About API

API MISSION AND VALUES

The mission of API is to transform lives by providing enriching academic and cross-cultural experiences that foster increased self-knowledge, cultural sensitivity, and understanding of the global nature of our contemporary world.

API believes in the importance of:

Offering high-quality international programs in diverse locations.

API partners with host universities and local organizations around the world to offer a diverse set of experiences abroad, including study, intern, work, teach and volunteer options. API takes great care when selecting our stateside employees and directors abroad, as well as our host institutions and partner organizations, to ensure that quality is maintained as we expand our offerings.

Providing opportunities for personal transformation and cultivating respect for cultural and linguistic diversity.

API’s mission is focused on providing programs that are academically, professionally and personally transformative for participants. Studying, interning, working, teaching, and volunteering abroad require individuals to navigate new environments, cultural practices, and frequently new languages as well. Our programs expose participants to different educational systems, work environments, cultures and lifestyles. We hope that this exposure and the corresponding adaptation processes serve as a catalyst for personal growth, helping participants to identify new passions and talents. Our participants return home more confident and enthusiastic about their role in the world, which enriches the communities in which they live, study and work. In facing new challenges and gaining new perspectives, participants are encouraged to develop a greater appreciation for diversity both at home and abroad.

Staying “small” as we grow.

API takes pride in building relationships and providing personalized attention to our participants, university and high school partners worldwide. We strive to be detail oriented and to see on a daily basis how small touches can make a big difference. Our hope is that everyone who interacts with our organization feels like part of the API family.

Encouraging safe practices among participants by providing detailed pre-departure information and on-site support.

By offering extensive pre-departure and on-site guidance, participants can safely transition to life in a new environment. When it comes to managing personal safety on-site, API directors and local partners help participants to navigate their host destinations and avoid safety pitfalls. API adopts a support/challenge model that seeks to provide guidance and support that is age and life-stage appropriate. For example, our programs for high school students offer the highest level of on-site support and pre-departure guidance given that participants are minors. In comparison, our work and teach programs are designed for a more independent traveler.

Providing superior service.

API strives to provide superior service throughout the entire experience abroad, from the application stage to the return home, so that all API participants know that their opinions are valued and that it is our pleasure to address their questions. Our on-site directors and local partners represent a source of ongoing support for participants as they adjust to their host culture. Whether the question relates to academics, work culture, housing or daily life abroad, API strives to provide solutions, practical advice and guidance.

Remaining cost conscious to promote accessibility.

API is committed to providing a wide variety of affordable programs at different price points so that international experiences can be accessible to individuals from a variety of backgrounds. We take pride in providing comprehensive services while keeping our program prices among the lowest in the field. We seek to be transparent about what fees are included in our program prices and we provide hundreds of thousands of dollars in scholarships each year. We also assist participants with budgeting and share local practices for living affordably in the host country.

Providing a positive work environment for our employees.

API is committed to sustaining a supportive and positive work environment, where employees are happy and can feel comfortable expressing their individual styles and interests. API staff members stateside and directors abroad are committed to API’s mission and enjoy knowing that their work contributes to the transformation of thousands of participants each year. API employees, participants, and partners alike benefit from API’s consistent leadership team, ensuring that API remains committed to our founding principles and mission year after year.

API is committed to providing enriching international opportunities for all participants. API does not discriminate against any individual based on ethnicity, nationality, ancestry, race, sex, gender identity, creed, age, marital status, sexual orientation, or disability in its admissions decisions, program activities or employment practices.

API believes that all of our program participants have the right to study, intern, volunteer, work or teach in an environment free of any type of discrimination, bullying or harassment, be that harassment emotional, verbal, physical or sexual in nature.  All API stateside staff and international representatives are responsible for following local laws and performing their duties in an ethical manner.

All participants are required to sign API's Code of Conduct prior to their arrival on-site*, which explicitly states that participants are prohibited from:

"Any behavior that could result in harm of a fellow program participant, API representatives, a local host or the community at large. Any physical or verbal abuse or harassment by a participant can result in automatic dismissal from the API program. "

The API Code of Conduct specifically refers all participants to API's Non-Discrimination Policy, and holds them accountable for respecting it.

Violations of API’s non-discrimination policy by an API representative can result in official letters of reprimand or job dismissal.  Violations of the Participant Code of Conduct may be handled via the issuance of warnings, temporary or permanent removal from API housing or activities, loss of other program privileges, damage assessments or dismissal from an API program.  By maintaining and enforcing its non-discrimination policy, API seeks to establish a welcoming and inclusive environment for all participants.

*For customized or faculty-led programs, API may defer to the Code of Conduct of the participants' home institution.

Legal protections in the host country may differ from those in place in a participant’s home country.  For example, the Title IX legislation in place in the U.S. assists students who experience some form of gender discrimination (e.g., sexist jokes, catcalls, inappropriate touching, sexual assault, dating violence, etc.) while studying at a U.S. university.  Certain behaviors considered inappropriate or discriminatory in the U.S. may not be considered rude or offensive in a host country. While API has no control over the laws in a given host country, API representatives abroad aspire to support alleged victims of gender discrimination to the best of their ability and according to U.S. standards.

As participants navigate their host country environments, with which they are relatively unfamiliar, API wants them to feel comfortable coming forward for assistance when needed.  On-site API directors or local coordinators will help a participant who has shared allegations of discrimination or harassment (defined by API as the “reporting party”) by providing access to the resources or support needed (e.g., medical care** or counseling) and accompanying the individual to file a formal police report or complaint if desired.

When a participant puts forth allegations about inappropriate behavior or actions taken by a fellow API participant (defined as “responding party”), API has an obligation to act and investigate those allegations.  Additionally, it may be necessary for API to share some details regarding a given incident with fellow participants in order to protect their safety; API will seek to do so without exposing the identity of the reporting party.

For participants who are U.S. university students, API generally has an obligation to inform each student’s home university about allegations of gender discrimination, especially aggravated incidents involving violence.  In doing so, API and a participant’s home university can provide guidance and support for the reporting party, and provide fair notice of how the responding party may be affected***.  No information will be shared with the reporting or responding parties’ emergency contacts in the event of harassment or sexual assault without the express permission of the participant in question, or if API determines that there is cause for program dismissal of the responding party.  API generally encourages both the reporting and responding parties to be open with trusted friends or family members at home about such incidents, so they may provide additional emotional support.

If a participant has experienced an incident (e.g., rape) and does not wish to discuss the incident with API, API urges the participant to contact the nearest U.S. Embassy/Consulate or the U.S. Department of State for assistance.  The embassy/consulate staff can provide a list of reputable medical services and other resources in the area. Consular staff can also contact the participant’s family or may in some cases provide a reimbursable loan to cover limited emergency medical funding.

More information, including contact information, about support for victims of crimes abroad can be found online at:

http://travel.state.gov/content/passports/english/emergencies/victims.html

If an API participant has concerns that the behavior of an API on-site representative or a stateside employee constitutes harassment, bullying or gender discrimination, the behavior should be reported immediately to the Senior Vice President of Organizational Operations or the API President. If the participant fears imminent harm, the participant should seek assistance from a representative of the host university, other emergency authority in the host country (e.g., hospital, counselor, etc.) or the nearest U.S. consulate or embassy.

Given the degree of complexity involved with operating programs in international destinations, each with its own laws, legal system, and cultural perceptions of appropriate behavior, API cannot have one uniform approach to all forms of disrespectful behavior, harassment or sexual discrimination. API does, however, seek to maintain a standard set of procedures to ensure the safety of its participants and respond fairly and systematically to reported violations of the API Code of Conduct or local laws.

When a participant reports a violation of the API Code of Conduct related to physical harassment or sexual assault to an API representative stateside or abroad, API will make reasonable efforts to support the reporting party while simultaneously protecting the right of the responding party to continue in the program until an API investigation can be completed. While an investigation is pending or in process, API reserves the right to take the following actions in order to limit contact between the reporting party and the responding party to the fullest extent possible:

  • Make housing modifications:  This may take the form of a housing move or temporary removal from API housing for the responding and/or reporting party.
  • Rework schedules for classes, volunteer/teaching placements or internships: API will work with host institutions or local partners to make adjustments to the schedule(s) of the involved participant(s) if standard program activities would ordinarily bring them into contact with one another.  In the case of academic programs, it may be impossible for API to facilitate course changes to reduce contact within the academic environment. For example, if there is only one section of a given course, it may not be possible to remove the responding party from that course until an investigation has been completed.  In that case, students may be given specific instructions on how to conduct themselves within the confines of a given course and students may be provided with specific routes that they must take to and from class to avoid unsupervised contact.
  • Modify access to API activities: Unless duplicate events/excursions are offered that allow the participant to be placed in separate cohorts that will not come into contact with one another, the reporting party will be allowed to select no less than half of any upcoming API activities (e.g., within a month-long timeframe) and the responding party will not be allowed to participate. The responding party may participate in the activities that are not selected by the reporting party.  These arrangements will continue until the API investigation has been concluded. A full refund of all forfeited activities will be offered to both parties until the investigation has been completed.
  • Enforce “no contact” agreements: API may require the reporting and responding parties to sign an agreement specifying that they will make every effort to avoid unsupervised contact.  Deliberate violation of such an agreement by either party could result in immediate dismissal from the program, even if the formal API investigation remains ongoing.

It is important that the reporting party is aware that API cannot fully control the host environment.  While API can take action and enforce rules to limit interactions in API housing and while participating in API events, API has no control over public spaces (e.g., public transportation, eating or social establishments, local points of interest, etc.).  A reporting party should be aware of the risk of coming into unsupervised contact with a responding party outside of program spaces and sponsored activities.

If a reporting party elects to file a police report with local authorities, API may be required by law to defer or suspend an internal investigation. Even if local laws do not preclude an API investigation, they may limit how API can respond (e.g., place restrictions on speaking to witnesses, collecting evidence, etc.).  API will continue to support the reporting party and provide guidance to the responding party during this time.

*In cases of sexual assault, the insurance plan provided by API requires participants to seek medical attention within 24 hours of the incident to cover certain types of treatment.

Providing it has clearance to do so from the reporting party and local authorities (if applicable), API will move forward with an investigation as expeditiously as possible. In general, the investigation will proceed as follows:

  • API will ask the reporting party to share the specific allegations in writing, providing as much detail as possible.  Then the reporting party will complete an official interview with leadership in the API Student Services division via, telephone, Skype, or another communication method.  A note-taker may be present during the interview.  A synopsis of the interview will be provided to the reporting party to verify accuracy following the interview.
  • API will inform the responding party(ies) of the accusations and require them to provide written testimony of their actions during the specific window of time in question within 72 hours of receiving the request from API.  All responding parties must also complete an official interview with leadership in the API Student Services division via telephone, Skype, or another communication method.  A note-taker may be present during the interview.  A synopsis of the interview will be provided to the responding party to verify accuracy following the interview.
  • Both the reporting and responding parties will be permitted to review the written testimonies of the other party.  They will then be required to provide feedback within 72 hours of receiving the request from API, and submit any additional documentation considered relevant, including a list of witnesses to corroborate their respective testimonies.
  • API will interview any applicable witnesses. In the majority of cases, it will be impossible to interview witnesses without making reference to the specific allegations in question, as well as to the parties involved.
    Based on any physical evidence available, personal testimonies, and witness testimonies, API will ultimately make a ruling about the likelihood that the reported incident occurred.
  • Following standards set forth by the U.S. Department of Education for such cases, API uses a “preponderance of evidence” standard rather than “proof beyond a reasonable doubt” standard, unlike criminal court cases in the U.S.  In simple terms, this means that if API finds that the alleged incident is more likely to have happened than not, API will proceed to discipline the responding party and may immediately dismiss the responding party from the API program.
  • Unless delayed by local law provisions, API will seek to conduct and conclude an investigation within 30 days of the allegations being shared by the reporting party.

Note: Even if a reporting party does not choose to pursue an investigation, API will take reasonable action to support the participant to successfully complete the API program. If API has cause to believe the allegations are true, API may choose to dismiss a participant at any time to protect the reporting party or fellow participants from potential harm, without conducting an extensive investigation.

*Students are informed that their home university may wish to conduct an internal investigation concurrently with API or upon the completion of API's investigation.

When a participant reports inappropriate behavior by an API representative to API’s Senior VP of Organizational Operations, API will take all steps necessary to investigate the veracity of the concerns. To do, the participant reporting the behavior will be asked to:

  • Share the specific allegations in writing, providing as much detail as possible.
  • Complete an official interview with the Senior VP of Organizational Operations and/or the Senior Director for Student Services.  The interview may be conducted via telephone, Skype, or another form of communication.

Depending on the severity of the charges (e.g., inappropriate comments versus sexual advances), API could:

  • Assign a new API representative to be the point of contact for the reporting participant on-site.  If only one API representative is based in the host city, an API representative from the same country shall be assigned to support the participant or a non-API representative could be identified to work with the participant who has reported the incident.
  • Remove the API representative from the position until a thorough investigation of the allegations has been completed.
  • Interview other API participants to determine if they have experienced the same unwelcome behavior, without sharing the identity of the reporting party whenever possible.
  • If it is determined that the API representative has behaved inappropriately, API management will take steps to address the inappropriate behavior and/or discipline the representative. Discipline may include:
  • Issuing a letter of warning to the API representative and requiring the individual to complete formal training regarding more appropriate behavior;
  • Dismissing the representative from the position with API;
  • Reporting the API representative to local authorities, provided the reporting party wishes to press charges.

*In cases of sexual assault, the insurance plan provided by API requires participants to seek medical attention within 24 hours of the incident to cover certain types of treatment.

Any participant who deliberately makes false accusations or provides false testimony against an API participant or representative will be subject to review and potential dismissal from the API program. Additionally, the participant could be subject to criminal or civil charges being filed by the responding party.

API HISTORY

API was founded in 1997 by four women dedicated to providing high-quality, affordable study abroad programs for U.S. students.  Their diverse experiences abroad, first as students and later as professionals, shaped their philosophy on the value of international education as a means of promoting intellectual curiosity, cultural sensitivity and holistic personal development.  API firmly believes that extensive pre-departure preparation, coupled with strong support services on-site, facilitates academic, cultural and linguistic learning.  Within the supportive environment of the API programs, API participants are encouraged to explore their host communities and become increasingly independent and confident in their own abilities. API also believes that international educational experiences should be accessible to as many participants as possible, and in that vein, seeks to include as many components in the program price as possible for participants at a low cost.

API has grown rapidly since its founding over 20 years ago.  We now send more than 4,000 participants abroad annually to nearly 50 cities in over 25 countries in Asia, Europe, Latin America, the Middle East, and Oceania. Our portfolio has expanded beyond college study abroad to include international internship programs, teach, volunteer, and work abroad options, and international programs for high school and gap year students. Our success is owed in large part to the dedication of our staff, both stateside and abroad, and the strong relationships we have cultivated with partner institutions and universities. We strive to provide individual attention to every participant and attract participants from across the U.S. and the world.

about_api_founders
API's "Founding Mamas"

MEET THE API TEAM


API employs a talented and diverse group of people from all over the U.S, each with their own unique international background. Read the bios below to learn more about the API team!


Photo of Jennifer Attal Allen
Jennifer Attal Allen
President and CEO

Hometown: Austin, TX

Study abroad experience: Salamanca, Spain

Education: Bachelor’s in Communications with an International focus from the University of Texas at Austin, Diploma in Hispanic Studies, Master’s in Spanish Language & Culture from the University of Salamanca.

 

Photo of Sharon Foerster Ph.D.
Sharon Foerster Ph.D.
Academic Advisor

Hometown: Austin, TX

Study abroad experience: Madrid, Spain

Education: Bachelor’s degree in Spanish from Montclair State University, Master’s degree in Liberal Studies from Boston University and Ph.D. in Intercultural Communications from University of Texas.

 

Photo of Julie Leitman
Julie Leitman
Associate VP for Institutional Relations and Outreach Senior Regional Director: Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island, Vermont

Hometown: Brookline, MA

Study abroad experience: Madrid, Spain

Education: Bachelor’s degree in Comparative Literature from Hamilton College, Master’s degree in Spanish from Middlebury College

Where is your most favorite travel destination that you’ve been to, and what about that spot impacted your life and your direction?

In 1982, my anthropology professor and his family called me from Spain and asked if I could come to teach a small group of American middle schoolers in Sevilla, Spain. They said I had 24 hours to get there. I said “sure”, of course, and jumped on a plane from Berkeley to Boston, and then to Sevilla.  Besides my professor and his family, I had one name in my pocket, Dr. Sharon Foerster (my mom’s friend’s daughter’s friend; later one of the founding “mamas” of API). We finally ran into each other at the U.S. Embassy at Thanksgiving.  We became friends and, then, coincidentally, she and her family ended up living right across the hall from me, so we became very good friends.

I went home after that first year and a year later Sharon called me again to come back and teach English and work with Americans on their junior year programs. I, of course, said “yes.” I loved Sevilla, my friends, the food (the tapas and Las Rayas icecream), the ambiance, the orange trees, the horse-drawn carts, the 114 degree days….I was hooked. Little did I know that these connections and this magical city would eventually lead me to the other founding mothers of API.  Sharon returned home to Austin, and connected with Jennifer and Brittany, in Austin, and then called me (once again) to ask me to begin API with them. The rest is history!

Photo of Brittany Norman
Brittany Norman
Executive Vice President

Hometown: Temple, TX

Study abroad experience: Rotary student in Belgium; College student in Lyon, France

Education: Bachelor’s degree in International Studies/Economics and French from Austin College.

What part of your work at API are you most proud of?

I’ve done a lot of jobs in API over the years.  When we founded API, Jennifer and I worked in our living rooms and soon after I pushed a stroller to the post office daily, with catalogs to mail and forms to collect. Those were the days when we were excited to be able to fax forms instead of just using the postal service!  I have spent time creating forms, calling universities and students and parents, collecting payments, writing documents and policies, recruiting, fairs, leading director trips, interviewing, leading and mentoring VPs, and more.  We moved from our living rooms to a small space in San Marcos on the square, to a larger space on the square, to a building we bought, to the current beautiful space in Austin.  But my most special aspect of all of it has been working alongside Jen, Sharon, and Julie.  We have worked together for over 20 years now and we know that we have something special.  If you ask people about going into business with other people and starting companies, you often will get a list of dos and don’ts.  One of the don’ts, is don’t go into business with friends or people you have never met. We did both.  And we wouldn’t trade it for anything.  As a foursome, we have cried and laughed and traveled and sat around wrestling with how to do whatever was best next for API and talked and talked and talked and hugged and dreamed.  We know each other in ways that others can never know each of us.  We together make each other better.  There is a part of me who wouldn’t be, were it not for these three ladies.  We share a passion to play a role in changing people’s lives by opening to them a piece of another part of the world.  API was my first child and I wouldn’t change much about how the four of us have walked this journey.  I give thanks for them and the part they have played in my life, and am proud that we didn’t listen to other advice when we joined together to found and make API what it is today.

 


Photo of Jennifer Attal Allen
Jennifer Attal Allen
President and CEO

Hometown: Austin, TX

Study abroad experience: Salamanca, Spain

Education: Bachelor’s in Communications with an International focus from the University of Texas at Austin, Diploma in Hispanic Studies, Master’s in Spanish Language & Culture from the University of Salamanca.

 

Greg Finkelstein
Chairman of the Board

Greg Finkelstein has been appointed Chairman of API’s Board of Directors. Greg, who is also an Executive in Residence at the Education Opportunity Fund, has held leadership roles within the higher-education partner community, most recently at Wiley Education Services (formerly Deltak). He has over two decades of experience helping organizations develop long-term strategic solutions leveraging his background in sales, marketing, technology, and human capital management.

