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Programs and Reviews
CISabroad is committed to providing the best overall value in study and internship abroad opportunities. CISabroad programs are affordable and specialize in providing quality education and support throughout your study or internship abroad experience. Experiences are innovative and focused on cultural immersion.
All of the CISabroad staff members have studied and lived abroad. They provide first-hand insight and feedback so that you are fully prepared for your trip overseas! Scroll through the program listings below to find one that fits you best!
What position do you hold at CISabroad? What has been your career path so far?
Keith: I'm the Marketing Coordinator, focusing largely on our online efforts by keeping our website pretty and up-to-date, contributing blog articles, writing and distributing press releases, and managing our search engine marketing. I started as a University Relations Representative ("rep"), or field staff that travels to schools to promote CISabroad programs. After a few years of that in the Midwest, I transferred out to the Mountain States region, where my rep duties were reduced to make room for increased marketing efforts. Not to mention, I wanted to be able to settle down and actually enjoy my new home, which is hard to do as a full-time rep (hence the nickname "road warriors"). I have since mostly relinquished my rep duties to focus on marketing. I miss the personal interactions from my rep days, but this way I get to reach thousands of students and encourage them to make the life-changing decision of studying or interning abroad.
Did YOU study abroad? If so, where did you go and what inspired you to go?!
Keith: Heck yeah! I was fortunate to travel a good bit while growing up, both domestically and abroad. Enough international exposure at a younger age and a knack for the Spanish language led to me studying Spanish and International Studies at University of Wisconsin - Madison. Once in that track, I just assumed I would study abroad at some point. After a couple winters in Wisconsin, during fall of my junior year I started looking into study abroad options, determined to spend the worst of that next winter (early spring semester) somewhere warm, and Spanish-speaking. A friend in my Spanish class mentioned he knew someone that studied in Seville, Spain and loved it. After an internet image search, the palm trees started calling. Despite a scary visa processing delay, I made it and spent that next spring in beautiful Seville. And that's where it all began for me.
What does the future hold for CISabroad - any new programs to share?
Keith: The future at CISabroad is very bright. I've been lucky to have come on during some pretty fun times in terms of staff development and program expansion. Our Discover Europe! Summer Series will probably see another couple programs added to the eight we're running in summer of 2013. After enough similar requests from prospective participants and study abroad staff we oftentimes start creating something.
Our plan now is to expand our non-traditional options, as well as offer more programming in a wider variety of terms like January Term and May Term. We also administer customized, faculty-led programs, which we've seen an increased interest in over the last few years. Each of those programs is new and unique for us. Plus, CISabroad U.S. staff get to accompany some of those, so of course I'm pulling for more that I will get to lead!
What about the future of the industry? How do you think study abroad and international education will change over the next 10 years?
Keith: It's exciting to be part of a steadily growing industry. I think we can accredit that to the fact that colleges and universities are featuring international experiences up-front more often than before. The third-party providers (private study abroad organizations) and study abroad directories and review sites also have a greater public presence, which I imagine has added credibility and feasibility to the once obscure and prohibitive concept of studying abroad. Colleges and third-party providers have also adapted to the needs and wants of students. In just the last few years we've seen a substantial shift in the typical programming model, including more support and inclusions than the "old school" direct enroll model that involved minimal administration and support. Shorter and more customized programs are becoming the norm and I see that trend continuing for a while.
Which study abroad destination is most underrated? Conversely, which is most overrated?
Keith: That's a tough one. I have to say that Mexico as a whole has a really bad rap and undeservedly so. It's the most beautiful, diverse, culturally-engaging and welcoming country I've visited. And that's referring to non-resort areas of course, where you always have a more authentic experience and get to know people that are genuinely friendly, not paid to be so. There are tons of great universities perfectly established for foreign students in safe and well-developed cities. It's a shame more people don't have the experience of getting to know Mexico and all that it offers.
As for most overrated: I'll play it safe and say that I don't believe large cities offer the same intimate experience as smaller cities. When you only have a short time in a new place it's difficult to get to know it really well if it's too large for you to completely explore. People in large cities tend to act more anonymously, since you don't expect to see the same people regularly. There tends to be less potential for spontaneous social interactions, which is how you can make your best friends and adoptive families abroad.