever and allow me to continue to grow.

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Marlyse Martin
Alumni Ambassador

1. What do you wish you had known before going abroad? 

I definitely wish that I would have known how supportive the CEA on-site staff would be before I arrived to Granada. On my way to the airport, I was extremely nervous about not getting the support I need if I had an issue. During my time in Spain, the Granada on-site staff was awesome, and they did such a great job accommodating our needs and were very approachable with any questions we had. They also were very engaging during our cultural excursions, which helped us gain an understanding of Spanish history and culture.

2. What was your favorite class while abroad? 

My favorite course was the history of Spain, which covered the history of Franco’s dictatorship to the present day economy of Spain. I love history, and this course really solidified my knowledge of how Spain transitioned from a constitutional monarchy to dictatorship, to the present day regression of Spain as a constitutional monarchy. I think in order to truly understand the economy, society, and politics of a foreign country, we must understand its’ history. History also gives us an understanding of society and how people function in relation to each other. This also helps us understand the cultural differences that are different from ours.

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Matthew Baldini
Alumni Ambassador

1. How did you find ways to experience the local culture? 

I experienced the local Czech Culture through the food, history, and people. The Czech cuisine is hearty, and some of my favorite dishes consisted of meat and potatoes such as their signature cultural dish Goulash. Others dishes I enjoyed including Svickova, a dish served with meat and bread dumplings in a creamy sauce and cranberry topping. For dessert, nothing beat Vetrnik. Since words cannot do it justice, I recommend try it for themselves. Museums featured prominently in my itinerary while abroad. The Czech painter Alphonse Mucha was popular, and for good reason. His larger than life depictions of Slavic tradition, called the Slav Epics, were a unique window into the past. The Charles Bridge is a national landmark for the Czech people representing when their capital city of Prague was the cultural center of Europe. Being able to walk across this bridge gave me a deeper appreciation for the Czech cultural identify. Interacting with the local Czech people was an eye-opening experience because their social norms are quite different than what I am used to in the States. They are much more reserved in nature. However, that does not prevent them from showing kindness and generosity.

2. What was your favorite course while abroad? 

My favorite course abroad was Prague Art and Architecture because it encouraged me to experience a side of the Czech culture I would not have other wise. I visited a local exhibit displaying the Czech artist František Kupka. Kupka started out as a Realistic style painter but progressively transitioned into primarily abstract paintings. The art exhibit show cased the chronology of his works. His most famous abstract painting the Amorpha, Fugue in Two Colors surprised me with how much human movement can be expressed through abstract figures. 

 

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Matthew Miklas
CEA MOJO Blogger
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CEA Fall 2016 MOJO Blogger
CEA Study Abroad Location: Shanghai
Home University: Cedarville University
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McKenzie McClanahan
CEA MOJO Blogger
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McKenzie Smith
CEA MOJO Blogger
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Megan Evans
Alumni Ambassador

1. What are your tips for learning the language? 

For my study abroad, I went to Granada, Spain specifically to study Spanish. After my time there, I believe there is no better way to learn or improve language skills than studying abroad! However, habits that a student forms during a study abroad can change their language-learning experience drastically. In my experience, staying in a homestay or finding other ways to spend time with natives is the best way to learn, because it means that you are practicing non-stop. One way to practice outside of a homestay or class environment is to find a language exchange -- I attended “intercambios” every week in Spain, and not only did I get to practice speaking with natives, I also met a lot of really amazing people from around the world!

2. How has your study abroad experience shaped you?

My study abroad experience has shaped me in more ways than I thought possible. Academically, I am a far better Spanish-speaker now than I was when I left for Spain, and I’ve learned to adapt to different academic environments and approaches -- a skill that will certainly help me in the remainder of my college career. Personally, I know that my eyes have been opened to different ways of life. Even in a developed, western nation like Spain, there are an infinite amount of small cultural differences that all come together to create a very different way of life; living in a different environment like this has without a doubt given me the skills that I need to adapt to different situations and cultures, and to thrive in these new, unique environments rather than just survive. I also had the opportunity to meet people from all corners of the world, and learn about cultures and religions that were different from my own -- both through my environment and my classes. All of this has provided me with a global perspective that will help me succeed no matter where I am -- personally and professionally.

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Megan Mercado
Alumni Insider

1. What was your favorite course while abroad? 

My Czech Language and Culture class! It was a class with all CEA students and the most brilliant professor who was a native Czech citizen and speaker. We had great discussions and it really helped open my eyes to all of the things Prague could offer deeper than the surface that I could discover myself.

2. What do you wish you had known before going?

The one thing I wish I would've known is how incredible the onsite CEA staff would be. I knew about all of the resources CEA provided us when we were still in the States, but when I arrived in Prague, I was greeted with the most generous and friendly people ever. They helped me every step of the way and I wouldn't have been able to do it without them!

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Megan Reid
Alumni Ambassador

1. What was your favorite course while abroad? 

My Intro to Italian course was definitely my favorite course for a few reasons. The main reason was my professor Mario. He made the class so much fun and he was a big fan of experiential learning so we would take class trips to gelato shops, the local market and more. In these situations it was really fun to be able to use what we learned in the classroom in a real life situation. I also really liked this class because it was fun to learn the language that I was hearing all around me.

2.  Why would you like to be an Alumni Ambassador? 

I really enjoyed my experience abroad and my experience being a MOJO. I love talking about my time abroad and I am passionate about encouraging people to take a semester abroad. I really like to have a completely honest discussion about the pros and cons about going abroad since I wasn't able to get that kind of talk before I left. I think it would have helped reassure me that I was making the right decision.

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Megan Reid
CEA MOJO Blogger

Why did you choose to study/intern abroad?
I knew it would be a great opportunity to see the world while also getting an education. It's a once in a lifetime opportunity and I just couldn't pass it up. There are so many things to look forward to that I would never be able to experience staying in the states.

Why did you choose your study/intern city?
I went to Rome two summers ago and absolutely fell in love with the city. There's still so much to see and explore. Rome has so much history and I knew the entire trip I had to come back, and so studying abroad here was the perfect solution!

What are you most looking forward to during your abroad experience?
 I can't wait to explore a new city and to live in Europe for a few months. I'm also looking forward to all of the people I'm going to meet that I would never have had the chance of meeting in the States. Experiencing a new culture is also very exciting,  I can't wait to just embrace Italy.

Fun Fact (hobbies, interests, accomplishment, etc.)?
One of my favorite things to do is kickboxing! It's amazing exercise and so much fun. I really enjoy working out and being with my friends. I also love to read and try to do it as much as I can.


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Megan Styborski
Alumni Ambassador

1. If you learned another language while you were abroad, what tips and tricks can you offer future study abroad students?

When I first arrived in San José, I think I spoke maybe three words in Spanish. I had studied French in both high school and college, but never any Spanish. I have four big tips for learning a new language while you’re abroad. First, try to learn some before you depart, especially key phrases and vocabulary. Second, bring flashcards with you from home and use them as much as possible. Third, practice as much as you can! It’s easy to talk to friends in your program in English, but try practicing your language with them instead. It also helps a lot to make local friends and practice with them. At first, it’s a bit hard and awkward, but the improvement will blow you mind, and you’ll make life-long friends abroad in the process. Fourth, if you can, use Netflix. At my destination, I watched in English with Spanish subtitles, and it did wonders for me! If you think that you’re ready for it, you can also watch in a foreign language with English subtitles, or just watch in a foreign language alone! You’ll be amazed at how much you pick up.

2. If you had 60 seconds to convince a friend that they should study abroad, what would you say? 

The first thing I would say is that it’s one of the best ways to kick off a life full of travel. It’s so cost effective considering how long you’re there and how much you get out of it. And for those of you who say it’s too expensive or who think there aren’t many options for your major, don’t worry. I have the answers! First off, yes, studying abroad can be painfully expensive. But it doesn’t need to be! There are so many different destinations and program types, and those factors can have a big impact on the cost. I personally couldn’t afford most of the options in Europe, but I still found a way to go! I barely spent more money abroad then I would’ve at home, and some students save money by going abroad. For those of you who have difficult majors, there are work-arounds! My major was in the health sciences, and I had a lot of difficulty finding an option that was both affordable for me and useful for my major. So instead, I used my time abroad to work on my minor and my honors coursework. I ended up getting an affordable experience while also getting an academically valuable experience. It’s completely possible on both counts. In addition to all of that, studying abroad does so much for you as a person. You mature in so many ways, from traits like confidence and independence to being able to live off a backpack full of bare necessities. You develop a global awareness and understanding that is completely irreplaceable and highly valuable for the rest of your life.

