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CEA Directory

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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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Aaron Yerkes
Senior Director of University Relations

Aaron joins the CEA team after spending 19 years at the Institute for Study Abroad (IFSA). He served the organization through a variety of roles, most recently as the Assistant Vice President of Institutional Engagement, where he managed their nationwide recruitment team and custom program division. Prior to serving as the AVP for Institutional Engagement, Aaron served as the Field Director, Great Lakes Region and Enrollment Manager, where he was responsible for increasing program participation, growing the number of affiliated programs, as well as expanding the base of sending institutions across a 9-state region. He also served as the Senior Program Advisor for programs in the U.K. and New Zealand, where he actively engaged with students, parents, and advisors to educate them on programs that fit students’ academic needs, as well as exploring ways to remove barriers to make students’ dreams of studying abroad a reality.

Aaron is a graduate of Butler University and holds a BS degree in Finance. During his undergraduate experience, Aaron studied abroad in London, England at Birkbeck, University of London. His time abroad was so transformative for him that he wanted to devote his professional career to promoting life changing, international experiences to other students.

When Aaron is not advocating for students to learn abroad, he can be found planning his next travel adventure and spending time with his family. He is an avid hiker, skier, and golfer, and enjoys seeing live music and collecting vinyl records. Aaron is also very active in his community, engaging and volunteering with a number of organizations throughout his community, specifically with the Indiana Human Society, Second Helpings, and Newfields.

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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).

See Maria's Video
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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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

As the Operations Manager for Enrollment, Camille oversees all projects, processes, and technology for the department. With a constant focus on improving the student experience, Camille works across nearly every CEA department to uphold and enhance the pre-departure process. Her focus (and favorite word) at CEA is ‘efficiency’.

Camille is originally from Chicago, where she was taught there are only three acceptable teams to root for – the Chicago Bears, Bulls, and White Sox. Her favorite hobby, next to traveling, is watching Bears football. While earning her Bachelor of Science in Marketing from Arizona State, Camille took her love of travel to Florence, Italy for a semester abroad. Her experience as student abroad drove her to complete a certificate in International Business and into the field of international education upon her return to the US.

After graduating, Camille joined CEA in 2013 as an Admissions Counselor. Her love of Italy and passion for new places helped her lead hundreds of students through the application process. As CEA grew and adopted new technology, Camille was able to use her experience with students and as a counselor to create best practices, new processes, and documented training. Over time, this led to her earning her Master's in Education Policy, Organization, and Leadership from the University of Illinois in 2017.

Camille continues to use her passion for a well mapped out project plan, and love for travel to lead the Enrollment team in creating an incredible experience that begins well before students get on a plane.

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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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.

See Clive's Video

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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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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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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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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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.

See Joanna's Video

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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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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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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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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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.

See Rob's Video

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.

See Ariadna's Video

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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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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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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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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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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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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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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Abby Vogel
Alumni Ambassador
1. Why would you like to be an Alumni Ambassador?
I would love to be given the opportunity to become a CEA alumni ambassador because CEA has given me the opportunity to culturally enrich my life. From applying to jumping on the plane, CEA staff members were extremely helpful, inspiring, and supportive people. Being an alumni ambassador would grant me the opportunity to be a part of the amazing CEA family. I want to inspire other students to study abroad through CEA and give people real life testimonies about what it means to study abroad. Studying abroad has allowed me to grow personally, professionally, and academically and has shaped my life forever. Given that I experienced the challenges of dealing with COVID-19 while abroad, I would be able to give support to other students because of what I have been through. Becoming a CEA alumni ambassador would allow me to share my challenging study abroad experience as well as the life lessons that I have been taught through this unique time. I am extremely grateful for the opportunities CEA study abroad has granted me and I want to share that same inspiration with others.

