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Alumni at the 70th CIEE Annual Conference

CIEE is proud to have a number of fantastic alumni at the 70th CIEE Annual Conference happening this week in Austin, Texas. The theme of this year's conference is "Born Digital: Embracing Technology to Enhance International Education." The study abroad community, including our alumni, are engaging in thought-provoking conversation around the topic this week to share ideas of how 21st century learning approaches can be incorporated into the innovative global programs and experiences abroad that prepare today's students for the future. These are the alumni that will be taking part in this year's conference as session presenters, attendees, and more:

  Emma

Session Presenter

“Turning to Technology: Emerging Access for Students with Disabilities”

Emma Verrill is originally from Yarmouth, Maine. After receiving a BA in Gender and Women’s Studies from Bowdoin College, she moved to Rennes, France, where she studied abroad, to teach English. Emma participated in the Teaching Assistant Program in France (TAPIF) from 2010-2012. While living abroad, she worked for the local CIEE office evaluating the physical accessibility of the city and the program. Upon return to the United States, Emma moved to Austin, Texas here she obtained her Masters in Education from Texas State University. She is currently a second grade teacher at Trinity Episcopal School. Emma enjoys live music, warm weather, and the active/outdoor lifestyle Austin has to offer.

  Han

Session Presenter

“Uncovering the Digital Author Abroad: Reflection, Representation, and Authority in Digital Learning Abroad”

Hannah Milkie is a student at Northern Michigan University, with a graphic design major and double minors in political science and philosophy. She studied abroad at the CIEE Global Institute in London the fall semester of 2016. She's always been extremely passionate about political activism but studying abroad in London helped her begin to take her creativity more seriously. She is unsure what the future holds for her but she hopes to keep developing her skills in design and other forms of media. Additionally, she hopes keep traveling and gaining new cultural experiences at any given opportunity.

 

Mandi

Session Presenter

“Once More with Feeling: Humanizing Technology in the Study Abroad Space”

Mandi Faulkner is a history major at the University of Texas at Austin. In 2015, she spent a year studying abroad at the University of Amsterdam. She wrote her honors thesis on women’s networks in seventeenth-century Amsterdam and hopes to return there soon.

 

Poiere

CIEE Breakfast Presenter

Peiré Wilson is a junior at City College’s Colin Powell School of Civic and Global Leadership, located in Harlem New York. He currently is studying Political Science with a minor in International Studies, with plans to combine his passions for arts, technology, advocacy and law into a career in Intellectual Property Law. He was a member of the first cohort of Frederick Douglass Global Fellows to study at the CIEE London Global Institute, where he studied intercultural communications and leadership. His experience in London was a transformative one – after meeting with the living descendant of Booker T. Washington and Frederick Douglass, Ms. Nettie Douglass, he felt a renewed charge to push against conformity and instead fight for unity.

Chiw

CIEE Breakfast Presenter

Chinwendu “Chi-Chi” Maduegbunam is a junior attending Fayetteville State University. She is majoring in psychology and minoring in biology with hopes to attend medical school afterwards. Chi-Chi was named one of the first Frederick Douglass Global Fellows and plans to use what she has learned to continue on her path to being a successful leader in the medical field. She wants to positively impact the people around her by becoming a pediatrician or pediatric psychiatrist. Later on in her career, she wants to develop a charitable organization in Nigeria to give medicine, clothes, food, and other necessities to impoverished areas. By having this study abroad experience, it has spearheaded her vision and goals.

May

Attendee

Mayra “Kahori” Vidana Sanchez a junior at University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP), studying to become a math educator. There, she serves as a student ambassador of the university at various events and conferences, is a leader in the UTEP Honors Program, and works at the Contracts and Grants office at her institution. In these capacities on campus, Kahori highlights the importance of study abroad opportunities, by sharing her story from the summer of 2017 in Northern Ireland and at the CIEE Global Institute in London, as a member of the first cohort of the Frederick Douglas Global Fellowship. Kahori’s greatest determination is to give others the accessibility to educational excellence, because to her, education is essential for progress for a global society. Kahori’s personal narrative was featured in The Atlantic.

 

Kat

Attendee

Katherine Tran is a senior and Distinguished Business Student in the College of Business at The University of Texas at San Antonio. She is currently studying Management with a concentration in International Management, and is also a first-generation college student. She was a member of the inaugural cohort of the Frederick Douglass Global Fellowship at the CIEE Global Institute in London during the summer of 2017. Katherine loves to be involved on campus through many student organizations! Besides her academics, she enjoys going on hikes, trying new food, and hanging out with her family and friends.

Lea

Attendee

Lea Sandoval is a senior at Texas Christian University in Fort Worth, TX. She will earn a Bachelor of Science in Middle School Math Education with a minor in Social Work. Lea had the opportunity to study abroad with CIEE in Seoul, South Korea during the spring semester of her sophomore year. Her semester abroad allowed for personal and professional growth, which she has utilized since her return. After returning from Seoul, she gained a newfound passion for study abroad and now aims to become a study abroad advisor at the university level.

