Staff Spotlight: Micaela Kliegl

Director of Enrollment Services

What is your favorite travel memory?

When I studied abroad in Sicily, we went to the island of Vulcano on one of the program inclusive excursions. This little volcanic island packs quite the punch - you can smell the sulfurous fumes from miles away! (in case you don’t know what smell I am referring to, picture your nose in a closed room full of rotten eggs).

We spent the day exploring the island on motorini and "bathing" in the stinky mud (my swim suit STILL smells!). I don't know if it was the specific time of my life - so carefree - or the beautifully unusual landscape, but I remember stopping our motorini on a bluff overlooking the sea, surrounded by my best friends eating the most delicious caprese sandwich and feeling so fulfilled and happy.

Thinking of our students experiencing this same sensation makes me giddy with excitement and fuels my study abroad fire.

What is the best story you've heard from a return student?

My husband completed the Masters in Wine Studies and Enology at Apicius. This program set in motion his interest in wine, and specifically Italian wine. We live in Sonoma County which is known primarily for Pinot.

At Apicius, he gained a unique respect and appreciation for Italian wines and the craft of wine making in general. He is now working to bring Italian varietals to Sonoma County in the hopes of showing the wine community that Italian grapes, like San Giovese, can stand up to local favorites. I love that one year spent abroad played such a dramatic role in his life.

There are countless stories like these – of students whose future was shaped by the time they spent abroad.

An Apicius alum whose internship with a famous butcher led him to reinvent the Northern California meat industry; a Milan fashion student who now has her own brand and store; an interior design student who completed her MA in Milan and now works in LA designing the interiors of celebrity homes. The list goes on and on.

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

This is like asking who your favorite child is - impossible! But, I feel my arm twisting, so I choose Siena, Italy! This program offers students the unique and wonderful opportunity to live with a host family.

I would love to become part of the daily life in this small town, volunteer at the local school teaching English, and take part in the extensive list of excursions that are offered as part of the program.

I really appreciate the more intimate programs that SAI offers and their ability to gift students with such exclusive insight into the local life. Students in these programs become part of the “story” of the town.

Not only are students evolving and learning, they are, in turn, remembered and acknowledged as the locals glean wisdom and advice from them. It is a beautiful exchange of cultures that is so easy to partake in while studying in a small town.

What makes your company unique? When were you especially proud of your team?

Simply put, our staff and our size are what make us unique.

Most staff at SAI are “lifers”, as we affectionately refer to each other. We are one big family and our students become an extension of that family as they are treated with a sense of familiarity that a larger company is not as easily able to offer.

We know that each student is working within different parameters, fears, requirements and it is our job in admissions to take all this into account and guide the student in the appropriate direction. Doing this successfully on a daily basis is what makes me so very proud to be part of such a dynamic, bright team.

We are small by design so we choose our programs very carefully and tactfully allowing us to become true experts in each program offering.