The first time I traveled abroad to Buenos Aires to study abroad. I was the first person in my family to travel abroad. I'll never forget a gathering with all our family and friends to pray over me before I left the country. Stepping foot on foreign soil changed my life forever, which led me to travel to Spain. Now I have made my life here.
What is your favorite travel memory?
How have you changed/grown since working for your current company?
I had been a Pre-K through 12th-grade teacher for many years, and I had the privilege to be hired at Instituto Franklin-UAH as an Admissions Advisor for the Teach & Learn Program. Due to my experience, and as an alumnus of the program, the institute thought my profile would be a great fit. I had learned so much in the first year and applied my skills in innovative ways, that I became the Coordinator for International Programs after a year. I have learned so much about International Education and the constant innovations in the field. I am traveling and presenting at conferences, meeting experts in the field, and collaborating with prestigious universities from the US. I just want to keep learning and hope to earn my Ph.D. related to this field.
What is the best story you've heard from a return student?
When I was in the Teach & Learn in Spain Graduate program, we had students from different fields and backgrounds. I had the luck to advise a student who wanted to teach in the DC, Maryland, Virginia (DMV) area. After graduation, she was accepted to work in the same district where I taught. The MA she earned at the instituto made her resume stand out to many schools. It felt full circle and this student is still teaching in this district.
If you could go on any program that your company offers, which one would you choose and why?
I would definitely choose our Study Abroad in Spain Program and study for an entire semester. First of all, there are internship/service learning opportunities that would have given me professional development in Spain. I would choose 2 Spanish content courses (6 credits), with a 6 credit internship, and lived with a host family. The program includes almost everything except for travel expenses, so I would be able to go on trips to Madrid, Toledo, Segovia, etc., without spending extra money. Also, all the meals are included. When I studied abroad, I had to pay my weekend meals, so it's a heavy cost for the semester--the price point of the Study Abroad in Spain Program is also much more affordable than when I went abroad. Since we are part of the university, the cost is much lower than most programs and almost everything is included. With the discounts offered, I would have been able to afford this program without taking a student loan like I had when I studied in Buenos Aires through a 3rd party provider.
What makes your company unique? When were you especially proud of your team?
I think our team is part of what makes our institution unique. Our team is international---we have staff members from the US, different regions of Spain, Eastern Europe, as well as different heritages and ethnicities. We are able to think in a global perspective and relate to our students from different backgrounds. All of us have some type of international experience as study abroad students, so we can understand the needs of our current students and how to aide them. We also have very expertise in different fields of study which allows us to incorporate many ideas to the programs and services that we offer.
Our program has grown so much, that this summer we reached the highest number of matriculated students. Our main concerns were housing and our class sizes...we wanted to offer the same quality and confidence to our students as in our semester programs. We had been preparing everything for months and were able to have enough host families and keep classes to a relatively small size (15:1 student-faculty ratio). Due to our team's hard work, efforts, and dedication to our students, we have had a very successful summer program. I am proud of them every day!
What do you believe to be the biggest factor in being a successful company?
Passion, high intercultural competence and communication at all levels. Our passion for our programs at Instituto Franklin-UAH, allow us to offer successful study abroad experiences at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Also, intercultural competence is key to being successful with the international community. We work with students and universities around the world, and we need to be able to understand that we are all different. When working with so many different students and institutions, you have to have an open-door policy and students/faculty/staff need to feel that they can express themselves in a safe place. Here at Instituto Franklin-UAH have been successful for many reasons, but for me, these 3 factors are important for us.