Three CIEE Study Abroad Alumni to Participate in IIE Summit as Generation Study Abroad Voices

This year, three CIEE Study Abroad alumni were invited to participate as Alumni Voices in the 2017 IIE Summit on Generation Study Abroad in Washington, D.C. from October 1-3. The Summit is part of the Institute of International Education (IIE)'s Generation Study Abroad initiative, of which CIEE is a partner, that aims to double the number of U.S. students studying abroad by 2020. The theme for this year's Summit is "Navigating a Changing World: Building Talent with Global Experience." Studies show that graduates with an international experience find employment faster and are more prepared than those without it, yet less than 10% of U.S. college students graduate with global experience. The Summit will bring together leaders and practitioners from education, business, and government for discussion on global workforce readiness to spark new ideas and creative collaboration to work towards expanding study abroad participation.

As a Generation Study Abroad Alumni Voice, these three CIEE Study Abroad alumni will be contributing their experiences, thoughts, and ideas as individuals who have gone from a study abroad student to a member of a global workforce. Combined, they present skills in photography, advocacy, business, marketing, writing, editing, and more. Click on their bios below to learn more about them, what they plan on contributing to the Summit, and what access to study abroad means to them:

RACHEL MALONE

Rachel

STUDIED IN:
Dublin, Ireland

EDUCATION:
B.A. in Travel and Hospitality, Minneapolis Business College

CURRENT POSITION:
Brand Ambassador, Sand Cloud

BREANNA MOORE

Breanna

STUDIED IN:
Legon, Ghana

EDUCATION:
B.A. in International Relations and African Studies, University of Pennsylvania

CURRENT POSITION:
Founder and CEO, LaBré

THOMAS ROSE

Tom

STUDIED IN:
Lisbon, Portugal

EDUCATION:
B.S. in Professional Writing, Champlain College

CURRENT POSITION:
Freelance Writer & Editor

 

 

 

Stories from St. Petersburg: Celebrating 50 Years

23230_Study Abroad_St Petersburg_St. Petersburg_RLP_RASP_Catherine_s Palace _Fall 2006_

This year marks 50 years of international exchange in St. Petersburg, Russia. In 1967, CIEE contracted Soviet Union representatives and negotiated the first educational exchange that ever took place between the two nations. Since then, thousands of American students have participated in eye-opening exchanges in St. Petersburg to practice Russian language, learn about Russian history, and foster mutual cultural understanding.

To celebrate 50 years of exchanges, the CIEE Study Center in St. Petersburg is hosting an anniversary program from September 21 to September 24. CIEE Study Abroad students, alumni, staff, partners, and friends will enjoy a long weekend of Russian cultural events including trips to the State Hermitage Museum, a 'Swan Lake' ballet at Mikhailovsky Theatre, a Russian-themed costume ball, and an excursion to Peterhof. A number of distinguished alumni will speak at the event including a former U.S. ambassador to Russia, a former CNN correspondent, and a columnist from "The Moscow Times."

Throughout history, CIEE has adapted to change, in this region and beyond, to remain true to their founding mission while embracing new challenges in international education. CIEE is dedicated to providing the highest level of academic and intercultural programs for students from the U.S., and around the world, for generations to come. This anniversary represents 50 years of providing opportunities for Americans and Russians to learn together, exchange ideas, and study language to better communicate across cultures. The experiences of generations of study abroad students in Russia illustrate the impact that these exchanges have had on cultural understanding and the beauty of finding a second home in a world that was once inaccessible for American students. Read these thoughts and memories from alumni to get a glimpse of what exchange in St. Petersburg, Russia has looked like over time:

1967

Exchange programs between the United States and Leningrad, Russia begin.

1969

“[…] Being in Leningrad University, so old, so famous, so prestigious, was thrilling. And then, when we started attending classes, we had two teachers, whose names I still remember, though incompletely. They were Robert Eduardovich Nazarian and Inna Sergeevna, whose surname I unfortunately cannot recall.. [...] And they were the best teachers. They were incredible. They were so dedicated and so effective; they were so technically good at teaching us Russian. And it was so interesting. I remember that Robert Nazarian assigned us a paper about art—specifically about modern art, which is kind of interesting, in the Soviet Union. I wrote my paper about Picasso. […] We had such wonderful conversations with our teachers about really interesting things. And then, privately, we’d go and listen to music with our friends, and talk about life. It was a really fabulous experience.”

-Jill Dougherty (’69, ’71)

  1970

“Having grown up in rural America, I arrived in Leningrad with little exposure to high art and culture. I drank it in. Whether it was watching Mikhail Baryshnikov perform as a rising ballet star, or visiting a different room of the Hermitage each day to do homework, art became a passion. To this day, I am an avid balletomane and always go through the Hermitage when in St. Petersburg to say hello to my favorite paintings. They are like old friends.” 

-Mary Kruger (’69, ’70)

1971

“Because the standard of living was so much lower in Russia than it was back in our home, I learned to get along with very little. I also learned to appreciate what we had. I believe that we all learned to be flexible and to realize that each person has his own set of beliefs. Also, one quickly realizes that when speaking to a person from another cultural and linguistic background, one has to anticipate what that person is really trying to express, in other words, not to take each word in one’s own language at face value, but to try to grasp what the person is actually trying to say. So tolerance would be another skill which one acquires when living and studying abroad. Also one realizes that if things are done differently, then perhaps that particular approach has established itself in response to a different environment. When in Rome, do as the Romans do.” 

-Pamela Dougherty (’69, ’71)

1975

“We were grouped into five levels of Russian-language ability based on a detailed written and oral test given at the university. All courses were in Russian and revolved around language, grammar, phonetics and literature. It was serious, intensive language study for hours each day [...]. Classes were long and expert, teachers excellent and disciplined, and we all learned a lot.”   

