At CISabroad, we feel that our strongest asset is our staff. From the moment you first hear from us, be it through a phone call, email, or personal visit, you will find someone that truly cares about helping you to find the best study or intern abroad program to fit your needs. Below you’ll find both our U.S. and overseas staff, who will work with you to ensure a rewarding experience.
Don’t be afraid to make language mistakes. Some of my best laughs ever are from either making a language faux pas myself, or hearing others make them. Some things are universally funny and when laughed over together, can result in a humor bond that can last a lifetime.
Founder and Senior Vice President of Business Development
I first learn about a new culture through food. I try to understand what truly “local” dishes are and then find a “typical” place (non-tourist) at which to eat them. This has led to some of my most memorable experiences abroad.
Vice President of Program Operations
Find water and jump right in. Literally. There is something about being in the water that helps me get my mind to slowdown, settle in and get ready for adventure. So remember to take it slow, you will see more and feel more , which will deepen your experience.
Vice President of University Relations
Learn to be a traveler, not a tourist. Yes, there will always be the “touristy” things to see and do, but try to notice how the local people act, dress and behave.
Assistant Vice President of Custom Programs
Expect the unexpected. Expect your plans to change. Stay flexible and laugh. Always laugh. Even when you cry, find the laughter.
Assistant Vice President of Enrollment Management & Program Coordinator - Argentina, Ecuador, Peru
Get lost in your new city/location. It’s the best way to see somewhere new and will result in many exciting adventures.
MANAGER OF PROGRAMS - Asia, Pacific, and Africa
Expect the unexpected! Sometimes culture shock is stronger in countries where you expect things to be more similar to your home country and environment. Traveling abroad is an excellent way to learn more about your own culture, habits, style, and adaptability.
Manager of Programs - Europe and Latin America
Drink coffee the local way. Dine with a host family. Eat some recommended street food. Drink fresh juice from local fruits. Find that hole-in-the-wall restaurant that will probably serve the best meal of your time abroad (and it will likely cost less too!). Food and drink can be an excellent inroad to getting to know another culture.
Program Coordinator - Thailand, South Africa, Ghana, Hawai’i, January Multi-Country programs (except Mediterranean Culture)
Don’t be afraid to talk to strangers. Want to know the best place to eat or what to do with that free weekend you have coming up? Ask someone on the subway or a local street vendor. Their suggestion might just become your new favorite place!
Program Coordinator - Spain, Latin America, January Mediterranean Culture
Never forget to give yourself credit for making the decision to study abroad. Immersing yourself in another culture is challenging, but the memories and sense of personal growth you return with make study abroad all the more rewarding.
Program Coordinator - England, Ireland, Scotland, Greece, British Isles, Celtic Culture, European Experience
Forgive yourself for not always knowing exactly what to do in a new place; if you’re humble, people will be happy to nudge you in the right direction. And always have a deck of cards in your backpack!
Program Coordinator - Italy, Mediterranean Culture (Summer)
The first chance I have in a new place, I like to either rent a bicycle or go running to get a better feel for my surroundings. Not only does this feel refreshing after time spent on the road or in the air, but it also gives you a great orientation to your destination.
Emma Van Loon
Program Coordinator - Australia and New Zealand
When I begin planning a trip I love to leave two or three days free. There are always fun activities you’ll learn about while in country so you don’t want to miss out on them due to over scheduling!
Director of University Relations
When possible, explore off the beaten path. Meet the locals, enjoy the food, take a walk and just get to know the destination. Start your connection to the new area as soon as possible.
University Relations South Regional Director and Communications Manager
I always carry my travel journal along with colored pencils and a glue stick. When I have down time at the airport, train station, or a cafe, I’ll draw pictures, write notes, glue ticket stubs, postcards, receipts, and anything that will remind future me of the amazing trip I’m on!
University Relations Regional Director - West
Trip planning can be overwhelming and an over scheduled trip can be exhausting. Plan two activities you know you don’t want to miss and then leave room for the unexpected. You never know what might come along and a flexible schedule will allow you to take advantage of it.
Senior University Relations Manager - New England
Be open! Open to meeting new people, trying new foods, and learning about a different culture. You’ll be surprised how much you learn about yourself and the world if you start any adventure with an open mind and positive attitude.
University Relations Manager - VA, NC, SC, WV
Taking photos is fun but try a week or just a day without using your camera. You might find that you have more unforgettable memories and fewer all-too-forgettable pictures. Great photos of the Taj Mahal are everywhere, but you only get one memory of seeing it for the first time.
