What is your favorite travel memory?
When I was studying with CET in Kunming some roommates, classmates, and I went to Xushuangbanna in southern Yunnan where we did some hiking and celebrated the water splashing festival. While the sites were beautiful, the festival a blast, the memory that sitcks with me and the story I like to tell most was the culture shock we met at the homestay we stayed in for one night.
It was very comfortable after sleeping on the ground for a few nights, but we were all thrown into a state of bewilderment when we encountered the bathroom. It was situated over a pond and although it was much cleaner than we had been experiencing so far on the trip, there were always expectant fish waiting below. The kicker of this trip was that for dinner, the family served us fish caught from their very own pond. It was a humorous and humbling moment.
If you could go on any program that your company offers, which one would you choose and why?
CET has a lot of fascinating programs, but I think right now I would probably choose Prague. This is because I see study abroad as a time to truly live and experience a new and different place. Having lived the last three years in China and being familiar with two of CET's China programs, I am more drawn to somewhere outside of Asia when I consider doing a life-changing study abroad program (which my CET semester in Kunming was for me as a student).
When I perused the different focuses of the various CET programs, the cultural offerings and classes offered by CET Prague greatly interested me. There was amazing integration between class content and experiences, wonderful places to travel and a distinct city to come to understand. When I travel, I like to feel I come away with a deeper understanding of a place and its history and culture. Currently I feel like I know very little about Eastern Europe and it seems to me like CET Prague provides an exciting window into those pieces of the region.
What makes your company unique? When were you especially proud of your team?
While different CET programs have different focuses, for the China programs at least, I think the focus on language learning makes CET unique. Whenever I talk to people who have studied abroad or whose children have studied abroad and they tell me that they didn't learn very much Chinese, I feel very proud to be a part of CET.
I know that I work with people who understand that the best way to experience the real side of a foreign country is through communication and we emphasize and support that skill.
I get especially excited working with my CET team anytime we are brainstorming and planning new ways to integrate the language learning experience with more fun application activities. It is fulfilling to be exposed to the creativity and experience of my colleagues.
What do you believe to be the biggest factor in being a successful company?
Adaptability. Study Abroad is a growing industry with more and more competitors emerging. What students are looking for in a study abroad experience is diversifying and changing. It is important for the company to recognize those changes and provide for those demands.
I think CET has done a good job of diversifying and expanding. Many regions and countries have multiple CET programs with a different focus so different students can find a experience that suits them. I also think that CET puts a lot of focus on student support and providing those positive experiences in the face of challenges is what a study abroad company needs to flourish because if students go back with negative perceptions of the administrative side, then the program won't last very long.