Jeffery Keith
Board Member

Jeffery Keith has founded or co-founded multiple successful companies in various sectors including education, industrial services, financial services, and commercial real estate. Currently, Jeffery is an operating partner at Sterling Partners, a $2.6 billion private equity fund that invests in education. He is the chairman of the board for Sterling education companies Spartan College of Aeronautics and Technology and Edcura, and serves on the board of several other Sterling owned companies. He is a special peer reviewer for the WASC Senior College and University Commission. Additionally, he serves on the board of the University of Dubuque, Alliant International University, and Calumet College of St. Joseph. Jeffery was the chief visionary and architect of the TCS Education System (TCSES) where he served as an executive. TCSES was the first Type II SO nonprofit system created in education and includes various colleges and universities (The Chicago School, Saybrook University, Pacific Oaks College, Dallas Nursing Institute, and the Santa Barbara and Ventura Colleges of Law).

He holds an M.B.A. and B.S. in economics and management from Purdue University and an M.S. and Ph.D. (ABD) in finance from the Stuart Graduate School of Business at the Illinois Institute of Technology. Additionally, Jeffery has a graduate certification in financial law from the Kent College of Law and attended Harvard’s Graduate School of Education IEM program and Yale’s Endowment Institute.

Brian Schwartz
Board Member

Brian Schwartz is a Principal of the Education Opportunity Fund. He has over 13 years of private equity experience investing across multiple sectors.

Jane Swift
Board Member

Jane Swift is the Former Governor of Massachusetts. She is a well-recognized and respected voice on education policy and women’s leadership. Jane has deep experience and success in leading mission-focused organizations in the education and employment sectors.

Shoshana Vernick
Board Member

Shoshana Vernick, Managing Director of the Education Opportunity Fund, brings 20 years of investment and strategic experience to growth-stage organizations. She has served on more than 15 boards across multiple sectors.

Patrick Vogt
Board Member

Patrick Vogt is the CEO of The National Research Center for College & University Admissions™, which is now a part of ACT®. He has more than 30 years of experience building innovative technology and products, accelerating company growth, and establishing mission-based organizational cultures.

As the CEO of ACT | NRCCUA, Patrick is responsible for setting the overall direction and strategy for the company. He leads the effort to integrate new design, product, and technology platforms to better support students and universities to make more intelligent decisions that will improve overall graduation success rates.

Prior to NRCCUA, Patrick served as CEO for both public and private digital media technology companies and has held senior executive positions at some of the most prestigious brands in the world, including The Weather Channel, Sony, HP, and Dell. Patrick was most recently CEO of HealthiNation, an Emmy Award-winning health and wellness digital video company. Prior to HealthiNation, he was president of The Weather Channel’s (TWC) International Division where he led all business outside of the United States and across all product categories including digital, professional, and TV.

Patrick received a bachelor of science degree in business from the State University of New York and holds an MBA from the Hagan School of Business, Iona College.


Photo of Jennifer Attal Allen
Jennifer Attal Allen
President and CEO

Hometown: Austin, TX

Study abroad experience: Salamanca, Spain

Education: Bachelor’s in Communications with an International focus from the University of Texas at Austin, Diploma in Hispanic Studies, Master’s in Spanish Language & Culture from the University of Salamanca.

 

Photo of John Endrud
John Endrud
Chief Business Officer

Hometown: Crystal Lake, IL

International Experience: John has worked extensively across Europe and Asia

Education: Bachelor’s degree from the University of Minnesota; MBA from Benedictine University

Where is your most favorite travel destination that you’ve been to, and what about that spot impacted your life and your direction?

I have a very special memory of New Year’s Eve in Rome with my family.  It was the end of a wonderful two-week holiday and the last few days in Rome – the history, people, food (did I mention food), all of it – was very special and the city was electric.  It ranks among one of the very best travel experiences and I look forward to returning again.


Luis Reyes
Health and Safety Officer

Hometown: Austin, Texas

international Experience: Mr. Reyes has an international law practice and for several years now he has traveled frequently to Europe, the Middle East, and Asia.

Education: Undergraduate Degree from the University of Texas; Doctor of Jurisprudence from the University of Texas School of Law

 



Photo of Paige Clark
Paige Clark
Co-Director of Student Services & Admissions

Hometown: Austin, TX

Study abroad experience: Granada, Spain (with API!)

Education: Bachelor’s degree in International Studies with minors in Spanish & Business from Texas A&M University.

What international experiences led you to your role at API?

I am API’s Director of Student Services and Admissions and as such, I direct a team of Program Coordinators and Managers and work closely with on-site staff to serve API programming participants, parents/guardians, and API’s institutional partners. I studied abroad with API in Granada, Spain and my daily work facilitates for thousands of others the transformational experience of spending time abroad with API. I have developed extensive support services to aid in times of challenge and to help provide the best experience possible for each API participant, including study, work, teach, volunteer, intern, and high-school participants. I also work to create programming to meet the diverse needs of API participants. My time abroad in Spain shapes the work I do each day and has informed my favorite travel opportunities, from spending time across the world in Australia and New Zealand to my domestic travels across California. I am a certified Project Management Professional (PMP) and graduated with honors from Texas A&M University with a degree in International Relations, Business, and Spanish.

Photo of Rebecca Cott
Rebecca Cott
Program Manager: Australia – Brisbane, Gold Coast, Melbourne, Outback, Sydney; Croatia – Dubrovnik; France – Caen, Grenoble, Paris; New Zealand – Auckland, Dunedin, Wellington

Hometown: Dallas, Texas

Study abroad experience: Faculty-led month in Egypt; Angers, France; Paris, France

Education: Bachelor’s degree in Global Studies with a regional track in Europe from St. Edward’s University

Why did you choose to work in the field of international education, and what attracted you to API?

I came into the world of international education through trial and error, as oftentimes people fall unexpectedly into their chosen careers. In college, I studied Global Studies and was convinced that diplomacy was my chosen field. I later discovered that politics was not the path for me and actually came to this realization while studying abroad in France. I wandered and traveled, for time, but was never truly lost, just seeking. I then fell into the world of college admissions and higher education. As much as this role was a great fit, I wondered, how do I combine my background in travel and international studies with higher education? And then it dawned on me– international education! I found a home with API, an organization that shared my philosophies in student development and creating opportunities for expanding global awareness. While API is an organization that reaches all corners of the earth, all people- including participants and employees alike are treated with the same welcoming hospitality that I have experienced from people in each country I have had the chance to visit.

 

Photo of Lauren Daniels
Lauren Daniels
Program Manager: Germany – Berlin; Italy – Florence; Spain – Granada

Hometown: Austin, TX

Study abroad experience: Granada (with API!) and a faculty-led trip to Berlin

Education: Bachelor’s in International Studies from Texas A&M University

Did you participate in an API program? If so, where, and what lessons stuck with you the most?

I studied abroad with API in Granada during the summer of my junior year. I fell in love with the city immediately! The people I met, the food we ate, and the places I visited all made a lasting impression. I think my greatest takeaway from my experience abroad was the importance of listening. Not only did it help my language skills, but it also helped me gain a better understanding of my new environment. I had always loved learning about history and culture, but getting to hear first-hand accounts was such a special experience! Everyone I met had their own story and their own take on the world. I returned from my time abroad with a greater appreciation for people and all of the experiences that make us unique.

 

Photo of Courtney Greene
Courtney Greene
Senior VP of Organizational Operations

Hometown: Shelby Township, Michigan

Study abroad experience: Quito, Ecuador

Education: Bachelor’s degree in Economics & Spanish from Kalamazoo College, Master’s degree in International Development Studies from The George Washington University.

What is your most important accomplishment at API; or, what have you done at API that you are most proud of, and why?

They always say that time flies when you are having fun! In my ten plus years working at API, I have enjoyed serving in multiple roles but my favorite responsibilities are always those that allow me to work with our coordinators and directors abroad. I am most proud of the work I have done supporting our team as they handle emergencies and developing new sites in Latin America for API.

Having studied abroad in Ecuador as an undergraduate student, Latin America will forever hold a place in my heart. I never tire of promoting our locations there to potential participants.  During the summer of 2016, I traveled to Quito, Ecuador, to train our newest director. I was accompanied by my husband and then two-year-old son and had the distinct pleasure of introducing them to my Ecuadorian host family who I had not seen in person for almost 17 years!

For me, my experiences living and working abroad serve as an important reminder to enjoy every moment, challenge ourselves, and cherish the personal connections we have the good fortune to make with people from around the world.

 

Photo of Carolyn Lutes
Carolyn Lutes
Senior Director of Student Services & Admissions

Hometown: Dallas, TX

Study abroad experience: Dijon, France

Education: Bachelor’s degree in English from Wake Forest University.

Where is your most favorite travel destination that you’ve been to, and what about that spot impacted your life and your direction?
My favorite travel destination is Paris, both for what the city offers and also for nostalgic reasons. I love that Paris is a big, cosmopolitan city that holds on to its unique culture and history. You can feel the history everywhere and picture the city’s past when you walk through the various parks and neighborhoods. I also love Paris because it reminds me of the ways studying abroad contributed to my personal development. I studied abroad nearby in Dijon, a smaller, student-friendly city where the locals were patient with us struggling to use our French when purchasing food or stamps and postcards. That was not the case with the busy Parisians and so I set a goal that by the end of my semester, I wanted to be able to spend a weekend in Paris and speak well enough that locals wouldn’t be inclined to speak with me in English. I reached my goal, so now, when I think of Paris, I remember more than my favorite spots in the city. I remember who I was at the beginning of that semester and who I became during that semester, after months of facing and overcoming challenges every day, gaining confidence and self-assurance at every step. In my career in International Education, I have enjoyed contributing to and watching other students have similar experiences through study abroad.

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Ryan McCann
Program Manager: Italy – Florence; Portugal – Lisbon; Spain – Bilbao, Madrid

Hometown: Philadelphia, PA

Study abroad experience: Florence, Italy (with API!)

Education: Bachelor’s degree from Christopher Newport University

Did you participate in an API program? If so, where, and what lessons stuck with you the most?

Studying abroad in Florence, Italy through API was a completely transformative experience. I remember being somewhat anxious when I started the program since I barely knew any Italian and I only had limited interactions with foreigners. By the time I ended the program, I made several Italian friends, developed a working knowledge of Italian, volunteered as a tour guide in Santa Croce church, and got a plethora of positive memories along the way. One of the hardest things about studying abroad is picking and choosing stories and lessons to share due to the sheer quantity of wonderful experiences.  Of the many lessons that I learned abroad is that your familiar is someone else’s exotic. While I was constantly amazed by what Italy had to offer, Italians would ask me questions about America and my home city of Philadelphia. For the first time, I realized that some of the opportunities and sights at home were considered unique and interesting in the eyes of a foreigner. When I returned home, I developed a newfound respect for the things that I usually took for granted. Even though my study abroad experience was two years ago, it is something that I constantly reflect on and learn from. I feel that study abroad is much less of a small chapter in college but an important and unforgettable opportunity in life.

Photo of Meghan Merchant
Meghan Merchant
Co-Director of Student Services & Admissions

Hometown: Plano, TX

Study Abroad Experience: Maastricht, The Netherlands. I also completed my master’s degree as an international student in Leeds, England.

Education: Bachelor’s degree in Journalism and International Studies from Baylor University. Master’s degree in International Communication from the University of Leeds.

Where is your most favorite travel destination that you’ve been to, and what about that spot impacted your life and your direction?

My favorite travel destination is Maastricht in The Netherlands. It is the picturesque town where I studied abroad my junior year of college. It opened my eyes to the world and showed me that travel is not an unattainable goal. Studying abroad there as an undergraduate prompted me to apply for graduate school in Leeds, England, which led me to the field of international education.

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Rachel Mogan
Program Manager: Ireland – Cork, Dublin, Galway, Limerick; Italy – Rome, Taormina, Three Cities, Tuscania; Scotland – Edinburgh, Stirling; Spain – Salamanca

Hometown:Knoxville, TN, and Paducah, KY

Study abroad experience: Salamanca, Spain (with API)

Education: Bachelor’s degree in Language and World Business with a concentration in Spanish from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville

Where in the world (that API has programs) would you like to travel, and what is it about that location that speaks to you?

Having “been there, done that” with Western Europe through my own API study abroad experience in Salamanca, Spain, I want to tackle new and radically different parts of the world than what I’ve seen so far. Dublin is cool and Paris is great, but Chile has captured my traveler’s imagination. The complex history and incredible national parks are a huge draw for me, but I’m not going to lie, the main reason I’m interested in Chile is mostly that they produce some of the best wines in the world!

Photo of Kelsey Patton
Kelsey Patton
Program Coordinator: Bhutan – Thimphu; England – Leeds, London; Hungary – Budapest; Iceland – Reykjavik; Poland – Krakow; Scotland – Edinburgh, Stirling; UAE – Sharjah

Hometown: West Lafayette, IN

Study Abroad Experience: Aix-en-Provence, France

Education: Bachelor’s degree in Communication Studies and French from Grove City College

Where is your most favorite travel destination that you’ve been to, and what about that spot impacted your life and your direction?

Lisbon, Portugal is a city set apart for marveling, basking in the sun’s glow, and indulging in all the good things life has to offer. Visiting this dazzling city had me in disbelief at how the one-dimensional pictures I’d googled prior to my trip could quickly transform into three-dimensional realities in my mind, now associated with tangible feelings and memories.

My senses were awakened like never before:

  • Taste: “Petiscos” (like Spanish Tapas), which I believe should be included in everyone’s gastronomic vocabulary.
  • Touch: A free walking tour of the city, my tired, but eager, feet venturing up and down winding and steep streets, bordered by smooth and intricate tiled walls.
  • Smell: The sea — a salty spray from the Atlantic Ocean, the swirling, fresh aroma of authentic Portuguese food.
  • Sound: Languages from around the world, spoken by fellow globetrotters, the cries of seagulls, the jingle of the streetcars.
  • Sight: Detailed tile patterns, vibrant buildings, the city of Sintra, just outside Lisbon, where I visited the Pena Palace, a brightly colored, fantasy-like castle, practically in the clouds (especially if you visit on a foggy day), with surrounding tropical gardens — a mystical travel destination.

Through this trip, and others, I’ve learned what the world is capable of evoking in me. New sights and sounds from abroad sweep the depths of my heart, push the boundaries of my mind and intellect, open me up to the extent of my sensations, and beg me to listen to and learn from the stranger. Each new location stirs something within me and stretches a new fiber of my being. These experiences led me to the field of International Education. I’m so thankful to have the incredible opportunity to encourage students to study abroad, and discover for themselves what the world has to teach them about who they are, about cultural sensitivity, and about the global nature of our world!

 

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Manuel Ramirez
Program Coordinator: Argentina – Buenos Aires, Mendoza; China – Shanghai; Ecuador – Quito; Spain– Barcelona

Hometown: Austin, TX

Study abroad experience: Beijing, China

Education: Bachelor’s degree in International Relations and Global Studies from the University of Texas, Austin

What international experiences led you to your role at API?

I was born in Guanajuato, Mexico and came to the US when I was 8 years old. As a ffirst-generation college graduate and the first undocumented student in the state of Texas to study abroad, I can attest to the impact an abroad experience can have on a student’s life. It has been my dream job to support students to study abroad and give students the opportunity that I was afforded to learn from a life changing cultural exchange program. I have been vegan for 6 years and enjoy the outdoors, dancing, and magic tricks.

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Jennibeth Rodriguez
Transcript and Visa Processing Coordinator

Hometown: Austin, TX

Study Abroad/International Experience: Angers, France

Education: Bachelor’s in Global Studies with a concentration in European Studies from St. Edward’s University, Master’s in International Studies from Texas State University

Where is your most favorite travel destination that you’ve been to, and what about that spot impacted your life and your direction?

My first International jaunt was to Europe. I was filled with pure excitement to finally visit France, the country that I had read and seen for years in textbooks, movies and even in my dreams! I recall the moment I fell in love with Paris … it was my first gaze on Le Tour Eiffel. I was left speechless. Ironically, what struck me the most about that first view was not the tower itself instead it was the hundreds of Parisians lying on the grass in front of it. Looking at them—the way they laughed leisurely, leaning back on their palms with their faces turned up toward the moon—I recalled the French phrase joie de vivre.  After that moment, I fell hopelessly, helplessly, head-over-heels in love with the city. The various travel and study abroad experiences in Europe solidified my desire to work in the field of international education. I grew a passion for wanting to learn more about its languages and cultures. Collectively, they helped me develop a global perspective. I am honored to be an advocate for international education as it’s been a priceless experience I’ll never forget.

 

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Hannah Stack
Program Coordinator: Chile – Santiago, Valparaiso, Vina del Mar; Costa Rica – San Joaquin de Flores, San Jose; Cuba – Havana, Santa Clara; Spain – Cadiz, Seville

Hometown: Hawley, PA

Study Abroad Experience: Spent a month in Havana, Cuba (with API!!), a semester in Valparaiso, Chile, and 3 weeks in Heredia, Costa Rica

Education: Bachelor’s degree in Latin American Studies and Public Policy from Vanderbilt University

Where is your most favorite travel destination that you’ve been to, and what about that spot impacted your life and your direction?

When I was 15, I went on my first international trip to Costa Rica. Before that, I had really only dreamed about traveling to European destinations, but I fell in love with the ruggedness and beauty of Central America. The trip inspired in me a passion for all things Latin American. In college, I studied abroad in Cuba, Chile, and again in Costa Rica. There are many other places I plan to someday visit, but Costa Rica will always remain one of my favorite destinations.

 



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Brittany Boehr
Outreach and Enrollment Services Coordinator

Hometown: Malvern, Pennsylvania

Study abroad experience: Granada, Spain (with API!)

Education: Bachelor’s degree in Communication Studies & Spanish from Grove City College.

Why did you choose to work in the field of international education, and what attracted you to API?

I’ve loved experiencing other countries and cultures almost as long as I can remember. Both of my parents traveled internationally during college, and I grew up hearing stories of their experiences. By the time I hit middle school, I had already decided that I would study abroad.  I ended up in Granada, Spain with API and absolutely loved it!

Wrestling with the question of career during college, I struggled to come up with a strong idea of what I wanted to do after graduation. Looking back, I remember standing in the API Center in Granada during my study abroad program thinking, “What a cool job! How do these people get to do what they do?” I never imagined I’d actually work for the very same company just over a year later! What started out as me following through on a longtime dream – studying abroad – ended up landing me in API’s alumni development program (Global Leadership Academy) which opened the door to a job at API, introducing me to a professional field of passionate lovers of learning and culture. I struck gold. Even now, many years later, I still feel that way.

 

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Claire Hero
Assistant Director of Teach, Work, and Volunteer Programs

Hometown: Ann Arbor, Michigan

Study Abroad Experience: Annecy, France; Bordeaux, France; Medellin/Manizales/Monteria/Bogota, Colombia

Education: BA in French and World Geography from Eastern Michigan University; MA in International Education from SIT Graduate Institute

Why did you choose to work in the field of international education, and what attracted you to API?

Having been raised in a multicultural household, I’ve developed the habit of building on the already multicultural lifestyle I’ve created for myself. Interacting with those who are culturally unique is one of my greatest natural energizers. As a young adult, my experience living and working in France and Colombia settled the foundation for my personal and professional development and is really what solidified my dedication to being involved in strengthening global understanding, however big or small my contribution.

