What position do you hold at SAI? What has been your career path so far?
I’m the Director of Admissions for SAI Programs and I’ve been with the organization for thirteen years. My background is actually in the wine industry, but I had a friend and former co-worker who said that International Education was an interesting field and recommended that I get involved. Which I did… and thirteen years later I’m the Director of Admissions at SAI!
What country have you always wanted to visit?
Hands down: Australia! I just think that their culture is so different and so unique. And also, from what I know about the Australians I’ve met, they’re such a friendly and genuine people. And, of course, I’d like to experience the architecture in Sydney and along the West Coast.
What was your favorite traveling experience?
My favorite traveling experience was some years ago when I was on a site visit to our school in Florence and I was invited to go on a field trip with several of my students. And I really got to travel with them and got to know them. I felt that I got to meet my students on a different level, as we were traveling together, eating together, and experiencing everything that is gorgeous about Venice.
It really was a unique and different type of travel experience, because I got to share it with my students. We spent some time visiting the Basilica of San Marco. And it was really neat, later in the evening the piazza started to fill up with water in the moonlight. It was very beautiful.
What language have you always wanted to learn and why?
Recently I got to visit Barcelona and was impressed with the city. I had been under the impression that most people in Barcelona speak Spanish, but a large majority also speak Catalan, as well.
In fact, Catalan really is the mother tongue of Barcelona. And it’s such an interesting linguistic mix between Spanish and French. Our Program Coordinator there (Mireia Garmendia) taught me some of the basics; you know, “hello,” “goodbye,” “thank you,” and so on.
I was just so intrigued by this language and its history. For example, during the years of Franco’s dictatorship speaking Catalan was actually prohibited, but after his fall, the people of Barcelona quickly went back to using their mother tongue. Clearly, this language is a deep part of Barcelona’s cultural heritage.