Here’s the scenario: You decide to study abroad, it’s a whirlwind of excitement planning it, the big departure day arrives and it feels like the next day you’re back home. Now what?  By studying abroad with CEA, you have the opportunity to take your study abroad journey even further. How? Be a MOJO Blogger or Photographer program during your time abroad, and then join the CEA Alumni Ambassador after you return home. While students join these programs for a variety of reasons, the bottom line is that both programs can be an extension and expansion of your study abroad journey—why stop now?  Want to Share Your Study Abroad Memories? (Photos From Past MOJO Participants.) 5 Reasons to be a CEA MOJO Blogger or Photographer: Real documentation of your study abroad experience. We’ve all been there: travel journals that go untouched, camera equipment that lives in its box, blog posts that start out with, “I know it’s been a while…” The CEA MOJO Blogger & Photographer programs means you’ll already have a full recap of your time abroad! Build your portfolio. Both MOJO programs include your work being published on CEA’s blog and across our social media sites. Whether you’re an aspiring writer, photographer, or consider either a hobby, this is a great way to showcase your work! Take your journey further. You’re in for an amazing study abroad experience. The MOJO program allows you to take that one step further and look at your study abroad experience through a different lens (literally!). As a MOJO Blogger, maybe you’ll get to know more about the local nonprofit a fellow study abroad student interns with. Or, maybe you’ll get off the beaten track to take photos of a local festival you wouldn’t have noticed. The opportunities to take your study abroad experience one step further are endless! Round out your resume. What inspired your blog post? How did you put a creative spin on a blog or photography assignment? Your time as a CEA MOJO means real-world career skills after you come home from study abroad. Your semester spent completing all requirements as a MOJO Blogger or Photographer = an iPad or $500! All Fall 2014 CEA study abroad students are eligible to apply. Check out the full program details and apply by Friday, July 25 !   5 Reasons to be a CEA Alumni Ambassador: Share your journey. You had an amazing time studying abroad, you have tips to share with other students, and you want to help spread study abroad awareness. And that’s exactly what CEA Alumni Ambassadors do! Build your resume. Graduation is around the corner—is your resume ready? CEA’s Alumni Ambassador program could be just what your resume needs to stand out. Love interacting on campus or online? CEA’s Alumni Ambassador positions can offer a combination of these activities. Whether you’re finding creative ways to reach out to students at your school’s study abroad fair, or posting your adventures on Instagram, you’ll have the opportunity to mingle with other students. Beef up your post-grad skills. Leadership? Check! Communication? Yup! Thinking outside the box? Definitely! Have all of those skills, plus more, ready for wherever your post-study abroad career takes you. Join another study abroad family. Think the friends you made while studying abroad were the end of your new connections? As a CEA Alumni Ambassador, you’ll get to connect with other Alumni Ambassadors from across the U.S., plus CEA team members. All former CEA study abroad students are eligible to apply. Check out the full program details and apply by Tuesday, July 22 .     Share all of Your Favorite Study Abroad Moments as an Alumni Ambassador or MOJO!

[via CEA Study Abroad Programs]

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With their sights set on diversifying campus while reaching students on an international basis, representatives from King’s College have returned from a trip to Turkey, where several academic partnerships were established. On the trip, King’s President Rev. John Ryan and Dr. Fevzi Akinci, associate dean of the William G. McGowan School of Business, met with of not-for-profit universities to share several school initiatives. The agreement calls for a “2+2” commitment between the student and the school, in which a student would take two years of courses at one of the participating Turkish schools and finish the remaining two years at King’s, receiving a degree from both.

