Our team is located all across Asia Pacific and the United States. TEAN headquarters are based in Chicago. Learn more about our team and the amazing people that help make TEAN the experts in the Asia Pacific.

USA Based Staff

Lily Andrules

Associate Regional Director

Lily had her first international experience when she traveled to Reutlingen, Germany in high school on an exchange program. While completing her Bachelor of Arts at Temple University, she studied and interned abroad in London during the fall semester of her junior year. When she returned, she realized that she had grown a huge passion for promoting students to think and live globally, and started to pursue a career in the field of international education. Prior to joining TEAN, she had the opportunity to work in student services and institutional relations.

Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

Q&A

What keeps you busy outside of your work for TEAN?
I’m definitely one of those people who feels like they’re never busy enough. I’m on the board in my alma mater’s alumni association in Chicago (Go Temple Owls!). I also am on the associates board for Streetwise, a non profit in the Chicago area that provides job opportunities and other services for Chicago’s homeless. I also run a food blog with my sister in my spare time.

Your undergraduate degree was in Film and Media Arts, what led your to your current role?
This is a question I get asked a lot. After studying abroad I worked at my college’s study abroad office. I realized that no matter how difficult or challenging work was, I still loved my job with all my heart. As soon as I realized this, I threw myself into international education and study abroad advising as much as I could to get experience…eventually it led me to TEAN!

What is the most rewarding part of your job?
The most rewarding part is when I hear back from students about how incredible their time abroad was or see their photos on the #TEANabroad tag on Instagram. Knowing that they’re having a great experience is very rewarding.

As a passionate foodie, what have been some of the food highlights from your travels?
Korean barbecue is equal parts a flavor and cultural experience. My favorite spot was this little place that was just barely big enough to stand up in that we went to during a TEAN Orientation in Seoul. During a different TEAN Orientation in Shanghai, one of the coolest experiences was when we went to a cooking class and learned to make xiaolongbao (soup dumplings). It really takes a lot of precision when making these, and they definitely didn’t all turn out perfect, but it was very rewarding and delicious to eat what we had made.

What is your favorite travel or study abroad quote and why?
“I haven’t been everywhere but it’s on my list” – Susan Sontag I love this one because for me it’s not just enough to go to a country once. It’s important to really immerse and learn about people different than you. It broadens your opinions and your ways of thinking, and makes you more understanding and sympathetic.

Russ Alexander

Director of Programs and Development

Russ was involved with the first group of US study abroad students to come to Australia in the late 1980s. He studied abroad as a high school student for a year in Tyler, Texas and a semester at Georgetown University in Washington DC. Russ graduated from the University of New South Wales in Sydney, where he also became the Associate Director for Study Abroad. Russ joined the Study Australia team in 2000 and now directs the programs in Asia and is responsible for the educational design elements of our Australian/South Pacific programs. Russ is based in Chicago.

Pronouns: He/Him/His

Q&A

What is your role at TEAN?
I am one of the Directors and co-owners of TEAN. Most of my main responsibilities sit in the development of our programs and the institutional relationships of our partner universities abroad.

What makes the Asia Pacific great for studying, interning and living abroad?
The diversity of the region stands out and for many Americans it still provides an option from the well-trodden study abroad pathways to Europe. This part of the world offers pretty much everything from the incredible natural beauty of New Zealand, the South Pacific and Australia through to the fascinating and welcoming cultures of Southeast Asia to the cutting edge technologies and dynamic cities of China and South Korea.

What is your favorite TEAN event?
My favorite event is our annual TEAN Fun Run that takes place at NAFSA (the largest International Education Conference in the world). The conference attracts around 10,000 attendees and is a blur of meetings, sessions and receptions. We decided 6 years ago that instead of holding another cocktail event like everyone else we would donate that money instead. We invited colleagues to show up to a 1K walk or 5K run through the city and we donate a sum to a different charity annually based on the number of participants. It’s a fun outdoorsy event that gets people out of the conference venue and does make a difference. In 5 years we have donated over $22,000 to charities as diverse as the Christchurch and Nepal Earthquake Appeals, a special Thai school for burmese refugees and an American charity that rehabilitates those affected by drug and alcohol.

What does TEAN’s core value Choose Earth mean to you?
That every single decision we make as individuals has an impact and a consequence. We have a responsibility to leave this place better than we found it. By making simple, informed decisions around our everyday actions, we can improve the lives of people we have never met by reducing global inequalities and fostering social justice and fairness, plus we can protect our planet for future generations by reducing our own environmental footprint.

How would you describe the TEAN Chicago office to someone who hasn’t been there before?
We are located in the Chicago downtown area of River North occupying an entire floor of an old red brick warehouse building. Our offices are open plan, creative spaces with our large wooden beamed ceilings a defining feature. Giant amoeba desks with plants growing from them, Thai day beds, bean bags, cycle desks and and an office dog attempt to create a relaxed, informal work space with a welcoming, youthful vibe. Communal areas like our kitchen and lounges add a family feel but mostly I hope we have a pleasant, friendly environment that fosters information sharing and efficiency through its design.

Kora Alexander

Official Office Dog

Kora joined the team in 2013. She is a graduate (and rescue) of the The Anti-Cruelty Society across the street from the Chicago office. Kora’s main responsibilities include welcoming all office visitors, afternoon naps in the sun and spreading smiles. She also occasionally attends study abroad fairs to help get the word out about TEAN programs. Her favorite part of working from the Chicago office is all the attention, treats and love her TEAN family give her.

Photo of Allison Bader

Allison Bader

Assistant Program Manager

Originally from Missouri, Allison’s experience as an exchange student at the University of Manchester in England during her junior year made her eager for more international experience. After graduating from the University of Missouri, Allison taught English in Busan, South Korea for two years and then worked in the study abroad office at the University of Missouri. Prior to joining TEAN, she was a Program Assistant at Northwestern University. She loves to share her enthusiasm and experience with TEAN students to help them study abroad!

Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

Molly Cain

Regional Director

Molly was a Russian major at the University of Texas at Austin.  She worked in lived in Russia and the former republics on and off from 1991-1997.  After settling back in the US she began her career in the world of study abroad by joining AIU London (now Regents University) where she worked for ten years.  In 2011, she expanded her knowledge of western Europe by joining SAI Programs.  She has extensive knowledge about design programs and worked closely with universities developing curriculum integration for their students. She currently resides in Austin, Texas with her family and works on the TEAN campus relations team.

Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

Nancy Clarke

Regional Director

Nancy has been a TEAN Regional Director based in New England since 2006. She has lived abroad in Melbourne, Australia, and London, England and has traveled extensively on all continents with the exception of Antarctica. She has a bachelor’s degree from the University of New Hampshire and a master’s degree from Monash University in Melbourne, Australia.

Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

Q&A

Tell us about your role at TEAN?
I am the Regional Manager responsible for the six New England states. It is a great job as I work with many different colleges and universities. Meeting staff and students who are interested in study abroad is so fulfilling.

How did you first come to work for TEAN?
I was study abroad advisor at University of New Hampshire (UNH) working with TEAN for a number of years. They were one of my favorite providers because of the level of service they gave to staff, students and families. When they were looking for someone to work in institutional relations in New England, I knew that was the right move for me and I haven’t look back since 2006.

What do you think makes TEAN unique?
The level and delivery of service and working one student at a time. Everyone at TEAN strives to go above and beyond, which they do on an everyday basis. Every student is treated as an individual and so most customized requests can be met Also the programming is so rich both culturally and experientially rich. We exceed expectations and students love their TEAN experience.

What have been some of your favorite highlights from your travels?
I loved being a part of the three-day faculty led excursion to the Golden Triangle in Thailand. I learned so much about our academics and on-site program while getting a deeper appreciation of that cohort of students and what students would do well in Thailand. Another fond memory is my first Australia site visit with TEAN as a UNH study abroad advisor. I met such amazing people – participants and TEAN staff. I saw the academic system through another lens (not the MBA student but the study abroad advisor lens) and I knew then TEAN was the real deal. The on-site staff at each location were the most incredibly dedicated group of professionals I had ever met and many of them are still with TEAN today, 14 years later.