-Larry Sherwin (’75)

1976

“Leningrad was the first Soviet city I ever saw and the first big city after Washington DC and New York that I knew and ever lived in. It was simultaneously very similar to and very different from Washington, both post-imperial capitals, both military capitals with a lot of military objects and statues of war heroes and a lot of people in uniform. The city was a город-музей, with the 18th-19th century architecture—and was run-down like museum. I have visited Vienna, Paris, and other imperial capitals and I think Saint Petersburg is still my favorite imperial capital. Theaters and museums made me a much more cultured person. The change of season from winter to spring was dramatic. Even now, I often compare cities that I visit with Saint Petersburg.” 

-Mark von Hagen (’76, ’80)

1979

“We had classes in the morning, but after that we spent practically every waking moment with Vasya, Irina, and their circle. Our activities included: throwing a frisbee, hanging out at their tiny communal apartment, cooking and eating, exploring what seemed like every single corner of the city, riding the metro and trolleybuses, going out to the beach on the Gulf of Finland, going to museums, playing guitar and singing in public parks.” 

-Sharon Lee Cowan (’79)

1981

“Two things struck me particularly during my stay. One was the warmth and hospitality of ordinary Soviet/Russian people in private settings; the other was the fact that Russians seemed to know much more about the United States and American culture than most Americans knew about Russia. Russians were much friendlier and more welcoming toward Americans than Americans were toward Russians at the time. Russians did not take the Cold War personally or view us American students as responsible for our government’s policies.” 

-Adrienne Lynn Edgar (’81)

1983

“The summer I spent in Leningrad in 1983 completely changed my life. It was my first trip abroad, and it was the experience that set me on a professional path that I have been on ever since.” 

-Michael McFaul (’83) [Read his story]

1988

“My eyes wide open, I grew in courage and confidence. It’s then that I decided that to learn a language is to transmit knowledge. But what would I transmit or bring to the world? And it was back then that I decided to return to the US to get a medical degree. I subsequently became a surgeon and worked in Africa. To quote the good doctor, [Anton] Chekhov, ‘Knowledge is of no value unless you put it into practice.’” 

-Matthew LeMaitre (’88)

1994

“The quality of language instructions was very, very high, and it has not changed. The teachers were very genuine. I was always treated with a lot of respect by the instructors and the administration. The teachers really cared about the students. I am sure they are still like that.” 

-Darin Menlove (1994–95 Resident Director)

2000

“After studying abroad in Russia, I had a richer, fuller, more real impression of Russians. I learned about their bottomless generosity and strength of will. I learned about their reverence for high culture (poetry, ballet, fine arts) and pride in military accomplishments. But overall I learned that the Russian people are extremely complex.” 

-Jarlath McGuckin (’00 student, 2006-13 CIEE resident staff)

2001

“Living in St. Petersburg, everything was right there before me. Russian history? Choose one of the hundreds of museums. Russian arts? Pick a museum or theater–you won’t even come close to getting to them all. Russian orthodox religion? There are cathedrals to tour and believers to talk with. […] But I have to say my best memories came from a hobby I picked up on a whim. I bought an old Russian camera and started messing with it trying to take pictures of St. Petersburg (this is before digital cameras were really a thing). I went everywhere and photographed everything I could: not terribly artistic, but it made for great memories. It gave me something to work on while I was seeing these amazing places like the Summer Gardens, Smolnyi Cathedral in the fall, the Summer Palace, and the Art Institute. I took a particular interest in night photography because I thought the buildings around St. Petersburg were so beautiful, especially lit up at night. My photographic skills were not great (a remote shutter would’ve helped immensely), but walking around St. Petersburg at night and seeing these things in the dark and covered with snow made an already-magical place even more so—and created magical memories as well. I also had the chance to meet people and just talk with them as best my language would allow, and learn more about the city and its residents. Probably it was not the best idea wandering around at night by myself, but memories like that you cannot make any other way.” 

-Andy F. (’01)

2002

“I loved exploring, and St. Petersburg is a city that lends itself to getting deliberately lost along canals and in back alleys. I enjoyed walking with friends through the almost desolate nighttime streets of Vasilievsky Ostrov (where I lived), exploring smaller sites such as the Museum of the Defense and Siege of Leningrad. We also enjoyed the perks of student life, such as getting student prices at the Mariinsky Theater.” 

-Matt Burke (’02)