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For Josh, a Fall 2013 CEA Costa Rica study abroad alum and recent University of North Texas grad, studying abroad helped him take his business skills to the next level.  Josh Lagunez CEA San Jose Fall ’13 Alum & Alumni Ambassador In addition to improving his Spanish-speaking skills, Josh credits his study abroad and CEA Alumni Ambassador experience with helping him further develop his leadership, communication, and global perspective. CEA: Why did you choose to study abroad? Josh: The fact is, relationships between countries are growing and the international community collaborates more than ever before. It ’ s wise to be familiar with another country ’ s language and culture, and the best way to do that is to be present in that country. The adventurous side of me had a lot to do with it, too. I was encouraged to step out of my comfort zone, and I ’ m all the better for doing so. CEA: How have you changed because of your abroad experience? Josh: I developed leadership qualities through learning how to make independent choices in an unfamiliar place and by looking out for fellow students. I also feel even more adventurous than before. Obviously, my Spanish has improved dramatically, but I also feel both mentally and physically stronger. Plus, studying abroad was also an opportunity to form lifelong relationships. CEA: How has your study abroad experience impacted your life, academics, and/or future career goals? Josh: I’m focused on a career that doesn’t confine me to the United States, but instead is on a global level. I got a taste of how much is out there, and I don’t want to waste global opportunities. CEA: How has the ambassador experience helped you after returning home and with your future career goals? Josh: First, it helped me stick with the CEA family a little longer. Second, encouraging people to study abroad through presentations, promotions, and one-on-one interactions has really improved my communication ability. CEA: Why do you think it ’ s important for all students to study abroad? Josh: It is important for all students because it takes you on a journey of personal growth. Also, studying abroad makes you all the more familiar with and prepared for globalization. It is also an invaluable opportunity to see how people live in contrast to the U.S. CEA: If you could give any piece of advice to other male students considering study abroad, what would it be? Josh: I hope that you at least have the confidence to consider it further. Do research on potential countries and talk to more people who have studied abroad. It ’ s an awesome experience and I hope you go for it! Josh Lagunez is a CEA Alumni Ambassador and is a recent grad from the University of North Texas. He studied abroad in San Jose in Fall 2013.

[via CEA Study Abroad Programs]

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Some of you may have just returned home from your adventure abroad this Spring. Others of you may have recently arrived for a life-changing summer on another continent, and quite a few of you reading this are eagerly anticipating the start of the Fall semester when you’ll embark on your own long-awaited study abroad experience. Since the process can be both lengthy and daunting, we polled some of your CEA Site Specialists here in Phoenix on how you can make the most of the long months leading up to your CEA study abroad departure, including tips on making the preparatory period easier—for them and you! Approve Everything “The more courses you get approved by your home university now, the more options you will have for courses abroad. Be sure to get twice as many courses approved by your university than you actually plan on taking while studying abroad. Similar to your university here, classes can be scheduled at the same time and canceled due to low enrollment. The more course options you have, the smoother the course registration process will be.” – Michelle Esche, Site Specialist for Spain Keep Calm, and Trust Your Checklist “Having gone through the visa process myself twice, I know how stressful it is to book an appointment, compile your mountain of documents (and copies!), go in person to the consulate, and then ultimately leave your American passport in the hands of a foreign government. At the end of the day, as long as you have done your due diligence, you can rest reasonably assured that all will be well and you will have your visa safely in hand by the time of your departure. Rather than driving yourself crazy worrying about the status of the visa, savor your last few months at home. You’ll be back before you know it.” – Ed Carlin, Site Specialist for France & Spain Don’t Put Off What You Can Do Today “My advice would be to start planning early! You have made it into the program, but that is only the beginning. Log on to your MyCEA account, and start completing the easy tasks now! This way you don’t have to do them when you’re busy with school and applying for a visa, selecting courses, and deciding on housing. There’s a lot to do before going abroad and it can seem overwhelming, so take a few minutes to knock out some of the small items right away! Send us your digital photo, enter in your passport information, fill out your medical questionnaire, let us know who your emergency contact is, etc. All this information is important for your preparation and very useful to the international staff.” – Tara Kilkenny, Site Specialist for Ireland, China, Spain, & Italy Stay Tuned “We are here to help you be successful in your study abroad planning! Be sure to keep an eye out for information, updates, and bulletins we send out via email and Facebook. They are stocked full of important tips and dates to help make your pre-departure process as successful and stress-free as possible!” – Melissa Morris, Site Specialist for Italy and the Czech Republic There you have it. Most of studying abroad entails planning far ahead, so get out there, check off those to-do lists, and enjoy the rest of your summer–we’re here if you need anything!

[via CEA Study Abroad Programs]