You’ve been to every continent except Antarctica, what destination is next on your bucket list?
Last April I went to Northern Vietnam because the TEAN Thailand students told me I would love trekking in Sapa – they were right and it was an amazing experience being high in the mountains staying in local homes. My bucket list is long and dynamic – currently high on the list are: climbing Kilimanjaro, trekking in Nepal, biking in Cambodia and Laos, riding camels in Morocco, visiting Moab and the national parks there, and having tea in London.

Hannah DeMilta

Marketing Manager

Hannah first fell in love with Australia when she studied abroad with The Education Abroad Network at Bond University on the Gold Coast. Two years later, she moved to Sydney to pursue her career in digital marketing, working with both up and coming startups to well-known clients such as Nestle and IBM. After four years she returned back to the US to join TEAN at Chicago HQ. Hannah is a graduate of Otterbein University in Ohio where she majored in Public Relations with a Deaf Culture and Language minor.

Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

Q&A

Where have you traveled in Asia Pacific?
I studied abroad with TEAN on the Gold Coast of Australia when I was a student. It was my first time out of the country and ignited my love for this part of the world. Less than two years later, I graduated and decided to move back to Australia. I spent four years living in Sydney. I’ve had the opportunity to see a lot of Australia and visited New Zealand, Bali, Fiji, Japan, Hong Kong. I have visited our TEAN locations in Seoul, Shanghai and Singapore. Most recently I spent some time in Thailand and Myanmar.

What do you work on at TEAN?
I’m part of the marketing team. I work on a range of projects including help managing our social media accounts to working with TEAN Alum who are part of our Global Ambassador program. We are relatively small team, so we wear many hats – I like the variety and it makes you prioritize what matters most to work smarter.

What are some must-dos for a first time visitor to Sydney?
Many of my Sydney tips tend to revolve around food. Line up at Messina for gelato and try one of their inventive flavor combinations. Wait for a cool day and head to Laksa Malay Chinese Takeaway on Hunter Street. Enjoy weekend brunch in Surry Hills at Devon Cafe or Paramount Coffee Project. Get fish and chips from Fishmongers in Manly for takeaway to sit and have near the beach. Meet friends for a drink on the Rooftop of the Glenmore Hotel in The Rocks for a view of the city. Have an Aussie favorite, chicken schnitzel, at Una’s Restaurant in Darlinghurst. Treat yourself to a special dinner out at Porteno.

What advice do you have for returnees who experience reverse culture shock?
It’s a weird feeling to come home from study abroad and to feel out of place. My biggest advice is to take comfort in knowing you’re not alone, and that it’s not a permanent state. Coming home and feeling uncomfortable is a sign your outlook has changed. It’s a positive thing. For me, realizing that was a catalyst for my move back to Australia. However, I’ve seen it motivate different people in different ways, whether that’s a changed career path to just a new attitude toward the world. Don’t let reverse culture shock slow you down, embrace it and then grow from it.

If you were going to study abroad tomorrow on a TEAN program where would you go?
I would study on our Semester in Shanghai program. When I visited there I loved the neighbourhood that surrounds Fudan University and the TEAN off-campus apartments. Shanghai reminded me of a New York, there was so much to see and experience. I felt like it was a place I could stay for years and still not fully know it, because there would always be more to explore. I like that quality about big cities.

Nick Falzone

Program Manager

Nick is a graduate of Loyola University Chicago with a bachelor’s degree in Psychology. After studying abroad for a year in Rome, Italy and Vienna, Austria, he was eager to continue learning about the world. He was first introduced to TEAN at a local returnee conference in 2013 and has been pursuing his new found love of international education ever since. Nick has traveled to Australia several times with TEAN to help lead orientations, summer programs and visit partner universities. He is grateful for the opportunity to help students experience the incredible benefits of studying abroad.

Pronouns: He/Him/His

Q&A

Where have you traveled through Asia Pacific?
I have traveled to Australia multiple times on work trips with TEAN. Outside of Australia I’ve had the incredible opportunity to visit Thailand and Singapore. We have a TEAN employee travel incentive program that encourages our team to spend holiday time in the countries where we work.

What has been a favorite memory from your travels?
During a free day while traveling with one of our summer programs in Australia, I swam in the Pacific ocean with sea turtles and tiger sharks. It was the first time I had scuba dived and it was so incredibly beautiful under the water. Our new Australian Orientation Excursion in Cairns includes an introductory dive on the Great Barrier Reef, so I hope all of our students get to share in the kind of experience I had.

What is your favorite travel or study abroad quote and why?
It’s some variation on “Everything you learned while you were abroad doesn’t stay where you studied. You will always have it with you and must apply it to your life back home.” I heard it during an Lessons From Abroad conference re-entry session and it truly was a turning point in getting over my post-program reverse culture shock.

What is your advice for a student who is on the fence about studying abroad?
Get off the fence and get onto a plane! Jokes aside, my advice would be to absolutely do it, against all odds. Traveling in general, but specifically studying abroad, shakes up your world in a way that only leaving your home country can. Your entire foundation of who you think you are and what the world is like is tilted, and you’re able to rebuild it all within completely new parameters. Studying abroad is still the most productive and transformative thing I’ve done.

What one song belongs on your ‘study abroad soundtrack’ and why?
If I have to give a shout out to only one; I’ll say Ribs by Lorde (who is from Auckland, New Zealand by the way). The song is hauntingly nostalgic and contemplative around youth and hanging onto precious memories, particularly from childhood. It’s a nod towards the days of being innocent. Studying abroad is akin to that same sentiment because it is a chance to be innocent, and new again, in your adult life. The experiences you have while studying abroad are invaluable and in the shock of it ending all you want is to get them all back to relive on repeat. The lesson is that you’ll never lose them; like childhood memories, they’ll always be with you.

Kate Hilby

Senior Program Manager

Kate studied abroad with The Education Abroad Network at Deakin University in Melbourne, Australia where her passion for international education and travel was ignited. Her study abroad experience impacted her so much that upon her return stateside, she became a TEAN Student Ambassador at The University of Iowa while completing her degree in Communication Studies. After graduation, she returned to Melbourne for a year where she worked for a university on the Marketing and Student Recruitment team. Kate has since lived in New Zealand for a year, and is currently TEAN’s New Zealand and Fiji Programs Manager and team lead.

Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

Q&A

Tell us a little about what you do at TEAN?
I currently work on our New Zealand and Thailand programs. My role as team lead and Program Manager is to make sure everything on these programs is running smoothly working with our team. It includes everything from making sure students have pre-departure information on time to making sure they submit all of the items they need to study abroad (i.e. transcripts, courses, contracts, arrival details, payments, visa confirmations).

Where did you study abroad?
I studied with TEAN in Melbourne, Australia at Deakin University. It’s a more traditional campus, just outside the city but being able to live in the city and commute gave me the best of both worlds. Honestly, Melbourne has something for everyone – think sporting events, art, music, theatre, comedy, laneway cafes/restaurants/bars, shopping, the list goes on. Melbourne is consistently ranked as one of the world’s most liveable cities, so why wouldn’t you choose to study there? If you’re looking for a Melbourne equivalent in New Zealand, check out Wellington known as the coolest little capital in the world. It’s a smaller city, but that makes it an easy city to get around by foot. It’s a very accessible city for study abroad students.

What brought you back to Melbourne to live and work after graduation?
When I graduated, I knew I wanted to return to Australia. My time studying abroad had given me that exposure to living abroad and I wanted to spend more time there as a professional. For my career, It was great to gain work experience at a university abroad. I’m so glad I went down this path or I might not have ended up at TEAN today!

Packing for study abroad is always a challenge and popular topic, as a frequent flyer – what insider tips do you have for someone packing for the semester?
I’ve become pretty good at packing light over the years since there have been so many times earlier on where I’ve overpacked. I took half of my closet and never touched the majority of it. You will hear the advice – pack everything you think you’ll need then take half of it – and it’s so true. My other advice is to pack articles of clothing you can mix and match to create different outfits to help reduce items. Also try to keep the shoe situation under control, they take up a lot of room. Bring a couple pairs that are super versatile (and comfortable).

If you were going to study abroad tomorrow on a TEAN program where would you go?
I’m biased, but I would study on one of our New Zealand programs. Since working with our TEAN New Zealand students, I’ve had the opportunity to travel to New Zealand several times and have visited all program locations. I also recently lived in New Zealand for a year based out of Auckland. I love the idea of going for a semester, joining a tramping club on campus and getting out into the beauty of New Zealand in my free time!