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Megan Vande Linde
CEA MOJO Blogger
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Melissa Greenberg
Alumni Ambassador
1. What would you say to someone considering study abroad?

I would say that the experience is worth having, not just to improve on language skills or have aesthetically pleasing pictures for social media, those are just a bonus, but to find out more about a culture and yourself. You learn how to live life completely on your own, and overcome challenges such as breaking language barriers or becoming more local as time goes on. You get to make friends and memories that will last a lifetime, and along with life lessons that you thought you would never have to learn. The program itself is inclusive and takes you on adventures all over the country while expanding your food palette, and also opening a door to numerous opportunities.

2. What are your best tips for learning the language while abroad?

Learning another language can be difficult at times, but the best way I encountered was conversing with locals as much as possible. While in France you are surrounded by French speakers, therefore the best way to learn is to step out of your comfort zone and immerse yourself in the community. I spoke to everyone while I could, even the unconventional "Uber" drivers, because they love to teach the language and help you learn since they know it is not easy. Also studying phrases you've never heard before or listening to songs with more conversational French is the sort of thing that helped me expound on my language skills. My French professor also took us out to learn in a more interactive manner, such as meeting natives at a cafe or learning how to cook in French. Overall, attempting to use the language on a daily basis despite the mistakes that may be made is the most efficient way in my opinion, because over time you become more comfortable speaking and can pick up on different slang and accents.
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Mia Farris
CEA MOJO Videographer

Why did you choose to study/intern abroad?
I have always been passionate about the French language and culture. Studying abroad in France has been a dream of mine for a long time!

Why did you choose your study/intern city?
From what I have seen, Grenoble seems like the perfect place for me. When I see photos, I can envision myself there. Before searching for a study abroad city, I had never heard of it, and that made me excited to go somewhere new and different!

What are you most looking forward to during your abroad experience?
My main goal is to improve my French language. There is no better way to connect with a place or group of people than by learning their language. I also want to fully immerse myself in the city! I cannot begin to imagine how amazing everything will be once I am there.

Fun Fact (hobbies, interests, accomplishment, etc.)?
My free time is mostly taken up by music. If I could spend my entire day playing guitar and writing songs, I definitively would. I also dabble in attempting to bake French pastries, being an amateur barista, and watching too many Audrey Hepburn movies.


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Micaela Brown
Alumni Ambassador
1.  What were ways you found to experience the local culture?

In my host city, I lived with a host family. This was my favorite part of the experience. My host mom introduced me to many of the traditional foods and even helped me find places to visit on the weekend. Aside from visiting tourists spots, I visited an indigenous community, the local market places, and even a museum. Another part of the local culture I engaged in was at the university my course was held. I was able to meet many local students and tour the city with them.


2. What was your favorite course while abroad? 

My favorite course was a Medical Spanish course. I enjoyed this course because I hope to become a doctor one day it will be very helpful. This is also my favorite class because while in Costa Rica I shadowed many doctors and medical staff. During this time, I was able to immediately apply what I learned and better understand the patients. This course introduced me to an area of the language I had not been exposed to. It gave me an in depth look of what it is like to communicate with and help Spanish speaking patients.
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Michael Watkins
CEA MOJO Blogger

Why did you choose to study/intern abroad?
I chose to study and intern abroad to learn new tourism aspects that are different from United States. I choose Barcelona because it is full of diverse backgrounds and it is a top tourist-attracting city.

Why did you choose your study/intern city?
Barcelona is unlike any other city. It is full of life and creates the perfect atmosphere for a person studying hospitality management.

What are you most looking forward to during your abroad experience?
I am most looking forward to the internship I will be working at Hotel Indigo Plaza Catalunya. I have more than a year of experience working in a hotel and will bring a lot of knowledge of IHG hotels to Barcelona.

Fun Fact (hobbies, interests, accomplishment, etc.)?
As a hospitality student, it excites me to experience new food & beverage restaurants and compare and contrast them.


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Michelina Nardone
CEA MOJO Photographer

Why did you choose to study/intern abroad?
Studying abroad would allow me to be fully immersed in another's culture, and this opportunity would enable me to discover myself and grow.

Why did you choose your study/intern city?
I chose Seville, Spain, because of its rich history and unique culture. I have always wanted to taste famous Spanish cuisines, such as tapas and paella. Not only is Spain famous for its tasty foods, but it is home to the Flamenco, a tradition that is unique to Spain. There are many more wonders of Spain that I am excited to explore.

What are you most looking forward to during your abroad experience?
I am most looking forward to improving my Spanish speaking skills by practicing with the locals. As well as improving my Spanish, I am excited to travel to many different European countries and make plenty of international friends.

Fun Fact (hobbies, interests, accomplishment, etc.)?
I am a Biological science major with a passion for medicine and helping others. Not only do I have a passion for medicine, but I love fitness, such as playing soccer, cycling, and running.


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Michelle Gross
CEA MOJO Photographer
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Michelle McGhan
CEA MOJO Blogger
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CEA Fall 2016 MOJO Blogger
CEA Study Abroad Location: London
Home University: Columbia College Chicago
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Miguel Martinez
Alumni Ambassador
 1. How did you find ways to experience the local culture? 

The culture in Madrid, Spain like was no other i have ever seen. I arrived in time to see the plethora of soccer fans pour in for the Champions League final, it was a sight to see thousands of devoted fans Spanish and other Europeans live and breathe the sport. The friendly Madrileños gave me a whole level of comfort that I did not expect to find in a country nearly 5,00 miles away, and let us not forget the cuisine. I lived for the Tapas, the Spanish tortillas and the amazing pitchers of Sangria. I would go back to Madrid in a quick heartbeat.

2. What would you tell someone considering studying abroad? 

The attentiveness of the staff would go out of their way to make you feel safe and good about your stay while abroad. CEA truly goes above and beyond for you to intake the culture of your travel destination. CEA was the first agency I looked at and the search ended with that first phone call, they made me feel calm about going abroad.
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Miranda Haasl
Alumni Ambassador

1. How did you find ways to experience the local culture? 

While abroad, I was able to intern at a local school. This helped me get to know some local people a little better. I also took plenty of time to go by myself to cafes and bars and just talk with locals. I truly adopted the local lifestyle, siesta and all. I tried all kinds of new foods and drinks, and pushed myself to say yes to all the experiences out of my comfort zone.

 

2. If you learned another language while you were abroad, what tips and tricks can you offer future study abroad students?

The biggest tip I can offer is to completely dive in headfirst. If you're living with a host family, practice as much as you can with them. I didn't have a host family but my friends did and I got to practice a little with them too. Also don't be afraid to just try it. You'll probably make some mistakes, but most locals and people are more than willing to politely correct your mistakes when you're making the effort to try.

 

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Mitchell Shafer
Alumni Insider

1. How has study abroad shaped you? 

My study abroad experience has shaped me in such a big way. I was able to travel to so many different countries and so many different cities and learned how to interact with so many different cultures. Personally I feel like I have such a huge advantage because of how many different people I was able to meet and interact with. I feel like it has made me very versatile and I can always refer back to my experiences when talking to and meeting new people. As far as my career goes, I think that it definitely looks good to companies when I start to apply for jobs. I think it gives me good experience and makes me stick out over some other applicants. Many people are impressed when I tell them I have studied abroad and I am always excited to tell people all I have learned. I absolutely think that it was a great decision personally and career wise to study abroad.

2.  Why would you like to be an Alumni Ambassador? 

Iwould like to be an alumni ambassador because I want to tell future students my experience and show them how great of a place CEA is. I want them to hear first hand how great of an experience they are about to have and how excited they should be. I don't want CEA to be a secret, I want to show everyone how amazing it was. I would also love to be able to give all my travel plans to future students and tell them where to find the best deals. I was able to travel a lot and I found some great places to go and also found awesome ways to save money. I am very personable and I think that I would be someone that students would feel comfortable talking to.