2003

“In the winter of 2003, four CIEE Russian students set out from St. Petersburg to explore the Caucasus. It was great that the CIEE program gave students a week’s vacation from class in the middle of our program, allowing us to travel farther than our organized excursions to Moscow and Tallinn. Some students went to Poland, Ukraine, or back to the Baltics. Others went east to Lake Baikal. Our foursome decided to go south, visiting Volgograd, Piatigorsk, and Dombai. Armed with a borrowed Lonely Planet guide book, we made our way down to Piatigorsk, asking locals on the train how to get to Dombai. The simple answer was, ‘Don’t get in a taxicab or private car.’ Upon arriving in Piatigorsk, we encountered friendly people telling us about Lermontov’s city, and police officers who took our passports and wanted three hundred rubles in return. We hopped on buses going further south, finally reaching our terminal point with public transportation: a bus stop on the outskirts of Teberda, whose lone occupant was a cow grazing in the lot. With thirty kilometers to go, we took a taxi, against the advice of all the people on the train. Our cab driver drove us up the snow-covered roads, warning us that the ski resort was off-season, and insisting, ‘If we make it only to Dombai, you haven’t really been to the Caucasus.’ We were lucky to have his help, as he found us a place to live with his brother’s family, where we rented a spare apartment. We were able to spend only two days in Dombai, but they were memorable. We went on a four-hour horseback riding trip that took us close to the border of Georgia, and spent the rest of the time eating shashlyk and kharcho at the one open cafe in town. On the way back, we met a youth wrestling team from Dagestan. We arm-wrestled on the train. We also spent time with a soldier who was on leave to return home for his father’s funeral. Our trip was memorable in so many different ways, from vast beautiful landscapes to the countless friendly people whom we met along the way. It was the highlight of my semester in Russia with CIEE.” 

-Andrew Chapman (’03)

2005

“During my program, I stayed with a family of three in an apartment complex on Bolshoy Prospekt. Most of my days were spent riding the metro system to school, with visits to the Hermitage or other landmarks or museums in the afternoons. The family I stayed with was very helpful and for better and worse, they spoke English rather well when I struggled with the Russian language.” 

-Fred O’Hara (’05)

2008

“I think about Inna and Zora [my hosts] a lot when I come up with my lesson plans. The words I learned from them were right in front of me as they showed them to me–immediately useful and necessary: matches, traffic, towel, butter. I try and give my students words that they’ll need and use, rather than vocabulary that has nothing to do with their lives.” 

-Lauren Nelson (’08)

2010

“I really appreciated getting to stay with a host family and to live immersed in the ‘real Russia.’ It allowed me to see what life was like for ordinary people in Russia, to see beyond the perceptions/propaganda we might have been exposed to through the news or other stereotypes.” 

-Lindsay Daniels (’10)

2012

“The most valuable part of my experience was my homestay and interacting with our native teachers. Living in a working-class home in St. Petersburg was very educational and my host’s stories about the country in the early years after the Soviet Union brought my knowledge of the country to life and humanized the issues faced by the rapidly changing nation. Interacting with locals, however, was also the most difficult part of living in Russia. Having been able to read and write in Russian far better than speak or listen, adjusting to living with a host family was probably the most difficult aspect of the program. I often did not understand locals, but quickly learned to find other ways to communicate through hand signals, sounds, and broken sentences.” 

-Will Bezbatchenko (’12)

2013

“Because my first encounter with Russian culture came through the works of Tolstoy, I pictured Russia as an elegant and high societal culture—an expectation I carried with me as I first set out for Petersburg. Though my expectations differed from reality in many ways, I was pleasantly surprised by how steeped in tradition Russia remains, as well as by how much their literature runs deep in the parlance of modern people. While in America, it’s a challenge to find someone able to quote Hemingway or Frost, in today’s Russia, it is harder still to find someone unable to recite Pushkin, and I think that is one of my favorite characteristics of the Russian people.” 

-Rebekah Olson (’13)

2014

“The CIEE had a nice array of classes that complemented my studies of U.S.-Russian relations. Taking classes like Russian politics and Ethnic studies (in Russia) enhanced my degree and gave me a better understanding of the country than I could have received in the U.S. I believe it really made a difference that the professors were locals. They often shared stories of their own Russian experiences while simultaneously answering any questions or concerns we had from what we heard in our media.” 

-Ella Berishev (’14)

2015

“[...] being able to explore the city through a series of excursions was a big advantage of this program, as it provided me with an opportunity to get to know Russian society from all of its angles… My life in Russia revolved around fully exploring the local culture, local museums, parks, watching operas and ballet, etc. I miss being able to simply stroll around the city after classes and admire the beauty of the architecture. I am really grateful for my host family who introduced me to many of their friends and allowed me to become a part of their family celebrations and events.” 

-Dagmara Franczak (’15)

2016

“[...] The city, although different in appearance and in time, is still the same city in which Dostoevsky lived. Through the opportunities given to us by the CIEE, we were able to recognize this and furthermore imagine ourselves in Dostoevsky's time. The first thing we had the opportunity to do is attend a play of one of Dostoevsky's short stories, ‘Сон Смешного Человека’ (‘Dream of a Ridiculous Man’). I had read this story in English a few months before coming here to Saint Petersburg, and so although it was presented in Russian, I was able to understand what was happening. Moreover, it was by far the best stage performance I have ever seen, no exaggeration. There were perhaps only fifteen people in the room, which was decorated with period-style furniture and lit with candles. I cannot overstate the actor’s skill, or the feelings I experienced there. It was absolutely amazing. The CIEE students also had the opportunity to go on a walking tour of all the places in ‘Преступление и Наказание’ (‘Crime and Punishment’). This, I thought, would be interesting and nothing more, but I was wrong. Not only was it interesting, but it even brought the story to life. We were able to see the apartment in which Dostoevsky described Rodion Raskolnikov as living, as well as the places where other various characters might have lived. Frequently, my English translation had mentioned the 'hay market', and only on the tour did I discover that this was an area I had traversed myself multiple times before. Furthermore, we walked the distance on the same streets that Raskolnikov took to the apartment of the pawnbroker, and saw the apartment in which Dostoevsky wrote his novel. In fact, we had to remind ourselves that these people were not real, and that they were only characters in a book, because it was so easy to imagine them as real.” 