2. What were ways you found to experience the local culture?
Seville, Spain is an extremely unique and beautiful city. Between the delicious cuisine, Spanish language, and historical landmarks there is always something new to explore. Coming into my abroad experience, I did not consider myself a strong Spanish speaker. Nonetheless, I decided I wanted to improve my skills, so I chose to stay with a host mom. My wonderful host mom did not speak any English, which was challenging at times, but it became the most rewarding part of my experience in Seville. My host mom, roommate, and I developed a very strong relationship even through language and cultural barriers. Knowing I always had a welcoming, supportive, and caring household while abroad allowed me to freely explore other parts of the city. My Spanish dramatically improved because of the authenticity of Seville as a city. Although Seville is home to many famous landmarks including the Jewish Quarters, monument of Christopher Columbus, and the Royal Alcazar, my favorite part of Seville was interacting with the local culture. Eating at authentic restaurants, learning about Seville’s history, and speaking Spanish to other Sevillanos is what made my abroad experience rich and meaningful.
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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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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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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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Alison Heywood
CEA MOJO Photographer
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Allie Goodman
CEA MOJO Blogger
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Amanda Hall
Alumni Ambassador
1. How has your study abroad experience shaped you?
I firmly believe that my study abroad experience has shaped me both personally and professionally in more ways than I can even understand right now. The first being it has made me okay with being uncomfortable. Studying abroad is the ultimate test of seeking discomfort: living with strangers, not knowing anyone, speaking a different language, however from this experience I have found that so much growth and amazing opportunities occur when we step outside of our comfort zone, and now I find myself searching for ways to seek discomfort in my everyday life. While I was in Granada, I volunteered in a bilingual school which gave me professional experience in global education and allowed me to further explore the ways in which I can incorporate my two majors--Spanish and special education-- into my future career. My life was enriched with new friendships, a newfound family in my host family, and most importantly a new home in Granada. All of these things are benefits that I immediately have felt I gained from studying abroad, yet I know that there are many additional ways in which this experience has and will continue to shape me for the rest of my life.

2. What were ways you found to experience the local culture?
One of my favorite components of studying abroad was the culture immersion. I lived in a home-stay while in Granada and found this to be one of the best aspects of my time there: whether it be using the local language with my host mother who did not speak English, eating tortilla de patatas, or participating in the midday siesta, I could not think of a better way to be immersed in the culture than living with locals. I also sought cultural experiences outside of the home as well and found no shortage of opportunities! I met locals by attending language exchanges, visiting my favorite cafe, or going for tapas. I celebrated local holidays such as Carnival and Día de Andalucia. I visited world heritage sites such as La Alhambra, La Sagrada Familia, and the Mezquita de Córdoba. Each of these unique experiences exposed me to a culture and way of life that was completely different from my own, giving me a newfound appreciation not only for my own culture, but of the beautiful traditions and people of another. Being immersed in a different culture was an experience like no other, and one that I urge all people to have.
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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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Angel Argueta Lara
Alumni Ambassador
1. Why should a student go abroad?
One of the best things about the CEA study program is that it offers an orientation program prior to the starting of classes and during that days I had the opportunity to meet so many people and also make new friendships. And in between this activity of orientation was when the onsite staff introduced us to the AICAPS activities which were different activities offered through the semester and the best part of it was that all of these activities were included in the price of our program. I attended many of thus activities but the one I enjoyed the most was the long day trips to other towns near Barcelona and the weekend Madrid trip which was an amazing journal from our departure until we came back to Barcelona. This was the aspect students joined the most about the program because of all the offering CEA made to us in making these activities possible.

2. Why would you like to be an Alumni Ambassador?
Since my first year in college, I had heard about the opportunity of studying abroad, and from that moment I knew I had to do it at some point in my college life. My freshmen year passed and when I started my sophomore year I started to plan my study abroad experience. I had many options which CEA offers but I chose Spain because of two things: the first one was because Spanish is my first language and I knew I was going to feel safer going to a new country where I spoke the language, and the second thing was that I really wanted to get to know the Spanish culture. Since my study abroad has ended, I can say, no matter the circumstances and how it ended, that my semester in Barcelona was one for the books. It was a time where I met so many people, made a lot of lifelong friendships, saw new and amazing places, and most importantly Barcelona helped me to gain more independence and to build up my identity as a person. Because of that, I would love to speak and talk to students about all of the amazing things a study abroad program offers, how it will change their lives and all the great other things that come along with it. I feel that if you want to find yourself, a study abroad experience is one of the best things you can do.
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Angela Richard
Alumni Ambassador
1. How has your study abroad experience shaped you?
My abroad experiences have shaped me into the college student and young professional I am today in more ways than one. My study abroad experience in Granada was the best time of my life. For seven weeks, I was able to step way outside of my comfort zone in an environment that, although new, was one of the most inviting places I've ever been to. I felt at home in Granada, and this feeling I experienced from the beginning enabled me to have an immersive, enjoyable study abroad adventure. I was able to gain experience working abroad in the field I am passionate about, and I was also able to make lifelong connections that have blossomed into enriching friendships. When I virtually interned abroad with an organization in Seville, I not only adopted a global mindset and realized the inherent differences between the American workplace and the Spanish one, but I also realized exactly what I wanted out of a position centered around business practices. I gained valuable experience and developed my skills in intercultural communication, professionalism, time management, and leadership. My study abroad and intern abroad experiences were both wholly unique and different, but they have both shaped me into the person and professional I am today.

