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3 posts from August 2016

CIEE Alumni Network in Boston

A great crowd of alumni met at Legal Sea Foods in Boston on July 22 for the first CIEE Alumni Boston Chapter event of the year. Hosted by the summer interns that were based in CIEE's Boston office, this event attracted alumni from a variety of programs. Multiple languages were spoken, delicious food was shared, and we even had the pleasure of Teach Abroad alumni sharing their experiences as inspiration for Study Abroad alumni to go abroad again. At the event were alumni who studied or taught in Brazil, Argentina, Botswana, Spain, Czech Republic, Chile, China, Italy, and England. Naturally, all of the Spanish speakers found each other quickly and exercised their language skills! We even had a visit from a nearby dinner party that wanted to learn more about how to host an exchange student to become a part of the CIEE family that way. Overall, it was a productive night of networking for these alumni in Boston. 


Are you in the Boston area? Are you interested in planning CIEE Alumni events? Apply to be the president or vice president of the CIEE Alumni Boston Chapter! As you may know, each CIEE Alumni Local Chapter is run by a president and vice president. These volunteer leaders collaborate with the CIEE Alumni Relations team to organize and host events in their areas, including networking events and community service activities. Alumni located in Boston who participated in any CIEE program are welcome to apply for chapter leadership roles. Simply fill out the online application.

If you want to be a member of the chapter and attend events like this one but are not interested in applying for a leadership role, join the CIEE Alumni Boston Chapter Facebook group.

Questions? Email

Alumni Update - August 2016



It's Summer Work & Travel Season!

Summer welcomes many new participants to the U.S. through CIEE's Work & Travel USA program. Participants have been living, working, and experiencing American culture in cities across the country, including our very own global headquarters in Portland, Maine! CIEE staff were able to visit many program sites and shared these great photos with us:

This month, Work & Travel USA students celebrated J-Day, a nationwide day to celebrate and raise awareness of the J-1 Exchange Visitor Program (EVP) and the power of international exchange. Events are centered around the idea of "eat, play, and give," which is how our participants celebrated across the U.S. In Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, over 100 participants celebrated with free rides at Family Kingdom, each bringing a notebook or paper plates/cups to help Seacost Vineyard Church Outreach. There was also an event in Kennebunk, Maine where participants volunteered with the kids camp program hosted by the Kennebunk Recreation Department. To see photos and learn more about other J-Day celebrations across the country, visit the CIEE Work & Travel USA Facebook page.

On August 1-4, 62 fellows from 33 countries spent four action-packed days in Washington, D.C. at CIEE's Civic Leadership SummitEvery summer, selected participants from the Work & Travel USA program attend the summit's engaging workshops to learn about intercultural awareness, civics, and social entrepreneurship, all with the goal of helping participants discover how they can make a difference in their communities and the world. To summarize the experience, N'Dwayne of Jamaica said, "I know I have grown personally from the short 3 day sessions; I believe in myself more and I am going to step out into the world in a bold fashion.” 

More CIEE Alumni Awarded Fulbright Grants

We heard from more alumni who have received awards to go abroad again through the Fulbright program. Congratulations to the following alums:

  1. Naa-Shorme Aidoo (Stellenbosch, South Africa, Fall 2012) - Fulbright ETA to South Africa
  2. Cristabella Trimble-Quiz (Taipei, Taiwan, Fall 2014 - Spring 2015) - Fulbright ETA to Taiwan
  3. Shimmy Gabbara (Amman, Jordan, Spring 2015) - Fulbright ETA to Turkey
  4. Alexandra Drexler (Legon, Ghana, Fall 2014) - Fulbright ETA to Germany
  5. Talia Dunyak (Amman, Jordan, Fall 2014) - Fulbright Combined Student Grant to Austria

Did you receive a Fulbright award for the upcoming year? We'd love to hear about it! Email us at to share the news.

Go Further with CIEE Teach & TEFL

Did you have a great experience with CIEE Study Abroad or High School Abroad? Did you know that you can have another one? Teach abroad with CIEE in one of 11 exciting countries around the world. If you are a native English speaker with a bachelor’s degree, you can get paid to travel the world and build your resume. Take your experience further with CIEE’s TEFL Certification courses, which will teach you how to effectively impact your students’ lives. You will return home with a credential that validates your international experience for any career path! 


Stay up-to-date with alumni events by:

Read about the last CIEE Local Chapter events on the blog.