-Iain Cunningham (’16)

2017

“Before I arrived here, I thought Saint Petersburg was not truly Russian. Now I can see that perhaps Saint Petersburg is quintessentially Russian. Everyone says that it is Russia’s European city, and that might be true on the surface. But, if one bothers to look even a little closely, one can see through the veil, one can see a heart that is neither European nor Asiatic, but Russian.” 

-Jacob Levitan (’17)

 

A Summer in Review: The CIEE Alumni Internship Program, 2017

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It was another exciting and engaging summer for CIEE's Alumni Interns in Portland, Maine and Boston, Massachusetts. Through the Alumni Internship Program, ten CIEE Study Abroad alumni representing a variety of backgrounds, academic interests, and universities collaborated with staff at two different offices, in the field, and around the world to tackle complex topics in international education. They also participated in weekly leadership seminars to hone their skills and build a picture of their professional lives after graduation. The result was a set of thoughtful presentations and recommendations for future endeavors that contribute to CIEE's work. Here's what they have to say about their experience at CIEE:

"I would say my biggest takeaway from this internship program is what I learned through my 30 Minutes to Mentor sessions. Our generation is turning to a work style where it is more important to try a bunch of different experiences through your professional career, so don’t be concerned about finding the job that can fit your needs for your life right out of college. Also, overall, I developed tremendously both personally and professionally this summer and I’m looking forward to a future career in international education and beyond." -Evan Seder

"My biggest takeaway was connecting with CIEE employees who spent time working abroad prior to beginning at this organization. Their stories and courage have inspired me to want to do the same. These conversations, along with our weekly professional development seminars, helped me better understand what I hope to do following graduation next May. I hope to continue working at organizations with an international focus." -Emily MacLaren

"This past summer at CIEE helped me decide on a potential career path for my post-grad school search. Learning more about the international education field through different mentors in the building allowed me to understand what my options were. I left knowing that I could reach out to mentors at any point and continue asking for advice. Going into my senior year, I know that I am more prepared, professionally and personally, than if I had not been a part of this internship. It was an amazing opportunity to grow!" -Lea Sandoval

"I think my biggest takeaway was coming to understand that you really do get out of something what you put into it. In school, it’s easy to only put in as much work as it will take to get a good grade, which doesn’t always mean actually trying your hardest. In this internship, putting everything you’ve got into a project could be the difference between having our work used and referred to for years to come or having our project sit on the shelf. It was up to us to create a project we were proud of!" -Ellen Lechman

"Over everything else, this internship taught me to take initiative in the workplace. I was never waiting around for a mentor’s directions. Rather, I used my spare time to work on what I saw as important projects for my department. This initiative has definitely paid off, as I can see some of my suggestions being implemented in real time. It’s incredible, and definitely rare, to have that kind of trust as an intern." -Jamie Katz

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"The internship solidified my trust in myself and my abilities. CIEE views the interns as valued assets which gave me the confidence to dive into my project and professional development. I am excited to grow my professional confidence in the future." -Liz Stoppelmann

"I gained a lot of analytical skills with this internship with Excel spreadsheets and financial data, I am now able to apply those lessons to my creative work in graphic design, especially when trying to sell my work or setting prices for freelance projects." -Ciranno Soares

"During this summer I worked on my first personal project which was a bit intimidating. Because I had the liberty of doing my own research, it was sometimes hard to focus on collecting the right information. Luckily, my mentor was great because she helped me stay on track and helped me understand how to digest the information that I had collected. Before this internship, I was interested in analytics but wasn’t sure if it was right for me. However, this internship helped me realize that a job in the analytics field is a good choice for me." -Naeli Elizalde

 "This internship put me in a position to not only learn the skills to complete my projects but to also blossom professionally and personally. I became a mentor, a listener, a doer, a thinker, a chef, and ultimately learned so much about myself and the world due to the connections I've made. My CIEE notebook is jam packed with entrepreneurial endeavors that came to me right at my desk that will come alive in the near future. I am forever grateful for CIEE for allowing me to see things in myself that I didn't know were there!" -Arianna Alleyne

"One of the biggest takeaways from working at CIEE was being able to connect with other employees in various departments through the 30-mins-to-mentor segment of my Alumni Internship. I am so appreciative of my mentor who understood my desire to write and work in international education, and connected me with professionals in these fields. Talking to those with the same interests as myself was inspiring, helpful and by far one of the best experiences. I gained a lot of advice and a network I never had before." -Carmin Wong

Boston in Portland
Boston-based interns visit Portland office with mentor

Though they were hard at work on their projects, our interns also had time to explore Portland, Boston, and many other gems of New England! Here area a few highlights from the summer:

"Summer in Boston was a whole different culture that I'm not used to indulging in as a native New Yorker. I went to my first beach in America, I went canoeing in the Charles River, I played life-size Connect Four (and won), I accidentally joined a running team and the list goes on and on. Boston gave me a lot of 'firsts' this summer as it engulfed me in its own unique culture." -Arianna Alleyne

Unnamed 5

"I had never hiked, or basically done anything outdoorsy until I came to Maine, and I loved it! One weekend, all five girls from the Portland office decided to do a glamping trip to Acadia. We were able to explore different parts of Acadia and I pushed myself both mentally and physically. However, the most rewarding moment was being able to see the sunrise after hiking at night." -Naeli Elizalde