University Relations Regional Director - Midwest
If traveling with others, try to carve out some time to do something by yourself. Relish in that moment. You might be surprised to discover or experience something new that you will appreciate either about yourself or this new place. Watch the sunrise, visit a bookstore, take a drop-in class…
Alumni and University Relations Coordinator
Try stepping out of your comfort zone and travel alone. Going abroad gives you the chance to be free and experience new things. It’s hard to fully immerse yourself and truly get a lot out of the experience if you’re around familiar faces.
University Relations Manager - FL, GA, TN
Bring a reusable water bottle! It will help you stay hydrated and keep your energy up whether you’re exploring a new city or relaxing on the beach. And best of all – it will help you save money to spend on experiences and be kind to the earth!
University Relations Manager - Southwest
Meet the locals. Travel isn’t just about seeing a new place, it’s about experiencing a new culture and its people. Locals will know amazing spots to visit that you won’t find in a guide book or travel blog. Take time to get to know your host city, it’s your home away from home.
Country Director of Italy
If while traveling there’s no internet, embrace it. Play a card game with someone in the hostel common room, read a book, lie on the beach, go for a walk, talk to a stranger, think about life. Some of my favourite travel memories are from times when I didn’t have an Internet connection.
Country Director of Australia; Site Director in Gold Coast, Australia
Get outside, take your time to walk around the streets of your new city or neighbourhood – get a feel for the people and what makes it unique. I love getting up early and exploring a new destination as it ‘wakes up’- it is an amazing time of the day to see a city or town slowly come to life.
Site Director of Sydney, Australia
Forget the phone! At least for a minute! Enjoy, take mental pictures and be present! Focus on the now and enjoy where you are. You will not regret taking time to appreciate all of this and you will have mental pictures that will carry a special meaning forever.
SITE DIRECTOR IN NEWCASTLE, AUSTRALIA
Search for local instagram and facebook pages on food and events around the place you are travelling to. You may find some local hidden gems or some cool experiences you would not have found otherwise. It also helps you get a feel for the place and its people.
Site Director in Townsville, Australia
Try to get ‘off the beaten path’ – sometimes the road less travelled is the one that leads to the most memorable experiences.
Site Director in Melbourne, Australia
Try not to over plan. Having a schedule is great, but go for a wander and explore wherever you are with no maps or online recommendations. Sometimes the best things you will find are the ones you stumble upon!
Student Affairs and Internship Coordinator in London
Save money on your Oyster Card and walk everywhere. There are so many different neighbourhoods that await to be explored and hidden treasures to be discovered. Get lost in the city and take time to enjoy the experience!
Site Director in Florence
Never forget to pack an open mind, a lot of patience, a couple of snacks from home to cure homesickness and last but not least…serenity. Once in town, LOOK UP when walking around. Take a different route to class everyday. Live, love and accept your destination!
Site Director in Ghana
When traveling to Ghana dress conservatively, and don’t forget your bug spray and suntan lotion.
Site Director in Thailand
Looking for a cool and exciting way to explore Bangkok? The whole city used to be based around canals, so jumping on a boat gives you a way to get out of the traffic and experience the real Bangkok.
Site Director in Ecuador
Ecuador is one of the most biodiverse countries in the world and home to 14 different indigenous nationalities. Be prepared to experience new landscapes, aromas, tastes, sounds and people. Respect the places and the people you will be with and never stop learning!
Site Director in Paris
Travel is not only, as Mark Twain said, fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness. It also the best possible recipe for happiness, so explore, dream and discover.
Site Director in Ireland
Spend as much time outside of Dublin as in. If heading to the west coast visit Sligo and Donegal. They’re stunning. In the South check out Tipperary and the Viking-founded town of Wexford. Travel tip: Pack your bags then take out half the contents.
Site Director in Czech Republic
Whether ordering from an open air stall or a restaurant, always remember to say good day (dobrý den) and thank you (děkuji). Czechs will welcome your effort and will be more helpful and perhaps even give you a smile.
Site Director London
Be patient with yourself and kind to those you meet along the way. Show gratitude daily, laugh often, and give thanks for the journey you are on. There will be hard days, but remember, the magic is in the journey and each day makes that journey complete. Smile!
Site Director in Hawai'i
Pack for summer! Hawai’i’s temperature is 86F and sunny all year round. Drink lots of water and don’t forget your sunscreen! Arrive with an open mind and a sense of adventure.
Site Director in Costa Rica
Dont limit yourself to the more popular tourist spots. There are tons of lesser known places that are beautiful and rich in culture where you can really experience what Costa Rica is all about!
