Meet the Founder and Executive Director, Jeff Palm. Currently he is leading a site visit to Australia with study abroad administrators. Hear more:
1. Why do you love your job?
Though I founded the company, CISabroad has grown beyond my expectations. Although I’d love to take all the credit, it’s our great staff who has made it possible over the years. We hire passionate, fun, smart people, who strive to improve our programs. We are often told by study abroad advisors that they love our staff. First, the feeling is mutual! Students and study abroad administrators like working with us because we care about them. We’re responsive. We’re open to new ideas. We genuinely want to make sure that our participants have the same life-changing experiences that we did when we went abroad.
2. What sort of things does CISabroad do to help students immerse in the local culture?
A few years ago we developed a cultural curriculum called “La Vida Local,” loosely interpreted as “the local life”. What we want our participants to experience is not just what the face of the host culture has to offer, but what it’s like to be a local. We do this through different activities – city wide scavenger hunts, tours of immigrant neighborhoods, cooking classes, etc. During these activities we make sure and engage the students in discussions about why certain food are important or what made a certain population immigrate to this or that section of the city. We find that these types of informal, yet somewhat structured conversations are as meaningful and impactful as lectures for understanding the host culture. Currently on this site visit our colleagues will get a taste of our Australia La Vida Local in Sydney, the Gold Coast and Newcastle.
3. Who is the perfect CISabroad participant?
Someone who is open to new experiences, wants to be immersed in another culture and is ready to change the way they see the world.
4. What do you love most about Australia?
I love that Australia attracts international students from all around the world and the universities we work with offer you unlimited courses to choose from in your major or minor. Each of our Australian universities are unique. Macquarie University is the #1 research institution in Australia for Environmental Science, at Bond University you can take a a full semester of credits during the summer, at Newcastle you study on a green and sustainable campus, while at Melbourne you’re studying at one of the largest Australian campuses which is 15-20 minutes from the city center. When you study abroad in Australia you will befriend international students and step our of your comfort zone. If you want to take your international program a step further I would encourage you to check out our internships in Australia.
5. You started off as a student at the College of St. Scholastica and were a student athlete. Are their international study opportunities open for student athletes?
Yes! As I found out, semester abroad experiences for athletes can be difficult as many seasons cross over from one semester to the next. However, summer programs and faculty-led programs can be a perfect fit for the student athlete. Being back in Australia reminds me how many opportunities there are for student athletes to participate in sports alongside their peers: Soccer, Rugby, Tennis, Swimming, Golf, they have it all.
6. CISabroad has some semester study programs on the Gold Coast. Have you surfed at Surfer’s Paradise (we know you love to surf)?
I haven’t actually. But I have surfed just down the road at Burleigh Heads though!
7. If you could give one piece of advice to a student thinking about studying abroad, what would it be?
Do it! Seriously, most of the people that I meet and tell what I do say one of two things. Either, “I really wished I would have studied abroad.” Or, “I studied abroad and it was one of the most amazing experience of my life.” These are people who have had full lives already – traveled, had children, worked for years and they are saying that it was still one of the most impressive experiences of their lives. How can you argue with that? And by the way, the surfs is always up in Australia so come check out our programs!
If you would like to read and learn a little bit more about Jeff Palm visit our CISabroad Staff Page. If you are eager to study abroad in Australia this Fall, we are offering a special $500 off an Australia program promotion. (You can thank Jeff for this discount.)