2. Why should a student go abroad?
Going to Granada presented itself with a bunch of opportunities, all thanks to CEA. At home in Vermont, I'm used to taking six classes and working three jobs on the side. I'm also used to intramural basketball games and field hockey games, as well as being a club leader and participating in group activities that I love. I was worried about not feeling busy while I was abroad, which may sound a bit odd. But, being busy is what I'm used to and what keeps me motivated, so I knew I had to find ways to feel fulfilled while in Granada. CEA met all of my expectations and more when I discovered all of the opportunities I could undertake while studying abroad. On top of my five classes, I volunteered at two elementary schools. At these schools, I helped the students foster their English language speaking, reading, and writing skills through a plethora of activities, such as creating games to remember vocabulary and practicing speaking in a comfortable setting. I also volunteered for an organization called T-Oigo, which helps young children with cochlear implants and hearing loss learn English. I was fortunate enough to work with a wonderful, bright 7-year-old girl, and her family treated me like one of their own after just one meeting. These volunteer opportunities wouldn't have been available to me had it not been for CEA's commitment to providing students with enriching, fulfilling experiences in their host city. I'm so glad I decided to take part in them!
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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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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 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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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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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
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 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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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 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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Brooke Begich
CEA MOJO Blogger
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Brynn Motal
CEA MOJO Blogger
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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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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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Cammi Paladino
Alumni Insider
1. Why should a student go abroad?
Although my time was cut short, I loved the culture, people and atmosphere within Barcelona. I loved traveling each weekend and I loved the vibrancy of the city and area, especially the night life and sites. I loved how comfortable and at home I felt, as I was able to really navigate and explore all the wonderful things that Barcelona as to offer. The food was definitely a highlight as well and something that I loved documenting throughout my study abroad experience! Above all, I loved all my teachers at CEA and I really grateful for their kindness, dedication and support throughout my time abroad; it really made my experience a whole lot better!

2. What was your favorite course abroad?
My favorite course abroad was Photo Journalism, with Professor Fred Anderson. I enjoyed this course the most because it was the most unique and valuable class I have ever taken. It pushed me outside of comfort zone, especially because I am a psychology major, and it educated me so much more than I could have ever hoped to learn about photo journalism. Every class was meaningful, challenging, exciting and memorable! I would definitely recommend this class to anyone in the future!
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Cara Stevens
CEA MOJO Blogger
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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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Carlo Pezzana
Alumni Ambassador
1. How has study abroad experience shaped you?
This experience in Barcelona profoundly shaped me personally and professionally. Living in Barcelona, another country, and learning my third language, Spanish, enriched me and expanded my knowledge. I feel much more closed to the Spanish culture, but also with the Latin American one since I made a lot of friends from South America in Barcelona. Meeting a few locals helped to learn about the Catalan culture and the debate with Spain. I even learned a few words from Catalan, and I can understand it a little bit. I also made connections with a lot of American students from all around the country, and that was another significant aspect. From a professional point of view, I connected with a lot of people from students and faculty to professors. Moreover, attending classes at a local university helped me getting to know the education system in Spain, and I would consider the idea of pursuing a Master's degree in Barcelona and working in Spain, a country that hypnotized me with its warm, diverse and suave culture.