Kristen Jackson

Senior Program Manager

Kristen’s passion for study abroad began after her first trip overseas to Spain in high school and she has been a travel nut ever since. She is originally from Wisconsin, studied at the University of Minnesota for her undergraduate degree, and DePaul University in Chicago for graduate school. During her undergraduate years, she completed an internship in Sydney and knew she had to go back for a longer stay. She returned to Sydney to work and live for a year before moving back to Chicago. Kristen has nearly a decade experience in study abroad, and has worked on both on the provider side of the field and in the DePaul University and University of Minnesota study abroad offices. She loves to send students abroad as part of the TEAN team.

Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

Q&A

Where have you traveled and lived in Asia Pacific?
I lived and worked in Sydney for a year. I also had an internship in Sydney in college. I have also traveled to China, Singapore, Thailand, South Korea, Japan, and New Zealand.

Can you share some of the highlights or lessons from your time living abroad?
The biggest lesson I have learned from my time abroad is adaptability. Living in another country can really bring you out of your comfort zone and force you into situations where you have to go with the flow. I learned to embrace the differences of the different cultures I was experiencing rather than wishing I could have the same things/experiences I was used to back home in the U.S. I loved navigating my way around new places, getting lost and discovering the best places that I just stumbled upon because I was up for whatever came my way.

What are your recommendations for top places to check out in Sydney?
There are so many great suburbs that offer a little something different for everyone. I LOVE Bourke Street Bakery in Surry Hills, specifically their sausage rolls and lemon tart, but everything is amazing. I also recommend enjoying some of the northern beaches as they are much less crowded and gorgeous. People should also do the Manly to Spit Bridge walk as it is stunning!

What do you think makes Singapore an amazing place to study abroad?
Singapore is one of those hidden gems in Southeast Asia. I feel like it is a very misunderstood country as people think everything is just glass highrise buildings and everything is really expensive. There are actually some really great neighborhoods with lots of different cultures represented. Owning a car and buying an apartment are expensive, but for day to day life for a study abroad student, it’s a very affordable study abroad destination.

What is your advice for a student who is on the fence about studying abroad?
I would always tell students who were on the fence about studying abroad that they will never look back and say, I really wish I didn’t spend five months in Australia or wherever they are thinking about going. Studying abroad is such a life-changing experience and even if the first few weeks are tough, you learn so much about yourself and how well you can navigate the unknown.

Leslie Johnson

Program Manager

Leslie’s first experience living overseas was interning with a film company in London as part of her study abroad program. She decided to continue her international adventure by living in New Zealand for a year after college and then teaching English in Japan. She has her Masters in International Education from SIT Graduate Institute and worked at University of Florida’s study abroad office before moving back to the Midwest. Now with TEAN in Chicago, she loves being able to help send students to Australia…a country that holds a special place in her heart as her grandmother is from Tasmania!

Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

Allison Kelley

Assistant Program Manager

Allison is a University of Michigan alum who is now based in Chicago. She interned abroad in France the summer after her junior year, where she fell in love with international education and the joys and challenges of traveling. When given the choice she always chooses the window seat. Allison feels lucky to be able to help TEAN students expand their worldview through their own adventures overseas.

Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

Molly Laycob

Assistant Program Manager

Molly’s first international travel experience was when she studied abroad in Valencia, Spain for a semester in college. While there, she completed a Global Pathways Certificate that allowed her to research the relationship between sustainability and studying abroad. Molly completed her undergraduate degree at Florida State University in environmental studies and international affairs and then moved back to her hometown to complete a masters degree in sustainability at Saint Louis University. While getting her masters degree, Molly checked off a travel bucket list item when she traveled to Israel while also completing classwork on the country’s sustainability initiatives. Molly’s passion for inspiring others to study abroad while living their life in a sustainable manner led her to Chicago where she now works in the TEAN office.

Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

Q&A

What inspired you to pursue your masters degree in Sustainability?
My mom instilled me in from an extremely young age that the natural environment, along with all of the wild species that call it home, are the most important pieces to our ecosystem and that we should respect them deeply. Thankfully, after an academic career based around environmental science, one buzzword kept coming back into my life that encompassed everything that I stood for – sustainability – and I jumped at the opportunity to pursue a masters degree in a field that combines the preservation of our natural environment while also factoring in the needs of human beings.

In what ways is study abroad tied to sustainability?
Studying abroad gives students an opportunity to live their life in an environment which differs from the one in which they were raised. Some students may find themselves in situations where they are very pleased with the pro-environmental initiatives in their host country…or shocked by the lack of. It is an opportunity to understand the reasonings behind the host country’s practices and either take those green initiatives back home with them or to educate yourself more on the obstacles that the host country is facing that perhaps is keeping them from taking their next steps towards a sustainable future.

What are some small and big ways students can Choose Earth while abroad?
The beauty of sustainability is that small-scale efforts are the building blocks to large-scale changes and there are plenty of ways that students can make green choices while studying abroad including; choosing public transportation or walking, using reusable water bottles, grocery bags and utensils instead of single-use items, turning off lights, air conditioning and electrical appliances while not in your housing, making an effort to eat locally-produced foods that are in-season and taking your own reusable food container when ordering food to go, offsetting your airline carbon credits and ensure that any animal or nature preserve visits outside of TEAN’s planned activities are legitimately ethically sound places and not tourist traps that harm animals or the natural environment – do research online and ask around.

What is your favorite travel quote?
“Take only memories, leave only footprints” is a quote that I live by while traveling. To me, fully taking in and appreciating a moment so that I have a solid memory of a trip is more important than any picture or souvenir. It is important to not leave any human impressions on the natural environment that you explore while abroad so future generations of all species can live in harmony with the land.

If you were going to study on a TEAN program tomorrow, where would you go?
I would definitely choose one of the New Zealand programs. I have a huge admiration for the country’s sustainability initiatives and how they are moving at such a fast rate towards cutting their carbon footprint – they are a great example for other countries to follow! I also want to experience its spectacular natural settings and landscapes.

Kate McSurley

Senior Program Manager

Kate first traveled abroad as a participant of TEAN, studying in Australia at the University of Queensland. Her time overseas allowed her to examine English literature from a fresh, new angle and have a proper introduction to Australian literature. Before joining TEAN, Kate also served as a National Admissions Advisor for a fashion & interior design college as well as a technical writer for a sport technology company. Kate holds a BA in English/Communications from Saint Xavier University and earned her M.A. in English at DePaul University, both in Chicago. Since her time at UQ, she has continued her travels throughout Europe and the U.S., but she will always have a soft spot for Australia.

Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

Q&A

What is your favorite part of working with students?
For me, I love the first call with a student who has decided to take the leap and study abroad. They know they want to do it, but the idea of checking off all the steps is overwhelming, scary and seemingly impossible. When they realize we are committed to making this easy for them and I hear that sense of relief at the end of our chat, it always reminds me why I love what I do.

Why should students consider studying abroad in Australia?
Some students underestimate the complexity of Australia and don’t realize that it has vastly different locations and environments, similar to the unique cities and environments you can experience across the U.S. Even though the country may at first seem relatively similar to the U.S. compared to other study abroad destination, studying in Australia certainly doesn’t mean you up on the opportunity to participate in a wide variety of cultural and outdoor experiences. Here students can access rainforests, reefs, deserts, wildlife, cities and dramatically different landscapes, all without having to cross international borders.

As a TEAN alum and now employee, what do you think makes TEAN unique?
Everyone at TEAN is completely committed to encouraging study abroad experiences. It really is more than a job, it’s a lifestyle. As a student, I was taken aback by the level of support and service I received from TEAN staff. Now, I understand the sense of responsibility to ease the burden and shorten the hurdles for our students because there is so much value to studying abroad. We truly believe in what we do.

Where did you study abroad?
After first considering Melbourne for its prestigious reputation and quirky cafe culture, I switched to the University of Queensland in St. Lucia, right outside of Brisbane. I realized I might have a better chance of warm weather for my entire program if I headed for the Sunshine State. Now having traveled to both, I’m confident I would have been happy in either location, but UQ’s campus was the perfect escape from the harsh midwestern winters I was used to in Chicago. I really fell into the laidback Brisbane lifestyle more than anything and quickly understood it’s much more than just great weather. It’s a perfect city for international students because it has the right balance of culture, sport and access to adventure. The twisting Brisbane River gives you front door ferry service to very unique neighborhoods all with their own character and style. The ocean is within easy reach for a weekend jaunt (but spending a night at the manmade beaches of South Bank can be just as breathtaking). The views from Mt. Coot-tha are surreal, especially at sunset, and the city’s a great place for students who want to enjoy both city life and exploring the great outdoors. Brisbane lets you have it all.