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We’ve had an awesome summer meeting several of our Alumni Ambassador team members on the blog, but we couldn’t put the spotlight on them without also sharing more about the CEA team member behind the program, Kristi Ellison.  Kristi Ellison, CEA Alumni Relations Coordinator (Pictured at Piazza Michelangelo overlooking Florence.) As CEA’s Alumni Relations Coordinator and the CEA Alumni Ambassador point-of-contact, she has been able to weave her CEA Florence study abroad experience into a fulltime job. By joining the CEA Alumni Ambassador team, you’ll not only join a dynamic team of study abroad enthusiasts and start a new chapter of your study abroad journey, but you’ll also get to work with a CEA team member who shares your passion for spreading study abroad awareness!  (Plus, don’t miss out on the chance to join the Alumni Ambassador team ! Applications are due by Tuesday, July 15.) Kristi on a CEA Excursion to San Gimignano with Fellow CEA Florence Spring ’10 Students CEA: Tell us about yourself. Kristi: I studied abroad with CEA during the Spring 2010 semester (wow, four years already??) in Florence, Italy. I felt so incredibly impacted by my time abroad, I figured pursuing a career in international education would be the best way for me to stay connected with my experience, further learn from it, and contribute to the greater initiative to inspire other students to get out there and explore the world.   Easter in the Piazza della Repubblica Near the CEA Center I joined CEA specifically because the Alumni Relations Coordinator position description just spoke to me. As a CEA alumna, I was interested in helping build an Ambassador Program and further expanding Alumni Relations. Those resources didn’t exist when I returned and they would have been greatly beneficial for the reentry process. Kristi Making a Pizza at Dante’s, her  Favorite Florentine Trattoria CEA: What does your role with the Alumni Ambassador team include? Kristi: Anything and everything Ambassador-related. I’m responsible for appointing ambassadors, training them, coordinating program meetings and responsibilities, and supporting them throughout their tenure as an ambassador. Support includes helping them brainstorm and execute outreach ideas on their campus, ensuring that they are fully equipped and performing well, and providing career-advising sessions. A lot of our ambassadors are focused on going abroad again (work, grad school, etc.) and they regularly seek guidance for abroad opportunities and professional development. CEA: What do you love about your job? Kristi: Simple–our ambassadors. They truly are an inspirational team; all of them have their own unique experiences and significant Kristi & her Mom at the San Lorenzo Market lessons they learned from studying abroad. I love interacting with them because they challenge each other and myself to incorporate the ways in which we’ve changed from our journeys in daily living and future aspirations. In regards to my work, I love the developmental and leadership aspects. This role provides amazing opportunity for me to consistently be innovative, creative, and take initiative. CEA: Most rewarding part of your job Kristi: Helping our ambassadors “complete the study abroad cycle.” I help them learn how to further reflect on their time abroad, articulate their growth and change in perspective, leverage their new understanding in future encounters and aspirations, and to continue to think global. It’s the most rewarding shared accomplishment when our ambassadors successfully land their first job out of college, get into grad school, or continue their journeys abroad after learning how to incorporate their study abroad experience and professional development as an ambassador. That’s what it’s all about – continued growth.   Meeting with Meghan Sekely, Spring ’13 Alumni Ambassador at West Chester University of Pennsylvania & Aix-en-Provence Spring ’12 Alumna CEA: What impresses you most about the Alumni Ambassador team? Kristi: Their maturity and passion. They blow my mind. I remember who I was when I was their age and realize that we share the same passion for wanderlust and intention to utilize this newfound identity study abroad taught us about ourselves. The funny thing is that it’s subconscious most of the time. Most ambassadors have no idea what that actually means to utilize the power of their newfound identity and perspective. Their evolution from study abroad supplies them with a unique power to change the world, and they’re just beginning to realize that. Kristi & the Spring 2013 Veteran Alumni Ambassadors Meeting Online University of Arizona Spring ’13 Mixer (left to right) Savannah Cherry (Spring ’13 Ambassador and Barcelona Spring ’12 alumna), Kristi, & Daisha Hart (Veteran Fall ’12 & Spring ’13 Ambassador and Barcelona Spring ’12 alumna) CEA: What have you learned from the Alumni Ambassador team? Kristi: I’ve learned on a much deeper level how study abroad actually changes people. I’ve learned what that growth means, rather than just commonly promoted benefits such as “global competence, employment advantage, etc.” They helped me truly understand beyond all the articles how studying abroad actually transforms people in so many different ways and just how powerful that can be for ourselves, our community, and our global position. University of Arizona Spring 2014 Study Abroad Fair. Kristi with six Members of the CEA Alumni Ambassador Team. Kristi on a CEA Excursion to Tuscany Hillside Towns with her Beginning Italian Language Instructor, Martina Ghiandelli CEA: Who would you encourage to join the Alumni Ambassador team? Kristi: Any CEA alum who needs an outlet to share their experience, is looking to collaborate and network with fellow enthusiasts, is intentional about continuing their growth and professional development, and more importantly, feels devoted to our shared effort of inspiring more students to go abroad and embark on their own journey.

[via CEA Study Abroad Programs]

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Each Wednesday night without fail, Elizabeth Sierra-Arruffatt prepares a home-cooked meal for a group of students who have traveled across the world to study here at Pierce College. As a Pierce alum, Sierra-Arruffatt got to know many international students while she was in school, and developed a great respect for the bravery it takes to study in a foreign country. For the past three years, she has opened her home to international students, and makes it her mission to help them acclimate to American culture. As many as three students would live with her at a time, either temporarily before finding an apartment of their own, or for as long as the entire academic year.

