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18 posts categorized "CIEE News"

Meet the 2016 Alumni Summer Interns

Learning About Food Security with Dr. Lindiwe Sibanda

The fifth annual Justice for Women Lecture Series took place this week at multiple sites in Maine. For the past four years, CIEE has welcomed the Justice for Women Lecture Series to our headquarters and broadcasted the lecture to alumni and overseas staff. Although we weren’t able to host this year, our Alumni Engagement Coordinator attended a lecture at Deering High School in Portland, Maine to listen and share with you on the blog.  Dr. Lindiwe Sibanda

This year’s speaker for the Justice for Women Lecture Series was Dr. Lindiwe Sibanda, a global leader in the sustainable farming movement with a passion for ending food insecurity and hunger in Africa. Dr. Sibanda, originally from Zimbabwe, is the CEO and Head of Mission for the Africa-wide Food, Agriculture and Natural Resources Policy Analysis Network (FANRPAN) with a portfolio in policy research, advocacy programs on food policies, rural livelihoods, climate change, and agricultural productivity and markets. Her main focus is to achieve food security by coordinating policy research and advocacy programs across multiple countries. Dr. Sibanda encourages us to think, “What can agriculture do for nutrition?”

The auditorium was filled with Deering High students and guests eager to learn about food security, agriculture, and nutrition. Two students joined Dr. Sibanda on stage to ask a series of questions that helped the audience learn more about her and the significance of her work. After hearing about the poverty in Africa and thinking critically about poverty here in Maine, students wanted to know, “how do we get rid of poverty?” Dr. Sibanda answered that we need education and good leadership to lift one another out of poverty. Part of that good leadership is recognizing the challenge of climate change and finding ways to adapt to it, creating policies that address fundamental needs, and investing in the research and implementation of new agricultural technologies. The lecture was a great learning experience and offered students the opportunity to ask questions to one of the most influential African women in agriculture. You can learn more about Dr. Sibanda’s work by visiting the FANRPAN website.

Although we weren’t able to host an event at CIEE headquarters this year, we look forward to next year’s Justice for Women Lecture Series and will keep alumni posted about ways to take part in the lectures as well!

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

  8174_HAESF_Budapest large crop
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.

Culture, Adventure, & Intellect: CIEE in Berlin, Germany

If you follow CIEE news and events, you may have noticed our recent obsession with Berlin, Germany. This fall, we launched our brand-new Global Institute in Kreuzberg, one of Berlin’s most exciting districts.

Over 200 students arrived in Berlin this fall for the inaugural semester of the CIEE Global Institute. Our new Global Institute challenges the traditional concept of student living-learning design: what used to be an old factory for car radio buttons has been transformed into a multi-purpose academic facility, including a student residence that Fast Company Design calls the ‘nicest dorms ever.’ Our Global Institute has received praise from Slate, ArchDaily, I Like Architecture, and more. 


Photo via (by Chris Mosier. Courtesy of Macro Sea)

Meanwhile, CIEE is preparing for our annual conference in Berlin this November. As we focus on ways to reimagine the field of international education, it was a natural fit to choose Berlin as our conference location, a city known for reinvention and innovation.

CIEE has facilitated programs for U.S.-German exchange for many years. Our U.S.-German exchange programs include:

So, what’s the appeal of Berlin? We asked a few of our study abroad alumni to tell us, in their own words, why they chose to study in Germany. Here’s what they had to say:

A city of culture, adventure, history, diversity and intellect

“I studied in Berlin, Germany with CIEE after declaring a German major at my home university. I felt like it would be an awakening adventure, because as they say, Berlin is never Berlin. Berlin is a city of culture, adventure, history, diversity, and intellect: something I felt my small town home in the Midwestern U.S. lacked. Through CIEE, I met some of the best friends I have ever had. It's been almost three years, and I still communicate regularly with my CIEE friends."Niki Kennedy (1)

“Because of my awesome experience abroad, I volunteer frequently with the Missouri State University Study Away office, discussing Berlin, Study Away, and international travel. After graduation in 2014, I was selected as a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant for Hamburg, Germany. While Hamburg is a special place, I always say there is a hole in my heart shaped like Berlin. I truly believe CIEE in Berlin shaped me as a person, gave me language skills I didn't know I could achieve, and set me up with the encouragement I needed to grow into the person I am.”