Photo of TEAN Staff Becca Nylec

Becca Nylec

Regional Outreach Coordinator

Becca fell in love with travel after spending a semester abroad at Mahidol University in Bangkok, Thailand. She graduated from Clemson University with a Bachelor of Science in Animal Science and a minor in Psychology. Her senior year she completed an internship in the study abroad office, where she realized her passion for advising students. Now based at the TEAN office in Chicago, she is excited to continue helping students gain international experience by studying abroad.

Dan O’Brien

Regional Director

Dan’s interest in people, places, and cultures started at age 13 when his grandfather took him to Austria for a week-long stay. Since that time, Dan has traveled to more than 25 countries, and has more than 16 years experience in education abroad. Dan has a Master of Arts in Intercultural and International Management from the School for International Training. He studied for a semester at the Universidad de Sevilla as an undergraduate student and as a graduate student served as a group leader for the Experiment in International Living – Spain. Dan is passionate about the power of education abroad and the global competencies it provides students.

Q&A

What is your role? Tell us a little about what you do at TEAN?
I serve TEAN as Regional Director and my main duties include maintaining, developing and enhancing TEAN partnership as well as promoting TEAN study abroad and internship programs at campus events such as study abroad fairs and orientations. I have a 13 state region therefore I travel quite often in the fall, the busiest time for our team, as the majority of students study abroad in the Spring semester.

How did you come to work in the field and what path led you to your current role?
My study abroad experience was the main factor in leading me to the field. When I returned from my semester abroad I met a graduate student who was working on her practicum and capstone at my university. I applied to the School for International Training in Vermont and was accepted into the program. After the on-campus portion of my program I did my practicum and capstone at the University of North Dakota. From that experience I stayed on to serve as Study Abroad Coordinator – a perfect first professional job in Education Abroad. From there I moved to Virginia Tech for a position in Education Abroad and had several staff reporting to me. After two and a half years in that role I transitioned to a major international education organization where I served for over 9 years. Those experiences finally led me to TEAN where I now serve as Regional Director.

Where have you been in Asia Pacific and what have been some highlights?
I’ve been to Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong, China, and South Korea. I always enjoy meeting new people and learning about the culture(s) of the host country. With that in mind, a few highlights include visiting The Great Wall of China, hiking through the Baku National Forest in Borneo, experimental food tasting in South Korea, visiting marae in New Zealand, attending a football (rugby) match in Auckland, dining at the Sydney Sky tower, and surfing off the shores of the sunshine coast of Australia.

Why would you encourage a student to consider studying abroad in Asia Pacific?
Apart from showcasing unique cultures, food, and languages, the Asia-Pacific region boasts some of the highest quality education in the world. Many of TEAN’s partners are ranked in the top 500 worldwide and students from all majors, from accounting to zoology, can study/intern in this region of the world. Additionally, I often remind students how far away that region is from the U.S. and as a student it’s the perfect time to go. Much of Europe can be seen in just a couple of weeks while on vacation but the Asia-Pacific region is too big for just a 2 week visit. In order to get a full appreciation of what those countries have to offer a full semester or internship program is recommended.

What is your favorite part of your job?
Meeting students at events who think they are unable to participate in education abroad, whether it’s curriculum concerns or financial worries, then advising and guiding them to programs that meet their academic, professional, and financial needs. I also enjoy working with institutional partners to develop strategic programming for their institution.

Katie Rooney

Regional Director

Katie discovered her interest for international education during her undergraduate study abroad experience with the University of Notre Dame spending a year studying in Austria and doing a summer internship in Germany. After starting her career in healthcare software, she realized that her heart was still with international education and went back for her M.Ed. in Higher Education Administration at the University of Virginia. Before TEAN, Katie worked at two other study abroad provider organizations as well as Loyola University Chicago, where she helped both outgoing study abroad students and incoming international students. Outside of work, she loves exploring Chicago neighborhoods, reading, watching college football and basketball (Go Irish!), and planning her next international adventure!

Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

Brynne Shannon

Program Manager

Brynne’s first experience overseas was when she studied abroad with TEAN in Thailand. Captivated by experiencing a different way of life, she decided to go back and spend the year after graduation teaching English in a rural Northern Thai town. After the experience of a lifetime, she became hooked on the love of travel and international education and landed her dream job working for TEAN HQ in Chicago.

Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

Q&A

Where did you study abroad?
I studied abroad in Chiang Mai, Thailand, with TEAN. I wanted to go as far away as I could and experience something totally different than what I had grown up with. I had always been drawn to Asia, and after some research I decided that Thailand was the perfect place for me. I also lived in Lampang, Thailand upon graduating and I’ve traveled to Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia, Myanmar, Malaysia and Indonesia.

What inspired you to teach abroad?
I came back from my semester abroad feeling like my time in Thailand wasn’t finished. I knew I wanted to go back to Thailand after I graduated and the more I spoke to people who had taught English abroad the more I knew it was a good fit for me. I wanted to challenge myself and have an even more culturally immersive experience the second go around, and I also wanted to give something back to a country I fell in love with while studying abroad since it had given so much to me.

What makes Thailand a great place to study abroad?
Thailand is great because it forces students to step out of their comfort zone and learn more about the world and themselves as individuals. Not only are you experiencing a new culture, but you’re learning a new language, alphabet, cuisine, social norms, interactions, ways of life, etc. It seriously puts things into perspective. Thai people are some of the kindest and welcoming people you will ever meet – hands down. They make the experience so special and you can learn so much from them. Living in Thailand teaches you to slow down and enjoy what’s happening in the now and be thankful for what you have and who’s around you.

What should be on every student’s bucket list for a study abroad semester in Thailand?
A hike up to Wat Palad. This temple is on the way to the more famous Wat Doi Suthep, which sits on top of a mountain, but Wat Palad is tucked away in the forest surrounded by trees and a rushing waterfall during the rainy season. Students can hike up to the temple from their housing or hire a songteow to take them up the mountain. It is one of my favorite places in the world because of how quiet and serene it is. To me, it captures the essence of what Buddhism is all about. You can sit on the rocks and dip your toes in the waterfall while looking out at the spectacular view of the city that peeks out between the trees.

What is your favorite travel quote?
It’s not necessarily a travel quote, but one of my favorite Thai expressions I learned was “mai long, mai rue” which means “If you never try, you never know”. It inspired me to just say yes to everything and go for things even if I didn’t know what the outcome would be.

Jessie Shen

Accountant

Jessie joined TEAN after graduating from the University of Illinois Chicago with a bachelor’s degree in Accounting. While in University she spent a summer studying in Italy, focusing on the study of art and architecture during the Renaissance. Her first international experience was during childhood, spending her summers in Taiwan visiting her family. She is excited to be a part of TEAN and continues to pursue international experiences.

Chris Shepherd

Director and Co-Founder

Chris has been the Director for the U.S. operations since 1995 and co-founded The Education Abroad Network. He has lived abroad in Australia three times and has traveled extensively throughout Australia, New Zealand, Asia and Africa. He is a graduate of the University of Notre Dame and a member of NAFSA and The Forum on Education Abroad.

Pronouns: He/Him/His

Q&A

How did TEAN get its start?
Sean Lennon and I started the organization in 1995 as we felt many of the current study abroad programs were too rigid and did not cater to the needs of individual students. At the time we were both working for an Australian university so we met lots of students that substantiated that view which provided us the impetus to move forward. We really wanted to help each and every student maximize their time abroad. You can read more about our story here.

What do you consider some of the major milestones for the company over the last 20+ years?
We do not get too caught up in numbers, but reaching our 20th anniversary in 2015 was special. The 20 year milestone itself was great, but the 20 for 20 Scholarship Campaign we hosted around the celebration made it even better. Our partners supported us with more than $150,000 in special scholarship funds to award in honor of the anniversary and we also awarded our first full ride scholarship from TEAN.