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Morgan McKenna
CEA MOJO Blogger
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Nate DeRidder
CEA MOJO Photographer
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Nathan Sweasey
CEA MOJO Blogger
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Navatnie Etchin
CEA Content Contributor
 
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Nia Livingson
CEA MOJO Videographer

Why did you choose to study/intern abroad?
My personal goal in this study abroad experience is to put all of energy into my passions as a future journalist. As a college student, it is sometimes hard to manage and balance the many obligations I have while pursuing my long-term goals. This semester, I am enrolled in 19 credit hours, interning with Alpha Media Broadcasting Company, mentoring students as a resident mentor for South Tower all while running my own Limited Liability Company on campus. While these commitments have allowed me to grow tremendously throughout my undergraduate journey, I hope that through this study abroad experience I am able to hone in on my academic abilities and maximize my true potential in the media field. My supervisor in my role as a resident mentor told me in a meeting this semester, “To do your best, you have to be your best,” which is a quote that was a deciding factor in devoting all of my energy into my capacity to learn and grow academically.

Why did you choose your study/intern city?
I am a broadcast journalism student participating in the Communication, Media Studies and Tourism Studies Program through the CEA Study Abroad Program in Seville, Spain, in the Fall of 2019. This part of Spain is known for its culture, monuments and artistic heritage; however, these factors are only some surface-level perks of being in this beautiful city. My intent in studying abroad is not only to build upon my journalism foundations I have been pursuing at USC, but to fully indulge in the culture and language so that I am able to learn Spanish and understand the culture of Spain. In doing so, I will be able to understand the history behind the media controversies that exist in the society today. I also plan to conduct my own independent study that focuses on “The Effects of Social Media on College Students and Their Attitudes Toward Beauty” and can integrate my findings in my role as a MOJO videographer.

What are you most looking forward to during your abroad experience?
I look forward to diving into my research project. I plan to use the findings of my research abroad to offer a diverse voice and perspective to the media industry, significantly impacting my study abroad experience for the better in allowing me to challenge my academic capabilities. My introduction to media through entry-level journalism classes have informed my understanding on media literacy, but my vehement desire to build on these media foundations rely upon opportunities such as this one, that connect eager students, like myself, to outlets that allow them to apply, practice and perfect these concepts through real-world experiences.

Fun Fact (hobbies, interests, accomplishment, etc.)?
I love to travel, eat and sleep. I have a beauty business at my home university doing eyebrows and eyelashes. I love editing videos (no surprise here)


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Nicole Francese
CEA MOJO Blogger
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Olivia Ferri
CEA MOJO Photographer
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Olivia Gutierrez Padron
Alumni Ambassador

1. What was your favorite course while abroad? 

I enjoyed all of my classes abroad because I feel like they offered very different learning environments and curriculum from what I am used to. However, my favorite was Management Communications. I found the professor to be very passionate about what she was teaching us. The class offered materials to be analyzed by people with all kinds of background. She covered all learning styles in the assignments so it was enjoyable to learn and retain the material. She also included a lot of self-reflection so you can relate your life and career goals to what was being taught in the classroom. I greatly enjoyed this class and would gladly take it again.

2. How has your study abroad experience shaped you?

This was a truly once in a lifetime experience that taught me not only life lessons but also taught me a tremendous amount about myself. I considered myself a resilient person but that was truly put to the test when being in such a challenging environment like being on your own in a foreign country where I didn't even know the language. I learned a lot of problems solving skills since you can't always access things that are easily available to you in the U.S. and because you are living with total strangers. More than anything I expanded on having an open mind. Taking in everything around me and being free of judgment to try and truly understand the culture and the locals. I feel myself being a more grateful person thanks to this experience. Career-wise it made me learn that I perhaps don't want to work an average office job. I might want to travel more and learn more about others. I have a pretty flexible major, communication/ marketing, so I think this might be a possibility.

 

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Olivia Hernandez
CEA MOJO Blogger

Why did you choose to study/intern abroad?
Experience new cultures!

Why did you choose your study/intern city?
I have previously been abroad and wanted to go back.

What are you most looking forward to during your abroad experience?
Meeting people from all walks of life that I wouldn't be able to meet otherwise.

Fun Fact (hobbies, interests, accomplishment, etc.)?
I climbed Colorado's tallest mountain last summer!


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Olivia Hunt
CEA MOJO Blogger

Why did you choose to study/intern abroad?
I wanted to ditch my comfort zone and have a once-in-a-lifetime experience!

Why did you choose your study/intern city?
I'm a French major, so I felt it was only right to study abroad in Paris, the capital of France (and the capital of the world, IMO)!

What are you most looking forward to during your abroad experience?
I'm most excited to make new friends and, of course, eat everything in sight.

Fun Fact (hobbies, interests, accomplishment, etc.)?
I love writing, pretending to be French, and hiking! I've also recently gotten into knitting -- it pairs really well with Netflix.


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Olivia Rietti
CEA MOJO Videographer

Why did you choose to study/intern abroad?
I wanted to expand my international experience and immerse myself in an unfamiliar environment.

Why did you choose your study/intern city?
I chose San José because it is surrounded by some of the most biodiverse lands and coasts on the planet! I've also been eager to practice my Spanish, and working in San José will allow me to do so almost every day.

What are you most looking forward to during your abroad experience?
I am looking forward to exploring the natural areas of Costa Rica both on land and underwater. I'm eager to scuba dive, hike, take photos and videos of wildlife, try new foods, and explore the city. I'm also excited to gain more confidence in my Spanish speaking abilities.

Fun Fact (hobbies, interests, accomplishment, etc.)?
I love anything that involves adventure: skiing, snowboarding, scuba diving, backpacking, etc. I even enjoy skateboarding and surfing, even though my only attempts at them did not go too well.


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Paige Romero
CEA MOJO Photographer

Why did you choose to study/intern abroad?
To gain professional work experience abroad & to really learn the culture.

Why did you choose your study/intern city?
I've been taking Spanish for 2 years and both of my grandparents were born in Spain. I feel connected to it in some way.

What are you most looking forward to during your abroad experience?
Improving my language skills and living in an entirely new culture.

Fun Fact (hobbies, interests, accomplishment, etc.)?
I published a book at 16, I love creative writing & poetry, photography is one of my passions, and I love being outdoors.


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Parker Ornellas
Alumni Ambassador

1. How did you find ways to experience the local culture? 

While abroad in Aix-en-Provence, I was fortunate enough to experience a rich and thriving French culture right in front of me and easy to partake in. The first way I like to experience any culture is through food and drink. In Aix there were many restaurants and cafes catered to English speakers, however, these types of places were not the type to offer cultural growth. I found that going to authentic French cafes and restaurants where people speak little to no English was the best way to engage in the culture and better my language proficiency. On the topic of food, buying from the local markets and engaging in conversations with the vendors made me feel right at home in France as well as yielded some delicious produce. 

 

2. Language Tips

Studying another language can be extremely discouraging sometimes. One day I felt I was improving immensely and the next I felt completely comprehensible to a native French speaker. When this happens it’s easy to succumb to the overwhelming urge to only speak English, but it’s essential not to give in. Only practicing another language in a school course is not proficient enough to improve. It’s extremely important to practice outside of the classroom setting. I was lucky to befriend two French university students who helped me with my grammar and taught me useful lingo. I also listened to french music and had designated times when my roommate and I would speak to each other only in French.

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Patrick Casey
CEA MOJO Blogger
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CEA Fall 2016 MOJO Blogger
CEA Study Abroad Location: Florence
Home University: California State University, Sacramento
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Peter O'Neill
Alumni Insider

1. What was your favorite course while abroad? 

I took a photography course while in Prague, and I still think it's some of my best work. Being in a densely populated city let me, as a photographer and storyteller, be free with my artistic ability. Additionally, I also took a videography course that had me document a formerly homeless musician and tell his story.

2. How has your study abroad experience shaped you?

My time in the Czech Republic really cleared up who I am, and who I want to become. My flaws were highlighted during my time, and as a response to identifying what I lack in, my work ethic improved. Since finishing my semester abroad, I am more confident in both myself and my work-capabilities.