Since college, I have had a hard time staying put – always daydreaming about my next unique travel adventure. While working in Chicago a couple of years after graduating, the world’s callings had become too loud for me to ignore. I saw teaching English abroad as an open door to living an independent international experience, so I got my TEFL certification and got my first teaching job in a language institute in Manizales, Colombia. I grew to love teaching English, both abroad and ESL courses in the states, and continued doing so for the next 5 years before deciding to get my Master’s in International Education at SIT Graduate Institute. This industry is now my lifework, and I can’t wait to see how it evolves!

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Amanda McEnroe
Experiential Program Coordinator

Hometown: Wylie, Texas

Study abroad experience: Grenoble, France, and Salamanca, Spain (with API!)

Education: Bachelor’s degree in Spanish from Oklahoma State University.

Why did you choose to work in the field of international education, and what attracted you to API?

I studied abroad with API in Salamanca, Spain my sophomore year of college. That experience – on top of boosting my confidence and developing my independence – solidified my passions and changed my life’s trajectory.The day my program ended I immediately began to contemplate how I’d get back to Europe to study abroad again. A year later, I was back in the air, headed to Grenoble, France, to study abroad for my senior year. (I appropriately named my Facebook album, “You can only live once, but you can study abroad twice.”) I could hardly believe I could now call two amazing European cities home!

I was a Spanish major and a French minor at Oklahoma State University (Go Pokes!), and although going abroad wasn’t a graduation requirement, I decided to make it my personal requirement. Looking back, I’m glad I did. Not only did study abroad take my classroom knowledge of language and culture to a whole new level, it also increased my love for travel, and understanding of people and cultures around the world.

Before studying overseas, I never considered jumping into the field of international education. I realized while living abroad that these experiences were so crucial to who I had become. I truly believe in the value of going abroad and knew I wanted to do my part in helping others have the same opportunity. Having studied with API, I wholeheartedly supported their mission and wanted to join the team.

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Octavia Sims
Experiential Program Coordinator

Hometown: Hopkins, South Carolina

Study abroad experience: 厦门市(Xiamen, Fujian Province, China) for one summer to study mathematics and Bangkok, Thailand for one summer to attend an ethnographic field school

Education: Bachelor’s Degree in Anthropology with a minor in Asian Studies from the College of Charleston

Where is your most favorite travel destination that you’ve been to, and what about that spot impacted your life and your direction?

My most impactful travel location would have to be China. I studied abroad in Xiamen, Fujian Province the summer after my freshman year and learned so much about the world and myself there. Although I was in China to study math, I left with a thirst for understanding people and a newfound appreciation for being myself. I found a love for studying language and culture which encouraged me to pick up Asian Studies. I also learned about grief, how to navigate ambiguity and to conquer problems that seemed so monumental back home. In China I found people and adventures welcoming, challenging, supportive and confrontational – all of which has shaped me to be unapologetically me: laid back, curious and goofy!

 

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Barbara West
Vice President of Internships and Partner Outreach

Hometown: Hobart, Indiana

Study abroad experience: A year abroad at Justus Liebig Universitt in Giessen, Germany.

Education: Bachelor’s Degree in German and Geography (Travel and Tourism) from Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana.

Where is your most favorite travel destination that you’ve been to, and what about that spot impacted your life and your direction?

Japan! There is so much to love about this country, and I can’t wait to go back. The food, the temples, and the culture are all so unique and intriguing. However, the best aspect by far was the people. The Japanese are the most friendly, polite, respectful, and inquisitive people I have ever met while traveling in a foreign country.

 



Shannon Czimskey
Senior Financial Services Associate

Hometown: Garner, NC

Study abroad experience: Oulu, Finland

Education: Bachelor of Arts in Economics from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro

Why did you choose to work in the field of international education, and what attracted you to API?

For the fall semester of my sophomore year of college, I had the amazing opportunity to study abroad in Oulu, Finland completely on a whim. Once I arrived, I found that everyday tasks had become new and exciting! Buying food to eat became a chance to explore the local grocery store, and group meals were an opportunity for us to share foods and customs from where we grew up. Walking home from evening events required us to stop and marvel at the Northern Lights as they rolled in green waves through the night sky. Even studying for an exam or writing a paper for a class had an added thrill, as I worked with students from other countries and cultures. That experience led me to be more adventurous with my life choices, including after college moving from North Carolina to Texas and bringing me here to work at API! Sometimes taking a chance on the unknown can lead you to wondrous places.

Photo of Aimee Degroff
Aimee Degroff
Senior Financial Services Associate – Overseas Accounting

Hometown: Originally born in Seoul, Korea, grew up in Glendale, CA; lived in various cities around Los Angeles, now in Austin, TX!

Study abroad experience: None, per say, but see above!

Education: Bachelor’s degree in Business

 

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Jill Denton
Senior Vice President – Controller

Hometown: Dallas, TX

Study abroad experience: Santiago de Compostela, Spain

Education: Bachelor’s degree in Accounting, Master’s degree in Taxation from Texas A&M University.

What do you do at API, and what is your background?

I joined API in 2009 as the Chief Financial Officer, and as a member of the executive team, I offer financial oversight of the API experience from start to finish (including risk management, human resources, financial services, and accounting). Previously, I worked at Dell Computer and KPMG.

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Sophie Dinkin
Senior Financial Services Advisor

Hometown: Santa Barbara, CA

Study abroad experience: Sophie didn’t study abroad in college, but lived in Australia for a year and traveled Southeast Asia for 4 months.

Education: Sociology at CU Boulder

Where in the world (that API has programs) would you like to travel, and what is it about that location that speaks to you?

If I could travel anywhere in the world it would be Bhutan. There are the most beautiful mountain treks that would not only challenge me but also expose me to pristine natural beauty and wonderful people. Bhutan has the highest Gross National Happiness and is one of the most hospitable countries in the world!

 

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Peggy Hanna
Financial Services Associate

Hometown: Shreveport, Louisiana and Washington, DC

Study Abroad Experience: None, but Peggy hopes her son, who is majoring in German, will study abroad in Berlin with API.

Education: Bachelor of Science in Social Work from TCU and Masters of Science in Social Work from Temple University

Why did you choose to work in the field of international education, and what attracted you to API?

I chose to work in the field of international education because I wanted to learn more about study abroad programs for my two sons, ages 17 and 20. I have traveled to Italy, Costa Rica, Mexico, and Canada, but I never had the opportunity to travel abroad as a student when I was in college. I wanted my sons to have the experience of living as a student abroad. They have both done some extensive traveling abroad, but I know they would benefit from living abroad.

My younger son, Mitchell, was fortunate this summer to participate in API’s Harlaxton program. He loved it and is looking forward to traveling throughout Europe with friends after high school graduation. He enjoyed tours in London, Oxford and York and also enjoyed living in the Harlaxton Manor and taking a British History course. Mitchell is very interested in pursuing an international business program with API in the next year or so.

My older son, Noah, is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in secondary education and a minor in German. He hopes to participate in API’s Berlin program in the next couple of years. He is excited to go to Turkey in the next few months with the Indiana National Guard.

As a mom, I know my boys will be participating in some amazing Study Abroad programs with API. I am thrilled they have this opportunity with our API Family!

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Andrea Hayes
Senior Financial Services Associate

Hometown: Pratt, KS – However, Andrea has spent almost half of her life in Texas!

Study Abroad Experience: Andrea had two short-term experiences in Quito, Ecuador and Cuernavaca, Mexico and also worked in Madrid, Spain for an academic year as an English Assistant.

Education: Bachelor’s Degree in Spanish and Education with a minor in English from East Texas Baptist University.

Why did you choose to work in the field of international education, and what attracted you to API?

I’ve chosen to work in the field of international education because I’ve seen the impact that going abroad can have on one’s life. Traveling and studying abroad can open your eyes to so many different things around the world. I love working with API because of the dedicated and passionate staff who care about every single program participant and work to ensure the best possible experience abroad.

 

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Julia Lydick
Financial Services Assistant

Hometown: Corpus Christi, TX

Study Abroad Experience: Julia has traveled through Europe with her family.

Education: Fashion Merchandising from Texas State University

Tell us about your life in Austin
I am a native Texan, excited for a new chapter in life, (empty nesting)! If you ran into me during the week, I would probably be walking around Lady Bird Lake or hiking in the hill country around the Austin area with my husband and our golden retriever. If you visit our API Austin office, there is always free candy at my desk. We plan to travel India and Italy next year.



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Elizabeth Adams
Regional Director for Institutional Relations and Outreach Region: Louisiana, Maryland, North Carolina, Ohio, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia, Washington D.C.

Hometown: Columbus, Ohio and Wilmington, North Carolina

Study abroad experience: Tours, France and Salzburg, Austria

Education: French and German (undergraduate), International Administration (Masters)

Why did you choose to work in the field of international education, and what attracted you to API?

I studied abroad as an undergraduate in France and Austria, as a public university student. It irrevocably changed my life and worldview. API’s mission to make education abroad available to as many of our young people as possible with high quality and affordable programs, and its “Founding Mothers”, made me a fan from the get-go.

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Jay Bartletti
Senior Regional Director for Institutional Relations and Outreach Region: Arizona, California, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah

Hometown: Vista, CA

Study Abroad Experience: Morelia, Mexico and Barcelona, Spain

Education: Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and Latin American & Iberian Studies from UC Santa Barbara, Master’s degree in International Education from The George Washington University

Why did you choose to work in the field of international education, and what attracted you to API?

As a kid growing up in San Diego, CA I frequented Mexico on weekends and vacations with my family.  I began to understand the value of international experiences at a young age and it was solidified through studying abroad in Mexico and Spain in college.

After graduation, I worked for three years with a couple start-up “.coms” and decided that I needed a bit more international adventure.  I embarked on a 500-day backpacking trip to South America where I traveled from Venezuela to Tierra del Fuego by bus.  I followed my passion for international education and got my masters degree and in 2007, I began my career in this field.

I’ve worked for a variety of study abroad organizations over the past decade in a university relations capacity and believe the value a global perspective provides US college students is more important than ever.  API’s staff and programs are the best in the business and I’m excited to be a part of this great organization!

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Jeff Clifton
Senior Regional Director for Institutional Relations and Outreach Region: Florida, Kentucky, Louisiana, North Carolina, South Carolina, Washington D.C.

Hometown: Seneca, South Carolina

Study abroad experience: Madrid, Spain & Paris, France

Education: Bachelor’s degree in International Relations from Michigan State University, Master’s degree in Higher Education and Counseling from Clemson University

Why did you choose to work in the field of international education, and what attracted you to API?

I first studied abroad on a gap year program in Madrid, Spain as a senior in High School and the experience definitely changed my life and career path. I also studied in France for a semester during my undergraduate career and then worked for the Tour de France just after college. I was given the opportunity to enter the field just after graduate school and spent 12+ years developing a study abroad program at a land grant public university in South Carolina.  Fast forward and now going into my eighth year with API;  Long story short I met one of the founding mamas and was able to get to know API thru my connection with Julie Leitman. Julie was and is still one of the main reasons I am with API today.  The history, the culture, the innovation, and the real sense of family at API is what keeps me inspired each and every day.

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Jenny Doder
Institutional Relations and Outreach Manager College, High School, Gap

Hometown: St. Louis, Missouri

Study abroad experience: Studied in Florence, Italy (with API) and volunteered in Reynosa, Mexico building houses for a local neighborhood

Education: Bachelor’s of Arts degree from Saint Anselm College

Why did you choose to work in the field of international education, and what attracted you to API?

As a student-athlete in college, I was often challenged to perform well in the classroom, on the court, and in many other facets of my life. To me, that meant striving for balance and seeking a well-rounded college experience during my undergraduate studies. Studying abroad with API was a direct result of my desire to maintain a healthy lifestyle outside of athletics. I feel my former experiences as a college athlete help empower, motivate, and enthuse other students who view their commitments on campus as an obstacle in pursuing an education abroad.
If you asked me what I love most about my job, I would say with no hesitation I’m drawn to the human interaction that takes place within International Education. I am inspired by the constant collaboration, vision, and advocacy of my colleagues to make international experiences more accessible to students. The conversations I have with students on the road is one of the most rewarding aspects of my job, and I have the opportunity every single day to develop an excitement for cultural exchange and shape the minds of today’s generation.

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Shannon Gillen
Institutional Relations and Outreach Coordinator, Mid-Atlantic Region Region: Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia

Hometown: Providence, RI / Charlottesville, VA

Study abroad experience: Studied in Italy and Scotland

Education: Bachelor’s of Arts from Elon University and Master of Arts from the University of Glasgow

Why did you choose to work in the field of international education, and what attracted you to API?

My grandparents immigrated to New York City from Italy in the early 1900s, and I loved learning about the Italian culture through their stories. I studied International Studies and Italian at Elon University, and after studying abroad in Italy for a semester, I knew I wanted to move back and have my own immersive experience.

Upon graduation from Elon, I moved back to Italy, and for two years I taught English to Italian students between the ages of three and eighty-two. I received my master’s degree in international education from the University of Glasgow, and have now been in the field for about seven years. What attracted me to API is the team’s genuine friendliness and willingness to help, and the passion that the entire API team has for cross-cultural learning. I truly believe in API’s mission and core values!

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Ryan Ingalls
Regional Coordinator for Institutional Relations and Outreach Region: Colorado, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, Utah, Wyoming; Canada: Ontario, Manitoba, Nunavut

Hometown: Center City, MN

Study abroad experience: Tokyo, Japan

Education: Bachelor’s degree in Marketing Communications from the University of Wisconsin-River Falls

Why did you choose to work in the field of international education, and what attracted you to API?

I chose to work in the field of international education because, like most people in the field, I had an extremely impactful and moving experience abroad. I grew up in a small town and went to a small university so it wasn’t until I went to Tokyo, Japan that I realized the world was so much smaller and yet so much larger than I originally thought. Every interaction with a new person, place, or culture is an opportunity to grow, and an attitude of continuous education is necessary for the development of any global citizen. It is truly a joy to be able to share my experiences and learn something new from every person that I meet.

For me, API was a perfect fit when I decided to enter the field because I truly believe in their mission. I believe that the most important thing about Education Abroad is the fusion of academics and cultural learning – the well-rounded experience that students receive in and outside of the classroom. I also think it is so important for us to see every individual student for who they are, considering and valuing each student’s personal background, in order to give them a truly meaningful experience abroad. API represents everything that I am passionate about in the field of International Education and I am so proud to be a part of this team.

 

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Christie Johnson
Vice President for Institutional Relations, Outreach and Diversity Initiatives

Hometown: Bogotá, Colombia/Vienna Austria/Virginia/Austin, TX

Study abroad experience: Although Christie did not have an official study abroad experience, she has lived in Colombia, Burma, Hong Kong, and Austria.

Education: Bachelor’s degree in German from the University of Texas at Austin.

Why did you choose to work in the field of international education, and what attracted you to API?

I have been traveling since day one! I was born in Bogota, Colombia, and spent multiple years in Rangoon, Myanmar (Burma), Hong Kong, and Vienna, Austria. I attended the American International School in Vienna for elementary and middle school (which was comprised of students from well over 100 nations), and traveled throughout Europe during my time there – so you might say that travel and intercultural communication is my life story! After majoring in a foreign language in college (German), I knew that whatever career path I followed would be tied to international education in some way. As fate would have it, my first real job out of college was working for another international education provider, where I learned the ropes and fell in love with the field. After a few years, I knew I wanted to move my family back to Austin, and again the stars aligned. I had heard great things about API from others in the field and submitted an application. Soon thereafter, I was on a plane to Italy as I took on my initial role of API Italy Program Manager, and I’ve never looked back!

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Chelsea Kindred
Director of Alumni Development and Research

Hometown: Houston, TX

Study abroad experience: Grenoble, France (with API!)

Education: Bachelor’s degree in English and French from the University of Texas at Austin; MFA in Creative Writing from Chatham University

What is your most important accomplishment at API; or, what have you done at API that you are most proud of, and why?

I studied abroad with API in Grenoble, France and when I returned home, I wanted to motivate other first-generation college students and those from underrepresented backgrounds to explore the world because I firmly believe prolonged experience in different cultural environments is integral to a global society that promotes tolerance and inclusion. For more than 10 years, my work at API has supported our returned program participants after their life-transforming experiences abroad and guided their application of international experience into their personal, academic, professional, and civic communities. I developed API’s Global Leadership Academy for returned participants and co-developed the API Learning and Engagement Digital Badge program, a co-curricular opportunity to help guide engagement and development throughout the education abroad experience in five core competency areas: career development, community engagement, intercultural learning, leadership and mindful travel.  I also hold volunteer leadership roles with NAFSA, the Global Leadership League, and I have served on the advisory board for Lessons From Abroad.  I wrote the chapter on Re-Entry Programming in the NAFSA: Guide to Education Abroad 4th Edition and co-authored a publication on re-entry titled “Beyond Travel: Making Meaning of My International Experience.”

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Jason Kouba
Senior Regional Director for Institutional Relations and Outreach Region: Illinois, Missouri, Nebraska, Texas, Wisconsin; Canada: Saskatchewan, Northwest Territories

Hometown: Onalaska, WI

Study Abroad Experience: Seville, Spain

Education: BA in Spanish and MS in College Student Development and Administration from the University of WI-La Crosse

Why did you choose to work in the field of international education, and what attracted you to API?  

Studying abroad was the single best decision I ever made, without question.  I chose to study abroad as I wanted to improve my Spanish language skills, and I did, but I also learned so much more about the world, life, and my myself.  I knew that I wanted to help encourage others to have that same experience, and there was no better way to make that happen than to pursue a career in the field of study abroad. Since I began my career working at various institutions, my first interactions with API were from the other side of the coin — I sent hundreds of students on API programs and was always impressed by the program offerings, the professionalism of the staff, and the commitment to the entire student experience.  When the opportunity arose for me to transition into my current role with Institutional Relations, it was an easy decision to make!  I get to continue to be able to help students embark on amazing journeys, and work for an organization that I truly love!

Photo of Julie Leitman
Julie Leitman
Associate VP for Institutional Relations and Outreach Senior Regional Director: Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island, Vermont

Hometown: Brookline, MA

Study abroad experience: Madrid, Spain

Education: Bachelor’s degree in Comparative Literature from Hamilton College, Master’s degree in Spanish from Middlebury College

Where is your most favorite travel destination that you’ve been to, and what about that spot impacted your life and your direction?

In 1982, my anthropology professor and his family called me from Spain and asked if I could come to teach a small group of American middle schoolers in Sevilla, Spain. They said I had 24 hours to get there. I said “sure”, of course, and jumped on a plane from Berkeley to Boston, and then to Sevilla.  Besides my professor and his family, I had one name in my pocket, Dr. Sharon Foerster (my mom’s friend’s daughter’s friend; later one of the founding “mamas” of API). We finally ran into each other at the U.S. Embassy at Thanksgiving.  We became friends and, then, coincidentally, she and her family ended up living right across the hall from me, so we became very good friends.

I went home after that first year and a year later Sharon called me again to come back and teach English and work with Americans on their junior year programs. I, of course, said “yes.” I loved Sevilla, my friends, the food (the tapas and Las Rayas icecream), the ambiance, the orange trees, the horse-drawn carts, the 114 degree days….I was hooked. Little did I know that these connections and this magical city would eventually lead me to the other founding mothers of API.  Sharon returned home to Austin, and connected with Jennifer and Brittany, in Austin, and then called me (once again) to ask me to begin API with them. The rest is history!

Photo of Leiann Mar
Leiann Mar
Regional Director for Institutional Relations and Outreach Region: Alaska, Hawaii, Idaho, Oregon, Washington; Canada: Alberta, British Colombia, Yukon

Hometown: Seattle, WA

Study abroad experience: Leiann studied abroad with API in Rome, Italy.

Education: B.A. in Intercultural Communication and minor in Business from Washington State University

Did you participate in an API program? If so, where, and what lessons stuck with you the most?