What do you think has helped make TEAN successful as it’s grown?
We have been successful as we have maintained our personalized approach to each applicant. That is a key focus of our training program and we also ensure all staff have relevant experience in the countries where we offer programs. It is fine to be customer service oriented, but you also need the knowledge to really make a difference as a program advisor. Our staff are also able to become “experts” as we solely focus on the Asia Pacific region.

Last year your family had a “study abroad” experience, can you tell us more about that?
We were able to live in Sydney, Australia and do some fun family travel throughout the region. The absolute highlight was my four daughters were able to attend a public school together. It was wonderful for them to have their own study abroad experience and for my wife and I to see firsthand how that experience had such a positive impact on them. Professionally it was very rewarding to work more closely with our on-site staff and expand my own knowledge of our programs, partners and locations.

Why was it important for TEAN to adopt a new company core value of Choose Earth?
For the majority of Americans who can study abroad (and our own staff) they are among the most fortunate people on the planet. While our society has so many positive attributes we are also a very wasteful and entitled society. We feel study abroad is a good opportunity to introduce or reinforce a sustainable lifestyle as students can sometimes be more open to learning and growing as individuals while they are abroad. This is not necessarily easy as we are competing for our student’s attention on many levels, but we are up for the challenge!

Trisha Turner

Program Manager

Trisha’s first opportunity to travel outside the U.S. was after graduating from Indiana University when she was able to pursue her dream of living abroad by working at a resort in Bavaria, Germany. She spent two years traveling extensively across Europe and North Africa, solidifying her passion for experiencing other cultures and seeing more of the world. Trisha has a background in recruitment and previously worked for Disney on-campus recruitment organizing internships.

Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

Q&A

What led you to your current role at TEAN?
While in school, I participated in an internship with the Walt Disney Company. Based off that experience, I was able to return to Disney after graduation and joined their recruitment team for Internships & Programs. It was there that I realized my passion for advising and helping students make their professional dreams a reality. After various roles with the company, I accepted an opportunity to work at a resort in southern Germany and spent almost two years in Germany, traveling across Europe extensively. Upon returning to the States, I knew I wanted to combine my love for career advising with my passion for travel, and focused my career search on international education. This field continues to inspire me every day and I enjoy my interactions with students who dream of that life-changing experience of going abroad.

Why would you encourage a student to pursue an internship abroad?
An internship is crucial for professional success after graduation. Knowing how much my own internship benefitted me professionally, while also knowing how much living abroad encourages personal growth, I think it’s an incredible combination for a student. TEAN’s internships are totally hands-on and interns get the rare experience of receiving close mentorship from experts in the field. If an international internship sounds at all intimidating, I think that’s all the more reason to do it! Our internship program is designed to not only challenge a student, but support them at the same time. Students return home with a sense of confidence and tangible achievements that will stand out on job or graduate school applications.

If you were going to study on a TEAN program tomorrow, where would you go?
It’s hard to choose but New Zealand is toward the top of my list of places I haven’t been yet, so I think I’d have to choose the University of Otago. I love the idea of living on the South Island and seeing all that beautiful New Zealand has to offer. I’m also partial to old, sprawling university campuses and quintessential college towns. I think life in Dunedin would suit me well!

What is your favorite travel quote?
My all-time favorite line that I’ve always applied to my travel adventures is “and I will learn to love the skies I’m under,” from the Mumford and Sons song, Hopeless Wanderer. I mentally reference this line every time I find myself in a new place, because it’s such a great reminder that traveling isn’t always sunshine and roses — it can be tough. Maybe it takes a day or two to adjust to new surroundings, maybe months, and that’s okay! Choosing to love the skies I’m under and remembering why I made the decision to leave my comfort zone in the first place, helps me see the beauty of reveling in my current surroundings.

Josefina Vega

Regional Outreach Coordinator

Josefina graduated from UC, Irvine with a BA in English and minor in Literary Journalism. Her first experience overseas was when she studied abroad in England for her third year of university. Upon her return, she wanted to help other students go abroad too, so she became a Peer Advisor at UCI’s Study Abroad Center. This is where her passion for International Education grew and she decided to pursue it as a career. Originally from San Diego, her journey led her all the way to Chicago to work for TEAN. She is excited to continue to help send students on amazing adventures abroad with the TEAN team.

Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

John Yocum

Director of Enrollment

John studied Public Relations during his undergrad and Business Administration for his masters. Although he never studied abroad, he has a passion for travel and has spent time in several locations across Asia Pacific with TEAN. In his current role, John helps oversee all students traveling on TEAN programs. Prior to TEAN, John held roles in business development and education advisement.

Pronouns: He/Him/His

Q&A

What journey have you taken to arrive at your current role and working for TEAN?
An indirect one! It took me a while to find a field that interested me. Ultimately it was my passion for travel, restless nature, and a bit of luck that lead me to TEAN. After several years leading our Internship Programs, earning my Masters in Business Administration, learning our company’s processes and coming to know the team that I took on the role of Manager of Enrollment.

You work closely with the program team from our Chicago office, what makes this team unique?
The specialized knowledge base. I came from a different industry so was not aware that there were people who valued international education and travel so highly. All of the people that I work with are very well traveled, passionate, motivated, and most importantly, experts in the regions in which they manage programs.

For those who haven’t been to the TEAN Chicago office before, how would you describe the environment and setup?
This is the most difficult question, because you really just need to visit in-person to get a good feel for it. I would describe it as “An ideal place for international education enthusiasts to; collaborate, have fun, work hard, cook great lunches, relax in beanbags, participate in meetings on exercise work bikes, play tug of war with the office dog, and change lives.”

Why would you encourage a student to pursue an internship abroad?
An internship was once a point of differentiation. Nowadays, it has become an expectation. An international internship will truly stand out, especially if properly reflected upon so you can convey your experience to future employers. Equally important is an expanded network, personal and professional growth. An internship abroad will give you a greater sense of what it means to be a global citizen.

What have been some highlights or favorite moments from your travels?
Number one highlight is my first international flight, which happened to be 29 hours of travel to Perth, Australia (believe it or not). It got old about half way through but the anticipation and excitement was very memorable.

Overseas Staff

Helen Armitage

Resident Director - Queensland

Helen has been working in the field of International Education for more than 20 years. During her undergraduate degree at Griffith University, she started working in their international office on a part time basis. This became full time after she graduated with a Bachelors in Communications in 1998. Helen worked with study abroad; exchange; full degree and ELICOS students during this time.  Following her role at Griffith she lived in London, England for several years. After returning back to Australia she then worked in the International and Study Abroad teams at Bond University and was responsible for marketing and developing the study abroad and full degree programs in North America and Europe.  This role saw Helen travel extensively throughout these regions for many years. Helen has been the TEAN Queensland Resident Director since 2010 and is also the Program Manager for Full Degree applicants in Australia and New Zealand.

Q&A

What is your role at TEAN?
I am the Resident Director for Queensland and responsible for working with our in-country study abroad students in our schools across this state. My role is to ensure that all students are supported and mentored and experience cultural events relevant to their location. I am the study abroad “mom” to all of my groups and try to ensure they stay focused on their schooling and experience all that their location has to offer. I like to get them to see the value of their study abroad semester and how it will benefit them in the future. I am also the Full Degree Program Manager for TEAN. In this role I work with students who are interested in taking their entire degree program in Australia or New Zealand.

How did you come to this current role?
I have been working in International Education since 1995. I have been involved in the study abroad and international offices at both Griffith University and Bond University on the Gold Coast. While at Bond University I managed the study abroad program for North America and was responsible for building partnerships with programs and U.S. schools. I have travelled extensively through North America and have visited many of our partner schools. I started working with TEAN as the Queensland Resident Director in 2010.

What is your favorite part of your job?
Seeing students grow and become more independent during their semester. Watching students learn to problem solve issues and gain confidence to make decisions on their own. I enjoy getting to know the groups and each group are varied and unique. I like seeing them develop lifelong friendships amongst the groups and enjoy watching them have fun at the various cultural events I arrange. I have met some amazing students over the years, who I am still in touch with today.

How do you work with students who are interested in pursuing their full degree abroad?
I am their go to person from start to finish. I help them narrow down their university choices, submit applications and answer any questions they may have through the process.When offers come in, I then assist them to accept the best option for them and talk them through next steps. This includes who to contact about U.S loans and aid, how to apply for their visa and enrolment. Being in the same time zone as the schools here and it makes it easy for me to follow up. I also have lots of contacts that i can reach out to directly, so it saves them time and stress.

