Alumni Spotlight: Gabriela Perez-Dietz


Gaby's been traveling the world since she was four and won't be stopping anytime soon! You can find her nose deep in a book or in a platter of rice and beans.

Why did you choose this program?

I chose CIEE because I knew a friend from college who had gone through the Thailand program and now worked for the company. Her photos and posts about her experience there really pushed me to move forward and make that a reality for myself as well.

What did your program provider assist you with, and what did you have to organize on your own?

CIEE does a phenomenal job of preparing people for departure. They have an online course, an optional TEFL certification as well as quick to respond staff members for all questions concerning documents or placements or really anything.

It is up to you to get your transcripts in order, your diploma, your visa and health forms but they are 100% with you the entire way.

What is one piece of advice you'd give to someone going on your program?

I would say to really think about where in the country you want to be, every experience is unique and valuable but some are not what you are looking for.

Do you want to be in the city or in the country? With a lot of other Americans or something more remote?

They give you your placement based off of a few questions but if you are unhappy with it or are feeling nervous, give them a call! explain what type of location you want and they will do their best to accommodate you. This is your experience, make sure it is what you want.

Also, ease into street food, it's not a matter of if you will get sick but when. Try to slowly introduce your body to new foods and then hopefully you will only be sick once or twice.

What does an average day/week look like as a participant of this program?

Once you arrive in Bangkok you spend a week with the other participants, which can range from 60-150 other people. After, you head to your placement where you are expected to work Monday-Friday during normal school hours. You usually have the weekend off and any Thai holidays.

Going into your experience abroad, what was your biggest fear, and how did you overcome it? How did your views on the issue change?

Before arriving I did not have any major fears but once I did arrive I was nervous about making friends. For me the way I got over this was talking with a lot of people at my orientation and staying in touch with them.

Everyone is in the same boat as you and want to meet people and see cool things! Just be open to putting yourself out there and meeting people along the way.