2. Why would you like to be an Alumni Ambassador?
I would love to share my experience with other students. This is an opportunity to follow up and maintain the contact with CEA in a way that I will never forget my experience. Studying abroad for a semester or a longer period of time, is an opportunity that changes your life. It opens new doors and opportunities, it shapes your identity, and enrich you from every point of view. When I decided to study abroad in Australia in high school, my life completely changed. That was the best decision I have ever made. I would not be here applying to become an alumni ambassador without that experience. Since Australia, I became more open minded, and more eager to learn about other cultures. I love traveling, and take the most from every experience. I also like to build strong connections with other people, and it would be amazing to talk to other students about my experiences, influence them, and as an Italian student, to share my culture and let them know that going study abroad is a
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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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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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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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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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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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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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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
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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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 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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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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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 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 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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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 Diacik
Alumni Ambassador
1. What was your favorite course abroad?
My favorite course I took abroad was Cultural Values and Stereotypes: Spain and the U.S. This course was taught by my Academic Director, Mary Alice Soriero, at our CEA center in Sevilla. We learned about cultural values of the U.S. and Spain, as well as gaining valuable intercultural communication skills. It was so meaningful to compare the differences in the culture that is comfortable to me, and the culture that is brand new and shocking to me. Learning about these differences made a huge impact on reflecting about my experiences abroad. When I travelled, I found myself using what I learned in class to guide my behavior and observations I made about countries. My favorite part of the course was actually our final exam project, which we completed remotely at home. We were introduced to the capstone project on the first day of class, where we would create a video filled with our memorable experiences and lessons learned abroad. I met some lifelong friends in this class, and at the end of the semester, it was so meaningful and emotional to watch videos of my friends and classmate’s growth and deep understanding of Spanish culture, all while honoring our beautiful city.

2. How has your study abroad experience shaped you?
Despite going abroad in the midst of one of the most challenging times our nation has ever experienced, I learned so many valuable lessons that I can apply to my future. I made the decision to study abroad solo, meaning I did not travel with any friends or anyone I knew. I also made the decision to travel somewhere where I had never learned a day of the language. This became a huge factor in shaping me today. I learned that I should never be scared about new opportunities, because I will have or find the support I need to make it successful. Although my experience was cut short, my time abroad in Spain gave me confidence that I will able to carry for the rest of my life. In January, I knew a handful of Spanish phrases. But in March, I was able to confidently engage in real conversations with my host dad. Studying in a place where English was rarely heard was overwhelming and scary at times, but one of the most memorable experiences I have ever had. Studying abroad taught me to make the most out of every moment, because you never know when it could be taken away from you.
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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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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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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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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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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 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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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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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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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 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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Jekyra Felton-Cobb
Alumni Ambassador
1. Why would you like to be an Alumni Ambassador?
I would like to be an Alumni Ambassador because being a first generational college student that has been able to not only be successfully enrolled in college, but to have the opportunity to be the first in my family to study abroad, has made me realize that there are students in the world who are in the same position. There are students like me who have the hunger to be successful, well-rounded and experienced but don't have any knowledge or confidence that it could be done. Becoming an Alumni Ambassador will sincerely help me fulfill not only my life, but another students'. Becoming an Alumni Ambassador goes beyond me and my wants, it's the opportunity to give other people the chance, just the chance to become a better version of themselves. I can potentially change someones life just like mine has been forever changed, by studying abroad.

2. How has your study abroad experience shaped you?
My study abroad experience has shaped me today by allowing me to see the right path for my career. There has always been a constant struggle knowing what I wanted to do with my career, but studying abroad has confirmed that I want to pursue languages. I want to help students learn English, Spanish, etc. I want to help students, especially students of color, have more financial opportunities to study abroad. It has shaped me to look at the bigger picture and want to help others. Personally, my study abroad has shaped me into being a person who tries to enjoy what is in front of me. To put my cellphone down and to embrace the atmosphere around me. This experience has made me more socially aware.
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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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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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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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Jordan Reynolds
Alumni Ambassador

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

Although my time abroad was cut short, the two and a half months I spent abroad were some of the best moments of my entire life. I was skeptical at first to go through a different program than the study centers offered through my university, but CEA was so well organized and interactive, I don't know if my abroad experience would have been the same through any other program. Because only one other student from my school was in the same program as me, being an ambassador would allow me to better promote CEA to students at the University of Oklahoma and send more students on the experience of a lifetime.