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Peter O'Neill
CEA MOJO Videographer

Why did you choose to study/intern abroad?
As an aspiring travel writer, studying abroad was a no-brainer. I wanted to get as much travel experience as possible in school, so I could make it a profession.

Why did you choose your study/intern city?
After months of consideration, I picked Prague because it offered the best Journalism courses. I did more research on the culture and the area, and soon fell in love.

What are you most looking forward to during your abroad experience?
I'm big on exploration, so getting to roam the city and experience it as a local will be quite exciting.

Fun Fact (hobbies, interests, accomplishment, etc.)?
I worked on a few Hallmark movies over the summer. One with Melissa Joan Hart, and another with Jessica Ruderman. Both great experiences, and truly eye opening for those unfamiliar with the film industry.


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Phoebe Nielsen
CEA MOJO Photographer

Why did you choose to study/intern abroad?
I chose to study abroad because I love to explore new places and try new things. My older brother studied abroad during his time in college and claimed it was one of the best experiences of his life: he met new people, saw new places, and tried things out of the ordinary. I wanted to have a once in a lifetime opportunity as he did, so decided to go abroad!

Why did you choose your study/intern city?
I chose to study in Prague because I have never been to Prague before. I have traveled to other European countries with my family, but have never been to Prague or the Czech Republic. I also chose Prague for its historic sites such as the Charles Bridge and Prague Castle, which I hope to explore while there.

What are you most looking forward to during your abroad experience?
I am most looking forward to meeting new people and exploring different cultures. I hope to meet other CEA students as well as locals. I’m excited to meet people from different countries and create a network of friendships across Europe!

Fun Fact (hobbies, interests, accomplishment, etc.)?
I was born and raised in Denver, Colorado and love to ski. Although I wanted to go out of state for college, I love the close proximity Denver has to the mountains. Going to school far from home has made me appreciate Colorado and the opportunities I had growing up so close to mountains.


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Quinn Kanner
CEA MOJO Blogger
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Rachael Satz
Alumni Ambassador

 1. How did you find ways to experience the local culture? 

While I was abroad, I experienced the local culture by getting involved in the activities that CEA offered. I did the AICAP activities: Intercambio Español, Hidden City Tour, Reshaping The City, and Changemakers. I also experienced the local culture on my own by going to the Palo Alto Market and interacting with locals in general.

 2. If you had 60 seconds to convince a friend that they should study abroad, what would you say? 

 I would tell them that CEA is the best program to do because they offer you free activities to experience Barcelona in a different perspective, the apartments they give you are SUPER nice and they honor your roommate requests, the CEA center is very nice and is close to the main part of Barcelona, they are quick to respond and help you with any issues you might have while studying abroad, and they offer you an $1,000 dollar flight voucher that can be used towards your flight to Barcelona or any trips that you might do while in Barcelona.

 

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Rachel Roberts
Alumni Ambassador
1. What would you tell someone considering studying abroad? 


Even if you only possess an inkling of inspiration to study abroad, you should dive in. You don’t have an opportunity to learn something new every day, let alone learn from a culture completely different than your own. There are commonalities, mannerisms, and traditions that are foreign to the ear and mind, but you can only begin to understand them by living somewhere bigger than yourself. A piece of my heart will forever remain in Prague from the time I have spent here, and I wish for everyone to be able to have a home away from home in this sense. I have also had the pleasure of meeting some of the most incredible and unique people. Only you can make the choice to expand your horizons to these lengths.

2.  How has your study abroad experience shaped you?

Despite my study abroad experience shaping me through both my personal and professional life, I believe the biggest impact has been on a personal level. By diving into a culture completely different than my own, I have learned how strong I am as an individual. This experience has carved me as an independent adult capable of making hard decisions for myself with any support. I believe this entire trip will impact the way I carry myself for the rest of my life.
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Rebecca Monroe
Alumni Ambassador
1. What was your favorite course while abroad? 

My favorite course abroad, Jewish Prague, allowed me to visit important Jewish sights and experience the culture first hand. The Jewish history and presence in the Czech Republic had a significant impact on my decision to study in Prague. While I am not religiously Jewish, my Grandmother and Mother are Jewish, and I have grown up learning many of the traditions. I wanted to better understand Jewish culture, and the history of the people I often identify with. Throughout the quarter my class went on trips to the Jewish Museum, multiple synagogues, a concentration camp, and a traditional Jewish restaurant. With every experience, I developed a better understanding of the way the Jewish people lived in Prague during the Holocaust, as well as how their culture exists today. There is so much Jewish history all throughout Europe, and by living in Prague and taking the course Jewish Prague, I was able to better connect to my Jewish roots.


2.  How has your study abroad experience shaped you?

Studying abroad has provided me with a new sense of confidence and independence. When first deciding to study abroad, I knew that I wanted to go by myself. While this idea was both terrifying and exciting, I knew I had made the right decision when I stepped onto the plane. During the first few days in Prague I made friends with students in the program, and eventually I even became friendly with the locals. Living in a foreign city is an empowering, inspiring feeling. I faced challenges everyday, from overcoming language barriers, navigating the transportation systems, or even losing my wallet. Each of my experiences abroad contributed to my overall growth, and taught me more about the person I want to be. My time abroad has provided me with a new perspective, one that is eager to learn about different cultures, meet new people, and explore more of the world. I will always appreciate Prague for showing me that I have the power to live the life I desire.
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Richard Rhodes
Alumni Ambassador

1. How has your study abroad experience shaped you? 

My language skills of Spanish and Catalan have both greatly increased from my stay abroad. Learning about the history of España helps me to be a more global citizen and get outside of the huge box that is the USA. From my cinema class, we were able to talk about the cultural feelings and movements that were reflected in movies throughout the past hundred years or so in España. Both of my classes at CEA both really changed my life by exposing me to completely new information. I've made friends here that I will keep in touch with for a long time and that I could possibly see again if I come back. Being able to live in a totally different culture has made a larger impact than I ever would have thought. Having never taken much public transport before coming to Barcelona, it is weird when I take public transport in another country because I don't say something like bon dia to the bus driver when entering.


2. Why would you like to be an Alumni Ambassador?

I have enjoyed my time here in Barcelona so greatly and I would love to be able to make the study abroad dream come true for other students. I like to inform people about useful information and to help to make things run smoothly. I have studied a lot of computer coding which, a large portion of the time, involves changing pieces of the code to make programs work better or more efficiently. This is still how my brain works so I love to help people fix any problems they have or give them tips to make them more efficient. From living quite a local life here in Barcelona this semester, I think I could really help students wanting to come here especially. I would love to be able to help students explore more cultures and languages, which are both passions of mine.

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Riley Hubbard
CEA MOJO Videographer

Why did you choose to study/intern abroad?
I wanted the opportunity to grow my professional experience while also diving into a new culture and country.

Why did you choose your study/intern city?
The Irish people. I wanted to meet amazing people who are nice and share the same love of humanity as I do.

What are you most looking forward to during your abroad experience?
I'm most looking forward to building relationships that will stay with me for the rest of my life and traveling to places I've never been to before. I want to connect with locals and make friends who are also studying abroad.

Fun Fact (hobbies, interests, accomplishment, etc.)?
I am an international shuffleboard champion. When I was 14 years old, I competed in Germany on an International Youth Shuffleboard team and our team placed 3rd out of 15 other Nations and teams.


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Rohanna Foote
Alumni Ambassador
1.  How has your study abroad experience shaped you?  

Studying abroad this summer in Southern France was by far the best experience of my life. Though I was there for only a short 6 weeks, I believe that this opportunity has allowed me to find new interests, examine new perspectives, gain life experience, as well as gain global connections while being able to demonstrate by leadership skills. I can confidently say that studying abroad has helped to grow my cultural footprint, and has made me a more open and healthy well-rounded individual. In those 6 weeks, I was able to interact and work with people from other countries, understand the layers and intricacy of global issues, and have greater intercultural learning. I believe that those are things that are learned through practice and experience. Because of how meaningful my experience abroad was, I am currently working towards moving and starting a career in France.