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It’s been more than 30 years since Takami Nakagawa and Rie Yoshida studied at Boise State University. Takami was a 21-year-old from Tokyo. He studied English and business at schools in California for two years before deciding to get his bachelor’s degree at Boise State. Rie was a 25-year-old from Osaka, Japan. She had earned an associate degree from Osaka Christian College, and a mentor at the YMCA where she worked recommended she finish her studies at Boise State. She had never been to the U.S. Read more about their experiences in this article.

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When Oxford College Professor Frank Maddox goes to China on sabbatical this fall, studying business culture and central banking to enhance what he brings to his economics classes will be only part of the picture.

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Patrick Gradus is a recent grad from St. Norbert College and an Associate Alumni Ambassador (Prague Fall’13). Life begins at the boundaries of our comfort zone. By breaking the mundane routine we fall into at school, study abroad can challenge and transform your life. It’s a unique opportunity that offers more than a chance to live and study in a foreign country. It can help you gain confidence, independence, develop language proficiency, or simply broaden your global perspective. For many it is the first chance to not only leave the United States, but also their hometown. My study abroad experience was a combination of all the above with an emphasis on self-discovery — because it was also the first time I wasn’t identified as an identical twin. My identical twin brother, Mike, and I are very close. We played the same position on the same college football team, became founding fathers of the same fraternity and ended up with the same majors. To this day, coaches and friends still have trouble calling us by the correct given name. This makes it understandable why most people have only known me within that context. Patrick Gradus (right) with his mother (center), and brother, Mike (left) Patrick Gradus (#63) with fellow teammates including brother, Mike (#53), and Czech friend, Petr (#50 – far right) Before Mike and I headed our separate ways to study abroad,  we planned to meet in Prague and travel together through the winter holidays. As the time got closer, the idea of reuniting with my brother after separate study abroad programs was intimidating. We’d spoken four times over the course of our programs and I had not seen him since I left the United States four months earlier. It felt as if I was meeting with a familiar stranger. In the past, walking alone into a room usually prompted questions rather than a greeting: “Hey where’s Mike?” or “Why isn’t your brother with you?” This made it all the more surreal in Prague when witnessing friends and neighbors stand in bewilderment at the sight of my twin brother when he came to visit. For months, they had heard stories and seen pictures, but now “Desert-Pat” (short for Patrick and due to his studies in Amman, Jordan), stood in front of them, complete with a long red beard and traditional Arab scarf. Patrick (left) and Mike (right) with their French relatives. Patrick (left) and Mike (right). Our study abroad program choices were based on the regional focus of our majors. Mike’s focus was on the Middle East. His program involved a home-stay family, and small classes with a heavy emphasis on independent academic research. My CEA Prague program was more traditional: live with other American students and attend a local university. He could not leave Jordan without program supervisors, whereas I could go wherever my wallet allowed. It was clear upon his arrival at Prague’s Václav Havel International Airport that our experiences were as different as the countries we lived in. The culture shock — alcohol sales, public displays of affection, and Caucasian people — were an adjustment for him. Luckily, Prague’s Christmas Markets in Old Town Square, a plate of goulash, and a few Pilsner Urquell’s cheered him up. While I tried to help by telling stories about the places we visited and my experiences abroad, the retelling of my stories was an oddly introspective experience for me. Sharing the sites of the city and my stories with him allowed me to better appreciate the growth I’d undergone. Mike (left) and Patrick (right). Seeing the life I built in Prague collide with the life I have at home was eye opening. For the first time in my life, people knew me as an individual and not in relation to another person. This may sound obvious, but never before had a group of people known me without knowing my brother. Without study abroad, witnessing this stark contrast likely would not have been possible for me. Every protagonist starts with an origin story. Superman is an alien orphaned on Earth, and Batman watched his parents die. Prompted by a challenge or quest, the main character goes through a transformati on experience forcing personal growth. A spider bit Peter Parker, Bruce Wayne learned how to fight and I studied abroad. Although international education never gave me super strength or laser vision, it did afford me opportunities that would have otherwise been impossible. Most importantly, it offers the capacity for extraordinary personal growth. Patrick Gradus is a CEA Associate Alumni Ambassador and a recent graduate from St. Norbert College. Patrick studied abroad in Prague , Czech Republic, during the Fall 2013 semester.

[via CEA Study Abroad Programs]

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Read about the award we were recently given, The Paul Simon Award: http://global.rutgers.edu/news/865-rutgers-university-wins-2014-senator-paul-simon-award-for-comprehensive-internationalization

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