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5 posts from January 2016

NYC Chapter's January Meeting


At the end of January, the CIEE Alumni New York City Chapter held a successful meeting at the Centre for Social Innovation in Manhattan. New York-based alumni met for an evening of networking and discussed potential chapter activities for the upcoming year over food and drinks. Chapter president Thilo Huber shares the main discussion outcomes from the meeting:

"We learned from the discussions that people's main motivation to get involved in the chapter is getting to know fellow CIEE alumni, but also staying connected with CIEE as an organization and seeking career networking opportunities."

The chapter leadership has said that they will make those motivations their priorities for the coming year. They will work with chapter members to plan specific events that allow alumni to connect with one another, connect with CIEE, and network for career opportunities. Many great ideas were shared about potential upcoming events, so be sure to stay connected so you don't miss out!

Stay up-to-date on all CIEE alumni news and events in NYC by:

If you are interested in becoming the NYC Chapter's next vice president in March, or would like to become chair for the various activities/planning areas (career, networking, social media, etc.) please email chapter leadership at

D.C. Chapter Holiday Happy Hour

Another CIEE Alumni Local Chapter arranged an event this past December to connect alumni and share in holiday cheer. Alumni in the D.C. area met at Tonic in Foggy Bottom on December 10th for appetizers, cocktails and conversation.

Missed the event? Are you a CIEE study abroad or cultural exchange alum in the D.C. area but not a member of the chapter? Join the CIEE Alumni Washington D.C. Chapter group on Facebook to connect with fellow CIEE alumni located in D.C.

Recalling the CIEE Alumni China Chapter event in Shanghai

This past December, the CIEE Alumni China Chapter held an entrepreneurship forum for alumni and current students in Shanghai where Greg Nance of ChaseFuture talked about the unique challenges and opportunities of running a business in China. The event was held at East China Normal University (ECNU). Chapter Leader Nicholas Clark shares some words about the event:

"CIEE students and alumni were joined by Greg Nance, founder and CEO of ChaseFuture, for a discussion on education and entrepreneurship in Shanghai. Greg shared the story of how he came to China - on a whim - and built up a company to try and make the process of applying to US universities more credible, rewarding, and educational for Chinese applicants. CIEE students asked about Greg's experience in both the corporate and startup worlds, and his opinion of the trade-offs and rewards between the two. CIEE alumni asked about Greg's journey to understand the Chinese market and build up his credibility to customers and investors. At the end, everyone enjoyed networking and chatting over Strictly Cookies."



Did you attend this alumni chapter event in Shanghai? Comment below to share your experience!

Missed the event? Are you a CIEE study abroad or cultural exchange alum in China, but not a member of the chapter? Join the CIEE Alumni China Chapter group on Facebook to connect with fellow CIEE alumni located in China.


Meet Danielle Strandson: CIEE’s Alumni Engagement Coordinator

Hello everyone! My name is Danielle Strandson and I am the new Alumni Engagement Coordinator for CIEE. That means I will be developing content and coordinating communications to the CIEE Alumni Global Network—YOU!

About Me

I completed undergraduate education at Clark University in Worcester, MA where I received a bachelor’s degree in International Development and Social Change with a double major in Studio Art/Photography. I met the requirements to stay for the special fifth year program and earned an accelerated master’s degree in Community Development and Planning. I love reading, tea and trying new restaurants. I recently moved to Portland, Maine to serve in this role—the perfect New England city for a foodie!

I am an alumnus of a CIEE program myself. In spring 2013 I studied abroad with CIEE's Service-Learning program in Cape Town, South Africa, where I was able to participate in an internship with a small youth development nonprofit in a nearby township. The experience was both challenging and rewarding, and it was the toughest semester of my undergraduate studies. Would I do it all over again? Absolutely!


I am passionate about international education, cultural exchange and community engagement. I am excited to learn more about the amazing alumni of CIEE’s various programs and expand the level of interaction you have with one another. Alumni everywhere are doing amazing things. Connecting through the CIEE Alumni Global Network allows cultural exchange to happen beyond the programs you’ve already participated in and opens a world of opportunity for making new friends, finding the old and networking both personally and professionally.

My CIEE Moment

My favorite CIEE moment was when, during my semester abroad, an especially fun RA started some group songs for us to sing while on the bus tours of the different internship sites around Cape Town. There’s something uplifting about a group song after a really overwhelming, exhausting day. Thinking about it always makes me smile!

Let’s Connect!

I look forward to engaging with you and getting to know you all better. As a start, COMMENT BELOW to share your CIEE moment!

Warm wishes,



Alumni Voices: Every Day In Guanajuato Is A Gift

My study abroad experience in Guanajuato was a bit unconventional, compared to that of my peers. By the time I studied in Guanajuato, I had already graduated from college with a bachelor’s degree in Spanish and Intercultural Studies and had been working in an unrelated field for a year and a half. I was interested in becoming a Spanish interpreter, but I knew that I needed more exposure to the language before pursuing that career. So, having already had a fantastic experience with CIEE in Santiago, Chile a few years earlier, I started perusing the CIEE program offerings in Latin America to see what else was available. 


“Studying in Mexico really opened my eyes to the deep historical and economic ties between the US and Mexico.”

At first, I was a bit apprehensive about applying, since I was no longer enrolled in college. But, after contacting the folks at CIEE, I was assured that I would be welcome to join the Guanajuato program. Fast-forward to the end of the story: shortly after returning from my semester in Guanajuato, I attended the Interpreter Certificate Program at Boston University and landed a job as a legal interpreter a year later. It’s an amazing, challenging, rewarding career that enables me to keep using and studying Spanish every day and I’m so blessed and thankful to have been given this opportunity.

Studying in Mexico really opened my eyes to the deep historical and economic ties between the US and Mexico. I was able to study issues like immigration from a completely different perspective and meet people who have been directly impacted by these issues. Now that I’m working as a Spanish interpreter here in the U.S., these issues continue to play a role in the lives of the people that I work with. 

CIEE chicas in Teotihuacán

Gaining exposure to Mexican Spanish was particularly useful to me as a Spanish interpreter, as many court interpreter training materials and exams focus heavily on Mexican usage. Additionally, I found Mexican Spanish fairly easy for my American ears to adjust to, which meant that I was able to jump in and begin having meaningful conversations early in the semester, enabling me to build my vocabulary and grammar skills throughout my stay in Mexico.

“The city is small, so you often end up running into your classmates, professors, and neighbors around town, making it easy to strike up a conversation and build friendships.” 

I was blessed to enjoy some amazing friendships in Guanajuato, both with my fellow CIEE students and with Mexicans. Guanajuato is an easy place to make friends, since there are many young people in the city and almost everything is located within walking distance, so it’s easy to get together. The city is small, so you often end up running into your classmates, professors, and neighbors around town, making it easy to strike up a conversation and build friendships. The city’s callejones and tunnels are both fascinating and quirky, and the colors are so breathtakingly beautiful that I found myself returning to the same overlook at El Pípila over, and over, and over again (I went there at least 7 times during the semester!) because I just couldn’t get enough.

While I was studying in Mexico, I used to tell people, “For me, every day in Guanajuato is a gift.” And I really meant it! Nothing could have been better than spending those five months doing the thing that I loved most- studying Spanish and learning about other cultures.


Interested in learning about ways to leverage your CIEE experience in your professional career? Check out our new Career Resources page