2. What do you wish you had known before going abroad?

One of the things that I wish I had known before studying abroad is to take in every experience, because it all flies by so fast. The most important and strategic thing that I wish I had known was the importance of budgeting, spending smart and keeping track of the money that you spend. When you are in a new country, it is easy to get excited and a little carried away with your money. If you create a budget of how much money you would like to spend on food, shopping, travel, and miscellaneous, you can avoid overspending. Being prepared and organized with your money can make it easier to plan where you want to go and activities you want to do. For example, if you decide to travel while you are abroad, knowing how much money you have to spend on that trip will determine the arrangements you make when it comes to hotels, transportation, site seeing, etc.
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Rosetta Sadewasser
Alumni Insider

1. What do you wish you had known before going? 

While I was going to study abroad to be more independent, I wish I had known that it did not mean being alone. The roommate matching helped me find my best friends, people that I felt comfortable travelling the world with and spending nights exploring new cities. We leaned on each other for support while adjusting to culture shock differently. It was easy to get to know people in my classes because they were small and very interactive. Being at a local university helped me get to know people from all types of backgrounds and learn even more from others. I continue to talk to the life- long friends I made, and hopefully we will be able to visit Prague together again.

2. How has your study abroad experience shaped you?

I asked a friend while studying abroad what her first impression of me was and she told me confident, which took me by surprise. Typically, I am very shy and keep to myself, but what she saw was someone who stood up for their opinions and beliefs. Studying abroad helped me find my voice and confidence in my own skin that I did not know I had. I gained the independence I was looking for from traveling by myself from the first time and thoroughly understanding a new, foreign city. I was also very humbled from learning how to adapt to another culture and try to fit in to the local community. It took lots of observing and understanding others to get a sense of how to acclimate to my new surroundings. I feel more comfortable adapting to new situations and learning to problem solve as obstacles come up. I am aware of how my actions affect others and realize I would not be able to achieve as much from staying in the same environment.

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Roxanne Anthony
Admissions Counselor
Outside of work, you can probably find me outside. I’m an avid rock climber, hiker, camper, sleep-under-the-stars kind of a gal. My parents are total environmentalists who helped foster my love of the outdoors and adventure early on in life. I am an Arizona native and can never seem to get enough of what the state has to offer, but I like to keep a good balance of being here and being away. I’ve been lucky enough to do a lot of in country travel, hitting about 50% of the states, and some out of country travel as well.

In college, I spent summers and spring breaks in Mexico and parts of ski season in Canada. My junior year, I traveled to Ireland with a group of my sorority sisters and had the time of my life! We romped around castles, kissed the Blarney Stone, held tons of baby sheep, and dressed head to toe in green for St. Patrick’s Day. I even won a contest to see who had the best Irish accent. As a speech and hearing sciences major, I had a bit of a leg up on the competition. My favorite memory was towards the end of our trip while on an excursion to the Aran Islands. These islands have very few beaches and mostly meet the ocean by way of towering cliffs. In true form, I decided that I needed to hang off the cliffs for a photo op. This horrified my sisters, but the picture was well worth it! My trip to Ireland brought me closer to the friends I went with, but I also left with new friends from around the U.S., Ireland, and a few other countries as well.

I believe there is a sort of raw vulnerability that experiencing the world brings out in people. It allows us to tap into a part of who we are that we may have never found otherwise. As an Admissions Counselor at CEA, I'm the first point of contact for students who are interested in studying abroad. I provide instruction and advice to assist students in choosing the perfect program for them based on their wants and needs. And of course, I’m here to answer any questions my students may have!

Fun Fact: I earned my Bachelor of Science in Speech and Hearing Sciences at Arizona State University (Go Devils!), and I am current pursuing my Master of Business Administration at Grand Canyon University!
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Rubie Gonzalez-Parra
Alumni Ambassador

1. How has your study abroad experience shaped you? 

My study abroad experience has taught me how lucky I am to have grown up in a diverse area, but most importantly, how to have tough conversations with people who did not grow up as I did. I found myself comparing the Spanish and American institutions, cultures, and values. I also saw how Spanish culture integrated with my own Latinx heritage, things I had taken for granted as simply our culture, but then seeing how it has evolved into something new or different.

2. What was your favorite course while abroad? 
My favorite course was my Spanish grammar class. For me, that was the first class where I felt I had the greatest diversity. I met different students that were from other Latin heritages, not just my own. They were all from other states other than California. I felt recognized and understood in that class because these were the students who shared similar life experiences as me in different corners of the world. We spoke the same language, and yet, had our own distinct characteristics.


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Ryan Mellin
CEA MOJO Photographer
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Samantha Davies
CEA MOJO Photographer

Why did you choose to study/intern abroad?
I want to learn Spanish, travel the world, explore something new and have the best semester of my life!

Why did you choose your study/intern city?
I chose Barcelona because I want to be fluent in Spanish, and I have always been intrigued by Spain!

What are you most looking forward to during your abroad experience?
Living in the amazing country of Spain!!

Fun Fact (hobbies, interests, accomplishment, etc.)?
I love sports, photography, traveling, and making new friends!


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Samantha Yeager
CEA MOJO Photographer
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Sara Doss
Alumni Ambassador

1. What was your favorite course while abroad? 

While in Barcelona, I took an entrepreneurship class and it has to be my favorite class I have taken in my college career. My teacher, Carlos, was an amazing teacher and sparked my interest in a career in entrepreneurship. I learned what being an entrepreneur truly meant and how I can open my own business in the future. He also helped to want to pursue a specialization in International Business. I am so glad I took this class abroad so that I could see the aspects of business in a country outside of the United States.

2. How has your study abroad experience shaped you?

My study abroad career has helped me shape my wants for a career by showing me that there is more to this world that the United States. It made me become more independent. It has helped me to open my options and seek jobs in other states/countries.

 

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Sarah Carrillo
CEA MOJO Blogger

Why did you choose to study/intern abroad?
I chose to study abroad because I wanted an experience outside of New York City. If anyone is given the opportunity to travel, I always think they should take it! Being able to live and learn in Paris is a dream.

Why did you choose your study/intern city?
New York

What are you most looking forward to during your abroad experience?
I am looking forward to fully immersing myself in Parisian culture. From food to fashion, I am excited for all of it!

Fun Fact (hobbies, interests, accomplishment, etc.)?
I have a huge interest in fashion and beauty. I love trying out different makeup looks and exploring all types of fashion trends.


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Sarah Franco
Alumni Ambassador
1. What were ways you found to explore the local culture?

I loved Florence, Italy. It was a very lively city filled with many things to do and see. I took full advantage of my summer abroad. I enjoyed the easy going nature of the Italian culture, especially the food and lifestyle there. I interned at a cooking school and it had international customers with whom I was able to interact with and share travel experience with. Florence was very international which helped when making new friends. The food and wine class I took helped me learn about the culture even more than I would have one my own.


2. How has your study abroad experience shaped you? 

I now know exactly what I want to do, now that I have been abroad. It helped me refocus my goals, and since I didn't know anyone one going into the program, it helped me learn how to do things on my own and made me more eager to leave my comfort zone, meet others, and branch out.

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Sarah Hubbard
CEA MOJO Photographer
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Sarah Shearer
CEA MOJO Blogger in Aix-en-Provence, France
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CEA Spring 2017 MOJO Blogger
CEA Study Abroad Location: Aix-en-Provence, France
Home University: University of Pittsburgh
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Sarah Underwood
CEA MOJO Blogger
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CEA Fall 2016 MOJO Blogger
CEA Study Abroad Location: Madrid
Home University: Belmont University
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Sarah Woods-Killam
Alumni Insider
1. What ways did you find to experience the local culture?

Being in Argentina was an amazing, unforgettable experience. I feel that I was able to immerse myself in the culture by constantly speaking Spanish with anyone I could outside of my classes (taxi drivers, people on the bus, shop keepers, etc.). Additionally, I went to as many Tango classes and Milongas (social dancing) as I could, which helped me improve as a dancer as well as learn about the history and beauty of Tango. I engorged myself on carne asado, empanadas and dulce de leche which are common foods in Buenos Aires. I chose to stay with a host and I know that I will always be in contact with her because she's wonderful. I walked around as many neighborhoods in Buenos Aires as I could to learn about the beautiful city.