    - Niki Lynn Kennedy, CIEE Study Abroad in Berlin, Spring 2013

I got to learn about the field of architectureJohn Zach Fields (3)

Photo Credit: Zach Fields

“I studied Urban Architecture and Design in Berlin, Germany in the spring of 2015. Saying I loved it would be an understatement. I fell in love with the city of Berlin, and no matter where I traveled I couldn't find another city that I liked better. In my home university, I study Environmental Sciences but eventually plan to pursue a Masters in Architecture, which is why I chose the program. Not only did I study environmental aspects, but I also got to learn about the field of architecture. I was able to study the Spree River which runs through the center of Berlin, and my studio was located right on the riverfront! Now I am applying to graduate schools and my professor in Germany is even serving as a reference for me. I do plan to return to Germany for an internship, a job, or just to visit the friends I made along the way. Maybe I could even work at the new study center! Then I could really share my share my experience with the brand new students. For now I'll have to wait, and to any student traveling abroad: Viel Gluck.”

    - Zach Fields, CIEE Study Abroad in Berlin, Spring 2015

I made friends from all over the world

“I chose Berlin because I knew that if something went wrong, I had family friends that lived near Munich. I loved the fact that the water was so clean and you could get everywhere by taking the U-bahn. For people who live in areas were public transportation is non-existent, it’s a big change and a new experience. I did not know what to expect,, and was very surprised by the number of international students that attended the school. Back in the United States, I have always lacked the opportunity to work with international students, because my small university does not have a large program for study abroad. I made friends from all over the world, not just Berlin, and that was probably my favorite part of going to Berlin."Elizabeth Brock (1)

Photo credit: Elizabeth Brock

“Having returned to the States almost two months ago, I am now participating in my school’s growing study abroad program. I am attending a conference and will be talking about CIEE and Berlin at an upcoming study abroad fair. I am very excited to share my experience with other students in an area and a school where few students feel like they have the opportunity to study abroad.”

    - Elizabeth, CIEE Study Abroad in Berlin, Spring 2015

Studying abroad made me more confident and assertiveIMG_6964

"Studying abroad in Berlin not only exposed me to a new culture, language, people, and environment, but it also helped me become more sure about myself in a number of ways. Through experiences like living with host family, learning German for the first time and traveling throughout the city, country, and continent, I became more confident about myself and my abilities. I fell head over heels for my new home and absorbed as much of it as I could.

I was able to assist in the restoration of a mural on the East Side Gallery (the longest remaining stretch of the Berlin Wall), become close with my host mother over daily cups of jasmine tea, and talk to locals and residents, who quickly became friends, about their experiences living within the city that history shaped and still creates today. Because of my time in Germany, my ability to learn a new language has grown, and I am continuing with German. I also have caught the travel bug more than ever and plan to travel as much as I can. Studying abroad made me more confident and assertive, while also opening my world to a whole new set of experiences."

    - Sarah Lucas, CIEE Study Abroad in Berlin, Spring 2015

CIEE Alumni Career Month

September is CIEE Alumni Career Month! Throughout this month, we’ll be sharing professional development tips, alumni advice, and resources to help you leverage your international exchange experience in your career.

Continue reading "CIEE Alumni Career Month" »

Guide to Mentorship Opportunities through the CIEE Alumni Global Network

If you’re an alum of a CIEE program, you are part of a network of over 350,000 past participants of CIEE programs. This means that we have alumni living all over the globe and working in a wide variety of professional fields, encompassing a vast diversity of international experiences and career paths. There are two simple ways to leverage this invaluable international network: through the CIEE Alumni Directory and through the CIEE Alumni Global Network on LinkedIn

Continue reading "Guide to Mentorship Opportunities through the CIEE Alumni Global Network" »

50 Years of Cultural Exchange: The History of CIEE in Japan

CIEEJ 50th Logo

This September, CIEE is celebrating the 50th anniversary of U.S.-Japanese exchange programs. Learn more about the history of CIEE Japan through these photos, and if you’re in Tokyo, attend our event at American Center Japan in October 2015.

CIEEJ group photo2

Photo credit for all photos (unless otherwise noted): CIEE Study Abroad in Japan blog


 CIEE’s office in Tokyo opened as the second CIEE overseas office in March 1965, in order to develop exchange programs for world peace and understanding between the U.S. and Japan. It received strong support and cooperation from prominent organizations, including the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo, the America-Japan Society of Tokyo (AJS), and International House of Japan. The first program jointly co-sponsored and administered by AJS and CIEE for the following thirty years was named ‘Summer Study in America’(SS).