"Maine is such a beautiful state! I got to witness it firsthand when we visited Acadia National Park one weekend. Not only did we see the sunrise, but we hiked in other areas and the scenery was just crazy beautiful. I definitely gained a greater appreciation for nature and Portland's coastal feel. The memories created with the other interns throughout the summer were great! Going on random adventures here and there around the area was so much fun." -Lea Sandoval

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"The highlight of my summer in Maine was definitely July 4th. We had a big BBQ in the field outside of our residence hall for all of the interns and CIEE Work and Travel USA program participants. For many, it was their first experience at a BBQ and it was a great way to show them the culture. From there, we went to the fireworks at the Eastern Promenade and watched them as a big group. It was exciting to see the level of happiness between all the different cultures on this fun summer day." -Evan Seder

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"The two highlights of this summer were the people I was able to meet and the places I was able to explore. Aside from meeting and becoming great friends with the other interns, I was able to meet CIEE Work and Travel USA participants from all over the world. Also, I had the opportunity to explore the New England area. My favorite weekend was spent Acadia National Park." -Emily MacLaren

"The level of professional development I received this summer was unexpected and still unbelievable. Since finishing my internship at CIEE, I have landed 3 interviews, and have been impressed by how comfortable I felt going into each. I gained technical skills I never had and I feel confident enough to work in any setting. Furthermore, working in the Boston office was a great setting. I especially enjoyed hearing all the comments and support from those in the Boston office—and elsewhere—after my final presentation. What sometimes felt like a surreal experience became a moment of pride and fulfillment after hearing positive feedback from those I worked alongside the whole summer." -Carmin Wong

Unnamed 9

 "My favorite parts of the summer in Boston were exploring some of Boston’s museums and historical sites. This was also my first time on the East Coast (other than a quick family trip to D.C. when I was really young), so I also got to visit New York City for the very first time this summer! Lastly, I loved living and working with the other Boston interns, Carmin and Arianna. They are both such incredible women, and I learned so much from them!" -Ellen Lechman

"The highlight of my summer in Maine was our trip to Acadia National Park. We went ‘glamping’ near the park, half-successfully built our own fires, cooked our meals on a grill, and even woke up for a sunrise hike on Cadillac Mountain. Portland is an awesome city to live in for the summer, but I was thrilled to have the opportunity to experience the 'outdoorsy' side of Maine." -Jamie Katz

Hiking

"Glamping for a weekend in Acadia National Park was a great way to see the beauty of Maine from scaling Beehive to hiking Cadillac to see the sunrise. Also struggling to start a campfire for the needed s’mores experience. Top summer memory, for sure!" -Liz Stoppelmann

"Exploring the city with my bike and tubing in the Presumpscot river were two of the most fun things I have done this summer. Exploring the many different restaurants in Portland was also awesome!" -Ciranno Soares

Introducing the 2017 Alumni Summer Interns

Every summer, CIEE selects ten outstanding CIEE Study Abroad alumni to participate in a nine-week internship working on challenging strategic projects that reflect CIEE's mission. This year, we welcome interns not only to CIEE's global headquarters in Portland, Maine, but also at the new Boston, Massachusetts office. Learn more about this year's group of interns:

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Emily MacLaren:
Emily MacLaren is a rising senior from New Orleans. She is studying public health and international development at Tulane University. At Tulane, she is an intern in the Office of Undergraduate Admissions, gives tours, and is a member of a sorority. In the fall of 2016, she studied abroad in Amsterdam on CIEE’s Social Sciences program.

Evan Seder:
Evan Seder is a native New Englander from Norwich, Connecticut and is entering his senior year of international studies and Spanish at Elon University in North Carolina. Having just returned from a semester at CIEE’s Study Center in Seville, Spain, he is excited to join the CIEE team in Portland. He also is excited to explore the great life Portland has to offer in the summertime, and learn more about CIEE’s day-to-day operations.

Ciranno Soares:
Ciranno Soares is an international student from Brazil and studies graphic design at the University of Minnesota. He loves to play and listen to music, to travel as much as possible, and to bike. Ciranno has worked for a variety of companies ranging from Disney World to Guns N' Roses, consequently living in a lot of different places. He recently came back from a study abroad term in Barcelona with CIEE and is looking forward to experiencing life in Portland this summer.

Arianna Alleyne:
Arianna Alleyne, currently studying computer programming and software engineering, is a rising senior attending Johnson & Wales University. Originally from New York City, Arianna is passionate about incorporating her big city dreams with bridging the gap between women and the technology world, while using those interests and skills to connect popular culture trends to technology. In her free time, she enjoys keeping up with these popular culture trends by reading articles, shopping, blog writing, and exploring the world. Having studied abroad in Berlin with CIEE, as well as in London, international experiences have been deeply intertwined in Alleyne’s educational career and she hopes to continue on this journey by landing a position in a global corporation.

Liz Stoppelmann:
Liz Stoppelmann is pursuing degrees in public relations and political science at the University of Oregon. Last spring, she studied in Seville, Spain through CIEE. Prior to her semester abroad, Liz led an on-campus club that creates entrepreneurial ventures where the profits fund international and domestic projects focusing on sustainable development.

