What position do you hold at Nacel International? What has been your career path so far?
Amanda: I am Nacel's international Program Manager - my job is to advise students and parents, from all countries (outside France and Spain), who are looking for a study program abroad. This ranges from short homestay programs to high school exchanges, and includes language schools and language courses around the world. Previously, I worked for large publishing companies, such as the BBC in the UK, to elaborate online study programs for schools. I have an in depth understanding of education and a broad cultural background from which I draw from to advise students on the best options according to their requirements.
Did YOU study abroad?! If so, where and what inspired you to go?
Amanda: I am completely bilingual in French and English thanks to my unique family background, born in France of English parents. I did my primary education in France, my secondary education in England, and my university studies at New York University. I have since worked in all three countries. Also, I have been learning Spanish for the last four years and starting to get the hang of it! I have traveled all over the world, to just about every destination that we offer to our students. I find that the most exciting part of any journey is meeting local people and learning about their cultures. The reason I love my job is because all our programs offer the possibility for cultural immersion.
What does the future hold for Nacel - any exciting new programs to share?
Amanda: The most exciting development at Nacel, in the past year, is that we can now offer our high school exchange programs directly to individual students. In the past, this was only possible through local agencies. This represents a savings to families and we hope it will enable more students to take advantage of these types of programs. We also have an exciting new program in the United Kingdom for the 16 to 19 age bracket; it is a short academic program from 13 to 31 weeks aimed at the discovery of the English education system and culture without committing to a year-long 'A' level or IB course of study.
What about the future of the high school abroad industry? How do you think international education will change over the next 10 years?
Amanda: Globalization has changed how we perceive other cultures. Today's work force is no longer made up of tourists - it requires global citizens, who can relate to their international business partners on a personal level. One of the best ways to become a global citizen is to benefit from cultural and academic exchanges from a young age. The high costs of these programs is a barrier and new methods of financing will need to emerge to develop a workforce capable of relationship building. In Europe, there is a high degree of mobility thanks to the Erasmus funding program, though, similar initiatives are needed worldwide.