What has been your career path so far and what position do you currently hold?
Michele: I am a Graduate Intern pursuing a master’s degree in international education at SIT doing my 6- month internship with Barcelona SAE. I will spend 3 months in Fort Collins where my role includes being a student and program advisor, promoting our programs through study abroad fairs and utilizing social media to better market our program. In January I will go to Barcelona for 3 months where I will continue to act as student advisor as well as help with cultural activities and excursions. Previous to graduate school, I taught special education in Steamboat Springs, CO for 5 years.
Did YOU have the chance to study abroad?!
Michele: While in college I studied abroad for two semesters, and spent half of my student teaching semester abroad. My parents always enjoyed traveling and took my brother and I along often on overseas trips. They always encouraged us to travel every chance we could. My older brother studied abroad in London in college and I knew I wanted to study overseas too. My first semester abroad was to Australia at the University of Queensland in Brisbane. While over there I heard a lot about Semester At Sea from a friend and saw neat pictures from the excursion. I applied to Semester at Sea while in Australia and went the next semester. We had the option to spend half of our student teaching semester teaching in London. I taught grades 5 and 6 at Hampstead Heath in London for 2 months. All of these experienced inspired me to pursue a career in the field.
What do you believe to be the biggest factor in being a successful study abroad company?
Michele: I think that support and communication are the biggest factors in being a successful study abroad company. Without those two things, it makes it very difficult for a student to feel comfortable and secure in their decision to go abroad. These two factors also help make the students’ experience successful and enjoyable.
Why is language learning and cultural immersion important to you?
Michele: Language learning and cultural immersion are important in order to really get to know the people and customs of a new culture. I feel it is a sign of respect to get to know a little of the language of the place you are going, and it makes locals more willing and able to communicate with you. One can only truly get to know a place by being completely immersed.
Describe a time when you felt especially proud to be part of the SAE team.
Michele: I am relatively new to the Barcelona SAE team but there have been several instances when I felt especially proud to be a part of this amazing organization. When I go to study abroad fairs and students eagerly approach my table with a huge smile on their face explaining that they’ve heard great things about our program and they hope to study abroad in Barcelona- that is when I definitely feel proud to be a part of Barcelona SAE.