Alumni Spotlight: Mark Reese

After graduating from the University of Colorado with a Bachelor’s Degree in Spanish for the Professions in May of 2011, Mark participated in CIEE’s Teach Abroad in Spain program. Mark enjoys learning new cultures, exploring the world, making new friends, improving his language skills, and going off on wild adventures. He also instantly fell in love with Spain in 2009 when he went there for the first time through CIEE’s Alcalá de Henares program. Although he is love with Spain, he has decided to broaden his horizons, and is currently teaching in Jiujiang, China through CIEE’s Teach in China program.

CIEE teachers at Seville Fair

Why did you decide to teach abroad with CIEE Teach?

Mark: Well, I actually fell into the program more or less. Originally hoping to go to China before returning to Spain, I encountered numerous problems with obtaining a visa from the Chinese government and in the end was unable to obtain one. Both the CIEE coordinator and I were rather confused and frustrated, but after a few phone calls and some brilliance, I was switched to the Spain program in August and found placement in Santiponce, Seville within 3 days of the switch Basically, CIEE was customer oriented and worked with me to realize his goals of living and teaching abroad. CIEE is a well trusted name within the University and Study Abroad community because of their knowledge, flexibility, and willingness to help when foreign governments make things interesting.

What made this experience unique and special?

Mark: I met some awesome friends, travel buddies, and confidents from CIEE’s orientation, joined the University Choir of the University of Seville, and had awesome co-workers at IES Itálica. My American friends were perfect companions whilst traveling all over Spain, and many made excuses to go visit places I would have never gone to before, like Arcos, Chiclana, and Jerez de la Frontera. I'm certain I would not have visited them without having friends there, and I am so glad I did because they were some of the best cities.

CIEE Spain teachers in Cordoba

My Spanish friends helped me improve my language ability, experience the culture through their view (making la feria de abril even more magical than it already was), and have some crazy night filled with even crazier antics. Finally, my co-workers opened my eyes to the Spanish school system, the culture of small villages, expanded my Spanish vocabulary, and introduced me to educational places, events, and fun.

How has this experience impacted your future?

Mark: In an ever more global economy and workplace, experience abroad can be a big asset. Many recent graduates have not had much experience abroad, maybe just a trip or a few months abroad, but nothing much. So an entire year of not just studying, but working abroad can do wonders for your résumé and your cultural understandings. As companies begin to realize the importance of foreign languages and the need for employees who speak other languages and understand foreign cultures, you’ll become more and more of a hot commodity. Foreign experience is what will make you different, and if you’re lucky help you land your dream job back in the US.