Jamie Katz:
Jamie Katz is a management/marketing double major at Tulane University in New Orleans. She studied abroad with CIEE in Budapest, where she was set up as an intern for a Hungarian start-up struggling to penetrate the U.S. market. The ability to work abroad was the most meaningful part of her experience in Budapest, and she is excited to bring what she has learned to CIEE's global headquarters in Portland. Jamie loves to cook in her spare time, and she is a big football fan.

Carmin Wong:
Carmin Wong is a senior English major and playwriting minor at Howard University in Washington, D.C. She studied in London, Paris, and Rome through the CIEE Global Scholar’s program in Fall 2016. Born in Georgetown, Guyana, she is an advocate for educational rights for minorities and women. She has spent her time on campus working with Girls Inc., a non-profit dedicated to mentoring and tutoring middle school girls while encouraging them to be strong, smart, and bold women. As a CIEE alumna, she wants to share her experiences abroad to help encourage diversity in global education.

Ellen Lechman:
Ellen Lechman is a senior at Southern Illinois University Carbondale majoring in communication studies and minoring in management. Ellen recently completed a semester studying in Prague through CIEE. She fell in love with Prague’s beauty, history, and culture, and she is excited about the opportunity to help other students have their own magical study abroad experiences. At school, she is involved with the Student Programming Council, the University Honors Program, and works as a campus tour guide. In her free time, Ellen enjoys hiking, reading, and Netflix.

Lea Sandoval:
Lea Sandoval is a rising senior at Texas Christian University. Born in San Salvador, El Salvador, her family relocated to Long Island, New York and eventually made their way to Arlington, Texas where they now reside. She is currently majoring in middle school math education and minoring in social work. Determined to experience a different culture, she decided to spend 4 months in Seoul, South Korea during spring 2016. Lea is looking forward to working at CIEE's headquarters because, after studying abroad in Seoul, she garnered a newfound passion for international education and would like to obtain a master's degree in this unique field.

Naeli Elizalde:
Naeli Elizalde is a Mexican-American first generation college student. She is from Dallas, TX and is studying business administration at Babson College. During the spring semester of her junior year, she studied abroad in Seville, Spain where she discovered her love for traveling. She also has a passion for dancing and food, admires nature, and loves to spend time at the beach.

CIEE Celebrates 70 Years

On May 8, 2017, CIEE marked 70 years of living out its mission and providing educational and cultural exchange opportunities to people around the world. CIEE was founded on May 8, 1947 under the name Council on Student Travel with a defining purpose: to provide exchange opportunities that would create conversation and unity between people of all nations. What began seven decades ago as a commitment to international exchange has now become an enduring legacy – one built upon strong partnerships with forward-thinking organizations, institutions, and individuals. 

We're proud to say that in the past 70 years:

  • More than 600,000 Americans have experienced another culture through CIEE study, teach, and internship programs in more than 50 countries outside the U.S.
  • More than 950,000 people from 135 countries have experienced the U.S. – many for the first time – through our inbound study, work, internship, and trainee programs.
  • And more than 48,000 U.S. families and employers have shepherded students and been enriched through the hosting of CIEE-sponsored international exchange participants.

In celebration of these accomplishments and in the spirit of continued dedication to international exchange, staff, members of the Board of Directors, family, friends, and other special guests gathered at CIEE's global headquarters in Portland Maine on June 8, 2017 for an evening of reflection, conversation, and fun. There was even a cake shaped like the ships CIEE's first participants traveled on!

Thank you to all of the alumni who have been a part of CIEE's history. We hope you continue to engage in cultural exchanges and stay passionate about international education.

Please enjoy these video and photo highlights from the event:

CIEE - Celebrating 70 Years

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Announcing the Winners of CIEE's 70th Anniversary Alumni Storytelling Contest

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From May 8 to June 8, CIEE alumni from all over the world submitted hundreds of photos, videos, and essays to the Alumni Storytelling Contest. It was an honor to hear so many inspiring stories that represent a wide variety of CIEE experiences - stories of independence, discovery, human connection, identity, transformation, personal struggles, and empathy that show just how impactful an exchange experience can be. Our team of CIEE staff judges carefully reviewed the entries and chose our top winners. Each winner will receive a $500 Visa gift card for future travels and exploration. Congratulations to the following winners:

Essay
Charles Lee (CIEE Study Abroad, Brussels, Belgium, 2013)
Erin Ruff (CIEE Study Abroad, Legon, Ghana, 2009)

Photo
Francesca Perticarini (CIEE High School Exchange USA, 2014-2015)

Video
Atenea Rios Buezo (CIEE Work & Travel USA, Montana, 2015)

We would also like to recognize some additional outstanding entries with an honorable mention. View the entries here.

Brooke Burrows, Essay (Congress-Bundestag Youth Exchange Program, Germany, 2009-2010)
Katia Stie, Essay (CIEE Study Abroad, Dublin, Ireland, 2015)
Akintunde Ahmad, Essay (CIEE Study Abroad, Legon, Ghana, 2016)
Michelle Dondero, Photo (CIEE Study Abroad, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, 2013)
Wei Kai Lim, Photo (CIEE Work & Travel USA, New York, 2014)
Mitra Ghaffari, Photo (CIEE Study Abroad, Brazil/Cuba, 2014/2016)
Mahamed Barzanji, Video (CIEE Study Abroad, Sharjah, United Arab Emirates, 2016)
Nadja Junghardt, Video (Congress-Bundestag Youth Exchange Program, USA, 2015-2016)
Jack Brennan, Video (CIEE High School Abroad, Seville, Spain, 2016-2017)

Congratulations to all our winners and thank you to all the CIEE alumni who participated. If you missed this contest, don't worry! There will be more opportunities to share your story in the future. To get started now and learn more about how to get your CIEE story on the CIEE Alumni blog, email alumni@ciee.org.