What are some top reasons a student should consider a full degree in Australia or New Zealand?
You will be pursuing a quality education at some of the world’s top ranked universities while enjoying a personalized education. Australia and New Zealand are desirable places to live and attract high quality professors from all over the world. You will also graduate with a competitive advantage – most people don’t study overseas and having an international qualification and living in another country puts you ahead of your peers who stay in the U.S. You will also have gained a new network of international contacts.

Emma Black

Resident Assistant - Gold Coast

Emma has a passion for travel and spent three years backpacking all over the globe – including the UK, Europe and the US. Emma returned home to Australia to study at Griffith University, Gold Coast. After graduating with a Bachelor in Communications, she gained valuable experience in marketing, copywriting and public relations. Born and bred on the Gold Coast, Emma enjoys the beach and its relaxed lifestyle – and she likes sharing her love for the “Goldie” with all her students.

Q&A

What are some bucket list items for a semester on the Gold Coast?
A night of live music and great food at Miami Marketta, catching some waves at Burleigh Point, exploring the amazing waterfalls at Springbrook, and spending a lazy Sunday checking out the Village Markets for the best street food and boutique market stalls around.

What insider tips would you give to a student studying on the Gold Coast?
Firstly, I would recommend buying a cheap second hand bike (try Gumtree) and spending as much time as possible exploring the coastline. There are bike paths all along the Gold Coast’s famous beaches and cycling is the best way to get to know your new home, discover different places and become familiar with your surroundings. Secondly, I would encourage meeting as many “Aussies” as possible. They will show you the best places to go and all the local secrets.

What is your favorite TEAN cultural event on the Gold Coast?
My favorite cultural event is a rugby league football match. It’s awesome to see the students cheering on their adopted home team and getting swept up in the exciting atmosphere of a much loved Aussie sporting event, even though they haven’t learned any of the rules yet.

What are some of your favorite places to visit within Australia?
I love the buzz and beauty of Sydney and the amazing night life of Melbourne. Closer to home I enjoying making a day trip to Byron Bay for the bohemian vibe and delicious food, or heading north to Noosa for the beaches and unique shopping experiences.

Where have you traveled throughout Asia Pacific?
Being so close to Asia, I have been fortunate to travel to Bali many times as well as Japan – both to the hustle and bustle of Tokyo and to the pristine snowfields of Niseko. Australia offers some fantastic deals for traveling to Indonesia and I encourage our students to visit this region for a completely different perspective on life south of the Equator!

Courtney Burns

Resident Assistant - Wellington

Courtney studied abroad with TEAN at Victoria University of Wellington and fell in love with the country and culture. Once she returned to the U.S., she became a TEAN Global Ambassador and also assisted her university’s study abroad office by speaking at student panels, tabling at events, and helping out at pre-departure orientation. After graduating from Emmanuel College last May, with a degree in Counseling and Health Psychology and Mathematics, her passion for traveling brought her back to “Windy Welly.” She loves to help other TEAN students experience all that Wellington and New Zealand have to offer.
Q&A

Where did you study abroad?
I studied abroad with TEAN at Victoria University of Wellington in the spring of 2016. After months of looking at different schools and cities across Australia and New Zealand, I found that Wellington was just my dream city. It’s a small, quirky capital city that’s right on the water and surrounded by mountains. Plus, it’s in the center of the country, which gave me easy access to anywhere else I’d want to visit – what more could I ask for? VUW offered classes I wanted to take and it was really different in size and atmosphere from the small school I attended back in the States, so it seemed like the perfect challenge!

What inspired you to move back to Wellington after graduation?
There were a lot of factors that encouraged me to head back after I finished school. As I started my senior year of college, I was trying to figure out what I wanted to do next and I really had no idea but, in my head, New Zealand was the thing I kept coming back to. I’d always wanted to travel more and I wasn’t quite ready to go to grad school or settle down somewhere and get a 9 to 5 job, so I decided to go for it. Ten days after graduation, I was on a plane back to Wellington.

What advice can you give to a recent graduate who is thinking about making a similar move?
Read up on what it’s like to move and live abroad in whatever country you want to go to. Studying abroad somewhere is really different from working and living there, so it’s important you know what you’re getting yourself into! I read a lot of blog posts and the entirety of Moon’s “Living Abroad in New Zealand” guide so I could learn about employee rights, visa options, housing regulations, work culture and everything I may not have thought about while studying abroad.

What do you love about Wellington and what makes it a great place to study abroad?
Wellington has a little bit of everything! Great food and shopping, awesome (usually free) museums and festivals, cool walks, hikes, beaches and parks, and it’s right in the center of New Zealand, so you can easily travel anywhere in or out of the country! It’s also stunningly beautiful – seriously, I could walk along the waterfront everyday and never get sick of it.

Where do you like to take out of town visitors when they visit for the first time?
My first stop would usually be Te Papa, the national museum of New Zealand. It’s huge, completely free and will teach you anything you’ve ever wanted to know about the country. Another staple would be the cable car, since it’s in literally every brochure or book written about the city and there’s a cool little light show in the tunnels that no one tells you about. Finally, I’d bring them to Kaffee Eis for some gelato and coffee, because it’s to-die-for and I just discovered that they only have locations in Wellington Central, which is unfortunate for the rest of the country.

Laura Carroll

Resident Director - NSW

Born and raised in Southern California, Laura went to California State University Long Beach where she studied nutrition and public health. Before beginning a career in international education, Laura worked in hospitality and volunteered in health care clinics. She has always enjoyed working with people from all different backgrounds, which is why she loves now working with international students while based in Sydney! A travel lover, she finds experiencing other cultures a great privilege and appreciates seeing the beautiful differences of each place she visits. You can also find her regularly reading a good book, cooking, hiking, swimming and doing yoga. Moving to Sydney has been a wonderful learning experience for Laura, a fact that helps her further connect to students as she’s able to relate with all the highs, lows and countless discoveries that come with living and studying abroad.

Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

Photo of TEAN Staff, Jeongin Choi

Jeongin Choi

Resident Assistant - Seoul

Jeongin, born and raised in Korea, loves to share what she knows about her home country. Having studied in Germany, she is glad that she can now be a help for students coming to have their own study abroad adventures in Korea. She is open to cultural diversity and likes to work with people from different backgrounds. Her favorite Korean poem is Visitor: “It’s amazing that a visitor is coming. She comes with her past, present, and future. Her whole life is coming.”

Andrea Ciotti

Resident Assistant - Newcastle

Originally from Tampa, Florida, Andrea attended the University of Central Florida (UCF) in Orlando, where she graduated with a degree in business focusing on marketing and sports management. After working in the NFL and collegiate athletic departments doing marketing, event planning and community outreach, Andrea headed back to university working as a marketing coordinator for  UCF’s on-campus housing department. Always up for an adventure, Andrea lived in North Carolina, Florida and Pennsylvania before falling in love with an Australian and moving to Newcastle, where she has now resided for over five years. As an American abroad in Australia, she’s excited to share Newcastle’s beauty and unique experiences with TEAN students and serve as a bridge between the U.S. and Australia.

Alice Cooksey

Internship Program Manager

Alice started her career in student services and the legal industry in the UK before embarking on a career in student services in Australia. She studied law and graduated from the University of Exeter in England in 2014. Her interest to work in the industry began with her thorough involvement in the organisation of LAMDA throughout her time in the UK. Alice also has experience teaching in both the UK and America and loves anything arts related. Alice loves to travel and has covered the majority of Europe, America, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. As a result of her travel experiences, Alice is a lover of languages and speaks English, Welsh and German.  She enjoys sharing her experiences and offering insight into the hidden gems of Australia in order for our students to get the best out of their study abroad and internship experiences.

Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

Q&A

What is your role at TEAN?
I manage our internship programs in Australia, New Zealand and Asia. I work as part of an incredible team and love to find each student the perfect internship opportunity to further their careers.

What are some of the top reasons why students should consider an internship abroad?
Personally, I interned abroad many years ago and my initial reasons for considering an internship were to broaden my experiences as well as gain exposure to a different culture. Along with developing a new skillset, getting introduced to the professional working world and personal growth, you also get to travel! I couldn’t agree more with the saying that travel is one of the only things you can buy that makes you richer. Following an internship abroad, you truly come back from your host country having had the most incredible experience as well as skills for your future career.