I am an API alum of the John Cabot University program in Rome! For financial reasons I never thought studying abroad was an option during college. However, through my experience with API, I learned how to fight for what I want, and be confident in my decisions in life; personally and professionally.

Photo of Mona Miller
Mona Miller
Regional Director – Asia, Middle East, South Pacific; Institutional Relations Representative Region: Colorado, Wyoming

Hometown: None really. Mona grew up in seven different towns in Oklahoma — Sooner born and Sooner bread!

International Experience: Mona lived abroad 7 years with the Peace Corps in Gabon, Burundi and Togo.

Education: B.S. Political Science, Oklahoma City University and M.A. International Administration, SIT

Where is your most favorite travel destination that you’ve been to, and what about that spot impacted your life and your direction?

Two and a half years with the Peace Corps as a volunteer in rural Gabon was my first in depth experience being immersed in a culture very different from my own. I went on to spend another five years with the Peace Corps in Burundi and Togo, and have studied language and culture in both Spain and Guatemala for 2-12 weeks. During 7+ years of living and working abroad, my cultural norms and biases were challenged in many ways. I often reach back to my international experiences to encourage students studying abroad to step outside their comfort zones, to make friends from other nations, and to share about those interactions when they return home. I also strive to impart to students the value of in-depth observation and learning about the cultures they visit, rather than judging through stereotypes or based on touristic encounters.

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Emily Nagle
Regional Director for Institutional Relations and Outreach Region: Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, Vermont; Canada: New Brunswick, Newfoundland & Labrador, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, Quebec

Hometown: Guilderland, New York

Study abroad experience: academic year in Florence, Italy and semester in Taormina, Sicily

Education: Bachelors degree in English with a concentration in writing and minors in Italian, psychology, and global studies from Marist College

Where is your most favorite travel destination that you’ve been to, and what about that spot impacted your life and your direction?

Growing up with an Italian grandmother, much of my understanding of Italy consisted of oversized pots of warm, simmering tomato sauce and Sundays spent around the dining room table with family. I had an incredible taste of the pride and passion that epitomize the Italian culture, but spending three semesters studying abroad in Italy gave me a full feast. Italy is so much more than my favorite travel destination–it is one of my favorite parts of life. Through an academic year in Florence and then a semester in Taormina, Sicily with API, Italy filled me with more than enough enchanting experiences, and of course, exquisite cuisine, to share my love for study abroad with countless students almost every single day. Thanks to Italy, I not only found a career path where I can help send others overseas but also a way of life that embraces the Italian custom of taking time to slow down and enjoy each moment.

 

 

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Hannah Olevson
Regional Director for Institutional Relations and Outreach Region: Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Montana, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota

Hometown:  Carver, MN

Studied Abroad:  Seville, Spain (with API!)

Education: Marketing with Spanish and Organizational and Profession Communication minors from University of Wisconsin- La Crosse

Where in the world (that API has programs) would you like to travel, and what is it about that location that speaks to you?

If I had the chance to visit one API location it would be Bhutan. I love the idea that the Bhutanese take such pride in their natural surroundings. Did you know that Bhutan is the only zero-carbon emitting country in the world? As a plant lover and someone who tries to be environmentally conscious, I think this is absolutely amazing. Also, they seem to live a very intentional life and embrace a slower pace of life. It would be a drastic change from the United States, which is why Bhutan is at the top of my travel bucket list.

 

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Bridget Thompson
Regional Coordinator for Institutional Relations and Outreach Region: Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, Tennessee

Hometown: Atlanta GA

Study Abroad Experience: Salamanca and Semester at Sea

Education: Communications major at Clemson University

Where in the world (that API has programs) would you like to travel, and what is it about that location that speaks to you?

I would absolutely love to travel to Florence! I really wanted to study abroad in Italy as an undergrad, but chose Spain because the language was more applicable here in the U.S. My cousin Gillian studied with API in Florence, and she had the most wonderful time — she even took a cooking class!! Half of my family is Italian, so it would be fantastic to spend some quality time learning about the culture. I would love to take a summer course in Florence and study jewelry making and learn to cook delicious Italian food — what a dream!

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Ilene Tillman
Senior Regional Director for Institutional Relations and Outreach Region: Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island, Vermont

Hometown: Springfield, MA

Study abroad experience: Summer in Corrientes, Argentina; semester in Cuernavaca, Mexico; year in Granada Spain (with API!).

Education: Bachelor’s degree in Spanish from The University of Massachusetts, Amherst

Did you participate in an API program? If so, where, and what lessons stuck with you the most?

I studied abroad with API in Granada, Spain and I learned an incredible amount throughout that year. The most important lesson that stuck with me is that everyone’s study abroad experience is different and it’s all what you make of it. It’s up to you to put yourself out there, to challenge yourself to make new friends and to live like a local. I had to learn to adapt and embrace new cultures. I loved studying and living abroad and I wouldn’t trade my experience for anything in the world! My experience with API motivated me to work in the field of international education. My position at API allows me to encourage a new generation of students to participate in the transformative experience of studying abroad.

 

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Julie Van Vechten-Smith
Senior Director for Institutional Relations and Outreach Region: California, Texas

Hometown: Victoria, TX

Study abroad experience: Au pair – Biarritz, France; ESL instructor – Pusan, South Korea

Education: Bachelor’s degree in Journalism (Texas State University), M.A. in Foreign Language Education (U.T.-Austin)

Why did you choose to work in the field of international education, and what attracted you to API?

Through my experience living and working abroad in Biarritz, France and Pusan, South Korea, and volunteer teaching refugees and international students in the U.S., I learned the value of international education and knew I wanted to be a part of this great field!

After completing my Master’s in Foreign Language Education and teaching English as a Second Language to college students for a number of years, I worked as a university international student and study abroad advisor and had the good fortune during this time to see API in action in Spain. I was hooked! The level of care and attention that was given to every aspect of the program was stellar and everyone I met from API was kind, caring, and went above and beyond to ensure that the students had a positive, safe, and meaningful experience abroad.  I’m proud to say that I have worked at API for over 12 years and look forward to many more!

 

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Amy Whitish-Temple
Regional Director for Institutional Relations and Outreach Region: Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island, Vermont

Hometown: Mineral Point, WI (now based in Boston, MA)

Study abroad experience: Oaxaca, Mexico and Madrid, Spain

Education: Bachelor’s in English and Spanish (double major) from University of Wisconsin, Madison, Master’s in Teaching English as a Second Language from University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign

Why did you choose to work in the field of international education, and what attracted you to API?

Until I was 10 years old, I lived a very small town in Wisconsin (population 408!) and didn’t meet many people from different parts of the world. The only exception to this was the fact that my grandparents had German friends who would visit them yearly. And when they didn’t visit our small town they sent the most beautiful dresses for my sister and I and delicious chocolates for both Easter and Christmas. This couple had a daughter who was a few years older than me, and whenever they visited we would play, talk, and explore the town on bikes.

The best part of this experience is that I would learn a lot about Germany (and the world) from my friend Heike during these chats. I believe that it was these experiences with Heike and her family that made me long to want to see the world, learn more about it, and help others go beyond the borders of their own towns, cities, and country. I love working for API because of the fact that we try to make programs affordable to all students, making study abroad accessible and the opportunity to see the world (beyond your own town) more possible.

 

 



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Caitlin Beasley
Customized Program Manager Regions: Argentina, Costa Rica, Cuba

Hometown: Richmond, VA

Study abroad experience: summer faculty-led program in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Caitlin also lived almost 4 years in Argentina to complete her Master’s degree.

Education: B.A., International Affairs and Spanish, James Madison University; M.A., Development Management and Policy, Georgetown University & la Universidad de General San Martin

Where is your most favorite travel destination that you’ve been to, and what about that spot impacted your life and your direction?
I studied abroad during a faculty-led program in Buenos Aires, Argentina, then moved to the city and lived there for almost 4 years after graduating. Both studying and living in Argentina was both exciting and challenging, where I was learning the language, customs, and cultural values of a country not my own and deciding what things I wanted to be part of my own beliefs and values. This experience helped to shape my understanding of the world as well as my place in it. I can’t express how important it is to go out and explore beyond your cultural boundaries so that you can learn so much more about the world, its possibilities, and your place in it!

 

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Tracy Cohen
Assistant Director of Customized Programs Regions: Various High School Programs

Hometown: Dallas, TX

Study abroad experience: In high school, Tracy spent a summer studying Spanish in Madrid, Spain. During college, Tracy took a semester of of school to enroll in a TEFL certification program based in Prague, Czech Republic. Upon completion of the program, Tracy stayed in Prague for a few months teaching English to both children and adults.

Education: BA in Applied Learning and Development with Elementary and Special Education Certification from the University of Texas at Austin

Why did you choose to work in the field of international education, and what attracted you to API?
After ten years of teaching in an elementary school setting, I decided it was the right time to explore another career path. Making the shift took a lot of forethought and soul-searching. I realized that it would be important for me to continue having a part in shaping youth to promote a well-rounded future. As an immigrant to the U.S. (I am from South Africa), cultural awareness has always been powerful for me. I was also lucky enough to study abroad in high school and teach abroad in college, and those experiences have forever shaped me. Knowing that I’d have a part in assisting other high school and college students have successful experiences studying in other countries, and learning about other cultures, international education seemed like a great fit for this next adventure in my professional life. What solidified working at API for me, is that my supervisor is best friends with the mother of a former third-grade student of mine! Upon meeting her, there was no question that API would become my new ‘family’.

Photo of Celeste De La Rosa
Celeste De La Rosa
Customized Program Manager Regions: Bhutan, Cuba, New Zealand, Spain, UAE

Hometown: Austin / San Antonio, Texas

Study Abroad Experience: Celeste didn’t study abroad in college but taught English for 2½ years in Madrid, Spain. During this time she was able to absorb the Spanish culture and travel extensively throughout Europe!

Education: Bachelors Degree in Communication from St. Edward’s University

 

Photo of Liz Laura George Farray
Liz Laura George Farray
Administrative and Customized Programs Assistant

Hometown: Cienfuegos, Cuba

Education: Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism from the University of Havana

Why did you choose to work in the field of international education, and what attracted you to API?

I’m from Cuba and I used to be a journalist there. A year ago my life drastically changed when I moved to the US. I left behind my family, but fortunately, I found another one, so different in many ways, but definitely so warm and supportive. I had always studied far away from my city of origin, but always in my country; and traveled to work outside Cuba for short amounts of time, but I did not notice the change until I came to the US. Most of my colleagues studied or worked abroad, many of them several years. They have an immense capacity to understand people from other cultures. That’s why we do what we do — so that students have the greatest experience abroad and are able to immerse themselves in the new culture, learn the new languages and new things about their field of study and about life. This is my highest motivation for being in the field of the international education and belonging to API… here I am not the only one who faced this change and its challenges. Indeed, going out from my comfort zone was the best experience ever!

Photo of Kristin Maverick
Kristin Maverick
Customized Program Coordinator Regions: Australia, Chile, China, Croatia, Cuba, Hungary, Mexico, Poland

Hometown: Austin, TX

Study abroad experience: Kristin studied abroad for a year in Buenos Aires, Argentina. She also worked on location as a Program Coordinator for an argentine study abroad company in Buenos Aires.

Education: BA in Spanish and Philosophy from Southwestern University.
Why did you choose to work in the field of international education, and what attracted you to API?
My passion for the global community was initially fostered by my parents, who first took me abroad to the country of Haiti at the age of 14. Not only did this radically expand my understanding of how different day-to-day life can look from one country to the next, it also instilled in me the understanding that compassion and empathy can and should be extended not only to those with whom you have a common experience. Working with API is so rewarding in that it allows me to support a new generation of students in their journeys to experience human connection the world over.

Photo of Sarah McNeely Ph.D.
Sarah McNeely Ph.D.
Senior Customized Programs Manager Regions: England, Germany, Iceland, Ireland, Portugal, Scotland, Spain

Hometown: Fairfield, IL

Study abroad experience: As a student, Sarah participated in a faculty-led study abroad program to London, Brussels, and Trier. As faculty, she taught in Florence.

Education: BA and MA in English from Texas State University; Ph.D. in English Literature TCU.

Why did you choose to work in the field of international education, and what attracted you to API?

Reading Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s poem “Casa Guidi Windows” to my students while looking out of the windows of Casa Guidi in Florence was the moment I knew that international education was the career for me. Learning abroad transforms students (and teachers) in profound ways we carry with us for the rest of our lives. In my role at API, I get to work with faculty to provide study abroad experiences for hundreds of students every year. It is fulfilling to know I play a role in so many students’ life-changing experiences abroad.

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Amy Newman
Customized Program Coordinator Regions: France, Italy, Parsons Paris

Hometown: Green Brook, NJ

Study abroad experience: Paris with API, summer faculty-led program in Istanbul/Berlin

Education: French and Int’l Affairs from Northeastern

Did you participate in an API program? If so, where, and what lessons stuck with you the most?  

I am a proud API Paris Spring 2011 alumna!  The speed at which I fell in love with Paris, and study abroad in general, was a direct result of the fact that my program started on Valentine’s Day.  Just kidding – but really, I fell hard and fast for the beautiful City of Light.  Throughout my time there, I made a ton of memories and learned more about myself than I ever imagined I would.  Many of those lessons have stuck with me.

One big lesson I learned was that if I wanted to improve my spoken language skills, I had to accept that making mistakes would be an integral part of that.  No matter how hard it is to fumble your way through asking for directions, there’s really no better time or place than during a semester abroad.  Plus, it’s fun to return home and share a funny story with your family and friends, like the time you were looking for the library so you asked for directions to the “librarie” and wound up at a bookstore (I’ll never mix those words up again!).  But I think the most important lesson I learned is that a meal of bread and cheese (preferably with a side of Eiffel Tower) is perfectly acceptable whenever, wherever.



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Jean-Marie Dina
Administrative Coordinator

Hometown: Houston, TX

Study abroad experience: London, England; Madrid, Spain

Education: Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from the University of Houston

Why did you choose to work in the field of international education, and what attracted you to API?

I studied abroad for a semester in  London, taking architecture and English courses.  My semester abroad was such a positive experience that I decided to finish up my undergraduate Spanish credits in Madrid for six weeks one summer.  My most recent travels abroad involved an expat experience with my husband and two sons. We had an amazing two years in Munich and we were lucky that our return took us to Austin.  It is amazing and life-changing to be able to spend time in a different country and immerse yourself in the language and culture

While in middle school my son took a faculty-led trip to Costa Rica with API.  I was really impressed with the service and organization that API provided. The trip was fast-paced and the kids had a blast. A few years later I was told about an open position at API and here I am one year later loving my job here.  The professionalism and attention to detail here are amazing and I love hearing about our programs.  If I could pick one API program to attend it would be to Bhutan.  Bhutan seems amazing and the people friendly and I have not been to Asia!

 

Photo of Liz Laura George Farray
Liz Laura George Farray
Administrative and Customized Programs Assistant

Hometown: Cienfuegos, Cuba

Education: Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism from the University of Havana

Why did you choose to work in the field of international education, and what attracted you to API?

I’m from Cuba and I used to be a journalist there. A year ago my life drastically changed when I moved to the US. I left behind my family, but fortunately, I found another one, so different in many ways, but definitely so warm and supportive. I had always studied far away from my city of origin, but always in my country; and traveled to work outside Cuba for short amounts of time, but I did not notice the change until I came to the US. Most of my colleagues studied or worked abroad, many of them several years. They have an immense capacity to understand people from other cultures. That’s why we do what we do — so that students have the greatest experience abroad and are able to immerse themselves in the new culture, learn the new languages and new things about their field of study and about life. This is my highest motivation for being in the field of the international education and belonging to API… here I am not the only one who faced this change and its challenges. Indeed, going out from my comfort zone was the best experience ever!

Photo of Vija Mendelson Ph.D.
Vija Mendelson Ph.D.
Intercultural Initiatives Specialist

Hometown: Los Angeles, CA & Medford, New Jersey

Study abroad experience: Paris, France; Seville, Spain; Salamanca, Spain

Education: Bachelor’s degree in French and Spanish, Ph.D. in Hispanic Linguistics

What is your most important accomplishment at API; or, what have you done at API that you are most proud of, and why?

As a member of the API team since 2004, I’ve had an opportunity to work in many different roles and with many different audiences at home and abroad. The project that has best woven together these threads into a cohesive program designed to benefit all our participants is API’s latest online learning initiative: the API Learning and Engagement Badge Program. Through this optional online curriculum, API participants are encouraged to prepare for their international experiences by mapping their goals and knowledge, to explore their host culture through deliberate engagement with local people and sites, and to discover connections between their host and home cultures, as well as between their API program and future professional, educational, and personal endeavors. There is something for everyone in the program, with activities designed for varied learning styles and interests — all that’s needed is your own curiosity to spark discovery along your journey! Runner-up for my most positive contribution to API? Helping to launch our college study abroad programs in Argentina, Chile, Cuba, Qatar, and the U.A.E. I love that so many students have been able to explore these locations and cultures a bit more “off-the-beaten-path”, in study abroad terms.

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Holly Prendergast
Executive Assistant to the President

Hometown: Austin, TX

Study abroad experience: Bangor, Wales, UK; Bologna, Italy; Granada, Spain

Education: Bachelor’s degrees in Italian and Spanish from Bangor University, Wales.

Why did you choose to work in the field of international education, and what attracted you to API?

After completing my undergraduate degree abroad across 3 countries, I returned to my hometown of Austin, TX. I spent several years working in other industries but did not feel fulfilled or passionate about my work. Since I was already informally sharing my experiences and knowledge with students heading overseas on their own study abroad adventures, I decided to investigate careers in international education advising. In my research, I came across API and was impressed by the level of support their programs offered and by their active social media presence. I emailed a resume and cover letter on the off-chance that they might need someone with my experience and expertise. Several months later, I was hired as a Program Manager for sites in Spain and Italy and have taken on a variety of roles and tasks in the years since. I am proud to work for a female-led organization that shows such genuine care and support for employees and participants and which strives to make international experiences accessible to diverse populations of students.

 



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Mark Ciani
Publications Manager

Hometown: Austin, TX

Study abroad experience: Salamanca, Spain (with API!)

Education: Bachelor’s degree in Spanish from Texas State University, San Marcos.

Where is your most favorite travel destination that you’ve been to, and what about that spot impacted your life and your direction?

My most favorite and influential travel destination would have to be Madrid… more specifically the Prado Museum… most specifically the Goya exhibit. It was there where I first began to uncover a new passion for history, art, and the mind of the artist. In one room and through one artist, I didn’t only just see, but could really feel the psyche and humanity of an entire nation. Their joy and grief were palpable. It was fascinating, and I was addicted.

 

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Lauren Gardner
Marketing Coordinator

Hometown: Kaysville, UT

International experience: Although she didn’t study abroad, she’s had the opportunity to visit Mexico, Belgium, Italy, Germany, Austria, and France! Scotland and Australia are next up on her bucket list.

Education: Bachelor’s degree in Public Relations & Advertising with minors in Political Science & French from Weber State University.

Where is your most favorite travel destination that you’ve been to, and what about that spot impacted your life and direction?

I had the opportunity to visit the amazing little town of Oberammergau, Germany, in the summer of 2018 and it was life-changing! It’s nestled in the “German Alps” and is one of the most beautiful, peaceful places I’ve ever been to. Families there take life a lot slower than Americans, which I loved; I learned that being constantly in a hurry can be a really silly way to live! I also fell in love with German food and have been trying (unsuccessfully) to recreate the asparagus soup I had in a cozy cafe there ever since!

