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41 posts categorized "Alumni Events"

Event Recap: CIEE Alumni San Francisco Bay Area Chapter Meets for Dinner

The CIEE Alumni San Francisco Bay Area Chapter has had a couple of great events this past year, and more are planned for the near future. The chapter's president, Louisa, tells us about their last event:

On Wednesday, May 26, the CIEE Alumni San Francisco Bay Area Chapter held its second event of the year - a casual meet up and dinner to welcome and catch up with new and current members. Alumni, guests, and a few affiliates from the Academic Internship Council gathered at San Francisco’s Buca di Beppo Italian restaurant - a family-style establishment with some of the most eclectic and animated restaurant décor. It was a perfect setting for our night of storytelling and enjoyable conversation!

To elevate the energy of our dinner to be as lively as the wall decorations, the evening began with everyone writing, on their name tags, the farthest location outside of San Francisco that they’ve traveled to. While waiting for the food to arrive, alumni and guests went around the table and shared some fascinating, wild, and insightful travel tales about the destination indicated on their name tag. There were stories of frightening bullfights stopping traffic on a rural road in Hong Kong, horrendous seasickness from an outrageously crammed Thai ferry sailing in the dead of night, how difference in cultural mannerisms made for hilariously awkward encounters in Norway, and so much more. As the evening progressed, it was great to hear stories exchanged about more travels, professional insights, personal passions, and the love for Bay Area culture. In a family-style restaurant, there was certainly an intimate family atmosphere that was achieved at our CIEE dinner.

To the alumni and guests who attended, thank you for your hospitality and company. We are looking forward to another awesome CIEE alumni event in the Bay Area!

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Did you miss this event? Don't miss the next one! Stay up-to-date with chapter events by:

Event Recap: Embassy-Hopping in D.C.

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On Saturday, May 14, the CIEE Alumni Washington, D.C. Chapter went on an adventure to Massachusetts Ave, attempting to visit the 14 embassies there during the European Union Embassies' Open House day. We are happy to report that the group of eight alumni managed to visit 7 of the embassies on that busy day: Portugal, Romania, Cyprus, Bulgaria, Spain, Poland, and Lithuania. The embassies offered a taste of their countries' main dishes and drinks alongside cultural information and performances. After an exciting day of embassy-hopping, the group had dinner together at Ankara, where they enjoyed good Turkish food and hospitality.

Check out these awesome photos from the embassy-hop:

 

Spending a Day in D.C. with CIEE Alumni

There were still some signs of cherry blossoms on April 2nd when the CIEE Alumni Washington D.C. Chapter had their day-long event. Alumni met up at the Newseum for three hours of learning and exploring together. If you've ever been to the Newseum before, you'd know that you could spend much longer than three hours there! Our Alumni Engagement Coordinator journeyed from CIEE Headquarters in Portland, Maine to spend a day getting to know some of our awesome D.C.-based alumni.

The day started off with a brief 4D movie experience in the museum before alumni enjoyed looking at preserved newspapers from the 1800s, innovative media exhibits, and a live interview with Kelly McEvers, co-host of NPR's "All Things Considered." (Click here to listen to the interview that CIEE alumni watched live!)

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After the museum, several more alumni joined the group for a walk to the Tidal Basin, where there were many tulips and a few cherry blossom trees still in bloom. To re-fuel after walking all around D.C., everyone had dinner together and shared stories about their CIEE program experiences — what a great way to reconnect with old friends and make new ones! 

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Are you a CIEE alum in D.C.? Don't miss the next event! Stay up-to-date by joining the CIEE Alumni Washington D.C. Chapter Facebook group, updating your email in the alumni directory, and visiting the Alumni Events page. Questions? Email alumni@ciee.org

Not in D.C.? Join one of our other chapters: Boston, Chicago, Bay Area, NYC, Russia, China

D.C. Chapter's February Brunch

At the end of February, members of the CIEE Alumni Washington D.C. Chapter met for brunch--their first event of the new year--which also served as a chapter meeting. Members met at Tonic, a popular D.C. brunch spot, to discuss what events they'd like to plan for the year and to eat some delicious food. Check out these great photos from the event!

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Did you miss the event? Are you a CIEE 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.

Questions? Email alumni@ciee.org

Alumni Share Memories of Studying in Budapest

To mark the 25th anniversary of CIEE in Budapest, we asked alumni to share their stories and photos of their study abroad experience with us. Read about these amazing alumni and how studying abroad with CIEE in Budapest has impacted their lives.

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“One of my favorite Budapest memories was climbing (not hiking—CLIMBING) the mountain in Transylvania. It was the hardest and scariest outdoor activity I have ever done to date. I won't lie, I was definitely on the verge of tears throughout the 3 and a half hour excursion. But instead of having a major breakdown, we laughed and we sang and we persevered through. It was the moment I realized how great so many people in my program were. It was tough, but exhilarating and totally worth the dirt and sweat that covered my body.”