What advice can you give for interns to make the most of their time abroad?
I recommend for each intern to make the most of every opportunity that they are given. Time is a valuable thing, don’t waste it! There are so many different experiences and people that they can learn from in Australia, and it’s a great way to be exposed to different ideas, cultural influences and attitudes. The students that excel at their internships are real go getters and make sure that they are always willing to put their hands up for additional tasks. Showing willingness and dedication can lead to some really exciting opportunities and experiences.

What helps set up a student for a successful experience abroad?
A positive attitude and an enthusiasm for the work are the most important tools for success for an internship. Doing what is asked of you and showing an interest in the work will result in being rewarded with an overall positive experience. Initially tasks may seem minor to some students until they realize the overall requisites of each task or how the fit into the bigger picture for the company, but by doing them to the best of their ability and with a positive attitude, an intern will surely find themselves with more meaningful tasks down the line.

What are some of your favorite hidden gems in Sydney?
I love strolling from Chowder Bay to Taronga Zoo. This walk leads you along the coastline and goes past Bradley’s Head Amphitheatre where you can see a skyline view of Sydney’s buildings as well as the harbor. It’s best to do this walk in the afternoon and time it so that you get to the amphitheatre around dusk to see the sunset.

Abigail Cousins

Resident Assistant - Townsville

Abigail was born in the U.K. and has lived in Australia since she was seven years old. She moved to Townsville in 2016 to study, and is currently undertaking a Bachelor of Social Work at James Cook University. Abigail is very passionate about helping others settling into living in Townsville. She also loves to travel and explore new places, as well as to show others the amazing experiences and scenery that North Queensland has to offer.

Sandra Durinick

Resident Director - Seoul

Sandra, a native of San Francisco, has always had a passion for travel. After graduating from UC Berkeley, she decided to pursue that passion and moved to South Korea. In 2015, she spent time traveling the world and lived briefly in South Africa before continuing her studies at Seoul National University. She is currently residing in Seoul and loves showing off the place she has decided to call home.

Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

Q&A

What first sparked your interest for travel?
It was actually a presentation I watched in third grade. My friend’s grandfather came to school and presented about his life as a scientist in Antarctica. I then decided that at some point in my life I would travel there – I started with big dreams as you can see! Fast forward to now and I have lived in five countries since graduating college.

What led you to living in Seoul?
My father is Japanese so my sister had gone to Japan to work and reunite with that side of the family. I had originally planned to join her in Japan but found Korea to be an interesting place to travel while still being close enough to help her. Soon, however, the country became my home and now I don’t think it will ever be able to get rid of me.

What are some must-do or must-see items for a first time visitor to Seoul?
Of course you need to go to the main attractions, like the palaces and the DMZ, but after that you can really explore your interests. For foodies, there are an unlimited number of restaurants to try and eat your way through Korea. For those interested in art, Anguk is filled with art museums to get lost in. For the KPop addicts, you should head to Coex as a start and then possibly find a cafe or restaurant owned by your favorite celeb. It really depends on the person but there’s something for everyone here.

Where else have you traveled in Asia Pacific?
I’ve been to Japan a ton, Malaysia, China, Hong Kong, Macao, Taiwan, Singapore, Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam. It changes daily but I think that Mongolia is next up on my travel wish list.

What are some of your favorite Korean foods or dishes?
My all time favorite is called yukhoi, which is basically Korean steak tartare, but it really depends on my mood. I also love gamjatang, naengmyeon, galbi… I think most people know about bibimbap and Korean BBQ, but I would encourage people to try more Korean soups. They’re one of the underappreciated Korean foods. Also, I’ve heard people say they don’t like kimchi but there are HUNDREDS of types of kimchi. Spicy, non-spicy, radish, cabbage, onion root, fish, vegetarian, etc. The kimchi most people know is just a gateway kimchi. Keep trying!

Medusa Fang

Resident Director - Shanghai

Medusa is a native of Shanghai with over 13 years of experience in international education. Having obtained a Bachelor of Arts in English Language from Fudan University and a Master of Arts in Sociology from the University of Hong Kong, her academic background in international cultural exchange has provided a foundation for a career spent working with top-level universities and organizations from around the world. Prior to joining TEAN, Medusa complimented her work with international students by teaching university coursework in English and Chinese Culture and Folklore.

Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

Q&A

How did you come to work in International Education?
Right after my graduation from Fudan University, I started to work in international education at Fudan. I have been working on admission of international students for 13 years. My work at Fudan University was to provide general services to international students. Now I work with TEAN students and help them with everything in-country. I arrange cultural activities to help students get in touch with local people and engage them into local culture.

What about Chinese culture and life in Shanghai most surprises students when they arrive?
I think it is the food here. Near Fudan University, there are so many restaurants and street food that are so tasty and so cheap. I think Chinese people are really creative in making food. Just prepare your stomach, you will love it.

What is your favorite dish in Shanghai that you would encourage every student to try?
My favourite dish is sweet and sour boneless yellow fish. I have loved it ever since childhood. We will have it together during our orientation in the most famous Shanghai restaurant, Lv Bo Lang.

What are some of the not-to-be-missed bucket list items every study abroad student should check off their list during their semester abroad?
I would say trying to speak the local language and holding conversations with locals, eating all the types of food, making as many friends as possible, going to another city without the assistance of anyone and trying to make your way around.

What are some of your favorite Shanghai secret spots that you love but maybe are a bit off the beaten track?
Bus 49 goes through the most beautiful part of Shanghai. It connects the east Bund area with the west French concession area. The cost is only RMB 2 for a single trip. On the way, you can see most beautiful streets and architecture in Shanghai. Try to take the bus in different seasons to see great views.

Rachel Fenton

Resident Director - New Zealand

Rachel has an extensive background in international education student services, marketing and university relations. She spent several years living and working abroad first in Japan on the JET program, then in London, England and Guangzhou, China. On return to New Zealand, Rachel managed the study abroad and student exchange programs at Massey University; her alma mater where she was awarded degrees in Business Administration and Marketing. She is now working at the University of Auckland, as well as representing TEAN as the New Zealand Resident Director.

Allison Ferris

Resident Assistant - Christchurch

Originally from Canada, Allison graduated from the University of New Brunswick in 2010 with a BA and completed her Bachelor of Honors in Elementary Education with a concentration in Inclusion and Special Needs. After graduation, Allison moved to South Korea where she taught at English language academies for three years. In 2014, she moved to New Zealand as an international student, studying towards an MEd in Inclusive and Special Education, and after six months, began working with international students through the campus halls of residence. Allison has worked in international education in Christchurch, New Zealand for five years. She loves showing off new places in Christchurch and visiting pop-up shops, as well as assisting students in acclimatizing to New Zealand’s unique culture and way of life.

Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

Dianne Fountaine-Cody

Resident Assistant - Palmerston North

Dianne first travelled to Japan on a student exchange in her twenties and was lucky enough to continue working at Massey University in various roles including the International Office for over fifteen years.  Dianne has travelled to more than sixty countries and has vast experience working with people from different cultural backgrounds in paid and volunteer roles.  Dianne and her family have hosted international students in their own home, some for short courses of several weeks to longer periods beyond a year from all over the world.  Dianne now works part-time from home, is a busy mum of a 4 & 8 year old and enjoys working with TEAN students.

Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

Lauren Gabell

Marketing Director & Thailand Summer Programs Director

Originally from Australia, Lauren’s passion for international education was ignited after studying abroad as an undergrad. Lauren has worked for the international offices at both Monash University and Deakin University, in Melbourne, Australia. At Deakin University she was responsible for developing the study abroad program, and marketing the university in Europe, North America and Thailand. Lauren joined TEAN in 2006 and has been involved with TEAN’s programs throughout Asia Pacific.

Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

Michael Gaetano

Resident Assistant - Melbourne

Michael finished his Tourism Studies in 2005 and has worked in the travel industry in sales and marketing ever since. He currently resides in Melbourne and works as an Adventure Specialist travel consultant. He has travelled extensively throughout the world. His passions are travel, learning about new cultures and history and all things sports.