 

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Jeramy Johnson
Vice President of Marketing

Hometown: San Antonio, TX

International experience: Although Jeramy didn’t study abroad, he has visited many of API’s locations during site familiarization and program development trips, including Barcelona (Spain), Berlin (Germany), Bilbao (Spain), Budapest (Hungary), Doha (Qatar), Dublin (Ireland), Dubrovnik (Croatia), Galway (Ireland), Florence (Italy), Grenoble (France), Krakow (Poland), Leeds (England), Lisbon (Portugal), London (England), Rome (Italy), Reykjavik (Iceland), Sharjah (UAE), and Tuscania (Italy).

Education: Bachelor’s degree in Advertising from the University of Texas at Austin, Master’s degree in Media & Public Affairs from The George Washington University

What is your most important accomplishment at API; or, what have you done at API that you are most proud of, and why?

In my 15 years at API, I’ve been fortunate to grow not only personally, but professionally within the organization. I’ve worked in the mailroom, the transcript office, university relations, marketing, and program development. By far one of the most rewarding roles that I have held was in researching and developing new academic program partnerships abroad. Not only have I gotten to meet so many amazing people around the world, but I have been able to visit amazing places like Beijing (China), Berlin (Germany), Dublin (Ireland), Doha (Qatar), Dubrovnik (Croatia), Lisbon (Portugal), Reykjavik (Iceland), Shanghai (China), Sharjah (UAE), Thimphu (Bhutan), and many others – each leaving a lasting impression on me. I will also always treasure the customized programs I helped lead and organize in Doha, Qatar that focused on Arab media after the “Arab Spring.”

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Rachel Skinner
Marketing Manager

Hometown: Maple Grove, MN

Study abroad experience: Stirling, Scotland (with API) and Quimper, France.

Education: Bachelor’s degree in Communication Studies with minors in Management and French from Luther College

Where is your most favorite travel destination that you’ve been to, and what about that spot impacted your life and your direction?

My favorite travel destination is actually the place I studied abroad – Scotland! Scotland is a truly magical place filled with rich history, gorgeous architecture, and stunning landscape at every turn. Don’t even get me started on the Highlands! The Scottish people are some of the most genuinely kind people I’ve encountered on my travels. These strangers who have become friends have shown me that a kind word or gesture goes a long way and I try to remember that with every conversation and smile I give.

 

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Marc Smith
Creative Director

Hometown: Houston, TX; Paris, France; Los Angeles, CA

Study abroad experience: Although Marc did not study abroad, he did spend six months working abroad on the Disneyland Paris Work Exchange Program.

Education: Bachelor’s degree in Creative Advertising from the University of Texas at Austin.

 



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Fernando Dávila
Information Technology Director

Hometown: Monterrey, Nuevo Léon, México

Education: Ingeniería en sistemas de información, Universidad Regiomontana, A.C.

Where are you from, and what do you do at API?

I came from an engineering background, but I love helping people learn about other cultures! I come from a big hometown where most people travel abroad. I thought my career pathway would lead me to work in an IT services company, but I seem to have been bitten by the academia bug!

 

 

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Christian Korol
Developer

Hometown: Wichita, KS

Favorite travel location: New Zealand

Education: Bachelor of Science in Computer Science from Texas State University

International Experience: Christian did not study abroad, but got to see the world with the military



Photo of Carmen Alvarez de Toledo
Carmen Alvarez de Toledo
Buenos Aires, Argentina Resident Director

Carmen was born and raised in Argentina, and holds a degree in Sociology from the University of Buenos Aires. After moving with her husband to the U.S., she began her professional career teaching in the Spanish Department at Yale University for five years. Having enjoyed the contact with American college students, when she returned to Buenos Aires, she decided to join the local office of a study abroad program of a consortium of U.S. universities, where she was Assistant Director of the Program, and Resident Director of the summer program, together welcoming over 200 American students per year. When her family relocated to Washington, D.C., she decided to stay in the Study Abroad field and joined the American University Study Abroad Office in June, 2004. Now, back in her beloved BA, she is thrilled to have again the opportunity to help American students make the most of their experience in Argentina.

Photo of Inma Borrego
Inma Borrego
Spain Regional Director

Inmaculada (Inma) Borrego Ledesma serves as the Regional Director for Spain as well as the Resident Director of the Academic Programs International programs in Salamanca. Inma is a native of Spain. She holds degrees from the University of Salamanca in both English and Spanish Philology and she went on to earn a Master’s Degree in Teaching Spanish as a Second Language at the same University. She published her master’s thesis focused on the topic of Learning Spanish. She worked as a teacher of Spanish Language in the International Courses of the University of Salamanca and in the University of Stockholm, where she lived for two years. Inma was also a former Erasmus scholar in England. Since she has lived in many different countries, she understands our students’ needs very well and she helps them to overcome any difficulty that may arise. She has developed a great ability to closely connect with American study abroad students.

Photo of Marie de Rocca-Serra
Marie de Rocca-Serra
Grenoble, France Resident Director, Regional Director

Attracted by North American culture, Marie lived for some years in Canada, and later returned to France where she served as a host family for 10 years. Now, as a Resident Director, she is delighted to devote herself to welcoming American students. Marie likes helping students understand, discover and appreciate her country and its specific culture. Even though she is a Parisian, she loves living in the middle of the gorgeous Alps, in Grenoble, where she can spend lots of time in the outdoors, hiking and skiing as well as taking advantage of the historical and cultural environment of this part of France.

Photo of Federica Guerrieri
Federica Guerrieri
Italy Regional Director

Federica was born and raised in Italy, and holds a degree in Tourism Economy at the University of Florence, Italy. She began her professional career in the Tourism industry working for several years as tour leader in Greece, Tunisia, Egypt and North Europe. She continued her professional career working for the most important exhibition company in Italy, and in 2002 she joined the API Family as Florence Resident Director. In 2013 she took over as the Regional Director for Italy. Federica’s hobbies include art, travel, music, cinema, interior design and of course…Food!

Photo of Pilar Llamas
Pilar Llamas
Director of European Operations

Hometown: Vélez-Rubio, a small and beautiful town in Almería (province of Andalucía, Spain)

International experience: Pilar studied abroad in Bournemouth, London and Newcastle (England) while in college.  She spent 3 wonderful and key years in Albuquerque, NM (USA).

Education: BA in English Philology (University of Granada, Spain);  MA in Spanish Literature and TESOL (University of New Mexico)

 

Photo of Mona Miller
Mona Miller
Regional Director – Asia, Middle East, South Pacific; Institutional Relations Representative Region: Colorado, Wyoming

Hometown: None really. Mona grew up in seven different towns in Oklahoma — Sooner born and Sooner bread!

International Experience: Mona lived abroad 7 years with the Peace Corps in Gabon, Burundi and Togo.

Education: B.S. Political Science, Oklahoma City University and M.A. International Administration, SIT

Where is your most favorite travel destination that you’ve been to, and what about that spot impacted your life and your direction?

Two and a half years with the Peace Corps as a volunteer in rural Gabon was my first in depth experience being immersed in a culture very different from my own. I went on to spend another five years with the Peace Corps in Burundi and Togo, and have studied language and culture in both Spain and Guatemala for 2-12 weeks. During 7+ years of living and working abroad, my cultural norms and biases were challenged in many ways. I often reach back to my international experiences to encourage students studying abroad to step outside their comfort zones, to make friends from other nations, and to share about those interactions when they return home. I also strive to impart to students the value of in-depth observation and learning about the cultures they visit, rather than judging through stereotypes or based on touristic encounters.

Joan Solaún Ph.D.
Director of Caribbean and Latin American Programming

Hometown: St. Augustine, Florida

Study abroad experience: Havana, Cuba; Paris, France

Education: Bachelor’s degree in Latin American Studies, Ph.D. in Latin American Literature

 

Photo of Rachel Wellborn
Rachel Wellborn
UK Regional Director

Hometown: Sheffield, Yorkshire, England

Study abroad experience: 6 months in Merida, Mexico and 6 months in Lisbon, Portugal. Also 4 months working in San Diego and 1 year working in Santiago, Chile.

Education: University of Bristol – BA Hons Hispanic Studies with Distinction in the Spanish Language

 



API has dozens of Resident Directors and Coordinators across our many locations. Depending on the size of each respective host city, some sites have several Resident Directors / Coordinators with specific responsibilities, such as oversight of housing placements or cultural activities, whereas other sites have one director who manages all program components. Parents and advisors are asked to work directly with the API Texas office rather than our Resident Directors / Coordinators. This allows the Resident Directors / Coordinators to concentrate more fully on the needs of the participants and ensures accurate communication of API policies and procedures.


Photo of Carmen Alvarez de Toledo
Carmen Alvarez de Toledo
Buenos Aires, Argentina Resident Director

Carmen was born and raised in Argentina, and holds a degree in Sociology from the University of Buenos Aires. After moving with her husband to the U.S., she began her professional career teaching in the Spanish Department at Yale University for five years. Having enjoyed the contact with American college students, when she returned to Buenos Aires, she decided to join the local office of a study abroad program of a consortium of U.S. universities, where she was Assistant Director of the Program, and Resident Director of the summer program, together welcoming over 200 American students per year. When her family relocated to Washington, D.C., she decided to stay in the Study Abroad field and joined the American University Study Abroad Office in June, 2004. Now, back in her beloved BA, she is thrilled to have again the opportunity to help American students make the most of their experience in Argentina.

Photo of Jimena Alvarez de Toledo
Jimena Alvarez de Toledo
Buenos Aires, Argentina Assistant Resident Director

Jimena Alvarez de Toledo was born and raised in Buenos Aires. She worked for many years as a professional Congress Organizer (PCO) where she organized many international events and was able to visit the U.S. and other countries several times – these experiences truly sparked her love for learning more about other cultures. Jimena is married and has four kids, two girls, and two boys. Her family has hosted several international students and they have loved the experience! She enjoys working and being in contact with young people and to share her love and knowledge of Argentina!

 

Jimena loves traveling around Buenos Aires and Argentina and discovering new and different places in her home country. She loves getting out in nature and is always looking for new adventures!

Photo of Rodrigo Lemos
Rodrigo Lemos
Mendoza, Argentina Resident Director

Rodrigo was born and raised in Mendoza Argentina and holds a degree in Tourism Business Administration from the UTN National Technic University. He has been involved in the tourism industry since 1995, working for companies in the travel agency, hotel, airline and, winery sectors. In addition to serving as the API Mendoza Resident Director, Rodrigo leads the wine tourism department for COVIAR, the most important institution in the Argentine wine industry. There, he is responsible for the development and teaching of programs covering wine tourism throughout the country. Rodrigo is also an avid tango dancer and a tai chi instructor!



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Renata Hade
Brisbane/Gold Coast, Australia Resident Coordinator

Renata grew up in Brisbane and has lived in numerous other cities throughout Australia and New Zealand.  She has traveled extensively to over 30 countries in all corners of the globe, worked with culturally diverse groups, and enjoys experiencing new places and cultures.

Renata has many years of experience in business management and currently works in a Sales and Marketing role.  She has completed studies at three Queensland universities – she has a Bachelor of Laws from the Queensland University of Technology, a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from the University of Queensland, and a Graduate Diploma in Education Studies from Australian Catholic University. Renata understands the power of education abroad to provide unique global competencies. She looks forward to sharing her knowledge and love of South East Queensland with API students and providing the support needed to live and study here.

Photo of Aaron Hutchinson
Aaron Hutchinson
Sydney, Australia Resident Coordinator

Aaron is the resident coordinator for Sydney. He has lived in Sydney predominantly his whole life, living briefly in both England and America. He is a keen traveler, spending 6 months abroad in 2017 with 4 of them being apart of a study abroad program in Michigan
USA.
Aaron is currently studying at Macquarie University completing a Bachelor of Commerce majoring in Accounting and Marketing. In his spare time, he enjoys playing and watching sport including soccer, rugby league, and basketball.

Photo of Rachael Impey
Rachael Impey
Melbourne, Australia Resident Coordinator

Rachael is the Resident Coordinator for Melbourne. She grew up on a sheep farm 2 hours north-west of Melbourne, before moving to La Trobe University to study. She has a Bachelors degree in Biomedicine with Honours in Biochemistry. Rachael is currently studying her Ph.D. in Biochemistry and is working in the development of new antibiotics, while also teaching undergraduate science practical classes. Rachael enjoys many different types of sports, including cricket, NFL, but mostly Australian football (AFL). Rachael has travelled through much of Europe, spending 6 months in 2017 living and studying in the UK.

Photo of Chris O’Neill
Chris O’Neill
Sydney, Australia Resident Director

Chris was born and raised in the north of Sydney. He has a Bachelor of Arts from Macquarie
University, a Bachelor of Teaching (Secondary Education) from the University of Technology
Sydney, and a Master of Arts from the University of Sydney. While studying at Macquarie
University Chris received a scholarship to study at the University of Iceland for a semester.
Chris has worked in the higher education sector for 9 years and has experience working with
study abroad and research programs. In his spare time, Chris enjoys playing soccer, trail running, brewing beer, spending time swimming at the beach, and obviously traveling as frequently as possible.



Photo of Sonam Choden Tshering
Sonam Choden Tshering
Thimphu, Bhutan Resident Coordinator

Sonam was born and raised in Thimphu, Bhutan. She graduated with a bachelor’s degree in English and Environmental Studies from Royal Thimphu College and finished her high school in Macleod College, Australia. Currently, Sonam owns a business and works as a wine merchant importing wine from Australia. She enjoys watching movies, traveling to new places, meeting new people, and playing jigsaw puzzles. Having lived and studied abroad, Sonam has experienced how it feels to be away from home and adapting to a new culture. In this regard, she is here to help API students adjust to the Bhutanese culture and country and to ensure that they have an enjoyable and memorable experience in his country.



Photo of Claudia Aliaga
Claudia Aliaga
Santiago, Chile Resident Director

Claudia was born and raised in Santiago, but thanks to her father’s work, she was in permanent contact with people from different countries and cultures from an early age. She earned her Bachelor of Arts in Communications and Advertising from the Universidad de Chile, and then moved to Barcelona for 8 years to perform a graduate degree in communications. She then worked for a time in children’s television, before returning to Chile to pursue a career in higher education, first as a teacher in the area of communications, and then in charge of the unit related to graduates and career services. She likes to travel whenever possible, and runs half marathons! She sees her role at API as a great opportunity to continue to be in contact with students and to share her love and knowledge of Chile!

Photo of Alejandra Rojas
Alejandra Rojas
Valparaíso/Viña del Mar, Chile Resident Director

Originally from the south of Chile, Alejandra has lived in the Viña/Valpo area for nearly 20 years.  Alejandra is a journalist by training and holds a degree in social communication from the Universidad Del Desarrollo.  She is married and has two daughters, 11 and 13 years old.



Photo of Corrine Zhou
Corrine Zhou
Shanghai Resident Coordinator

Born and raised in China, Corrine received a Master’s degree in Great Britain. She has taught full-time in Shanghai’s prestigious universities for nearly ten years. Before moving to Shanghai, Corrine worked as a full-time bilingual business course teacher and co-coordinator of the overseas joint-program at Beijing’s University. Corrine currently holds a “Teaching Foreigners Chinese Certificate,” authorized by the International Professional Certificate Association. She also provides training to expatriates working for multinational companies in Shanghai on cross-culture communication knowledge and skills. Corrine loves getting to know people from all over the world and exploring different cultures. She has traveled to most parts of China and twenty other countries on five continents.



Photo of Esteban López
Esteban López
San Joaquin de Flores, Costa Rica Resident Director

Esteban López was born in San José, Costa Rica and has lived there most of his life. As an undergraduate, he studied Spanish Philology at the University of Costa Rica. Esteban also learned French during a study abroad year at Université Laval in Québec, Canada, and nowadays he is working towards a Master’s degree in Latin-American Literature at the UCR. Esteban taught Spanish for more than 10 years in Costa Rica, Switzerland and Canada. He likes outdoor sports, especially hiking and mountain biking. He also likes all kinds of jazz music, good books, traveling and meeting new people from all over the world. Esteban has been working for API since early 2007.

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Francy Orozco
San Jose, Costa Rica Resident Director

Francy Orozco was born in Heredia, Costa Rica and has lived there all her life. She studied psychology at the University of Costa Rica (UCR), where she continued to work for three years after graduation in the International Affairs and External Cooperation Office. At UCR, Francy worked with exchange students from every part of the world, who helped her to learn about other cultures, as well as to see her own country and customs with different eyes. Francy has also done volunteer work with the “Brigada de Intervención Psicológica en Situaciones de Desastres” since 2004. This is a group of UCR psychologists that come together when disasters affect the country; her work with the Brigada has included counseling after earthquakes, floods and landslides. In her free time, Francy likes to walk, read, watch television, and spend time playing with her son. Francy has been working with API since fall 2008.



Photo of Ivana Bajurin
Ivana Bajurin
Dubrovnik Resident Director

Ivana is a local, born and raised in Dubrovnik, Croatia. She spent extended time abroad during her childhood and studied in Trieste, Italy and Havana, Cuba, and has also enjoyed traveling to Dubai, Paris, and Vienna in recent years. She earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Tourism and Foreign Trade, and has been working at Libertas International University since its inception.

 

Fun fact: Ivana is crazy for salsa dancing and water-skiing!

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Nada Raic
Dubrovnik Resident Director

Nada is a native of Mostar, Bosnia, and has lived in Croatia more most of her life. She has worked at Libertas International University since its inception, and is currently working on her Ph.D. Nada holds Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees in philosophy and history of Croatian culture, and attended a medical high school in Dubrovnik.

Fun fact: Nada is writing an article about “Scandalous Practice and Behavior in the 18th Century Dubrovnik!”



Photo of Emily Moran
Emily Moran
Havana, Cuba Assistant Resident Director

Emily is from New Haven, Connecticut and has first-hand experience living and studying in Cuba. She was a study abroad student at the University of Havana in 2013! After studying Spanish throughout high school and college, classes in Cuban literature and AfroCuban religion influenced her decision to study abroad in Havana. She has been finding ways to travel back and forth to Cuba ever since. Emily loves Cuban music especially fusión and jazz, she is also a fan of Cuban cinema and painting. After returning from her semester abroad, she graduated from Bard College with a degree in Sociology and Spanish. Emily wrote her senior thesis on the job market in Havana, and the different ways that young people find their place in it. Prior to joining API in Cuba, Emily lived and worked in New York City as a chef. Aside from cooking, Emily loves to listen to live music and draw.



Photo of Andrea Coba
Andrea Coba
Quito, Ecuador Resident Director

Andrea lived in the United States for over 17 years. She worked in the finance industry as Relationship Manager in the Asset Management Division for the Latin American Market for over 10 years. She worked in banks such as JPMorgan in New York City and Deutsche Bank in Miami, Florida. She mainly enjoys cultivating relationships with people of all cultures and strongly believes that quality service is a key factor for success. Andrea has lived in different cities and she is an avid explorer of the local cultures and surroundings. She enjoys traveling, music and learning about new cultures.



Photo of Marilyn Grundy
Marilyn Grundy
London, England, Director of Internships

Marilyn is Caribbean-American, grew up in New York and Connecticut and has lived in the UK for almost 10 years. The travel bug began in high school while traveling with high school bands and orchestras. This continued while in college in upstate New York. Having worked in higher education in both the USA and UK, Marilyn has extensive experience helping students discover their academic and career passions as well as British culture. She enjoys trying new cuisine, museums, sports, theatre and traveling.

