Staff Spotlight: Laura Canadillas

Teach in Spain Senior Program Coordinator


Laura graduated in Social Work from Universidad Complutense and increased her training with a master's degree in International Development Projects and another in Human Rights, Peacemaking and Conflict Resolution.

Since 2003, Laura has been working at different fields of the social area, always related to the education and managing projects. Her wanderlust takes her to live in places like France or Thailand, until she came back to her hometown, Madrid, to work for CIEE at Teach Abroad Programs.

What is your favorite travel memory?

Some years ago, I went with my best friends to Illa de Ons, a small island part of the Atlantic National Park in Galicia. There are only 2 boats per day to get there and they only allow access to a limited number of tourists per day.

As it was the end of the summer season, when we arrived we met the last group of tourists who were leaving. That meant the island was for us! And the 80 inhabitants who live there, but we only saw a couple of them during our stay.

We spent 4 days as shipwrecked on a desert island. But in a nice cabin, in which we saw every day the sunrise and sunset, and enough provisions to enjoy our time there. It was magical and very fun experience!

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

During these three years that I have been working for CIEE, I feel that I have grown professionally and personally. I have met so many people from very different backgrounds and each of them has taught me something useful.

Also, I have learnt a lot about my own culture, in aspects that I had never paid attention before, like the way we communicate, solve conflicts or evaluate situations.

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

Our program receives around 650 participants each year, so there are many stories. My favorites are always the ones from participants who decide to be teachers after their time as language assistants, or the ones who look for every possibility to stay in Madrid because they fall in love with the city.

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

I would definitely participate on the Open Campus Program. I never had the opportunity to study abroad, and this program offers not one but at least three different location, like Rio de Janeiro, Sydney or Berlin. I think is wonderful that people can follow their academic tracks in such different places.

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

The assistance and support to the participants is what makes my company unique.

It's a proud working with a team that always does their best to make the transition to a new country easier, acting as a cultural bridge to ensure the participants enjoy and, at the same time, learn during their time here.

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

I believe the biggest factor would be the active listening. Hear the needs and opinions of all parts involved (staff, participants, local institutions) and act accordingly. This helps to meet the expectations of all of them, solve any issue related to cultural differences and improve as a company with all those lessons learnt.