Site Director in Argentina
Bring comfy shoes as Buenos Aires is very walkable. A great pastime is simply walking the city with no time restriction or plans. Also, get used to saying hi with a hug and a kiss.
Site Director in South Africa
Be brave, be soft, stay open to opportunities and adventure, wear sunscreen and a smile and most importantly always trust your instinct. Travel allows you to view the world but in the end you realise that what you really discovered is yourself.
Patricia Dongo Soria
Site Director in Lima, Peru
When in Lima, try different local dishes choosing from the variety of restaurants like “Gianfranco” in Miraflores. Try the amazing ceviches and other sea food alternatives at “Al Fresco” and dinner overlooking an beautifully illuminated view of the Huaca Pucllana (adobe pre-inca living quarters) in the restaurant “Huaca Pucllana.”
Rattapong “Yahya” Wongkanya
Site Director in Bangkok, Thailand
Thai people love to share and talk with westerners, learn a few words of Thai and make an effort to talk to them and it will open up so many opportunities to try the food, be invited to people homes or learn more about this amazing country.
Site Director of Madrid, Spain
Slow down! Before jet setting off to multiple countries, take time to get to know the place you decided to call home for the next few months. The best travel experiences occur when you meet locals and learn about activities that aren’t in your guidebook.
Site Director in Japan
When choosing places to travel, venture to locations with a culture entirely different than your own, where the language, food, behaviors, traditions, ways of thinking, and ways of working and living are totally foreign to you. The experience will be transformative in good ways and stay with you for a lifetime.
Site Director in Scotland
Plan ahead to make the most of your time in Scotland. There so many free activities. There are public galleries and museums, live music sessions, open-to-roam landscape, and a great range of clubs and societies on and off your campus!
Site Director of New Zealand
Leave the umbrella at home as it is no match for the capital known as ‘Windy Wellington”. Make sure you pack a good raincoat and some warm socks.
Site Director in Shanghai
Shang has a long history. At Puxi, you can walk along streets and see all historic buildings around you. You may hear they are telling those old stories to you. At Pudong, you will see all modern buildings and they presents how China has developed so far.
Site Director in Barcelona
Be open to try the local food! Let a local Catalan or Spanish friend pick some options for you and get ready to be amazed and discover new flavors. If you ask me, go for the seafood ‘fideuá’. You will have a good laugh learning how to open the shrimps!
SITE DIRECTOR IN FLORENCE
Google Maps is the travel tool I can’t live without. I save my most important addresses in it, like my hotels, and even drop pins in it to save important locations like taxi stands, train stations, and restaurants I’d like to try.
SITE DIRECTOR IN GREECE
To explore a new country, I choose to walk rather than take transportation even for longer distances. It helps you better feel the vibration and get into the pace of local life. Makes you hungrier for local dishes, too!
Site Director in Germany
While most Germans these days speak English (and will likely be eager to showcase their abilities with you), do make an effort to learn German language and culture, as these will only add to your understanding and appreciation of your new home.
Site Director in Vietnam
Be open minded with the new culture, cuisine, lifestyle etc. You can learn a lot through exploring, adapting and respecting new a culture, a new country. Be well prepared and planned to avoid culture shock in the first few days. Nowadays, there are many travel blogs, food review shows etc. that you can check as a pre-departure information then explore yourself later and have your own stories.
Take only memories and leave nothing but footprints. Be aware of the space that you are occupying in your host culture. Talk, talk, and talk some more with the locals no matter how uncomfortable you feel!
Student Advising Coordinator
If you cannot sleep on planes, do not try to stay up all night in hopes you will get some shut eye on your flight. I tried this once and turned into a sleep deprived zombie by the time I landed. Not pretty.
You can stick to an itinerary, but always have a contingency plan so you don’t miss out on an unexpected opportunity. It may be what makes your trip most memorable. Also, always pack underwear. Lots of it. You can literally never have enough underwear when you travel.
Traveling to a new country can be stressful, so learn to embrace the stress. Everything always seems to work out in the end.
Assistant Director of Custom Programs & Inclusive Outreach
Learn a few phrases in the local language (besides “thank you”). Practicing your new vocabulary when meeting new people will often earn you a compliment on your skill, or maybe just a smile or laugh. Either way, it’s a great icebreaker!
Manager of Faculty-Led Programs - South East Asia
Don’t be afraid of street food! It’s often the least expensive and most delicious. You’ll learn the true strength of your stomach and might even come home with a few new favorite treats (or at the very least, some good stories!)
Senior Faculty-Led Programs Coordinator - Ireland, Scandinavia, Central & Eastern Europe
Instead of taking a picture, try writing down what you see in a travel journal! Even now, years after my study abroad experience, my journal from that time brings back some of my favorite (and most hilarious) memories.