Photo of Nadia Jennings
Nadia Jennings
London, England Assistant Resident Director

Nadia is Portuguese-American and is an API Study Abroad alumna from the University of Westminster, 2009-2010. Since studying abroad with API she has lived in both London and Berlin, Germany, and has travelled extensively throughout Western Europe. She looks forward to sharing her love of London with you and how to get the most out of your time abroad. Some of her hobbies include writing, film, fine art, and vegan cooking. Nadia is a graduate of Lesley University with a BA in Holistic Psychology, and is currently a post-graduate student at Regent’s University in Writing for Screen and Stage.

Photo of Heather Lees
Heather Lees
London, England Assistant Resident Director

Heather is Filipino-American and grew up in California, Washington, and Iowa. She is a graduate of the University of Evansville. During university, she spent two semesters abroad, one in the UK and one in China. After graduating she started a career in higher education, eventually spending three years at Harlaxton College, the British Campus of the University of Evansville as Assistant Dean of Students. Heather Later returned to join her British partner and work in Residence Life at the University of Sheffield. Heather is excited to share her experience as an immigrant in the UK and love of British culture with students. In her spare time, she enjoys rowing, crochet/knitting, baking, cuddling her cats, and visiting ruined abbeys across the UK.

Photo of Rachel Wellborn
Rachel Wellborn
UK Regional Director

Hometown: Sheffield, Yorkshire, England

Study abroad experience: 6 months in Merida, Mexico and 6 months in Lisbon, Portugal. Also 4 months working in San Diego and 1 year working in Santiago, Chile.

Education: University of Bristol – BA Hons Hispanic Studies with Distinction in the Spanish Language

 



Photo of Laure Bettencourt
Laure Bettencourt
API Paris Student Life Coordinator

Laure was born and raised in Paris, France. She has always been curious about other cultures and has had the chance to travel to many European countries. After spending several summers studying English in Bath, Great Britain, Laure caught the travel bug. Laure spent a year abroad in San Diego, CA and received her bachelor’s degree. She then lived in Australia, interning at a sustainable energy company. After her internship, Laure moved to Barcelona, Spain where she earned her master’s degree in Marketing. Laure worked in market research for 5 years, then returned back to school, earning her degree in Tourism in Paris, France. Laure realized her desire to introduce the world to her beautiful country and city of Paris, France and has enjoyed doing so since.

Photo of Francine Bost-Millischer
Francine Bost-Millischer
Paris, France Resident Director

Francine is truly multiculturally oriented; she was born in Congo and grew up in Côte d’Ivoire — no wonder she developed a real curiosity for foreign countries, foreign languages and foreign cultures! Her professional experience started in the U.S. as Head of the Maison Française on the Hendrix College campus in Conway, Arkansas where she promoted the French Art de Vivre to the American students and became committed to international education. Upon her return to France she worked for American companies in various business fields as a supply chain manager. She has experience in management and operational organization acquired within multinational companies. Following these experiences, she longed to reorient her career to work more directly with people, and she has been able to fulfill this need quite well through working with young study abroad students. Francine is also the mother of three boys — so she definitely knows what it is to comfort, support and encourage young people!

Photo of Allison Brown
Allison Brown
Paris, France Resident Director (Parsons Paris)

Allison is originally from Baltimore, Maryland and has been living in Paris since 2011. Allison graduated from Towson University with honors in 2012 with a Bachelor’s in Business Administration with a concentration in International Business. While at university, she did a semester exchange at NEOMA Business School (formerly Rouen Business School) and this was the start of her love of France! After finished her degree in the US, she moved to Paris to start her career. Before coming to API, Allison worked in housing for foreign students in Paris with Comforts of Home and then worked for a luxury brand within AccorHotels. Outside of work, Allison loves taking weekend trips and long walks with her dog, Inky!

Photo of Marie de Rocca-Serra
Marie de Rocca-Serra
Grenoble, France Resident Director, Regional Director

Attracted by North American culture, Marie lived for some years in Canada, and later returned to France where she served as a host family for 10 years. Now, as a Resident Director, she is delighted to devote herself to welcoming American students. Marie likes helping students understand, discover and appreciate her country and its specific culture. Even though she is a Parisian, she loves living in the middle of the gorgeous Alps, in Grenoble, where she can spend lots of time in the outdoors, hiking and skiing as well as taking advantage of the historical and cultural environment of this part of France.

Photo of Anna Exertier
Anna Exertier
Grenoble, France Resident Director

Anna Exertier is from Cedar Rapids, Iowa and has lived in Grenoble since September 2004. Anna graduated from the University of Iowa with a Bachelor’s in French. She first came to Grenoble as an API student, and she loved it so much that she stayed! Anna is married with two young daughters. She loves to travel and learn about new cultures. She is also very active and enjoys sports. On the weekends or in her free time, she enjoys hiking and skiing in the Alps. Anna loves meeting the new students who come and sharing in their study abroad experiences with API Grenoble!

Photo of Yuné Jang
Yuné Jang
Paris, France Assistant Resident Director (Parsons Paris)

Yuné is originally from South Korea, but moved to Paris in 2016, after working as an e-commerce specialist for Air France/KLM in Seoul. She was born and raised in Seoul, where she attended Ewah Woman’s University and studied English language and literature. While at university, she had the chance to go to Tennessee for an exchange student program for 2 semesters, and then on to Lyon, France for 1 semester. After working for 3 years at Air France/KLM in Seoul, Yuné left Korea with a great curiosity for the bigger world! Et voilà, she is now living in beautiful Paris now. Yuné writes articles about Paris as a freelancer for the Air France Korea blog. She started working with API last July, and now she’s helping students at Parsons Paris with all of their needs regarding health insurance, housing, immigration, and also with planning cultural activity events.

Photo of Caroline Lemenager
Caroline Lemenager
Caen Resident Director

Caroline was born in Caen, so she knows a lot about the city! As a child, she spent 11 years in Algeria, and thus began her love of traveling and learning about new cultures. After graduating high school, Caroline spent a year in Michigan as an AuPair and was able to live with an American family and learn a lot about American culture. Upon returning to Caen, she studied English at the University of Caen, and then later returned to the U.S., where she studied at the University of Delaware and served as a teaching assistant.

As with most people in France, Caroline is really close to her family. She has two children (an 11-year-old daughter and an 8-year-old son), and they live in the countryside, just 20 minutes from Caen. In her free time, she enjoys visiting new places, walking, horse riding, reading, etc. Caroline has been working with study abroad students for many years, and loves assisting students with any question they may have and helping them with their new life in France and discovering a new culture.

Photo of Violaine Peladan
Violaine Peladan
Paris, France Academic and Administrative Coordinator

Violaine grew up in a small village in Southern France. After having obtained her Bachelor’s degree of Communication from the University Paul Valéry of Montpellier, she decided to take a gap year in Australia where she made a five month road trip across the country. After this exciting first experience abroad, she obtained a Master’s degree of Cultural Management at the University Sorbonne Nouvelle in Paris during which she led a research project about the link between fiction and reality in TV shows. Fascinated by American culture, she moved to the US to become a French instructor at the University of Wisconsin‐Madison and a French resident assistant at The French House on campus. Two years later, she’s back home in France where her passion for cultural interactions, languages, and her desire to keep working with American students have led her to work in the study abroad world as an academic coordinator for API in Paris.

Photo of Peggy Retka
Peggy Retka
Paris, France Resident Director (Parsons Paris)

Peggy has a passion for travel and is a firm believer in the positive impact that international education can create in our lives. A francophile at heart, Peggy left her home state of Minnesota in September 2015 where she had been working as the Director of the Office for Education Abroad (OEA), at the College of Saint Benedict and Saint John’s University (CSB/SJU)  to return to her second home in Grenoble. She then started the French side of her career as the Manager of Incoming Students in the International Relations Office at Grenoble IAE, the Graduate School of Management, at the Université Grenoble Alpes. Now, Peggy has joined the API team in Paris! With a great passion for travel and a firm belief in the positive

Peggy earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in French and Business Administration, with a concentration in International Business, from Wartburg College (IA) in 2003 and her Masters of Science degree in College Counseling and Student Development from St. Cloud State University (MN) in 2008.

Photo of Rose Tierny
Rose Tierny
Paris, France Assistant Resident Director (Parsons Paris)

Rose is from Paris.  She spent 1 year in the U.S. on a youth exchange when she was 18, and stayed with a host family and attended university. When she returned to France she started a trilingual bachelor’s degree program in Applied Foreign Languages (French, English, and Spanish).  She spent her 3rd year of undergrad in Latin America as an exchange student, with 6 months in Puebla, Mexico and 6 months in Buenos Aires, Argentina. After that, she started a trilingual master’s degree in Intercultural and International Management, specializing International Travel Management. Rose has since worked for another study abroad organization in Paris as a Program Advisor, and also in Denmark as an Intercultural Workshop Facilitator on work to complete her master’s degree.



Photo of Christopher Pepin
Christopher Pepin
Berlin, Germany Resident Director

Christopher was born and grew up in Heidelberg, Germany. After graduation, he traveled through the U.S. He then studied modern languages, cultures, and administration, as well as English and Portuguese (the latter in Salvador da Bahía, Brazil). Christopher enjoys traveling to countries and getting to know new cultures. During the past few years, he has worked as a tour manager for group journeys in Germany and Europe. Christopher has a strong connection to and experience with American culture and is eager to bring that connection between the U.S. and Germany to API students.

Photo of Claudio Schoeneberger
Claudio Schoeneberger
Berlin, Germany Resident Coordinator

Claudio is the child of a Peruvian mother and a German father, who worked for an international company. He spent most of his childhood in South America before moving to Germany at age 12. After graduating from high school, Claudio relocated from a small city in the Upper Rhine Valley to the university town of Giessen, where he studied modern languages, cultures and business studies with a major in Spanish language. During his studies, Claudio spent one semester abroad in Spain, which for him was a very special experience where he learned a lot and had a great time. Traveling and getting to know new people and cultures has always been important for Claudio and something he enjoys very much.



Photo of Reka Futasz
Reka Futasz
Budapest, Hungary Resident Director

Reka has been working for API since 2004. Her qualifications include MAs in English and Latin Language and Literature, and a degree in Translation and Interpretation Studies. She is currently pursuing PhD studies in Language Pedagogy, specializing in Academic Writing. She is interested in languages and meeting new cultures, and has traveled to many countries of the world. She spent one year in Australia as an exchange student.

Photo of Sara Kothay
Sara Kothay
Budapest, Hungary Assistant Resident Director

Sara was born in Szeged. She studied at the University of Szeged, where she earned her BA degree in Film History and Film Theory. After graduation, she moved to England, where she spent almost 3 years in different parts of the country: Cambridge, London and Southend. After returning to Hungary, Sara joined API in 2014 October. Sara has a passion for movies and has made many short movies and animations. Besides working for API, she is also writing screenplays in English.



Photo of Hjördís Lára Hreinsdóttir
Hjördís Lára Hreinsdóttir
Reykjavik, Iceland Resident Director

Hjördís grew up in Reykjavik, the capital of Iceland. In 1999 she received a scholarship to study at University of West Georgia, USA; where she graduated with a BSc in Mass Communication in 2014. Following that, she continued her education and studied International Studies at the Peace and Conflict Institute at Uppsala University, Sweden. After moving back to Iceland, she worked at the Canadian Embassy in Iceland until she started her current position at Reykjvik University. Hjördís works as a Program Administrator at the School of Science and Engineering, assisting students and faculty with daily tasks.

Outside of work, Hjördís enjoys reading, traveling, watching documentaries, and spending time with family. She is married with two children and is currently on maternity leave from her position at Reykjavik University.

Hjördís looks forward to receiving international students from the US and return some of the hospitality she received during her studies abroad.



Photo of Sophie Bonheim
Sophie Bonheim
Dublin, Ireland Resident Director

Sophie grew up in the affectionately named, “sunny” Southeast of Ireland. Beguiled by her parent’s stories of adventure, she has backpacked through parts of Europe, North America, and Southeast Asia. She lived and taught English in Vietnam for nearly two years, before ending her time there with a two-month motorbike trip along the Ho Chi Minh Trail. Sophie has many hobbies and loves trying new things, much to the dismay of her housemates, who graciously put up with bicycles, wetsuits, canvas’ and other paraphernalia around the house. However, her real passion is for film-making, which she studied at Trinity University alongside World Religions. She went on to pursue an MA in Public History and Cultural Heritage, due to her love of history and the arts. She has worked as a city and mountain guide in Dublin, so she knows the city like the back of her hand. She has a lot of experience working with international students in Ireland, guiding them through the cultural offerings of Dublin and helping them make the most of their study abroad experience. Sophie loves to meet new people and looks forward to welcoming you in Ireland!

Photo of Maria Cooney
Maria Cooney
Limerick, Ireland Resident Director

Maria is a native of Limerick, born and bred. She studied English Literature and Philosophy both at Bachelor and Masters Level at the University of Limerick. She has a great interest in study abroad and worked as the Study Abroad Intern in the University of Limerick as her Junior Year placement. Maria is very proud of her Irish heritage. She enjoys sharing with others the literature and lore of the Emerald Isle. She is a voracious reader and her dearest ambition is to be a writer someday. Maria is an avid traveler and traveling the globe is her heart’s desire as she loves to learn new languages and experience new cultures. Maria looks forward to welcoming you all to Ireland with a céad míle fáilte!

Photo of Fionnghuala (Finn) Geraghty – Hennessy
Fionnghuala (Finn) Geraghty – Hennessy
Galway, Ireland Resident Director

Fionnghuala Geraghty has been with API since 2001. She is commonly known as Finn. She is a native of Galway. She studied her MSc. in Environmental science at Queens University Belfast, PhD. in Zoology from NUI, Galway, and she has a B.Ed. from Hibernia College Dublin. She is an outdoor enthusiast (loves nature and sport). Her husband and best friend is Kevin and they have three little leprechauns! She has a passion for sharing her knowledge of Galway and her country with her API students and believes strongly in lifelong learning. She will enthusiastically welcome you and introduce you to Ireland and Galway!

Photo of Kevin Hennessy
Kevin Hennessy
Galway, Ireland Resident Director

Kevin studied Information Technology studies in GMIT, Galway and he has a Higher Diploma in Management from DIT, Dublin. He loves Irish history, Irish culture and the Irish humor. He has a love for cars, travelling and his family. Kevin is friendly, knowledgeable and always ready to help everyone. He knows where all the great places are in Galway.

Emilie Noble
Ireland Internship Coordinator

Emilie is from Dublin, Ireland. She studied French, Spanish and Italian in school and spent many summers as a student in Europe. Emilie studied Arts in Trinity College and University College Dublin and during that time worked as a student abroad in the USA and France. She has many years of experience in marketing and business and holds a post-graduate Certificate in International Marketing. Her experience working with students includes organizing English language and cultural programs for international students in Ireland.

Photo of Patrick O’Donnell
Patrick O’Donnell
Cork, Ireland Resident Director

Patrick grew up in Tipperary, a region in the South East of Ireland. Cork has been a second home to him for the last ten years, as he has both studied and worked there during this time. He holds a Bachelors degree in Music and a Masters degree in Music & Cultural History from University College Cork (UCC). As a performer, he has extensive experience, having toured both nationally and internationally in various ensembles including pop, funk, soul and original music. He has worked as a tutor in the Music Department in UCC, which was followed by a number of years working in high-end retail and customer service. He currently teaches instrument studies at a number of dedicated music schools.

Patrick has acquired considerable experience in teaching and mentoring students from a variety of cultural backgrounds and he appreciates the cultural differences that many visiting students encounter during their time in Ireland. He looks forward to welcoming visiting students to Ireland and introducing them to all that Cork has to offer!



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Alessio Balduini
Rome, Italy Resident Director

Alessio has a degree from La Sapienza University in Communication and Mass Media and a Master’s degree from Humber College, Toronto, in Arts Administration and Cultural Management.

After completing his Master’s in Toronto, Alessio lived in Los Angeles from 2006-2011 and worked in the Cultural Office of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Italy and also for the Italian/American Foundation.

Back in Italy he has continued working for a cultural foundation through the Foreign Ministry. Alessio has a vast experience in arranging cultural programs and activities.

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Matteo Berni
Tuscania, Italy Resident Director

Matteo Berni was born in Viterbo, Italy, and has a degree in Modern Literature, Art, Music and Theater. He lived in Barcelona for six months and worked as a journalist for two years. He is interested in humanities, Italian culture, and Italian food. He likes to cook and he loves to eat. He rides a Vespa and he loves to discover new places in his region, a beautiful countryside. He has lived 6 months in Barcelona and he has experience in planning events and logistics.His hobbies are video making and DIY projects.

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Monica Gabbrielli
Florence, Italy Resident Director

Monica is from Florence, and serves as the coordinator of student relations in the API Florence office. She has a degree in languages (English, French, and Spanish), has studied accounting, and is currently pursuing studies in cultural communications. She loves to travel, and has lived and worked in the United Kingdom and Thailand, but her favorite destination is Corsica, France. As a hobby, Monica makes eco-friendly products for her home!

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Federica Guerrieri
Italy Regional Director

Federica was born and raised in Italy, and holds a degree in Tourism Economy at the University of Florence, Italy. She began her professional career in the Tourism industry working for several years as tour leader in Greece, Tunisia, Egypt and North Europe. She continued her professional career working for the most important exhibition company in Italy, and in 2002 she joined the API Family as Florence Resident Director. In 2013 she took over as the Regional Director for Italy. Federica’s hobbies include art, travel, music, cinema, interior design and of course…Food!

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Ellen Oyasaeter
Florence, Italy Resident Director

Ellen, co-Resident Director, has been with the API Florence Program since January 2003. She was born and raised in Norway and has been in Florence since completing her studies there in 1987. Ellen’s interests include fine arts, languages, and travel.

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Valentina Scalini
Florence, Italy Resident Director

Born in a small town near Ancona, Valentina moved to Florence in 2007 to follow her passion for art with a degree in Modern Art at the University of Florence, where she ended up falling in love with Florence itself and all it has to offer to a young and curious person. After working in a museum and collaborating on the staging of some contemporary art exhibition, she started working with API in 2014. Valentina studied abroad in England and Spain, where she had the chance to improve her English and Spanish, and now she hope to help API students to live the best experience of their lives in Florence! Her hobbies include visiting art exhibitions, opera and theatre shows. Like most of the Italians, she loves good food — both cooking (desserts and cakes most of all) and discovering new restaurants to add to the list of favorites.

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Daniele Sirna
Taormina, Italy Resident Director

Daniele graduated in 2005 in Foreign Literatures and Languages (English and Spanish) at the University of Catania. He also received a certificate (CEDILS) from Cà Foscari, University of Venice, to teach Italian as Foreign or Second Language (L2). Daniele lives in Taormina, Sicily where he has been teaching Italian Language for five years at Babilonia, Center of Italian Language and Culture. Daniele is also interested in the arts in general. He collaborates with the Cultural Center ZO doing stage design and production of many dramatic works and concerts. He enjoys traveling and discovering other authentic cultures. That is why he loves his work; it gives him the opportunity to be in contact with people from other countries and to share with them a portion of his own culture and traditions.

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Naike Valeriano
Rome, Italy Resident Director

Naike grew up in Calabria, a region of the south of Italy, and studied in Rome. She has two degrees from La Sapienza University in English Translation and Modern Languages and Culture. Her interests include travel, music, writing, theatre and fine arts.



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Lewis Johnson
Wellington, New Zealand Resident Coordinator

Lewis is a proud born and bred Wellingtonian and has spent most of his life within the region, living in both rural farming areas as well as in the heart of the inner city. He is currently in the final semester of his English Literature and Geography degree at Victoria University and will likely pursue post-graduate study in Geography and Sustainability. Lewis has traveled extensively throughout New Zealand following both his sporting interests and various outdoor pursuits and is highly passionate about his country. In addition, he has also spent some time abroad competing and traveling around Australia, the U.S Midwest and has studied at the University of Hawaii at Manoa during 2017.