2. What do you wish you had known before going?
 
I wish I had known how big of a city Buenos Aires was. I didn't have any particular notions about how I was going to get around considering I wanted to save as much money as possible, but the city has great public transport. It just means that I had to be careful about including travel time whenever I needed to get somewhere. I also wish I had brought a raincoat for myself because I didn't realize how rainy it could be during the 'winter' there (which is in June/July/August). 


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Savanna Lenker
Alumni Ambassador

1. If you learned another language while you were abroad, what tips and tricks can you offer future study abroad students?

I would tell prospective students to:  

 1) Don't get overwhelmed, professors are understanding and just want to push you to step out of your comfort zone to practice the language. 

2) Don't be afraid to ask questions, your professor and host family will be very willing to help you. 

 3) Practice the language whenever you can. Whether it is saying hello to a stranger in passing or talking to your taxi drivers, all of these conversations help increase your confidence in your language abilities. 

 4) It's okay to make mistakes. Nobody is perfect and making mistakes is part of learning every language.

 

2. If you 60 seconds to convince a friend that they should study abroad, what would you say?

Studying abroad with CEA was the whole package. We had a small group of students that bonded over the course of our time together. I had an amazing host family experience, which allowed me to further experience the food and culture of Costa Rica. The CEA facility was an amazing resource to get school work done, hang out with friends, and cook our lunches. The built in field trips were well planned and allowed us to experience more unique places. The communication before I left the U.S. was prompt and straight forward. 

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Shamari Pitts
Alumni Ambassador

1. What was your favorite course while abroad? 

My favorite course abroad was Spanish 2051, “Spanish for Healthcare Professionals.” I enjoyed this course a lot because it was relevant both inside and outside of the classroom. The material learned in this course was health terms and vocabulary in the Spanish language which consisted of hospital terms, the body and its illnesses/diseases, and common phrases and dialogue that healthcare professionals would use to speak with patients and their families. Everything I learned in Spanish 2051 was relevant to the outside world. I realized this during my second rotation at the local Hospital Clínica Bíblica. I shadowed a general physician while he was seeing a fourteen year old patient who was feeling under the weather. While I stood in the room as he was checking her, I got to listen in on the conversation between the doctor, the patient, and her mother. I heard so many of the words and phrases (of cold and flu symptoms) I was studying and memorizing that same week for an upcoming quiz. The real life dialogue that occurred during my rotation gave me confirmation that my Spanish 2051 class was very relevant and helping me learn a lot.

2. How has your study abroad experience shaped you?

My study abroad experience has shaped me today both career-wise and personally. In relation to my future career as a healthcare professional, studying abroad in (especially) a Spanish speaking country helped give me insight to the possibility of bridging the gaps in the health/medical field. In the U.S., many Spanish-only speakers are reluctant to seek the proper health care or are not treated with the most quality care due to the lack of understanding of language and culture from healthcare professionals. Studying abroad has advanced me in my goals of helping to bridge these gaps. Personally, my experience has shaped me because I am now a more open-minded and culturally aware young woman. I became more open minded and culturally aware after being in environments I was not used to and engaging in conversation and interaction with local people of my study abroad destination.
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Shannon Gage
Alumni Ambassador

1. What are your tips for learning the language? 

When I arrived abroad, I was pretty confident in my Spanish. I expected communication to be easy—I’d just focus on fine-tuning my skills. I was in for a surprise: From the moment I arrived, the Andalusian accent had me questioning whether I knew how to speak Spanish at all. 

The most helpful resource for language learning I had was my host mom. I am so grateful for our Spanish mealtime conversations. They taught me how to understand the accent and provided me with an opportunity to practice my Spanish every day. The fact that she doesn’t speak English made it even more helpful—communicating in Spanish was a necessity, not an option. 

Being surrounded by the difficult-to-understand accent took a toll on my confidence sometimes. That’s why talking to American friends from my program in Spanish was so important. We’d start speaking Spanish while walking to class or hanging out. It provided a non-judgmental, low-stakes environment in which to practice speaking and listening, and it was fun, too. 

I found my Spanish suffered the most when I traveled to non-Spanish-speaking countries over the weekend. Even though I’d only go a few days without being exposed to Spanish, I found my Spanish was much better after a weekend in Barcelona than a weekend in London. Spain has an abundance of beautiful and interesting places to visit that I would highly recommend to anyone seeking to improve their language skills.

2. What was your favorite class while abroad? 

I was a bit apprehensive about having to take a language or culture elective abroad, since it wouldn’t count as credit for my major or minor. But to my surprise, The Culture of Food and Wine in Spain was the most relevant and enjoyable class I took.

I mistakenly expected the class to be more cooking and tasting than history lectures, but I was pleasantly surprised to find I actually enjoyed learning about the gastronomical history of Spain. I saw the real-life applications of what I was learning in class everywhere. Little by little, everything from the food my host mom cooked to the stories behind popular Spanish idioms started to make sense.

The hands-on aspects of the course added an extra layer of depth to the experience. We got to cook dishes, taste foods and visit sights that had to do with what we were learning about. I don’t think I’ve ever had a class so tangibly interactive or so interconnected with my daily life.

It was cool to live in Seville and travel around Spain this semester. But it was even cooler to know how the amazing things I saw and ate came to be.

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Shirley Mak
CEA MOJO Blogger
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Simran Heer
CEA MOJO Blogger
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CEA Fall 2016 MOJO Blogger
CEA Study Abroad Location: French Riviera
Home University: University of Arizona
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Stella Bradley
Alumni Ambassador
1.  How has your study abroad experience shaped you?

During my time abroad, I have developed personally and professionally. My public speaking skills improved, which will be helpful for my future career. The main way I achieved this was by speaking at the CEA Student Reflections Abroad conference. I crafted, rehearsed, and delivered a speech about how vlogging while abroad enhanced my experience with culture, friendships, and overcoming challenges. That leads me to my next point; vlogging increased my digital editing and recording skills, which is a personal hobby of mine. While I was in Prague and other nearby countries, I filmed and edited my experiences into short vlogs that CEA posted on their YouTube channel. You can watch one of the vlogs here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GzzKdToppaE. Finally, studying abroad eliminated my fear of public transport. Public transport has always been an intimidating concept for me, but using it on a daily basis while abroad forced me to figure it out. Public transport is basically unavoidable in many parts of Europe, so I prospered from the “learn by doing” approach to using it. This could be considered a professional and personal development.

2. What do you wish you had known before going?

One thing I wish I knew before studying abroad is that you can’t compare your life abroad to your life at home. I figured this out towards the middle of my time abroad. In America, most of the time, I have a fixed schedule for my day-to-day life. I carefully manage my meals, workouts, studying, time with friends, and hours of sleep. When I first came abroad, I tried to align those aspects my life in Prague with the way it was back home. However, due to factors such as different class formats, traveling, and grocery stores in another language, it was impossible. Instead of biting all my nails off from the anxiety this caused, I took a different approach. Whenever I felt that feeling of “oh no, I would never do something like this back home”, I told myself it was okay and that this is an entirely different life for the time being. Eventually, those feelings of worry faded away and I learned not to compare apples to oranges.
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Sydney Schoeller
Alumni Ambassador

1. Why would you like to be an Alumni Ambassador?

I am interested in becoming an Alumni Ambassador because of how deeply I feel that my study abroad experience has shaped my perspective and future goals. For example, I was able to take a course in human rights and immigration and study the process and laws by which refugees have been brought into The Netherlands. In conjunction, I was able to meet people outside of my classes who helped set up a "buddy program" specifically for supporting refugees as they arrive in the country. I was able to learn about both the laws and reality of refugee immigration, an issue I had previously been interested in and am now seriously interested in pursuing as a career. My study abroad experience allowed me to gain this insight into my career interests, as well as gain a clear vision on a future pathway to pursuing these interests. I would like to encourage other students to study abroad so that they can obtain this career insight and clarity. Additionally, I believe that studying abroad forces immense growth as individuals encounter challenges. I believe that these challenges and experiences, such as struggling to communicate in a foreign language or navigating a foreign public transportation system, shape people in a unique way that is hard to otherwise achieve. Subsequently, I believe that these experiences are something everyone should encounter at some point in their lives, but particularly while they are in the younger stages of their lives. Therefore, I also want to be an ambassador to provide encouragement and support for people who are seeking an opportunity to grow and experience a new culture, but might have concerns about the challenges they may face.