Some of the organizations that CIEE Japan has partnered or collaborated with since 1965.

 In this program's first session, a charter flight took off for the U.S. early in the morning.  Included among the passengers were 102 young Japanese students participating in the new program. It consisted of English language learning sessions at U.S. universities and post-session cross-continental travel. The participants experienced the vast landscape and warm hospitality of host families during homestays on their way to the departure city.

Responding to the rapid growth of potential participants, the program was re-designed for university students and young business people separately in 1971.

CIEEJ blog_group photo statue


The third United States-Japan Conference on Cultural and Educational Interchange (CULCON) emphasized the need for increased travel opportunities for Japanese scholars of America, American scholars of Japan, and teachers of both languages. The American Embassy in Tokyo encouraged CIEE to develop plans for an in-service training program for Japanese teachers of English. CIEE Japan then submitted a proposal in 1967 to the Ministry of Education, whose officials quickly approved the plan and wrote a letter of recommendation to all the prefectural boards of education.


165 teachers from Japanese junior and senior high schools departed for the U.S. to take part in a two-month program. This initiative lead the Ministry of Education to launch sponsored training programs, with CIEE’s assistance, in 1978, and these programs have continued to the present day.

Girl arm raised host family


CIEE introduced School Exchange Services (SES) to Japan. SES was created in 1970 in a joint effort by the U.S. and France in cooperation with the American Council for the Teaching of Foreign Languages for high school students. It rapidly expanded to other countries in Europe in the following year.


CIEE took over the initial work done by the Japan-U.S. Educational Commission (JUSEC) and assisted the Ministry of Education in the national Mombusho English Fellows (MEF) project, which later grew to become the Japan Exchange and Teaching Programme (JET) in 1987.

CIEE Japan’s work not only including programs for sending Japanese citizens to go abroad, but also for bringing international students to Japan, as a true exchange organization. In the 1970's, in cooperation with the Japan Society in New York, CIEE administered a program in Japan for American educators. The two-week program consisted of a homestay, a ryokan-stay, Kabukizazen, and a five-day intensive study of Japanese society and culture in cooperation with the faculty of Kyoto and Doshisha Universities.

Sophia sign


The Cooperative Japanese Business and Society Program (CJBSP) for U.S. university students started at Sophia University this summer.


Sophia University and the CIEE Study Center continue to work together to host more than 150 students from U.S. universities annually. Read what CIEE alumni have to say about their experience with CIEE in Japan: 


“Never before has my wanderlust spirit felt so energized as it does now. Even as I sit here writing this, I still cannot believe this will be my home for the next four months. And, despite only being here for one week so far, I already feel like this is where I am supposed to be.” – Shelah Larson, CIEE Study Abroad in Tokyo student


Photo credit: Teresa Fong

“As a recent alumna, I have been so influenced by my time in Japan with CIEE. I decided to go into international education because I realized how important study abroad is!”-Teresa, CIEE Study Abroad Tokyo Alum, JET program English Teacher


“I was quite fortunate and grateful to have had the opportunity to study in Japan. Because of this, I learned a great deal about a completely different culture from that of my own.”-Daniel, CIEE Study Abroad Tokyo Alum, Teacher in Asahi, Chiba, Japan


If you're a CIEE alum in Japan, attend our 50th Anniversary Alumni Event at the American Center Japan in October 2015.

Celebrating 50 Years in Japan

CIEEJ 50th Logo

 In 1965, CIEE opened our overseas office in Tokyo, Japan. For the past 50 years, CIEE has been working to promote world peace and understanding through our cultural exchange programs in Japan. 

This September, CIEE is celebrating the 50th anniversary of U.S.-Japanese exchange programs. We’re excited to mark this significant milestone with a 50th anniversary alumni event in Tokyo on October 2, 2015. 

CIEE Anniversary Alumni Event


If you're in Tokyo this fall, come celebrate this occasion with us at the American Center Japan, and meet alumni from past CIEE programs. Spots are limited, so please RSVP if you plan to attend the event. 

History of CIEE in JapanLearn-More-History-Image-CIEEJ-Event

Learn more about the legacy of CIEE in Japan, including collaborations and partnerships with the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo, the America-Japan Society of Tokyo, the Japan Exchange and Teaching Programme (JET), Sophia University, and more.