-Emelie Kem, CIEE Budapest, Fall 2015

 

“If I were to describe my CIEE experience in one word, it would be humbling. I learned so much about myself, I learned so much about Hungarians, and I learned so much about people in general. It was a like a 24/7 real time classroom experience. And if I were to describe how CIEE has affected me professionally, it allowed me to appreciate the politics, the economics, and the culture of Hungary and central/eastern Europe. I’m currently writing a book about the Chinese migrants in the region and without a doubt the CIEE experience provided me with the necessary foundation for doing my research. The CIEE experience has also impacted me on a more personal level. It would be impossible for me to talk about my experience there and not mention my 4 months living with a Hungarian host family. While I was there, I lived with a three-generation family in a beautiful apartment in the 13th district by Margaret Bridge. And ever since then, I have considered myself blessed to have a Hungarian family to go home to every time I visit Budapest.”

-Amy Liu, CIEE Budapest, Fall 2000

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“If I had to choose one word to describe my study abroad experience in Budapest, I think it would be metamorphosis. My time in Budapest was meaningful on a number of levels. My great grandparents emigrated from Hungary so my study abroad experience was a very special opportunity to explore my roots. Travelling and living abroad in my early 20s also instilled in me an appreciation for other cultures, customs, and points of view that I never otherwise would’ve had. My experience, over 20 years ago now, would not have been nearly as meaningful without Dr. Elizabeth Simon, who was not only our professor and resident director, but also our mentor, cultural liaison, and perspective-giver. Thank you Elizabeth and thank you CIEE for an amazing experience that helped to shape my life.”

-Brian Vohrer, CIEE Budapest, Spring 1995

 

“If I had to describe my experience in one word it would be unforgettable. Budapest is so different from the rest of Europe, it was just a very unique experience—the history is just fascinating. What does being abroad for the semester in Budapest mean to me? Well, I have continued learning Hungarian and I actually just applied to grad school in Hungary, so clearly I want to continue to live and work in Hungary and move throughout Europe, so it just has helped me realize how much I want to study and work on international education policies.”

-Marissa Kramer, CIEE Budapest, Fall 2013

 

“I studied abroad with CIEE in Budapest in the spring of 1994, when the program was still relatively new. In one word, the experience was transformative. I came to Hungary expecting to better understand the political and social transition that former eastern bloc countries were undergoing, but I left with lifelong friends and a love for all things Hungarian. I was determined to return, master the language, and assist in at least some small way with Hungary's development journey. Also, I wanted regular access to langos (fried dough) with sour cream, cheese, and garlic. And also galuska (egg dumplings). And zsiros kenyeret (bread with lard) with red wine from Villany. Any American who starts craving bread with lard as an after-hike food knows that they've been fundamentally changed by living in Hungary! IMG_0222 (002)

All joking aside, I did return—in 1996 for a Fulbright fellowship, in 1997 for a graduate internship while working on my master's degree in international development, and from 1998 through 2000, when I had the great pleasure of living in Budapest while working for a local Hungarian USAID partner organization assisting in community and civil society development. I was proud that I had achieved near native fluency in Hungarian—it was such a window into the culture, history, and perspective of Hungarians. And it's such a lyrical, beautiful language.  

In the years since I left Hungary, I've continued to meet Hungarians all over the world—in the U.S., Nigeria, and even in South Sudan, where I’m currently serving as the Senior Conflict Advisor for USAID at Embassy Juba—and I always feel an instant kinship. I still sing Hungarian rock songs in the shower and love Hungarian food and wine. Hungary will always occupy a special place in my heart as a second home, and that started with Elizabeth's passion and the CIEE program—she was so committed to making study abroad a rich and positive experience, and it was. So much of what came later for me was shaped or influenced by my study abroad experience and I am grateful!

Congratulations to CIEE and to Elizabeth for 25 great years in Hungary!”

-Carrie Gruenloh, CIEE Budapest, Spring 1994

25 Years of CIEE in Budapest: An Interview with Resident Director Elizabeth Simon

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In celebration of the 25th anniversary of CIEE study abroad in Budapest, Hungary, we look back at the history of the study center and how it’s changed over the years. To find out more, we spoke with Elizabeth Simon, Resident Director of the CIEE Study Center in Budapest, Hungary.

Elizabeth has an educational background in history and international relations, which led her to working in the field of international education with CIEE. Born in Hungary and eager to return home after studying in the United States, Elizabeth applied for an opening at the Budapest study center in 1992 and has worked there since as a resident director, professor, and overall student mentor. Over the years, she has seen the study center grow, students transform, and new partnerships develop. To commemorate the anniversary, Elizabeth shares with us the history of the study center:

“Budapest is the best kept secret, but now the secret is getting out!”
-Elizabeth Simon

The History of CIEE in Budapest
“The CIEE Study Center opened in 1990 and the first students arrived in the fall of 1990. This happened, of course, at a historic time for Hungary, just after the regime change when Hungary became a free country again with a democratically elected government. So students came at the very beginning of the new era for the country… the region in Hungary was just recreating itself in a way—building a new democracy, changing from a centrally planned economy to market economy—those were very, very exciting times for the American students.”

