Staff Spotlight: Stephanie Jackson


Stephanie graduated from Kalamazoo College with a degree in History and Classical Studies, with the intention of becoming a classical archaeologist. However after her study abroad experiences in Scotland and Italy, she realized that her true passion lies more in learning about the cultures and people of the world today. After spending a few years as a travel advisor with STA Travel where she had the opportunity to travel all over the world, she received her master’s degree in International Education at the School for International Training (SIT) Graduate Institute.

What position do you hold at BridgeAbroad? What has your career path been like so far?

Stephanie: I am the Opportunities Abroad Program Manager here at BridgeAbroad, which means I get to speak with prospective students about our programs, answer their questions, help them through the enrollment process, and handle all the logistics of their study abroad experience! Since I fell in love with study abroad back in college, I've worked in many positions related to the field of international education: from sending students abroad through STA Travel to assisting in university study abroad offices to working on-site in Mexico to designing and administering faculty-led programs with ISA, I feel like I've gotten to work in every possible position in the field of education abroad! And somewhere in between all that I took the time to get my Master's degree in the field at SIT Graduate Institute, which was a fantastic opportunity to increase my understanding of the field.

What are the core principles BridgeAbroad strives to achieve?

Stephanie: Bridge has five core values that we are constantly discussing, reflecting on, and striving to achieve (each week in our meetings, we note examples of where we saw those core values in action, so it's not just something we write down and forget about)! Our core values are: excellence, integrity, innovation, learning, and teamwork. Most of the projects we work on and work we do encompass all of these values; for example our new BridgeVirtual online language learning platform is an example of the innovative work we do! In addition to these core values, we also strive to make our programs accessible to all (which is why we price all of our programs on a menu system, so students can choose which program inclusions they'd like based on their budget and needs).

What separates BridgeAbroad from other international program providers?

Stephanie: I think there are a number of things that set us apart from other program providers. First of all, language is at the core of our programs—since we began as a language school, we know the importance of students understanding the local language in order to truly immerse themselves in the culture, so we encourage students to do just that, and not spend their time abroad in an English-speaking bubble. Second, we are constantly thinking of new ways to support our customers—the BridgeVirtual platform I mentioned earlier is the perfect example of that. Students have the opportunity to meet with a native speaking local teacher in their program site via Skype before they depart for their program, so they start to become familiar with not only the host language, but also someone who is currently living in their new home!

What does the future hold for BridgeAbroad?

Stephanie: So much! Everyone who works at BridgeAbroad is constantly thinking about what comes next for us and our students— whether that means new program locations, new program opportunities (like the Teach English in Spain program we just added), or additional student support (such as specialized internship orientation programs and resources)--if there's one thing that can be said about us, it's that we really don't stop moving forward!