Staff Spotlight: Belén Rojas Ruiz

CIEE TEFL Academic Coordinator


She was born in Melilla, a small city in the North of Africa, but she’s lived in Madrid, Spain since 2009, when she started to work at the Educational Technologies and Teacher Training Institute (Spanish Ministry of Education).

In February 2014, she started in her current position on the rewarding and motivating CIEE TEFL adventure. She's completely convinced of the potential of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) in all fields of education, which is why she's passionate about eLearning and the platforms which make the development of online education possible and permit its increasing reach, and the new pedagogies facilitated by technology, and in which the student is the center of learning.

She really enjoys designing, testing, experiencing and making the most of these Learning Management Systems (LMS) - and Canvas is one of her favorites :) - and exploring new ways to enhance the impact of ICT on education and training.

What is your favorite travel memory?

My favorite travel memory was traveling to Scotland in 2014. It was two months after having started working for the CIEE TEFL project, my first international experience in terms of working. So I believe I rapidly became more open-minded, which made me feel that that trip, the country, the people, were different from what I have previously experienced so far when traveling.

There was the issue of the language too: I had never used English in a real-life context before working on the CIEE TEFL project (even though I had studied it for a lot of years), and this trip gave me the opportunity to put it into practice. So I felt I had more freedom, more capacity for making choices, for being more "myself" but in a different country.

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

Being part of CIEE is like a dream. Its values, mission, aims, the people working and participating in its programs... I remember when I started working on the CIEE TEFL project, more than 5 years ago, when the project was a pilot. And now it's a huge one!

I’ve had the chance to see how it has evolved, improved, as well as its tutors. I love coordinating the tutoring team, trying to make their tutoring life easier, supporting them, making them feel that they are not alone. I could not be prouder of this project, the CIEE team and, of course, its tutors.

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

In my almost 40 years of life, I've never heard from anyone saying that traveling and living abroad is not worth it; on the contrary, it's one of the best experiences one can have. Traveling means becoming open-minded, generous, solidary, friendly, sensitive and, generally speaking, the acquisition of all the good traits a good person should have.

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

I'd choose Morocco, undoubtedly. Even though I've been to there a lot of times (Melilla, my hometown, is a Spanish city, but geographically located in Morocco), and know some cities like the palm of my hand, I'd love to be part of their culture, which I consider one of the richest in the world. So yes, Morocco would be my first choice.

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

I work in a virtual team from whose members I've met just one in person once. But I feel like we all are in the same office, from the very first minute I joined the team.

We often laugh, tell about our personal lives, pour our hearts out to each other ... Which makes our working environment unique. While we have a lot of autonomy when it comes to tasks and responsibilities, we are a tribe when difficulties or hard times come.

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

I'm convinced that the biggest factor in being a successful company is related to people who not only work but also enjoy the programs they are part of. Being passionate about what they do, wanting to learn every day from their peers, being willing to share their knowledge and experiences, contribute with their ideas to the company growth, and especially... smile :)