Staff Spotlight: Cory Donovan

Director of Engagement


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

Cory: I am currently the Director of Engagement at CLI. I graduated from the University of Wisconsin Stevens Point with a degree in Business Administration. After graduation, I worked for Incourage Community Foundation in Wood County, Wisconsin helping residents overcome the “digital divide”.

Having volunteered for many global organizations, such as the Clinton Global Initiative, I realized the important role that language plays in not only basic communication, but also in solving today’s global issues. Wanting to learn a foreign language and having desire to help the world, I decided to journey to China to learn Mandarin Chinese. I enrolled in CLI’s Immersion Program located in the picturesque city of Guilin. After four months of study, I was offered the opportunity to be a part of the CLI team as Director of Engagement.

Did YOU study abroad? If so, where did you go and what inspired you to go?!

Cory: My first experience studying abroad was a study tour of China in 2009 through my university. My teachers of course encouraged me to broaden my horizons and bolster my resume, but the true motivation came from within. I believe most who decide to study abroad are deep down an explorer, motivated to discover the world and themselves. This inner motivation also inspired me to study abroad in Ireland. I wanted to learn more about my family lineage and the history of the country my ancestors once called home. I returned to China in 2012 to start learning Mandarin Chinese, motivated by the desire to become bilingual.

What does the future hold for CLI - any new programs to share?

Cory: CLI is excited to announce the completion of a comprehensive renovation at its new 5-story language learning center located in the southern city of Guilin, China. CLI’s new and improved center is equipped with 36 dorm rooms, 18 classrooms, two public kitchens, numerous lounge rooms, and a library with over 100 Chinese language and cultural books – CLI is truly the epicenter for learning Chinese language and culture.

CLI is also excited to expand its fully customizable faculty-led study tours program. Institutions have the opportunity to design their own China study tour tailored to their specific learning needs and interests. Whether the program's focus is business and economics, art history, environmental sustainability, civil engineering, sociology, or intensive Chinese, faculty will be able to provide their students with an enriching and unforgettable educational experience.

What about the future of the industry? How do you think study abroad and international education will change over the next 10 years?

Cory: As the world becomes more interconnected, the desire and need for students to receive a global education will continue to increase. The destinations students choose will provide the biggest shift in the international education industry. Governments have all ready identified critical or under-served languages, providing significant financial aid to ensure students have the opportunity to study these languages. Thus, Asia and the Middle East will continue to supplant European countries as top study abroad destinations.

Technology is also changing the way we think about study abroad. As technology continues to advance, there will be an increase in the amount of distance learning that takes place. One-on-one language tutoring over Skype, teachers teaching a classroom of students from halfway around the world, and the ability to listen to lectures from top professors at top institutions for free, makes one rethink the way education is delivered. Although nothing can substitute experiencing another culture firsthand, these new options may prove to be enough for some students.