Staff Spotlight: Elizabeth Dougherty Abbasi

Study Abroad Advisor
Elizabeth studied abroad in Spain and Italy while earning her BA degree. Her experiences abroad were the highlights of her college experience and ultimately directed her professional career path. She later earned her MA in International Affairs, specializing in Europe and Cultural Diplomacy. Elizabeth loves to learn new languages, travel, and experience a new place through its local coffee culture by visiting coffee shops/cafes wherever she goes.
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What is your favorite travel memory?

One of my favorite travel memories is being in Italy in the summer of 2006 when they won the World Cup. The small town of Perugia, where I was living, exploded into celebration in the central town plaza.

I had never experienced such a unified sense of joy in a community before. It was incredible. While standing among the hundreds of Peruginos shouting and laughing, I felt a part of the culture and one of the locals. It was a moment I will never forget.

If you could go on any program that your company offers, which one would you choose and why?

I would go on our Spanish Language in Rosario, Argentina program. This program a) would let me build upon my Spanish language skills by learning from and living with native Spanish speakers, b) allow me to explore Argentine culture and history, and c) provide me with amazing program excursions to locations and people I would not have access to alone.

I have never been to South America and Argentina is an intriguing culture and nation. Additionally, the Site Director Beba at the GEO Center in Rosario is incredible! I would love to have her as my site director and learn from her.

What do you believe to be the biggest factor in being a successful company?

I think the biggest factor is making sure your company mission is shared by all employees.

Our mission is founded on global citizenry of our students and the international experiences that produce global citizenry.

All of our staff have had at least one international experience (most have many) and we therefore personally believe in our mission as a team. This personal belief in the mission is reflected in the dedication and passion our staff bring to our work and to serving our students.

How have you changed/grown since working for your current company?

I have absolutely changed in a positive way since studying abroad in Italy and Spain. My foreign languages skills improved immensely during my studies abroad and allowed me to discover people and realities I otherwise would never have known.

It has granted me new perspectives on world events and how I, as an American, fit into them. My increased self-awareness and appreciation for other cultures directly impacted the career path I chose so I could continue to work with and learn from other countries and peoples. Study abroad literally changed my life.