Senior Faculty-Led Programs Coordinator - Spain, U.K., Middle East, Africa
The unexpected will happen. Turn the stress into an adventure and a story!
Faculty-Led Programs Coordinator - North & South America, South Pacific (Australia & New Zealand), India
Don’t be too focused on seeing all the things that people tell you that you HAVE to see. Let your curiosity guide your experience. Folks miss the best parts of being abroad by only seeing the world through their camera lens. Live your experience. Breathe it, taste it, touch it.
Faculty-Led Programs Coordinator - Italy, Greece, France, East Asia (China, Japan, Korea)
Keep your eyes open and walk slowly! Notice the details: the smell of a bakery; the texture of a wall; the tone of the locals. You’ll feel more connected to a new location when all of your senses are engaged, and it will hold more strongly in your memory.
Faculty-Led Programs Team Assistant
Take advantage of every opportunity to immerse yourself in the local culture. Don’t be afraid to step outside of your comfort zone by trying new things and meeting new people!
Faculty-Led Programs Team Assistant
My favorite piece of travel advice: get your coffee from the same place every day! The locals will soon recognize you and it’s a great way to get chatting with them and hopefully get some insider tips for the place your visiting!
Internships Program Manager
Journal, journal, journal! Write down the little things, the strange details & whatever made you laugh. It’s the little things that make a trip amazing and are easily the most forgotten.
Internship Enrollment Advisor
My travel necessities are an open mind, a wristwatch and a journal.
When it comes to sharing your travel stories with others, a picture is really worth a thousand words! Get creative and take photos of the world around you, so when your trip ends, you will have those visuals to help you remember every detail.
Make it a priority to visit open space markets and shops of the country you visit, you will understand a lot more about the culture of the place. Also, try to visit tourist destinations at the least busy hours, that is when the real historians work.
Erin Hardee Patterson
Ask locals where their favorite places to eat are! There’s nothing like an incredible, locally made meal at a place off the usual touristy path.
Director of Marketing and Communications
I think one of the most grounding things you can do in a new location is take some time to appreciate the natural beauty around you – notice what’s different and new, and especially notice what you may not see again.
Find somewhere to become a regular. A park bench. A grocery store. A local library. A cafe. Observe your travel destination through this place and absorb the rhythm of it.
Director of Human Resources & Operations
When I lost my phone when I landed in Spain for the first time, I thought it was the end of the world. I realized that the experiences I had without being distracted or taking photos was a gift. Remember to be present in your journeys!
Assistant Director of Finance
Make sure to tell your bank and let them know the dates of your travel. It’s also a good idea to photocopy your debit and credit cards. Keep them with a copy of your passport, in a separate place.
Rae Ann Pinault
Human Resources & Operations Coordinator
There are apps available for your phone that can give some very detailed information about the place to which you are traveling. We found an excellent one that told us many useful things about Kauai, and we even used it as a guide to some great hiking trails.
IT Help-Desk Technician
Wherever you are, try to adapt to your new environment. Pick up as much of the local language and engage in the local customs as much as you can while you are there.
Always plan your trip based on a budget so you don’t spontaneously spend money and run out of cash for general necessities such as food.
In order to have stories to tell your friends and family when you get home, you must first live those stories. Plan well, but don’t shy away from taking advantage of an unexpected opportunity.
Office Coordinator and Mailroom Clerk
Always be sure to meet local people. I noticed recently when traveling that a lot of travelers tend to stick together and overlook the local the people all around them. My favorite sights from traveling are the ones shown to me by local people.
Preparation for travel is necessary for a great trip, but always try to remember to take time “to smell the roses”, relax, and most of all, enjoy your destination. Make the most of your time away – memories last a lifetime!
Have fun, but be aware of your surroundings as you’re in a completely new environment. Only use an official concierge when booking excursions to ensure you’re as safe as possible. Have fun, but be safe!
Asks locals questions! Whether it’s the pronunciation of a word on the menu you’re looking at or a potential cultural custom you see everyone else doing, the best way to find out is to ask.
Planning is good, but never get to attached. Anything can happen when you are traveling so always be prepared to go with the flow and just see where your adventure will take you!
When deciding to go abroad, strongly consider selecting a program/country different from those of your close friends who are also going abroad. You’re more likely to challenge yourself and develop coping skills because you won’t have the comfort of classmates as a safety net. You’ll also forge new friendships that will last well beyond your time abroad.
The best way to get to know a place is to check out local establishments. Food helps you understand the history and location, while locals provide the best travel tips.