Photo of Tiana Meintjes
Tiana Meintjes
Auckland, New Zealand Resident Coordinator

Tiana graduated from the Auckland University of Technology (AUT) with a bachelor of communications, and did her student exchange in Mexico. She remembers her study abroad experience as a phenomenal time – she met some wonderful people, saw some amazing places, and she can’t wait to share her native New Zealand with API students so that they can have their own phenomenal experiences!

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Kelsey Paterson
Dunedin, New Zealand Resident Coordinator

Kelsey was born in Invercargill (near the bottom of the South Island) and raised in Dunedin. She hopes to one day complete a Masters of Dietetics so that she can become a Registered Dietitian, work with top level athletes, and head to the Olympics one day as the team Dietitian. Kelsey is a very outdoorsy, sporty individual who loves being in touch with nature. She has played many sports such as netball, water polo, badminton, underwater hockey and was also a swimmer for many years. When not studying or working, she is often volunteering, working out, meeting up with friends and family, walking along the beach or shopping. She loves being busy and challenged! She cannot wait to share the Kiwi culture with you while learning about your different cultures and backgrounds!



Photo of Piotr Gebalski
Piotr Gebalski
Krakow, Poland Resident Director

Piotrek was born in Torun, city of Nicolas Copernicus and delicious honey cakes. He is a graduate in Law from the Jagiellonian University, and did postgraduate work in European Administration. He is a big fan of sci-fi literature and movies, and loves the mountains (biking, hiking, skiing).



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Carlos Loureiro
Lisbon, Portugal Resident Director

Carlos was born and raised in the north of Portugal and graduated in Office Management and Administration from Aveiro University. After graduation he started working at Oporto Polytechnic Institute and started having contact with the Portuguese higher education system. Afterwards, Carlos moved to Lisbon to start working at ISCTE – University Institute of Lisbon as the Exchange and International Students Advisor from 2010 until the end of 2015, whereupon he joined the API Lisbon team. Carlos has a strong interest in theater, and has been with the production of an immersive theater presentation in Lisbon. He loves to be with family and friends, and loves to travel and to meet people from different nationalities and cultures.



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Alexis Webster
Scotland Resident Coordinator

Alexis was born in Phoenix, Arizona, but did not stay there long. She had a nomadic childhood living in Texas, Hawaii, and California after Arizona. She graduated from Humboldt State University in 2012 with a BA in Anthropology as well as a BA in Religious Studies. Her first experience in another country was a semester abroad in Bangalore, India during her junior year. The delicious diversity and extreme contrast to her own culture was exciting and strangely satisfying, and she knew she needed more. Alexis has participated in archaeological excavations in the Belizean jungle, surveyed Punic tombs and Neolithic temples in Malta, vacationed in Egypt and Spain, and lived in Ireland and the U.K.. Originally coming to Europe for an Au pair position, she made her way to Edinburgh for her MSc in Mediterranean Archaeology. Alexis now lives in Falkirk with her Scottish husband and daughter, and could not be happier with how her journey has gone. Study and travel have shaped who Alexis is and how she thinks, and she knows it all started with her first adventure studying abroad in India.



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María Angeles García
Madrid, Spain Resident Director
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Lola Bernal
Seville, Spain Resident Director

Lola was born in Seville in 1966. She graduated with a degree in Translation and Interpreting from the University of Granada. She studied German and English, specializing in Literature, and she studied for one semester in Heidelberg, Germany at the Karls-Rupert University for Translators. Lola lived in Stuttgart, Germany for three years, and had an internship in Bern, Switzerland working in a hospital. She returned to Seville in 1992 and started working for API in January 2000. Lola is married and has a daughter.

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Miguel Blanco
Salamanca, Spain Assistant Director

Miguel was born and raised in Salamanca, Spain. He holds a BA in English Studies and is now working on a Masters Degree in Linguistics applied to the teaching of Spanish as a Second Language and a specialization in TESOL (with Arizona State University). Miguel has worked with American students for more than 10 years, and he loves American culture (fun fact: he doesn’t like soccer, but he is an NY Giants fan!). He loves his job and showing American students the real Spanish culture.

 

He has also worked for several years as an English teacher. In his free time, Miguel loves cooking (he has a cooking blog!) and music (he plays the guitar). He spends most of his free time playing guitar, cooking and attending to concerts of all kinds of music (from choirs to Metallica!).

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Quique Blanco Lopez
Madrid, Spain Resident Director

Enrique (Quique) was born in Montevideo, Uruguay. Quique’s parents are both Spanish but because of his father’s job he got to live in many different countries: Uruguay, Brazil, Morocco, Spain, and the United States. He began working as Resident Director with API in the fall of 1999 in Madrid. He earned his degree in English Philology at the University of Granada. In 1993 he went to NYU and to NYIT and earned a degree in Economics. He then worked for Citibank and in 1998 moved to Madrid, where he worked as an English teacher for a year. Quique enjoys working with students because it gives him the opportunity to learn from and interact with young people from all over the world. Since he has spent time abroad, Quique is great at helping API students adapt to their new life in Spain and showing them how to get the most out of their time abroad.

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Inma Borrego
Spain Regional Director

Inmaculada (Inma) Borrego Ledesma serves as the Regional Director for Spain as well as the Resident Director of the Academic Programs International programs in Salamanca. Inma is a native of Spain. She holds degrees from the University of Salamanca in both English and Spanish Philology and she went on to earn a Master’s Degree in Teaching Spanish as a Second Language at the same University. She published her master’s thesis focused on the topic of Learning Spanish. She worked as a teacher of Spanish Language in the International Courses of the University of Salamanca and in the University of Stockholm, where she lived for two years. Inma was also a former Erasmus scholar in England. Since she has lived in many different countries, she understands our students’ needs very well and she helps them to overcome any difficulty that may arise. She has developed a great ability to closely connect with American study abroad students.

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Juan Calvo Salazar
Seville, Spain Resident Director

Juan was born in Seville. At the age of 15 he went to the United States for one year to study at a high school located in northern New York State. There he had the chance to learn English and the culture of a different country. After he went back to Spain, he finished his high school studies and went to the University of Seville, where he studied Philosophy for five years and Computer Systems for one year.

Since Juan finished his studies he has had many interesting kinds of jobs: promotional jobs for Smart and BMW, organization of an environmental conference in Córdoba, planning and design of the new Seville bike path system and a particular bike system for Andalucía´s government workers, and the restoration of damaged buildings as a vertical worker (applying climbing and alpinism techniques to access difficult parts of buildings).

Juan loves rock climbing and alpinism. He also enjoys traveling to new places and natural locations, mountain biking and playing guitar and bass guitar.

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Alicia Castillo
Barcelona, Spain Resident Director

Alicia is the Resident Director for Barcelona. She has been involved in international education since 2010 — first as an Art History professor, and then as a coordinator.  She holds a Master’s Degree in Cultural Management from Maastricht University, Holland and obtained her Bachelor’s Degree in Cambridge, UK. Her academic expertise is in Contemporary Art. She particularly loves sharing her Catalan and Spanish culture with students, and she is eager to assist them in their international adventure. She is passionate about traveling and loves practicing any kind of sports such as diving, skiing, running, and yoga.

Photo of Carmen Chico Mohedano (“Curra”)
Carmen Chico Mohedano (“Curra”)
Granada, Spain Resident Director

Curra was born in Cordoba, not far from Granada. She studied Hispanic Studies in Granada and as many others fell in love with this magical city. After some years in Madrid, she managed to come back to her personal paradise. In Granada, she started to work in this field, first as a host-mother for American students and soon afterwards with API, helping within the student services area. Later on, she started to use her experience as host mother to work on the students’ accommodation area.

In total, she has 6 years of experience in the study abroad field. During this period, she has been in charge of excursions, housing and student services in general.

Her hobbies are photography and writing; and traveling, of course. She is determined to increase the red crosses on her personal map.

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Ruth Gómez Layola
Barcelona, Spain Housing Director

Ruth is from Hospitalet de Llobregat, in the suburbs of Barcelona, but considers herself a native of Barcelona since she spends most of her time in the city. She speaks Spanish, Catalan, and English fluently, and has some background in Italian. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in English Philology from the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona and a Masters degree in Intercultural Communication from the University of Maryland Baltimore County.

Ruth studied abroad in London and in Maryland, USA. She has also been several times in East Africa volunteering with an NGO she is an active member of. She loves to travel and learn from other cultures. One of her last trips was to Finland and she loved hiking in those landscapes.

She has experience in the Study Abroad field working with American students both in the U.S. and in Barcelona. She has been a part of the API Barcelona team since Spring 2017.

Ruth is passionate about culture and language. She has taught Spanish at the University of Maryland Baltimore County and English at the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona. In her free time, Ruth enjoys learning from other cultures either by traveling, reading, or taking classes. She finished a Postgraduate program on African Societies from the Universitat Pompeu Fabra de Barcelona. She loves this job because of the intercultural exchange and experiences students live in her hometown, Barcelona. She really likes to take part in their cultural immersion.

Photo of Andrea Gorritxo Morales
Andrea Gorritxo Morales
Bilbao, Spain Resident Director

Andrea was born in Bilbao and has always lived here. She started liking English language when she was young, so she studied and got a degree in English Philology from the University of Deusto. She spent some summers in London, working as an au-pair, and she loves that city, so she goes there whenever she can. She enjoys what she calls “passive hobbies” – listening to music, going to the cinema, and, most of all, reading. She used to work as a teacher in academies, teaching English, and she has worked for API since September 2005. For her, the best part of her job is meeting people and traveling. She also loves animals and lives with a dog and a cat.

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Marta Herencia
Seville, Spain Resident Director

Marta Herencia was born in Seville and decided to stay for university because of her love for this Andalusian city. She specialized in Arabic Philology due to her interest in Islamic culture, the Arabic language and history. Marta has also studied English, French, and Italian. After completing her major in Arabic, she worked for a non-profit agency where she taught Spanish to Moroccan women in 2000. Marta has also studied solfeggio, and enjoys singing. Marta has been working for API as a Resident Director since 2001, managing various programs in Seville. She is happy that she can work with students and help them learn about the rich Spanish culture.

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Pilar Llamas
Director of European Operations

Hometown: Vélez-Rubio, a small and beautiful town in Almería (province of Andalucía, Spain)

International experience: Pilar studied abroad in Bournemouth, London and Newcastle (England) while in college.  She spent 3 wonderful and key years in Albuquerque, NM (USA).

Favorite Travel location: it changes as life does.  Could not settle for one.

Education: BA in English Philology (University of Granada, Spain);  MA in Spanish Literature and TESOL (University of New Mexico)

Fun Fact: Pilar wears fun ties and colorful socks.  Her favorite tie is one with many white sheep and one black one.

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Carmen López
Granada, Spain Resident Director

Carmen has served as API Resident Director in Granada, Spain since 2002. A native of Santander, Carmen has lived in different cities (Santander, Madrid, Ciudad Real, Granada, and London), but Granada is by far her favorite. Carmen moved to Granada to study at the University of Granada, and holds its degree in English Philology. Carmen also completed a course for Teaching Spanish as a Foreign Language at the Universidad Internacional Menéndez Pelayo. She lived in London for three falls studying at Westminster College and had also previously traveled to Ireland as an exchange student. This experience gave her a knowledgeable sense and sensibility for the job she has now. Attending to students’ needs and understanding students’ cultural adjustment is her main concern. She thoroughly enjoys transmitting her understanding and love for Granada. Carmen is an enthusiastic person who loves social relations, meeting new people from other cultures and traveling. Her passion for languages and traveling has taken her to study Italian, French and German and to travel throughout Europe and Northern Africa.

Photo of Mireia Pujol
Mireia Pujol
Barcelona, Spain Student Services Director

Mireia Pujol is from La Roca, less than one hour away from Barcelona. She holds a BA in Tourism Management from the Universitat de Girona, and speaks fluent Spanish, Catalan and English. She also has some background in German, French, Italian and Polish. She lived for three years in Ireland, and also spent three summers working in the United States.

Mireia has been with API since Spring 2012, and has also worked for another study abroad program in Barcelona. She has extensive experience working with international students and tourists, having taught English and Spanish for foreigners. She also served as a tour guide for soccer teams in Barcelona and Catalonia. She holds a BA in Tourism Management from the Universitat de Girona.

In her free time, Mireia enjoys traveling and learning foreign languages and cultures. She is really into sports, especially team handball, and also likes socializing and going to cinemas and theaters. She is married.

Mireia loves this job because she can be in contact with English speakers and it is related to her educational background and professional experience.

Photo of Vicky Rodríguez García
Vicky Rodríguez García
Cadiz, Spain Resident Director

Victoria (Vicky) Rodríguez García was born in Cádiz and holds a degree in Tourism and a master´s degree in Communication. Vicky spent a year studying at the International School of Management in Dortmund, Germany. Upon completing her degree, Vicky spent another year in Berlin, Germany, studying German and working in the tourism industry.

Upon completing her Master’s degree from the University of Cadiz, Vicky went to Edinburgh, Scotland to study English, International Business Management and Marketing at Heriot Watt University.

At the University of Cádiz, Vicky has worked organizing excursions, housing and assisting students in general. She says that her most rewarding job is what she does now – helping students that come to Cádiz as she would have liked to be helped when she studied abroad.

She loves traveling, socializing, walking on the beach and sports, especially basketball and water sports.

Photo of Arnau Roma Sansa
Arnau Roma Sansa
Barcelona, Spain Academic Director

Born and raised in Barcelona, Arnau considers himself a language lover. He speaks Catalan, Spanish and English fluently, he is good with French and has basic notions of Portuguese. It’s no surprise then that he holds a Bachelor’s degree in Translation and Interpreting (English-Spanish) from the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona. Also, he finished a 2-year Bachelor’s degree in Journalism at Universitat Pompeu Fabra de Barcelona.

Arnau spent a year studying in Canada and has been to the USA several times. He has also visited a fair share of European countries and during the summer of 2009 he backpacked through Indonesia for a month and a half.

Despite not being able to play any instrument, listening to music and attending concerts is one of Arnau’s passions. His other pastimes include sport (especially basketball), writing about indie music and reading detective novels.

In a bustling and dynamic city like Barcelona, he loves to rediscover his favorite spots and is really excited to find new ones. When working with American students, his aim is to exchange experiences and to help them immerse themselves in Spanish and Catalan culture so they feel less like tourists and more like real “barcelonins”.



Photo of Lan-Anh Aveyard
Lan-Anh Aveyard
Sharjah, UAE Resident Coordinator

Lana Aveyard is a long-time American expat of the Middle East. She started primary school in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, and finished middle school and high school in central Florida. She earned two B.A.s in Applied Economics and Humanities from Florida State University with minors in Middle Eastern Studies, Film Studies, and Business. She also spent a summer abroad at the Center for Arab and Middle Eastern Studies at the American University of Beirut, Lebanon. She has worked mainly in hospitality and the real estate sector.

She has lived in Sharjah, United Arab Emirates, since 2007, where she worked for a British real estate company in Dubai as a research analyst. Her three children were born in the UAE, and she has since become an enthusiastic homeschooling parent with the help of her husband, a professor of Psychology at the American University of Sharjah, where they reside. She enjoys keeping abreast of current affairs. She is a lover of books and exploration. She loves good hospitality, food, and travel. She has visited over 15 different countries with an appetite for more destinations. She would love to share her enthusiasm for travel, as well as, the joys of living abroad as an expat in the Arabian Gulf.



CAREERS

Are you looking to build on your international experience by pursuing a career in the field of international education? There are many great opportunities - you just need to know where to look. Consult the resources below to start on the next phase of your international journey!

API is always looking for talented individuals with international experience and a global worldview. Occasionally we may post open positions on this site, or on our Facebook alumni group and LinkedIn alumni group. We're also able to receive resumes at jobs@apistudyabroad.com at any time.

API alumni are encouraged to apply for the Global Leadership Academy (GLA). The GLA fosters the development of communication and outreach skills to help you share your experience in your community, on your campus, and in job interviews.  Participants earn a certificate for their contributions, and leave the GLA with an edge in the global marketplace and a strong contribution to their résumé!

NEW POSTINGS

One of the best ways to find a career in study abroad/international education is to attend an industry conference and network in person. Popularly attended conferences include:

  • NAFSA - Association of International Educators - NAFSA hosts an annual international conference in late May - early June, which features attendees from all over the world. In addition, each NAFSA "region" in the U.S. holds their own regional conferences, and these more intimate gatherings provide great opportunities for networking as well. NAFSA and its regions also have online job registries and list-serves that are worth signing up for. Visit the NAFSA Career Center for more information.
  • FORUM on Education Abroad - The FORUM on Education Abroad is specifically focused on policy issues relating to study abroad. The FORUM holds an annual conference (typically in March), along with regional mini-conferences and workshops throughout the year.

Regional reentry conferences are a great way for students who have recently returned from a study abroad experience to network with like-minded students and advisors, review re-entry and reverse culture shock coping techniques, and learn how to best utilize their experiences moving forward in their academic and professional futures. Consult the following for regional reentry conferences in your area:

 

 

PRIVACY POLICY

Last Updated: Ago/02/2018

Your privacy is important to Academic Programs International, LLC. (“API”, “we”, “us” ). Academic Programs International, LLC., (“we”, “us” or “our” ) as data controller. This privacy policy (“Policy”) applies to the API websites located at apiabroad.com apiabroad.global, and apistydyabroad.com (the “Sites”) and the API mobile application (the “App”) and tells you how personal information is collected, used, disclosed, and protected by API. The Site, and all products and services provided by API are collectively referred to as the “Services”. By using the Services you consent that we may process the data that we collect from you in accordance with this Privacy Policy. If you obtain your use of the Services in connection with the services offered by a third party, the individual terms of that third party’s contract with API may further restrict our collection or use of your personal information more than what is described in this Policy

The API Data Protection Officer is Fernando Dávila at privacy@apiabroad.com

This Privacy Policy applies to Personal Data that you provide to us or which is derived from such Personal Data as further outlined below. For additional information about cookies and other web tracking technologies that we are using please see also our Cookie Policy below.

We collect information from you in various ways when you use our Services. We may also supplement this information with information from other companies. We collect two general types of information, namely personal information and aggregate data. As used in this Policy, the term “personal information” means information that specifically identifies an individual (such as a name and email address), and demographic and other information when directly linked to information that can identify an individual.

Our definition of personal information does not include “aggregate data”. Aggregate data is information we collect about a group or category of services or users from which individual user identities have been removed. In other words, no personal information is included in aggregate data. Aggregate data helps us understand trends in our users’ needs so that we can better consider new features or otherwise tailor our Services.

The following are the specific types of information we collect from you:

Information You Give Us or That You Authorize Others to Give to Us

We collect information you give us on our Site and when you register for and use our Services and information that you authorize others to give to us. Examples include the following:

Registration and Profile Information 

When you register to use our Services or update your profile, we may collect various kinds of information about you including, your name and email address; transcripts and other education records; and other profile information you provide or that you have others provide to us; demographic information; and information you upload such as photos, files, and documents.

Contact Information

We collect the email addresses you provide for contacts you enter or upload into your private contacts page. When you choose to collaborate or share information with others, we also collect email addresses you provide to email invitations to those individuals on your behalf.

Payment Information

Our payment processing vendor collects any credit card information you submit; and, we and our payment processor collect billing information you submit.

Submissions and API Service 

From time to time we may use surveys, contests or sweepstakes requesting personal or demographic information and customer feedback.

