Staff Spotlight: Aranoa Roldan

Student Services Coordinator
Aranoa studied tourism management through EUSA in Seville and has been working in the study abroad field for 12 years. During the 10 years she has been working for CEA, Aranoa has encouraged hundreds of students to explore the authentic Spanish culture and lifestyle. Aranoa loves creating new opportunities to help CEA students make the most of their study abroad experience.

woman by waterfall

Describe a time when you felt especially proud to be part of the CEA team.

I have always felt proud being part of CEA—this is why I have stayed for 10 years! We consider that every day we have a new chance to make a difference in the life of our students. Spending time with them in our center, inspiring them with new initiatives, and challenging them through activities that will make them grow into productive world citizens, are little rewards that are part of our daily life. Every “thank you” note or “studying with CEA has been the best decision I have ever made” comment makes every effort worth it. Nothing is more fulfilling than receiving old alumni visits and hearing them say that within the walls of our center they lived some of the most significant experiences in their lives.

What position do you hold at CEA? What has been your career path so far?

I started at CEA in 2006 as a Program Advisor supporting the activities, excursions and many other areas in student life. In 2007 I was promoted to Student Services Coordinator and since then I, along with the rest of the CEA team, have created plenty of opportunities for our students, from creating a security net for our students to help them embrace us as family in a foreign country to connecting them with the local community in every possible way.

During the last couple of years we have been working with the Academic Department to develop a new approach through which students no longer merely observe but also are active participants in activities related to the classroom topics presented by faculty in our center. Activities such as “A Vision of Flamenco” (about the flamenco music and culture) or “Slice it n Dice it” (Spanish cuisine) bring local culture closer to the students and, at the same time, are useful, practical exercises for reflection in our courses.

What country have you always wanted to visit?

I have always wanted to visit Thailand. Recently I had the chance to visit Southeast Asia for the first time on a trip that took me to Bali, Indonesia. The beauty of the landscape, the warm character of its inhabitants and the delicious food only triggered my excitement to one day travel to nearby Thailand. I know that this trip will take me out of my comfort zone, since I am really scared of bugs, but as I tell our students, there is no growth if you don’t challenge yourself! Since I am a foodie, I cannot pretend I am not also highly motivated to discover the most delicious and fresh dishes in the area!

What was your favorite traveling experience?

I love traveling and there is not a single place that I have visited so far that I didn’t enjoy. But to remark on just one place, it would be my trip to Argentina. For two weeks, I had the opportunity to travel from the breathtaking glaciers in Patagonia to the incredible nature in Iguazu, enjoying the vibrant life of Buenos Aires. They all provided different scenery, but with the common background of a joy for life. The Argentinian food, music and passion in everything Argentines do or say are contagious and magical.