CIEE Study Abroad Alum Will Speak at 2016 IIE Summit on Generation Study Abroad

We are pleased to announce that CIEE Study Abroad alum Hannah Smalley has been chosen to be a Generation Study Abroad Voice at the 2016 IIE Summit on Generation Study Abroad taking place this weekend in Washington, D.C. Hannah studied abroad in Legon, Ghana through CIEE in 2011 and graduated from Tulane University in 2012 with a double major in international development and sociology and a minor in psychology. She currently lives in Washington, D.C. and works as the Coordinator for Women, Girls, and Population for the United Nations Foundation.

The Summit brings education leaders, government and business leaders, and journalists together to discuss how to make study abroad opportunities available for all, over the course of more than 30 sessions, 12 summit talks, 4 think tanks, and 5 learning labs. This interactive conference is designed to help attendees explore ideas for expanding study abroad participation, exchange best practices with a diverse group, and experiment with new actions to work towards the goal of doubling study abroad participation by 2020.

Hannah will be a panelist on the session “Mavericks with a Cause: Generation Z and Millennial Incentives for Study Abroad,” talking about her first-hand experience studying abroad and the academic and professional experiences these generations find valuable. As someone whose study abroad semester made a profound impact on her career trajectory, Hannah is excited to speak about the value of these types of experiences for future generations. And, she will be taking over our social media channels to tell us all about it!

First, though, we interviewed Hannah to learn more about her study experience:

If you could describe your study abroad experience in one word, what would it be?

Catalystic.

What made you interested in studying in Ghana?

It was really more the program that initially sparked my interest in Ghana rather than the country itself. The CIEE program had a development track that you could apply to, which provided an internship and international development classes; since I was an international development major, that was right up my alley. It really was the opportunity that I had been longing for, a program that I knew would guarantee the hands-on learning experience that I felt was the point of study abroad.

What did studying abroad offer for your education that was different compared to another semester at university?

My study abroad experience truly offered me more than I had ever anticipated; both in and out of the classroom, and the experience ultimately helped lead me to my career, which is working in the field of girls and women’s rights.

My most poignant and impactful moment studying abroad was while I was working on my internship, which was co-founding an eco-tourism non-profit. My two partners were one Ghanaian man and one American man. Initially, at least two of us would go to meetings together, which was fine. Then the American man had to go back to the U.S., and I started working more independently, as my other co-founder didn’t live full-time in Accra. One day I had a meeting with a man who worked at a television station, who we had met with before, to go over an upcoming project. I sat at his office for two hours before he finally came out to talk to me. However, as soon as he stepped out he asked where my partners were. I said I was on my own and he let me know that he would not be working with an American woman. He told me to come back with my co-workers then turned on his heel and left.

Needless to say, though I had seen gender inequity in the US, I had never experienced anything close to that before. The point of study abroad, at least for me, was to experience a culture completely different from my own, and in that I was very successful. That moment has stayed with me and will continue to drive me to work in the international gender space. I have always had the passion to work in this field, but my experiences abroad gave me a very real push to make it my career.

  • Follow Hannah’s Summit experience on social media – she’s taking over the CIEE Alumni Twitter & Instagram until Oct. 26!

CIEE's Interns in Boston & Beyond: A Summer in Review

 

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Several CIEE interns enjoy lunch with Boston-based CIEE staff.

CIEE is all over the world, but did you know that we’re in Boston too? As you’ve seen on the blog and social media, we had a great group of interns working for CIEE in our Boston office this summer in addition to our alumni intern group in Portland. They spent the summer exploring digital assets and brand management at CIEE study centers around the globe, working with an international taskforce of CIEE staff to have meaningful conversations about digital strategy. Part of the international team was another intern, Cameron Masters, based at CIEE Global Institute – Berlin in Germany. The dynamic group of interns, both alumni and newcomers to CIEE, worked across time zones to complete the extensive project, resulting in a final presentation at CIEE’s headquarters in Portland, Maine.

Here are some fun facts about our digital strategy and brand management interns from this past summer:

Boston intern feature

What was it like to intern at CIEE Global Institute – Berlin? Cameron gives us the inside scoop:

“I am very fortunate to have worked as an intern on CIEE's digital marketing taskforce, while staying on site at CIEE Global Institute – Berlin in Kreuzberg. Revisiting Berlin, where I spent a year abroad in high school, was absorbing, and working with both the team of interns in Boston and the staff and faculty at CIEE Global Institute – Berlin was very rewarding and productive. By the end of the two months in Berlin, our team produced a series of social media guidelines for CIEE that are now beginning to be implemented on the ground. I am incredibly appreciative of my Boston teammates' hard work, and by the professionalism and support of the faculty and staff at both CIEE Global Institute – Berlin and Portland.”

What was a summer in Boston with CIEE like? (Hint: there was a lot of Skype!) Kerry put together this video of snapshots from the interns’ summer together, working hard in the Boston office, exploring the city, and visiting global headquarters in Portland, Maine:

Congratulations to our Alumni Summer Interns