Since its opening in 1990, CIEE has been able to successfully bring students to Budapest each semester. Over the last few years, there has been an increase in interest for the Budapest study program. While the center marks its 25th anniversary, it also marks a record number of students this semester. Students are particularly drawn to the volunteer work and internships available on the program. Elizabeth notes, “I’m really pleased that an overwhelming majority of students are interested in some kind of engagement outside of the academic work. We have had as high as 70-75% of all students doing either for-credit or not-for-credit internship or volunteer work while they’re here.” Opportunities for students have mostly been in the nonprofit sector but, in recent years, has expanded to include private sector opportunities as well, specifically in startup companies.

The CIEE Study Center in Budapest has not only been a place of learning and growth for students, but also for faculty and administrators as well. For many years, the center has hosted International Faculty Development Seminars (IFDS)—a CIEE program that provides faculty and administrators from institutions of higher education with access to the rich academics, diverse intercultural experiences, and innovative approaches to learning and problem-solving that enhance syllabi, internationalize curricula, and increase global understanding on their campuses.

A True Cultural Exchange
As CIEE’s presence in Budapest continued to grow, so did the opportunities for cultural exchange. CIEE developed a partnership with the Hungarian-American Enterprise Scholarship Fund (HAESF) to create scholarship-based opportunities for talented Hungarians to gain professional experience in the United States, strengthening ties between the U.S. and Hungary. Not too long after, a similar partnership was formed between CIEE and the Baltic American Freedom Foundation as well as the Slovak-American Foundation. Those partnerships helped create a center of true exchange in and out of Budapest and beyond. Elizabeth, who was instrumental in this effort, offers these words, “It’s important to note that the Budapest program is truly an exchange program in that we are not only bringing American students here, but we are also sending talented Hungarians to the United States. For 11 years, we have supported around 430 talented Hungarians. […] This kind of exchange that we are able to do in Hungary has benefitted both sides. Our American students are actually able to do some internships with some of the HAESF alumni that have returned from the U.S. […] and so this has been a wonderful benefit to the study center.”

25 Years of Quality Exchange
“I love what I’m doing and I’m still here after so many years,” says Elizabeth, “The program is running strongly, we have an increasing number of students, and we have an excellent partnership with Corvinus University, our host institution here. I think a wonderful attestation to the quality of the program here in Budapest and what kind of experiences our students are getting from the program is that many of them would like to return eventually, at least just to visit.” Elizabeth shared that her most memorable moments working with CIEE are when students return or reconnect with the study center staff. “When they tell you how much one semester meant to them and what changes the study abroad experience brought in their life… that is truly memorable and it just makes you feel that your work is valuable.”

Many students who studied with CIEE in Budapest have kept in touch, returned to visit, and have even decided to pursue careers in international education. Furthermore, among CIEE Budapest alumni are 6 Fulbright awardees to Hungary. Elizabeth notes, “I think that’s a wonderful record… that we have 6 Fulbright awardees who were previous CIEE students here in Budapest. It speaks highly of the quality of students who are here and it also speaks highly of the program we are able to provide and maintain here in Budapest.”

A Special Anniversary
“It’s a special celebration because we have been able to build a strong organization here with wonderful partners, colleagues, and teachers who have supported us, and stayed with us, for all these years,” Elizabeth notes, “and it’s as much of a celebration of their work as CIEE’s commitment to stay in a country where, at times, there were fewer students.”

CIEE is proud to celebrate 25 years of study abroad in Budapest. We look forward to seeing more students learn, grow, and experience Hungary and the impact of study abroad. As Elizabeth says, “Learning about a new culture, about another country’s history, culture, politics, and society, in the location—that has to be the best way of learning.”

This article is written in celebration of the 25th anniversary of CIEE study abroad in Budapest. An official 25th anniversary event will be held at Corvinus University in Budapest on March 4, 2016. To take part in the virtual celebration, join us on social media @CIEEalumni.

Help Us Celebrate 25 Years of Study Abroad in Budapest

This March, CIEE is celebrating 25 years of study abroad in Budapest, Hungary. We are excited to mark this milestone with a 25th anniversary event to be held at Corvinus University in Budapest on March 4, 2016. All CIEE Budapest alumni, current students, and staff are invited to attend!Budapest blog post image compilation

Share Your Story

Did you study abroad in Budapest? What did you love about it? We're gathering alumni stories and messages of congratulations for CIEE Study Abroad in Budapest to mark this important milestone. Send us your favorite memories and photos and you'll be featured on the CIEE Alumni blog as part of a virtual celebration of the anniversary.

Share your story via email at alumni@ciee.org

Please include your name, CIEE program information and year, a photo, and 3-4 sentences in support of study abroad in Budapest.

All messages should be submitted by Wednesday, February 24th.

 

We look forward to celebrating with you!

NYC Chapter's January Meeting

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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 AlumniChapterNewYork@ciee.org

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."

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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.