2. Why should a student go abroad?
One thing that stood out to me and ultimately solidified my decision to go with CEA was the multiple excursions planned throughout the semester. I loved the way CEA gave us the opportunity to see different aspects of the city we studied in as well as nearby cities that was included in our tuition and fees. Some of the excursions I loved was the day trip to the Italian Riviera as well as the hike to see the blooming mimosa trees. Another fun thing my onsite staff did was a wine and cheese tasting. They taught us what wine paired well with what cheeses, and how to properly uncork a bottle. If it wasn't for CEA, I don't think I would've interacted with the culture around me as much as I did.

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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 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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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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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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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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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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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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Kelly McKeon
CEA MOJO Blogger
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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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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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Kyle Spencer
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: Cedarville University
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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 Gioglio
CEA MOJO Photographer
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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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Lillian Huckabee
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CEA Spring 2017 MOJO Blogger
CEA Study Abroad Location: Prague, Czech Republic
Home University: University of Georgia
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Lindsay Gilman
CEA MOJO Blogger
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Lindsey Carl
CEA MOJO Blogger
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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
Alumni Ambassador
1. How has your study abroad experience shaped you?
The study abroad experience has changed me in some of the best and most unexpected ways. I remember waiting in the Chicago airport and getting so sick because of nerves and asking my mom to come pick me up. However, what felt like days later I was calling my mom crying that my experience was ending early. The study abroad experience has shaped me into the most independent I have ever been. I learned responsibility, independence, and fearlessness through the adversity going on through the coronavirus and all the challenges with finding flights and etc. I no longer needed friends to go with me places, I began to enjoy doing things on my own. I never would have seen myself going to get coffee with someone I had spoke to for two hours a few days before and enjoying myself and feeling comfortable. I absolutely feel changed and my life has bettered from studying abroad.

2. What were ways you found to experience the local culture?
My experience inside Granada was phenomenal. My host family was so warm and friendly, I spent a lot of time in the house and on the street with them, learning the cultural norms, where the best bakeries are, and the best restaurant for a tapa. At least once a week I participated in an 'intercambio' a language exchange program in which I spoke in Spanish with native speakers for an hour and then we switched and the native speaker practiced their English. I adored this experience and frequently would make friendships with locals and spend time with individuals outside of the program. Finally, I loved experiencing the culture on my own. After class I would take a long walk home, sit in the park, buy some goodies from the bakery, and interact with locals to ask for directions or recommendations. This was one of my favorite parts because I began to become like a local to some businesses and saw the same people in the park on my walks home.
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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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Maria Castiblanco
Alumni Ambassador
1. Why should a student go abroad?
My favorite thing I enjoyed the most when I was abroad in Barcelona was the different culture I was introduced to. This past semester was the first time I have ever been to Europe, so I really loved that I got the chance to expand my knowledge on the different culture in Barcelona from my own culture. It was very important to me that I picked a country where I was able to expand my knowledge on culture and Barcelona was the place for that. I learned to come out of my comfort zone and experience a new life.

2. Why would you like to be an Alumni Ambassador?
While I was abroad I enjoyed every moment of it! I got the opportunity to learn more about the culture, city, environment, and most importantly myself. Being an Alumni is important for those who plan to study abroad during the college career, and I believe I would be the best fit for this position because of my overall experience. I would love to promote studying abroad with this incredible program because I strongly believe that CEA can be promote to spread awareness to students wanting to study abroad.
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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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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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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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Mayana Torres
Alumni Ambassador
1. How has your study abroad experience shaped you?
My study abroad experience has shaped who I am because it reminded me that I am capable of so much. That I am strong enough and determined enough to achieve my dreams. That even though you might be scared of stepping outside of your comfort zone, you will come out the other side stronger and with so much joy. During my study abroad experience, I pushed myself by speaking Spanish in and out of the classroom, by going to local events and shopping at local stores. By taking the train and walking to new parts of the city to learn about the different neighborhoods. By signing up for classes outside my program and volunteering with an organization. These are things that I do back home, and brought me joy to take part in abroad even with its challenges. Study abroad shaped my career because as an Artist and history major, I was able to go to certain exhibits and learn about things that I never knew, things that inspired me to create certain art pieces. As an inspiring environmental law student, learning about the communities within Barcelona, the city mapping, and immigration as expanded my knowledge and my perspective.

