Staff Spotlight: Bruno Grazioli

Academic Director, CEA Florence

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

Bruno: I’m the academic director of the CEA Florence study center. I was an Italian language professor for 14 years prior to my current appointment.

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

Bruno: I studied in France, England and Wales as an undergraduate. As an English major/French minor I wanted to immerse myself in the culture and become fluent in the two languages.

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

Bruno: We launched two new summer programs, one dedicated to the study of beauty (in art and in photography) and one to the excellences of Italy (food and fashion).

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

Bruno: I would like to see relations between colleges/universities and study abroad companies strengthen ever more in order to be able to invest in developing programs and experiences abroad that are even more meaningful and useful to students and their future careers.

Which study abroad destination is most underrated? Conversely, which is most overrated?

Bruno: I don’t think one destination is better than another one. I think all places have something important to offer to those who are open and know how to be shaped by their experience abroad. I think some misconceptions about certain destinations as well as the purpose of a study abroad program still persist, and I would like to see more students make a conscious decision to study in a foreign country because they know that will significantly add up to their education.

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

Bruno: I believe that everyone should be made feel welcome, therefore I think that one of the most important factors in the success of our company is the ability to make students feel that they are not just numbers, but that we do care about their academic progress as well as about their wellbeing and safety while abroad.

What country have you always wanted to visit?

Bruno: I have been particularly fascinated by South East Asia for a while. So far I have only made it to Thailand and I would love to explore of this region.

Why is language learning and cultural immersion important to you?

Bruno: Because I inherently see it as a form or respect towards the host community. I cannot conceive the idea of living in a foreign country for several months without wanting to learn how to communicate in the local language. It would be like being a guest in someone’s home and ignoring my hosts completely.

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

Bruno: I have learned how to talk to and communicate with many different kind of people, not only students, but also professors, and how to value their contribution.

What was your favorite traveling experience?

Bruno: Traveling through India was certainly one of the most life-changing experiences I have ever had.

What language have you always wanted to learn and why?

Bruno: Apart from English and French, which I studied as an undergraduate, I have always wanted to learn Japanese because I have always been fascinated by Japanese culture and customs.

What unique qualities does your company possess?

Bruno: I see the company as represented by the wonderful team of colleagues I work with in Florence. They are generous, enthusiastic and motivated individuals. To me that is one of the strengths of our program.

What changes would you make to the study abroad industry?

Bruno: I would like to see more programs requiring students to take a language course. I think that knowing the language of the host country where one spends a significant amount of time is essential to a person’s understanding of the local culture, customs and traditions. And it helps meeting people too!

Describe a time when you felt especially proud to be part of the CEA team.

Bruno: At the end of Fall 14 semester, after our farewell dinner, when several students insisted on taking lots of photos with us. It was an emotional moment and I felt like our program had indeed made a difference in their experience as college students.

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

Bruno: I love to hear when students’ lives and views change as a result of their experience abroad. On many occasions, I have seen students relocate to Italy and make of this country their home. I am always struck when this happens, because I sympathize with it completely.>

What does your home-country's culture value that is taught in your program?

Bruno: At the core of Italian culture and life are the values of conviviality, of respect, of being open to the unexpected and understand that life has a flow of its own. We try as much as possible to communicate this to students, not just in their classes by in the way we value the role of each single person (professors, staff, students).