Automatically Collected Information 

We automatically receive certain types of information when you interact with our Services. For example, it is standard for your web browser to automatically send information to every website you visit, including ours. That information includes your computer’s IP address, access times, your browser type and language, and referring website addresses. We may also collect information about the type of operating system you use, your account activity, and files and pages accessed or used by you.

Cookies and Web Beacons  

We may also use certain kinds of technology such as cookies and web beacons to collect information. Among other things, the use of cookies and web beacons enables us to improve our Site and emails by seeing which areas and features are most popular, to count the number of computers accessing our website, to personalize and improve your experience, to record your preferences, and to allow you to visit our Site without re-entering your member ID and/or password. A cookie is a small amount of data which is sent to your browser from a web site’s computers and stored on your computer’s hard drive. Most browsers automatically accept cookies as the default setting. You can modify your browser setting to reject our cookies or to prompt you before accepting a cookie by editing your browser options. However, if a browser is set not to accept cookies or if a user rejects a cookie, some portions of the website and services may not function properly. For example, you may not be able to sign in and access certain web page features or services. A web beacon is an electronic image, also called a “gif,” that may be used on our web pages to deliver cookies, count visits and compile statistics on usage and campaign effectiveness or in our emails to tell if an email has been opened and acted upon.

In general, we use your personal information to provide the Services, process your requests or transactions, to provide you with information or services you request, to inform you about other information, events, promotions, products or services we think will be of interest to you, to facilitate your use of, and our administration and operation of, the Services and to otherwise serve you and our users. For example, we may use your personal information:

  • to provide information to educational institutions that you attend, or desire to attend;
  • to request feedback and to enable us to develop, customize and improve our Services;
  • to conduct marketing analysis, to send you surveys or newsletters, to contact you about services, products, activities, special events or offers from API or our service or marketing partners and for other marketing, informational, product development and promotional purposes;
  • to send you a welcoming email and to contact you about your use of the Services; to respond to your emails, submissions, comments, requests or complaints; to perform after-sales services; to anticipate and resolve problems with our service; to respond to customer support inquiries, for assistance with our product and service development; and to inform you of updates to products and services from API that better meet your needs;
  • to send emails to users you invite (and contacts you invite to become users) to collaborate and access your information;
  • to enable you to communicate, collaborate, and share files with users you designate;
    to contact you if you win a contest; and
  • for other purposes about which we notify you.

DURATION OF PROCESSING OF PERSONAL DATA

Notwithstanding those instances where your Personal Data is processed or used by API based on a statutory permission  or your consent, API will only store your Personal Data for as long as it is required to fulfil the purposes set out below, (until you object to API’s use of your Personal Data (if API uses your Personal Data based on legitimate interest), or  until you withdraw your consent (if API uses your Personal Data based on your consent). However, where API is required by mandatory law to retain your Personal Data longer or where your Personal Data is required for API to assert or defend against legal claims, API will retain your Personal Data until the end of the relevant retention period or the settlement of the claims in question.

DATA SUBJECT'S RIGHTS UNDER GDPR

You can request from API at any time information about which Personal Data API processes about you and the correction or deletion of such Personal Data.  Notwithstanding your request, API may retain your Personal Data if there is a statutory obligation or prevailing right of API to retain it. Kindly note that if you request the deletion of your Personal Data from API you will not be able to further use such API Services which require API’s use of your Personal Data.

If API uses your Personal Data based on your consent or to perform a contract with you, you may further request from API a copy of the Personal Data that you have provided to API  To make such a request, please contact the email address below and specify the information or processing activities to which your request relates, the requested format for your Personal Data (provided it is commonly used), and whether the Personal Data shall be provided to you or another recipient. API will carefully review your request and discuss with you how it can be best implemented.

Furthermore, you can request from API that API restricts your Personal Data from any further processing in any of the following events:

  • You state that the Personal Data API has about you is incorrect, however, only for as long as API requires to check the accuracy of the relevant Personal Data;
  • There is no legal basis for API’s processing of your Personal Data and you demand that API restricts your Personal Data from further processing;
  • API no longer requires your Personal Data but you claim that you require such data in order to claim or exercise legal rights or to defend against third-party claims, or;
  • In case you object to the processing of your Personal Data by API for as long as it is required to review as to whether API has a prevailing interest or legal obligation in processing your Personal Data. Please direct any such request to privacy@apiabroad.com.

RIGHT TO LODGE A COMPLAINT

If you take the view that API is not processing your Personal Data in accordance with the requirements set out herein or applicable EEA data protection laws, you can at any time lodge a GDPR complaint with the data protection authority of the EEA country where you live.

Contact details for the EU data protection authorities can be found at http://ec.europa.eu/justice/data-protection/bodies/authorities/index_en.htm

API does not knowingly collect personally identifiable information from children under the age of thirteen (13) without verifiable parental consent. If it is determined that such information has been inadvertently collected on anyone under the age of thirteen (13), we shall immediately take the necessary steps to ensure that such information is deleted from our system’s database. Anyone under the age of thirteen (13) must seek and obtain parent or guardian permission to use this website.

UPDATING AND ACCESSING PERSONAL INFORMATION

If your personal information changes in any way, you must correct or update your information as soon as possible. You can make updates to your profile information by logging into your account on API at any time. You can also request changes or access to your information by emailing api@apiabroad.com

CHOICE/OPT-OUT

We may send you communications or data regarding our Services, including but not limited to

  • notices about your use of our Services, including any notices concerning violations of use;
  • updates, and;
  • promotional information and materials regarding our Services.

You may opt-out of receiving promotional emails from Us by following the opt-out instructions provided in those emails. You may also opt-out of receiving promotional emails and other promotional communications from us at any time by emailing api@apiabroad.com with your specific request. Opt-out requests will not apply to transactional service messages, such as security alerts and notices about your current account and Services.

ACCESS

EU and Swiss individuals have the right to access their Personal Information. Except as otherwise set forth below, upon written request (at the address provided below under the section of this Policy entitled “CONTACT US”), API shall allow such individuals to amend, correct or delete any of their Personal Information possessed by API that is inaccurate or that is being processed in violation of this Policy. The individual will need to provide sufficient identifying information. In some circumstances, we may charge a reasonable fee, where warranted, for access to such Personal Information.

DATA INTEGRITY & LIMITATIONS ON DATA USE

API shall only process and use Personal Information in a way that is compatible with and relevant for the purpose for which it was provided to API. To the extent necessary for those purposes, API shall take reasonable steps to ensure that Personal Information in our possession is accurate, complete, current and reliable for its intended use.

CHOICE

In accordance with this Policy and the Privacy Shield Principles, and except in connection with transfers to third parties performing tasks directly on our behalf and pursuant to our instructions, where we receive Personal Information directly from an EU or Swiss individual to which such Personal Information pertains, we will offer the individual the opportunity to choose (opt-out) whether his/her Personal Information is (1) disclosed to a third party; or (2) used for a purpose other than the purpose for which he/she provided consent. Anyone wishing to opt out can do so by contacting API at the address provided below under the section of this Policy entitled “CONTACT INFORMATION”

Where we receive Personal Information pertaining to EU and Swiss individuals directly from our clients (and not the individual to whom the Personal Information relates), we will cooperate with our clients’ reasonable requests to:

  • Assist them in informing the impacted individuals about (a) the possibility that we may disclose such individuals’ information to third parties and (b) the individual’s ability to opt out of such disclosures (except for disclosures to third parties performing tasks directly on our behalf and pursuant to our instructions); and
  • Reasonably ensure that we process the information for purposes compatible with those for which it was originally collected or subsequently authorized by the impacted individuals. Our clients will then inform us if any such individuals have opted out of such disclosures.

API reserves the right to share aggregated information about our customers, sales, and traffic to our partners and advertisers. We may disclose personal information to a third party:

  • To provide information to educational institutions that you attend, or desire to attend;
  • To provide the Services to you, including by providing personal information to any third parties (such as cloud services providers and universities) who we may partner with to provide the Services;
  • To comply with laws or respond to lawful requests and legal process;
  • To protect API, agents, customers, and others including to enforce our agreements, policies, and terms of use;
  • In the good faith belief that disclosure is needed to respond to an emergency, or protect the personal safety of any person;
  • In connection with an acquisition, merger, or sale of all or a substantial portion of our business, with or to another company. In such an event, you will receive notice if your data is transferred and becomes subject to a substantially different privacy policy;

This Policy in no way restricts or limits our collection and use of aggregate data, and we may share aggregate data about you and our users with third parties for various purposes in perpetuity, including to help us better understand our customer needs and improve our Services, to provide new Services and for advertising and marketing purposes.

In certain situations, we may be required to disclose personal data in response to lawful requests by public authorities, including to meet national security or law enforcement requirements.

API’s accountability for personal data that it receives under the Privacy Shield and subsequently transfers to a third party is described in the Privacy Shield Principles. In particular, API remains responsible and liable under the Privacy Shield Principles if third-party agents that it engages to process the personal data on its behalf do so in a manner inconsistent with the Principles unless API proves that it is not responsible for the event giving rise to the damage.

We take reasonable steps to protect the information we collect from you to prevent loss, misuse and unauthorized access, disclosure, alteration, and destruction.

The servers on which information is stored are kept in a controlled environment with limited access. While we take reasonable efforts to guard personal information we knowingly collect directly from you, no security system is impenetrable. In addition, we cannot guarantee that any -collected personal information you choose to include in documents you store on our systems are maintained at adequate levels of protection to meet specific needs or obligations you may have relating to that information.

We work with a third party data center, Amazon Web Services, WPengine, IOZOOM, Google Cloud, and Software as a Service providers to host our Websites, services, and software in secure production environments that use firewalls and other technology to reasonably prevent access from outside intruders. API also uses Secure Socket Layer (SSL) for authentication and private communications in an effort to build users’ trust and confidence in the internet and website use by providing simple and secure access and communication of credit card and personal information. Our credit card processing vendor uses security measures to protect your information, both during the transaction and after it’s complete. API Is certified compliant with all Payment Card Industry (PCI) DSS 3.2 standards.

API  complies with the EU-U.S. Privacy  Shield Framework and the Swiss-U.S. Privacy Shield Framework (collectively the “Frameworks”) as set forth by the US Department of Commerce regarding the collection, use, and retention of personal information from European Union member countries and Switzerland transferred to the United States pursuant to Privacy Shield.  API has certified that it adheres to the Privacy Shield Principles with respect to such data. If there is any conflict between the policies in this privacy policy and data subject rights under the Privacy Shield Principles, the Privacy Shield Principles shall govern. To learn more about the Privacy Shield program, and to view our certification page, please visit https://www.privacyshield.gov/

With respect to personal data received or transferred pursuant to the Privacy Shield Frameworks, API is subject to the regulatory enforcement powers of the U.S. Federal Trade Commission.

In compliance with the EU-U.S. and Swiss-U.S. Privacy Shield Principles (collectively, the “Privacy Shield Principles”), API commits to resolve complaints about your privacy and our collection or use of your personal information transferred to the United States pursuant to Privacy Shield. European Union and Swiss individuals with Privacy Shield inquiries or complaints should first contact API at the address provided below under the section of this Policy entitled “CONTACT INFORMATION”.

API has further committed to refer unresolved privacy complaints under the Privacy Shield Principles to an independent dispute resolution mechanism, the BBB EU PRIVACY SHIELD, operated by the Council of Better Business Bureaus. If you do not receive timely acknowledgment of your complaint, or if your complaint is not satisfactorily addressed, please visit www.bbb.org/EU-privacy-shield/for-eu-consumers for more information and to file a complaint. This service is provided free of charge to you.

If your Privacy Shield complaint cannot be resolved through the above channels, under certain conditions, you may invoke binding arbitration for some residual claims not resolved by other redress mechanisms.  See Privacy Shield Annex 1 at https://www.privacyshield.gov/article?id=ANNEX-I-introduction

VERIFICATION OF PRIVACY SHIELDS

API has undertaken a self-assessment verifying that this Policy conforms to the Privacy Shield Principles. We will continue to undertake annual self-assessments to verify that this Policy remains compliant with the Privacy Shield Principles and the Frameworks.

We may change this Policy from time to time. If we make any changes to this Policy, we will change the “last updated” date above. If there are material changes to this Policy and you have an active account with us, we will notify you more directly. We encourage you to check this Policy whenever you use any of Services to understand how your personal information is used.

If you have any questions, comments, or concerns about this privacy statement or the practices of the Websites, you can contact us:

Academic Programs International - API

301 Camp Craft, Ste 100

Austin, Texas, 78746

800.844.4124

privacy@apiabroad.com

Opt Out Email: optout@apiabroad.com

 

EFFECTIVE DATE OF POLICY AND UPDATE THIS POLICY

This Policy is effective as of May 24, 2018. API reviews this Policy from time to time and may make changes this Policy in connection with such review. We will post any changes to this Policy on these web pages following such change. You should check this page regularly to ensure you are familiar with any changes. You agree that any posted changes to this Policy will be binding on you.

Discover the api difference and why you should go abroad with api.

API GIVES BACK

API is committed to finding opportunities for its students to contribute to the communities in which they are living and learning abroad. Each semester, many API on-site directors organize an “API Gives Back Project” to promote greater understanding of local dynamics and provide further insight into the host culture. The API Gives Back Project may be an ongoing volunteer opportunity or a one-day commitment. Projects are often dedicated to supporting those in need or promoting environmental sustainability. For example, past students have participated in beach beautification projects in Italy and worked to promote the preservation of salt marshes in Spain. API students in other sites have painted local orphanages, organized theatrical events for seniors and children, and donated their time to support community organizations providing services to disabled children and adults.

API AND THE ENVIRONMENT

Becoming a global citizen involves not only learning about other cultures and places but also recognizing that each individual has an impact on the world. If you are looking for a study abroad, intern abroad, or volunteer abroad program with a "green focus," we have many options for you to choose from. Give us a call today at 1-800-844-4124 or email us at api@apiabroad.com for more information!

 

 

GET INVOLVED GLOBALLY

API offers many different kinds of opportunities to contribute to the world - whether that be on one of our teach, work, volunteer, or community-service programs, through an API Gives Back Project, the API Learning and Engagement Badge Program, or through reentry programming (like the API Global Leadership Academy). There are so many ways you can leave your mark on the world - so what are you waiting for!?

 

 

 

API PROGRAM REVIEWS

Many independent websites offer alumni the opportunity to submit reviews of their study, intern, teach, work, volunteer, gap, or high school abroad program in a public forum so that future students and participants may learn about their options from their peers.

Following is a list of some of the top sites where API students and participants have left reviews of their programs in the past, and where future students and participants may go for information to aid in their research.

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Abroad101 is the largest independent study abroad review site on the web, and API is one of the most (favorably) reviewed programs.

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Go Overseas Reviews – Go Overseas offers insightful articles, quizzes, and other fun study abroad resources as well as alumni reviews and interviews. Follow this link to read API’s program reviews.

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GoAbroad.com is one of the largest and most reputable study abroad listing sites and features a testimonials section per program. Follow this link to read API’s student/participant testimonials.

FB-f-Logo__blue_29  Fans of API have also left many reviews on our Facebook Page.

Contact API

API is committed to offering personalized student service, and a big part of this is listening to what our students tell us. We encourage prospective, current, and former students to follow up with us at any time at api@apiabroad.com or 1-800-844-4124.

API SOCIAL MEDIA

Travel writing, photography, and videography are not only great ways to chronicle and share your study abroad or international experience today, they can be invaluable tools to demonstrate what you've learned and how you've grown as a person (when applying for graduate school and/or future jobs). API encourages our participants to take advantage of their natural creativity and enthusiasm and showcase it for others through their social media profiles and through official API channels and programs.

Follow us on all the social things!

If you want to get the full API experience, consider following our social media accounts:

API Guest Blogger Application

    Guest posts are subject to approval. Guest posts may not contain content that is inappropriate, indecent or obscene. By submitting a guest blog entry, I give API the right to use and reproduce my post content. I have abided by licensing and copyright law. This includes but is not limited to: music, photos, and video. Should I infringe upon a copyright, API will not be held responsible. All submitted work is original.

Remember to share your travel experiences with API!

As you explore your new host city and do additional traveling, we encourage you to share your photos and journey on social media. Be sure to tag your photos on Instagram and Twitter with the #ispyapi hashtag, and when possible, @ mention us @apiabroad. Your photos may end up on API's social media profiles, and you could also win an Amazon gift card or other API swag/prizes!

API MEMBERSHIPS AND AFFILIATIONS

API takes its role as a leader in the field of international education very seriously, and it is our goal to continuously learn from and contribute to this community. To this end, API maintains an active membership in many professional organizations whose goals are to promote the ideals, standards, and best practices for study abroad and international education. Some of these professional affiliations include:

API on Better Business Bureau
The Better Business Bureau

API has been an accredited member of The Better Business Bureau since 2003.

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Diversity Abroad's Diversity Network

The Diversity in Global Education Network (“Diversity Network”) is the leading professional consortium of higher education institutions, government agencies, for-profit and non-profit organizations dedicated to advancing diversity and equity in international education.

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FORUM on Education Abroad

Located on the campus of Dickinson College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, The Forum on Education Abroad is the only organization whose exclusive purpose it is to serve the field of education abroad. The Forum's Standards of Good Practice are recognized as the definitive means by which the quality of education abroad programs may be judged. The Forum's Quality Improvement Program for Education Abroad (QUIP) uses the Standards as part of a rigorous self-study and peer review quality assurance program that is available to all Forum institutional members. API members regularly attend and present at Forum on Education Abroad conferences.Green PassportGreen Passport is part social network, part social movement. Its members are expected to acknowledge the interconnectedness of the world’s people and the environment. Members pledge to explore and take into account the social and environmental consequences of studying, living, working, traveling, or volunteering abroad and to try to improve these aspects of their international experience.

The Global Leadership League

API is a proud supporter and sponsor of the Global Leadership League, an organization dedicated to advancing women leaders in the field of international education. The organization's vision is to provide an opportunity for women at all levels in the field to connect with others through structured mentoring circles, local and regional meet-ups to discuss hot topics and Global Leadership League content, and online forums and interactive spaces to examine issues important to women in the field of international education. As a leading international education organization run by women directors, API supports the Global Leadership League's efforts to empower women at every opportunity.

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NAFSA - Association of International Educators

NAFSA is an association of individuals worldwide advancing international education and exchange and global workforce development. NAFSA serves international educators and their institutions and organizations by establishing principles of good practice, providing training and professional development opportunities, providing networking opportunities, and advocating for international education. API is a Global Associate of NAFSA, and API staff regularly attend, exhibit, and present at regional and national conferences.

National Council of Less Commonly Taught Languages (NCOLCTL)

NCOLCTL's mission is to increase the number of Americans who choose to learn one or more of the less commonly taught languages (LCTLs) as a means of enhancing cross-cultural communication among citizens of the United States. NCOLCTL's work focuses on the less commonly taught languages which are becoming increasingly vital to the security, economic, social and political welfare of the United States. NCOLCTL seeks to improve the teaching and learning of these languages and to make them more generally available. NCOLCTL is the national voice for organizations and individuals who represent the teaching of these less commonly taught languages at both the collegiate and precollegiate level. NCOLCTL also promotes the use of technology, especially computers and the Internet, to enable a new era in cross-cultural understanding, communication, and language education.

OSAC - Overseas Security Advisory Council

The Overseas Security Advisory Council (OSAC) was created in 1985 under the Federal Advisory Committee Act to promote security cooperation between American private sector interests worldwide and the U.S. Department of State. API is a member of OSAC's Academic Security Working Group.

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USA Gap Year Fairs

USA Gap Year Fairs is a national circuit of events that bring together reputable Gap Year organizations, interested students and parents, high school college counselors and Gap Year experts. API is a Keystone member of the organization and attends nearly 40 fairs per year around the country.