2. Why would you like to be an Alumni Ambassador?
I would like to be a CEA alumni ambassador because I would love to inspire other people of color to study abroad. I couldn't have gone abroad without the support of my family and community. Studying abroad is something that it very special and doesn't come as easy as some like to assume. I was love to help others go abroad by being the person they can say did it. A person that can help them push through any fears and get them on the path of saving and preparing for this experience that they will remember forever.
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McKenzie McClanahan
CEA MOJO Blogger
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McKenzie Smith
CEA MOJO Blogger
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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 Vande Linde
CEA MOJO Blogger
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Meghan Leslie
CEA MOJO Blogger in Granada, Spain
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CEA Spring 2017 MOJO Blogger
CEA Study Abroad Location: Granada, Spain
Home University: University of Dayton
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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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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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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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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 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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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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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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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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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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Riley Doerge
CEA MOJO Blogger in Barcelona, Spain
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CEA Spring 2017 MOJO Blogger
CEA Study Abroad Location: Barcelona, Spain
Home University: Washington State University
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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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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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Samara Rosenthal
CEA MOJO Blogger in Florence, Italy
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CEA Spring 2017 MOJO Blogger
CEA Study Abroad Location: Florence, Italy
Home University: University of Arizona
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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 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 Wu
Alumni Ambassador
1. How has your study abroad experience shaped you?
It has changed me so fundamentally that I find it difficult to fit back into the mold of me from before. Before, I was set on graduating in two years, even though I wasn’t sure what I was going to do after. I was set on finding a professional internship this year, even though it didn’t appeal to me. I was set on having a career in the U.S., even though there was just something about Europe that called to me.
But since then, I have gotten a new lease on life, a new kind of mentality. I have applied to be an assistant teacher in Spain for the upcoming year with no plans for what will happen after. I have also decided to focus on things that make me happy, like learning languages. I’m even thinking about building a life in Europe. And despite the uncertainty of it all, I find myself content with it.
No longer am I fixating on a future or hanging on to my past, trapped between the two. Just being is absolutely liberating, and I have Spain to thank for setting me free.

2. Why would you like to be an Alumni Ambassador?
I genuinely believe that studying abroad is one of the best, if not the most life-changing thing, that I have ever done. I was feeling very lost in life and I felt like I didn’t know myself, but going to Spain changed all that. It opened my eyes to a new way of life, and it gave the change of perspective I needed to move forward. And although I’m still trying to figure myself out, studying abroad instilled a confidence and a newfound sense of adventure in me that I would not have gotten otherwise. And it is this that I want other people to experience as well, especially if they are just as young as I am.
I don't think people understand just how much travel and culturalization can change you. When you are thrust out of your comfort zone, you are forced to adapt and that leads to growth and new realizations. Additionally, you get the chance to embrace other cultures and meet incredible people. Studying abroad makes you a global citizen and overall, a better person. And this is something I want for everyone.
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Scott Budkofsky
Alumni Ambassador
1. What were ways you found to experience the local culture?
Interacting with the people of Barcelona was my favorite part of studying abroad. I was able to develop relationships with many local people throughout the semester. I became friendly with the door-woman, Carmen, who worked in my building, saying "Hola, buenos dias" every morning and occasionally making some small talk. Carmen recommended two of her favorite restaurants to me, both of which I never would have thought to try without her recommendation. I also became friendly with the people who worked at a bakery on my block and the Italian family who owned and operated my favorite restaurant in Barcelona. We would complement each other's outfits and wave to each other when passing by. Furthermore, some of the conversations I would have with taxi drivers were hilarious. From teaching one driver about baseball, to arguing over the rivalry between Real Madrid and FC Barcelona, and much more, there was never a dull conversation. The funniest response I got was from a taxi driver who was over 70 years’ old who claimed that the clubs were his favorite part of the whole city! The interactions with the local people of Barcelona were definitely a highlight of my study abroad experience.