Our August Alum of the Month is CIEE Work & Travel USA alum Paul Runcan. Paul participated in Work & Travel USA back in 2014 and has returned as a participant this summer. On the blog, Paul shares a story with us about how he discovered a passion for politics by participating in the Civic Leadership Summit in Washington, D.C. during his 2014 American summer. This month, we celebrate the completion of another successful Civic Leadership Summit in D.C. by sharing the story and motivational words of our Alum of the Month for August. Read Paul's story on the blog.

Do you have your own story to share? Email us:


"I can say that America had a big influence on my life. I got back home with my suitcase full of dreams, positive vibes, new friends, and memories. The experience gave me confidence and the power to follow all my dreams. I learned to manage my time and money efficiently, and I improved my communication skills – my English is way better since working in the U.S. The most I think I learned was about myself. I learned to deal with daily problems and, at the same time, to enjoy every little moment in life." -Andrada Birla (Work & Travel USA 2014)

Read her story here!


From left: The CIEE Alumni Summer Interns learn about building a personal brand with expert Katie Clark; interns based in our Boston office host a CIEE Alumni Boston Chapter happy hour at Legal Sea Foods; and CIEE Study Abroad Valparaíso alumni from the fall 2015 cohort meet up with friends for brunch in Washington, D.C.

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CIEE Work & Travel USA Alum Finds Career Inspiration at Civic Leadership Summit

Salut! My name is Paul Runcan. I’m 23 years old and currently living in Timisoara, Romania – my home town. In 2015, I graduated from the West University of Timisoara with a degree in law, and now I’m following the courses of an awesome master’s program in public policy and advocacy. Since it’s the only one of its kind in Romania, I’ve been blessed with a unique opportunity of furthering my knowledge and honing my skills in both areas. However, even though I’ve always had an interest in politics and the development of my country and the world, it was only in 2014 that I was shown a path that could take me away from a lifetime of courtroom battles and into the world of politics. It was the year I decided to spend a summer abroad in the U.S. through the CIEE Work & Travel USA program, and I can honestly say that it was the best choice I could ever have made. A few of my colleagues had gone before and all the stories they came back with convinced me that it should definitely be on my to-do list while in school.

I flew to Chicago and made my way north through Michigan until I reached the beaches of Lake Huron. There, on Mackinac Island, I spent the summer working at Mission Point Resort and Mackinac Island Bike Shop. The island was beautiful, and summer was the best time to explore every corner of it. M-185, the only roadway in the US without cars, offers the best bike lane one could ever wish for and makes for a great ride around the island, with the crystal-clear blue lake on one side and the dark green forest on the other.

Paul runcan photo

Even though they had their ups and downs, like most jobs do, they taught me a lot of life lessons, which I’m sure everyone who has participated in such a program knows and values greatly. I learned patience and humility, and I learned to be proud and value my work, whatever it may be. It taught me how different people can be and it gave me a unique glimpse into the American way of life. That could’ve been it – a summer well spent abroad, a couple of lessons learned, lots of new places explored, and a happy Paul. However, CIEE decided to make it even better, so they offered me one more opportunity, which ended up turning a great summer into one of the best experiences I’ve had. I’m talking about the Civic Leadership Summit and the huge influence it has had on my life since then.

I think everyone has a calling, and I think CIEE has helped me to find mine.

Throughout four days of lectures and workshops, I was taught the importance of an active civil society in sustainable global development; I was taught to (even though it might sound like a cheesy cliché) be the change I want to see in the world. And, last but certainly not least, I’ve met some of the most dedicated people I could ever dream of knowing. I think we all left Washington, D.C. with renewed faith and inspiration, maybe even with a new sense of purpose. I know I did, and so far it’s served me well. It was shortly after I returned home in October that I decided that, even though practicing law would allow me to help those around me, it would only affect a small number, and mostly one at a time. It would take too long to create real change – much too long – and poorly crafted laws, corruption, and the general lack of faith that people had in ‘the system’ would delay any form of much needed change.

Now, two years later, my career is still in the making, but there’s progress. I’ve learned a lot more, I’ve met like-minded people, and slowly but surely we’re making our way into the world of politics, educating the local youth, and hoping to bring a much needed breath of fresh air to an antiqued system. Looking back now, I realize just how big an impact the Civic Leadership Summit had on my life and career choices. Through carefully thought-out lectures, challenges, and a great mindset, they showed us the possibility of a brighter future. I think everyone has a calling, and I think CIEE has helped me to find mine. Civil engagement in politics is the way for the future, and the future needs great leaders. Do your part for the future, become a leader.

To learn about this year's Civic Leadership Summit, visit the CIEE Work & Travel USA Facebook page.