2. What would you say to students considering studying abroad with CEA? 

One of my favorite aspects of my CEA study abroad experience was my site advisor, Frans. I met many international students who were either exchange students or were part of other study abroad organizations. Many of them often felt misguided, overlooked, or as if they weren't getting the most out of their time abroad. I never had this feeling. The help and assurance Frans provided is invaluable. He provided insight into the best events and places to go in Amsterdam, most of which were not frequented by tourists. In addition, through my conversations with Frans, I felt like I got a much deeper understanding of Dutch values and ways of thinking - a perspective I would not have otherwise had.  Lastly, Frans was a constant source of help. For example, he helped each person in our program get our own bike at an unexpectedly low price. When I had a mechanical issue with my bike, he immediately came to help me and organized an appointment for me to get my bike fixed.  I feel so fortunate to have had such a helpful, reliable, and insightful site advisor for the duration of my study abroad experience.
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Sydney Stocksdale
CEA MOJO Blogger

Why did you choose to study/intern abroad?
I chose to study abroad to be able to get a better understanding of a different culture.

Why did you choose your study/intern city?
I chose Costa Rica because of its history and the beauty in the native language.

What are you most looking forward to during your abroad experience?
I’m most excited for the food! I love Hispanic food and I can’t wait to have homemade tortillas. #yum

Fun Fact (hobbies, interests, accomplishment, etc.)?
Fun fact: I enjoy anything that takes place outdoors, and I love going on adventures.


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Tali Pilip
Alumni Ambassador
1. What were ways you found to experience the local culture?

I experienced local culture while abroad by making some of the Parisian customs my own. One of the really big things I was able to experience that I will try to bring back to the U.S. with me is their pace of living. In the U.S., especially coming from the Silicon Valley, we very rarely take moments to slow down and enjoy our days. When we take breaks from work or school, we stay at home or go out to grab a quick bite to eat with friends, spending a majority of that time on our phones. The Parisians, however, use their prolonged mealtimes to take a break from their days, and to really have those long, meaningful conversations that can last several hours after a meal is finished. I also learned how to be more independent, in sitting on the terrace of cafes, slowly enjoying a coffee, and watching Parisians go about their daily lives.


2. What was your favorite course while abroad?

My favorite course abroad was the History of Parisian architecture. It was such an interesting way to learn about and to visualize the history of the city, while learning about what the future plans for Paris are as well. My favorite part of the course was our weekly excursions in which we would visit a site such as the Notre Dame, the Louvre, and the Centre Pompidou. On-site, we were able to not only apply concepts that we learned in class, but also to experience Paris through its incredible architecture. As I was also taking a fashion class at the same time and spending a lot of my free time in art museums, it was extremely interesting to see the juxtaposition between historical periods and how their art, fashion, and architecture either complemented or contradicted each other.
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Tamara Saxman
CEA MOJO Photographer

Why did you choose to study/intern abroad?
I constantly crave new experiences and love meeting new people from different backgrounds! Even though I love my home institution, this will be a great opportunity to branch out, educate myself, and expand my worldview. I think one of the best ways to educate yourself and make the most out of your college experience is to study abroad.

Why did you choose your study/intern city?
I find Prague fascinating. It has undergone years of economic, cultural, and historical transformation that has resulted in a highly diverse and unique city. Prague is also known for its Jewish history, which will allow me to learn more about my own roots and religion.

What are you most looking forward to during your abroad experience?
I can't wait to meet new people from a variety of different backgrounds and learn more about their lives! I love hiking, so I'm looking forward to checking out some local hikes as well. I'm also excited to visit some of the incredible museums in Prague!

Fun Fact (hobbies, interests, accomplishment, etc.)?
I'm obsessed with mangoes. I once hiked the longest gorge in Europe. I have two dogs and two cats back home, and I miss them more and more every day!


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Tara O'Sullivan
CEA MOJO Photographer

Why did you choose to study/intern abroad?
Studying abroad is something I have wanted to do since middle school, since I have always had the travel bug. After doing a two-week exchange in high school, I promised myself I would go back to Europe for a full semester in college and really immerse myself in the culture. I am excited to explore a new city and get out of my comfort zone, and learn about a new place and about myself in the process!

Why did you choose your study/intern city?
I chose Seville because I love and appreciate the Spanish culture and more relaxed way of life, and also to further develop my language skills. My high school exchange was in a city in southern Spain called Almeria, and after just two weeks, I knew I needed to come back to Spain. Seville seemed like the perfect size, and I love how they have such an authentic culture. I definitely can't complain about the climate, either!

What are you most looking forward to during your abroad experience?
I am excited to explore Europe and experience so many different cultures firsthand! I am also excited to meet new people and push myself out of my comfort zone — there's nothing more exciting than knowing you have a 4-month-long adventure ahead of you! I'm going with as few expectations as possible, but am excited to see how it will all unfold.

Fun Fact (hobbies, interests, accomplishment, etc.)?
I really enjoy arts of all kinds — visual arts, performing arts, and music especially. I myself am a visual artist, mostly working with painting, drawing, and printmaking. I also absolutely love live music, and try to go to as many concerts and music festivals as my bank account will allow!


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Tayla Gaines
Alumni Ambassador

1. What was your favorite course while abroad? 

While abroad, I took Spanish for Medical Professionals and I loved it! Being that ultimate goal is to be come a physician, I find it most important to be able to communicate patients of all backgrounds so being able to be exposed to this information is very important to be. While taking this course I shadowed many different physicians at local hospitals so I implement everything I learned in the classroom.

2. What are your tips for learning the language?

Before going to Costa Rica I knew very little Spanish, but by the time I left I found myself to be a lot more knowledgeable. These are my 3 Tips on How to Learn a New Language.
1. Practice, Practice, Practice. There are literally so many apps that you can use to practice your new language. So practice every chance you get!
2. Use Your Sources. You are in a country where the language you're studying is spoken, so use that to your advantage. Do things like order your
food in the language, its great practice, even if you mess up.
3. Be Open Minded. Learning a new language is not easy and can often be quite the challenge, but if you're persistent you will persevere!
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Taylor Carnazza
Alumni Ambassador

1. If you learned another language while you were abroad, what tips and tricks can you offer future study abroad students?

The best advice I could give anyone studying a new language is, do not be afraid to practice with people, especially native speakers. Practicing with those who speak the language on a daily basis is the best way to comprehend conversational styles and accents. Although it may seem daunting at first, practicing is the only way to get better so don't be afraid of making mistakes because that's how you'll learn! Befriend people who live there and if you have a difficult time with that at first, you can always ask your institution if there is a pen-pal or meet-up program that allows you to be partnered up with students in the area trying to learn English. So many people now are eager to learn English to keep in mind that you'll be helping each other out.

2.  How did you find ways to experience the local culture? 

I was fully immersed in the French culture and can say that I have learned so much while studying in Aix. I attended IAU with one other friend from school and it gave us the opportunity to build friendships with French students who did not attend IAU. I can easily say that I became friends with more French people than I did with people in IAU because I wanted to expand my horizons and fully get to know the culture. Getting to know a culture first-hand and through people whose origins are in that specific place is the best way to enjoy yourself abroad in my opinion. I am so thankful for my experiences there and cannot wait to visit my friends again at some point.

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Taylor Farro
CEA MOJO Blogger
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Taylor Tewksbury
CEA MOJO Blogger
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CEA Fall 2016 MOJO Blogger
CEA Study Abroad Location: Prague
Home University: University of Delaware
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Thania Inoa De Jesus
Alumni Ambassador
1. What were ways you found to experience the local culture? 

As a MOJO for CEA I got to work with Emily to show everyone what my experience has been like. I have learned new skills through the program, like editing content. With this position I got to experience things twice and with more appreciation. As I have described in a blog I am a first generation college student and a Latina. Studying abroad is a huge deal for me. I have learned to love Alicante in a short period of time. I have come to love my roommates and my place. I have described it to be similar to my home country Dominican Republic because of some of the habits Alicante people have like the time of the siesta (naps). I have loved every day being here and will do it again 100 times if asked. The food is also so great, I have gotten in the habit of eating healthier and cooking every chance I get. That is something I don't have the opportunity to do in my college dorm in the states. Every new place I have visited reminds me of how blessed I am to be able to experience Alicante.