2. What was your favorite course abroad?
My favorite course that I took while abroad was the Cross-Cultural Management course. This course taught me how to appreciate the differences between my own culture and the foreign culture which I was surrounded by as well as all other cultures around the world. I learned how to utilize the differences between myself and the culturally diverse people with whom I interact and to learn and benefit from them. As opposed to viewing cultural differences as a barrier, I learned how to use them as a tool.

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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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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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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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Summer Selden
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: University of Wisconsin- La Crosse
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Sydney Schwaller
Alumni Ambassador
1. What was your favorite course abroad?
My favorite course abroad was Seville: Culture, Identity, and Citizenship in the City. This course was my favorite because I was able to learn so much about the city I was living in. My teacher was wonderful and it was clear she had her own passion for Seville. We learned about Seville from centuries ago up until modern day Seville. This class was fascinating because we learned the history and origins or the city and all the hidden details we wouldn’t have known if we just came to visit for a few days. What made this course so special was it was interactive. My teacher had class periods where we would walk around the city to different neighbors and learn about specific buildings or the communities daily lives. I loved learning about Seville and this class made me appreciate the city even more than I already had. Attending a class abroad is also unique in that the teachers always encourage you to take full advantage of the city and the time you have. My teacher would always give us ideas on where to go and what to do and incorporate it in her lesson. I knew this was my favorite course abroad when one day, my teacher gave the class an assignment to just sit outside and observe the people and life around us and take notes. Doing that particular assignment, I sat by the river of Guadalquivir observing and taking notes, I became more aware of the city and people around me. It made me realize I was lucky to be there and have this once in a lifetime opportunity. This class will always stick with me for years to come because it gave me a deeper insight on Seville and for that I will always be grateful.

2. What were ways you found to experience the local culture?
My experience with the local culture abroad in Seville was more than I could have ever imagined. In Seville, I lived with my host mom, Susana, during my semester and was able to jump right into local culture. My host mom only spoke Spanish so this was a great opportunity for me to focus on my Spanish and grow as a Spanish speaker. I was lucky enough to live with my host mom and for her to introduce me to her neighborhood. The neighborhood I lived in was in Los Remedios, which consisted of families and hardly anyone spoke English. At first this was a challenge but I was able to gain confidence everyday. I was able to frequent the local coffee shops daily and even get to know the waitresses at the coffee shop I went to and recognized the other regulars that would come in . This really made me feel like I was living my abroad experience to the fullest by getting to know my neighborhood and the community that lived there. Along with this, I was able to experience a lot of the local culture by attending Flamenco shows and by going to restaurants and bars that had local musicians and dancers. This was a great way to see what Seville had to offer in terms of a great cultural experience. When studying abroad, something I learned that really helped me immerse myself in the culture was to never say no to an invitation to do or see something. Saying yes, even if I was tired and wanting to stay in, I never regretted the outing. For me, it was important to take advantage of all Seville had to offer, whether that be museums, Flamenco shows, or walking around and sightseeing. I have especially fond memories of spur of the moment invitations and having a great time learning and seeing more of my city. This also allowed me to meet people I never would have met if I didn’t put myself out there and spend my time abroad wisely.
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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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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 Christie
Alumni Ambassador
1. How has your study abroad experience shaped you?
College is a time to really dive deep into who you are and where you want to go in life. Studying abroad has not only allowed me to meet people around the world, but it has also allowed me to truly meet myself. It's pushed me to be more independent and self-reliant, which has also made me more courageous. I've been able to study cultural diversity and even acquire a new language. Professionally, it has provided me with a number of skills that have prepared me to work in cross-cultural teams and communicate clearly. Ultimately, my time studying abroad has been an incredibly formative experience.

2. Why should a student go abroad?
When you first go abroad, it can be really scary. Once you're on that airplane, heading to the Czech Republic it can feel like you're leaving your friends and family behind. However, it doesn't take long to realize that you'll be making friends that feel like family in no time. One of the best aspects of my study abroad experience are the lifelong friendships I've made and the incredible memories that go along with them.
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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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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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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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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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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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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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