2. What was your favorite course while abroad? 

My favorite classes were Spanish And Social change and communications. I really enjoyed my Spanish class because of how diverse it was. We had a student from almost every continent. Every time i will arrive to class I'd sit next to a new person and learn a little about their culture or their lives. Social change & communications calls was a Spanish class as well. I enjoyed the challenge and learned a lot about society and how we have come to how habits of today. I got to be in a group of Spanish students who were so helpful to me whenever I needed the help.
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Thania Inoa De Jesus
CEA MOJO Photographer

Why did you choose to study/intern abroad?
To expand my knowledge and explore Alicante and Europe.

Why did you choose your study/intern city?
I loved the architecture and how antique the city looked. Also, it's near the beach!

What are you most looking forward to during your abroad experience?
The food, traveling and learning.

Fun Fact (hobbies, interests, accomplishment, etc.)?
Draw, paint, make pottery


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Theresa Thomas
Alumni Ambassador
1. How has your study abroad experience shaped you?

My experience abroad has been immensely valuable in shaping who I am today. I learned how to become comfortable with being uncomfortable, to embrace how it feels to be unsure of yourself in this new place while learning to thrive anyway. While traveling, you spend a lot of time with yourself. I was able to learn what values are most important to me, what I needed to truly be happy—material things and everyday comforts that I “thought” I needed, became obsolete. 

Professionally, the opportunity to improve my Spanish has been an immense advantage in my preparation to attend medical school and to eventually practice as a physician abroad in a Spanish speaking region. I became more fluent in the language, learning to switch between speaking Spanish and English without issue. There truly is no better way to learn a language than to immerse yourself in it and to learn on your feet. My ability to speak Spanish to my patients will help to develop our relationship, and the experience living in a different culture has taught me to be more globally aware with the ability to relate to the different experiences and lives of others, especially my future patients.

2. What was your favorite course abroad?

I was absolutely enthralled by my course on Gender History in Latin America. The opportunity to learn while abroad is incredible because you learn from a completely different perspective. During this class we learned about the way gender relations and the patriarchy have evolved and influenced life in Latin America throughout time, specifically in Argentina. As I learned about the different historical eras and gendered events that took place, I was able to see their effects on present day life in Argentina. I learned to think more critically about the way society often operates and to analyze why things are the way they are. Being lucky enough to learn about Latin America while in Latin America taught me things from a different point of view that I never would have thought about had I not learned them from my local professors. My global view was broadened and I now feel like a much more informed and influential global citizen.
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Thomas Beckman
CEA MOJO Photographer

Why did you choose to study/intern abroad?
I studied abroad because I saw an opportunity to expand my perception of learning and experience new cultures. I've noticed friends and family who have studied abroad typically return home as a better, more well-rounded individual, and that's something I hope to receive from my experience.

Why did you choose your study/intern city?
Prague is in Central Europe, so it gives me the opportunity to experience a variety of cultures rather quickly. I was struck by how beautiful and untouched the city is, especially after the chaos of the World Wars. I believe this preservation of Czech culture would make for an interesting experience abroad.

What are you most looking forward to during your abroad experience?
I'm looking forward to meeting new people and gaining new experiences. I'm especially excited about weekend trips to different countries and sharing my stories through CEA as a Mobile Journalist!

Fun Fact (hobbies, interests, accomplishment, etc.)?
My life revolves around music. Though I'm a business major, I always try to find new hobbies throughout music or art that can help me take my mind off my hectic lifestyle. In the past few years, I've been teaching myself Photoshop, DJing, and producing music. Everything I know is mostly self-taught or assistance from friends or family.


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Thomas Kelly
CEA MOJO Blogger
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Tricia Andrews
University Relations Coordinator
As a University Relations Coordinator, Tricia Andrews will be responsible for helping plan and execute both internal and external events. These include conferences such as FORUM and NAFSA, as well as company workshops, Familiarization Trips, study abroad fairs, and more. She’ll also work with the University Regional Directors to enhance our university relationships.  

Tricia received her Bachelor’s degree in Business Management from Concordia University Irvine. While in college, she was an athlete on the Women’s Swim Team. During her junior year, she completed a semester abroad in the Gold Coast, Australia. After completing her degree, she moved back to Arizona, where she was born and raised, in search of a position in event management.  

Tricia grew up loving to travel and has visited over 15 countries. She’s always looking to plan her next trip somewhere new!
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Valeria Angel
Alumni Ambassador

1.  What were ways you found to experience the local culture?

Studying in Aix-en-Provence was amazing because I was able to emerge myself in the French culture, I had previously always been in love with the French culture, and being able to experience it first hand was truly eye opening and amazing. Getting to witness the difference in culture with American culture and Colombian culture (where i'm from) was very interesting because it was able to expand my knowledge on different customs within different cultures. Aix was a perfect town for this because although there were many tourists, there were also many more locals that you would become familiar with on a daily basis, and I was able to have conversations with them about living in France, along with practicing and learning better French.

 

2. What was your favorite course abroad?

My favorite course was the France during the Occupation course because although I was never fond of history, experiencing a different country makes learning history a lot more fun! I was able to understand the history of France a lot easier, and was more interested in it. What allowed this to be fun and interesting was the amount of history films we watched in class, along with a Field Study trip we took to Marseille to further understand what the French dealt with when Germany occupied France.

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Victoria Krug
CEA MOJO Blogger
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CEA Fall 2016 MOJO Blogger
CEA Study Abroad Location: Dublin
Home University: University of Southern Indiana
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Victoria Slaybaugh
CEA MOJO Photographer

Why did you choose to study/intern abroad?
I have always had a love for travel and a desire to learn more about the world by actually going out and living in it. The internship opportunities were right up my alley, very service oriented, and I was immediately drawn to them.

Why did you choose your study/intern city?
I have visited Spain on more than one occasion but never for more than a few days, and Granada seemed like the perfect balance between lively and laid-back. I have a dual diploma from Spain, but my Spanish is a little rusty, so I'm thrilled to have this opportunity to regain my fluency.

What are you most looking forward to during your abroad experience?
My cousin lived in Granada for some time and raved about the culture, especially the flamenco, as well as the people. I am also very excited about the unknown, about the adventure of living somewhere new and beautiful.

Fun Fact (hobbies, interests, accomplishment, etc.)?
I love to travel and take photos, of course! I enjoy yoga, dancing, painting, and a wide range of music - from classic rock to jazz to electronic deep house. I have a deep love for any form of self-expression and nature, and I cannot wait to see the scenery, art, and people that Granada has to offer!


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Vivika Stamolis
CEA MOJO Photographer
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Whitney Knorp
CEA MOJO Blogger

Why did you choose to study/intern abroad?
I had gone on a couple family trips to Europe in my early teens and quickly became enamored with exploring new places. One of my favorite aspects was being submerged in a completely different culture and landscape; I was completely in awe. From then on, it wasn't even a question to me that I wanted to study abroad and utilize the opportunity to spend more time getting to know another city and culture away from the typical American college experience.

Why did you choose your study/intern city?
Prague hadn’t been on my radar initially, but after doing more research, I realized it was the most enticing study abroad city to me. The beauty was striking, and I could see myself genuinely enjoying the experience of living there, whether walking to class or trying the foods or participating in the lively nightlife. The central location also made it ideal, so I can travel to a diverse range of places on some weekends.

What are you most looking forward to during your abroad experience?
This semester I am most looking forward to completely diving out of my comfort zone. I’m excited to learn how to speak some Czech, meet diverse people, take some interesting courses, and try new foods and activities. I think the most rewarding part will be fully experiencing the independence (and challenges) of living on my own in a foreign country.

Fun Fact (hobbies, interests, accomplishment, etc.)?
A fun fact about myself is that I am a huge nerd, especially when it comes to anything I’m passionate about. I could go on forever about anything related to dance, journalism, Harry Potter, Hamilton, word games, or dessert, and I love learning about all kinds of subjects!


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Zoey Bloom
CEA MOJO Photographer
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