Melissa Greenberg

Resident Assistant - Perth

Born and raised in Phoenix, Arizona, Melissa now calls Perth home after studying abroad at Curtin University and falling in love with Australia in 2015. Melissa graduated from Tulane University in New Orleans, Louisiana with degrees in sociology and musical cultures of the Gulf South but has found her passion in working with international students and helping make their experience abroad memorable and worthwhile. Mel’s love for adventure has taken her all around the world but most recently she has been spending her travels scuba diving and eating across southeast Asia… two of her favorite activities! Mel is always excited to share her love for Perth and show off the beautiful west coast (best coast!) to the students she works with.

Rebecca Gillingham

Resident Assistant - Gold Coast

Rebecca was born in the Philippines and raised in Australia. She caught the travel bug early on, and has since made travelling internationally a priority for every year. Most recently, she travelled to the epicentre of the 2015 earthquake in Nepal and volunteered in a small primary school. Rebecca studied abroad at Clemson University, South Carolina, and fell in love with the southern hospitality extended to her during her stay. She has graduated from Bond University with a Business degree in Marketing, and is in the midst of completing her second degree in Finance. Her next travel goal is to Barcelona in August for “La Tomatina” the Spanish Tomato Festival.

Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

Photo of TEAN Staff Ange Hart

Ange Hart

Resident Director - Melbourne

Ange’s love of people and traveling has taken her to parts of Southeast Asia, North, Central and South America, the U.K., Europe, some South Pacific islands, and around much of the huge, gorgeous continent of Australia. A native Melbournian, she feels lucky to call this vibrant, eclectic city her home and get to show her off to her study abroad friends. When she’s not showing people around Melbourne, she is busy dancing, hosting events, being silly on stage or taking adults through deep, emotional processes to re-find their power. She believes that life is full of magic if we just breathe it in, and she chooses to do just that!

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Josh Horrell

Resident Assistant - Auckland

Joshua’s appetite for international education and adventure was first discovered during his gap year in England where he worked at a prep school in Sussex. Since then the Wellington native has undertaken a semester abroad in Uppsala, Sweden as well as an internship in Shanghai. All of these experiences have given him the ability to recognize the perspective of an exchange student and the various opportunities/challenges one might face. He also loves to show off Auckland to those lucky enough to visit it!

Sean Lennon

Director and Co-Founder

Sean is TEAN’s Director and Co-founder and has lived in Perth, Australia since 1993. Upon arriving in Australia, Sean worked with international students attending the University of Notre Dame Australia in Fremantle. Other previous experience includes senior roles within the human resources consulting industry in both Australia and the U.S. He earned a BA and MSA from the University of Notre Dame (Indiana), and is member of NAFSA, The Forum on Education Abroad, AMCHAM (Australia, New Zealand, Korea and China) and AustCham Korea.

Pronouns: He/Him/His

On Lee Lau

Resident Assistant - Dunedin

On Lee grew up in San Francisco and found her passion for botany and conservation by exploring the Redwood forests in nearby parks. Traveling and studying abroad became an important part of her education as she began traveling extensively throughout the West Coast, which included a summer working in Alaska, and studied abroad in Costa Rica during her time at Reed College in Oregon. She also spent a field season in central Brazil meeting the locals and measuring tropical trees for her Masters research at North Carolina State University. She coordinated an internship program connecting college students with summer opportunities in the US National Parks before moving to New Zealand in 2013. She loves sharing and facilitating adventures in and around Dunedin with TEAN students.

Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

Q&A

What is your role at TEAN?
I’m a Resident Assistant based out of Dunedin, New Zealand. I look after students that study abroad at the University of Otago and help introduce students to New Zealand culture during TEAN Orientations as well as throughout the semester.

What is the best part of your job?
The best part for me is planning group events to do things most students otherwise wouldn’t know about or have the budget to do on their own. I love seeing how newly arrived students react when they walk up to an amazing vista – like in the Otago Peninsula or Queenstown or Milford Sound – that perfectly encapsulates the natural beauty of New Zealand. It’s also fun to see how excited students are to see the All Blacks vs Australia rugby match at our local stadium.

What makes Dunedin a great place to study abroad?
Dunedin is the only place I know where you can see albatross and penguin colonies in amazing nature reserves close to town – it really deserves its reputation as the wildlife capital of New Zealand. Students in Dunedin get the perks of being in a college town, in a place with a rich indigenous and immigrant history, and surrounded by green hills and wild beaches.

What should be on every student’s bucket list for a semester in New Zealand?
Every student in New Zealand should plan to do a Great Walk or at least a part of it. Great Walks are backpacking or boating trails that go through New Zealand’s National Parks managed by the Department of Conservation. I also recommend taking the time to watch kapa haka groups that often perform during community events, and learning about Maori history and culture.

What places would you recommend to someone visiting New Zealand?
I’m a big fan of Te Anau. The town is right near the start of the Kepler Track and is the closest town to Milford Sound. Te Anau tends to have less people compared to Queenstown or Wanaka, but it still has great restaurants and cafes, and a year-round boat tour to otherworldly glow worm caves on the opposite side of the lake.

Photo of Andrea McKenna Brankin

Andrea McKenna Brankin

Resident Director - Singapore

Andrea is an American who has been living in Singapore for seven years. A professional journalist and yoga teacher by trade, Andrea writes about life in Singapore for local publications, blogs and websites and also teaches yoga to adults and kids around town. Her first stint as an expat was in London in 1993 when she was finishing her journalism studies at Boston University. She is married to a financial services executive and has one young daughter, who was born in Singapore. Andrea is a native of Mystic, Connecticut, but had been living in Chicago since 1995 before moving to Singapore in 2012. She is a former field hockey and rugby player, but now prefers walking around the beautiful and numerous Singapore parks. Local claim to fame: Andrea met the first female President of Singapore Halimah Yacob in 2017 for her volunteer work with a girls home. She is also featured in the book, Dear Ms. Expat, which details women’s expat lives in Singapore.

Geoff Ockwell

Resident Assistant - Dunedin

With a love the great outdoors and even a Masters of Outdoor Education, Geoff has explored much of New Zealand, particularly the lower South Island, and is a keen skier, tramper (hiker) and surfer. After completing his two undergraduate degrees at the University of Otago in 1987, he pursued a career in marketing and management. In 1997 he and his family moved to Wanaka where he began a professional career in outdoor leadership, then lived at Paradise, Glenorchy where he started a private guiding business working with American tourists. In 2006 he began lecturing at Otago and, during his 12 years there, ran workshops for international students on how to enjoy Aotearoa New Zealand’s outdoors safely. Geoff has three kids, two of whom are now studying at Otago themselves!

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Nasorn (Nala) Promtang

Thailand Resident Coordinator

Originally from Bangkok, Nasorn, or Nala, first got her taste of studying abroad at 16 she went to Sydney for a summer English program. When she turned 18 she decided to follow her travel dreams and journeyed through Bali a la Eat, Pray, Love. Later, during a 6-month break in university, she travelled again to Bali, as well as Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, Malaysia and Singapore, blogging about her experience in Thai as she went. Nala graduated from Chiang Mai University with a bachelor’s degree in philosophy and is now happy to be based in the northern Thai town sharing her knowledge and enthusiasm for travel in the region with TEAN students.

Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

Q&A

What is your role at TEAN?
I’m the Resident Coordinator in Chiang Mai, Thailand, and take care of students while they’re here, lead student events and help students to better understand Thai culture.

What is the best part of your job?
I love being able to connect with students and share with them the best of Chiang Mai and Thai culture!

What do you think makes Chiang Mai a great place for students to study abroad?
Chiang Mai brings together a variety of people and backgrounds which makes it a unique place to stay. It also supports the ‘slow life’ lifestyle – people here are friendly, willing to help, and take time to relax and enjoy themselves. It’s hard to be stressed here! The best part about the city for me, however, is the food. Food here is cheap, freshly made, delicious and available any time of the day!

What local tips would you give to someone who is visiting Chiang Mai for the first time?
Relax and don’t plan your travels too much. Things always change and it’s better to go with the flow. When in doubt, this is Thailand, just smile your way out of a miscommunication or problem.

What is your favorite free activity to suggest to students in Chiang Mai?
Hiking up Doi Suthep in the early morning to see the sun rise and catching every free concert playing in Chiang Mai.

What has been a favorite memory from your travels in Asia?
Definitely my first time traveling alone in Bali using “Eat, Pray, Love” as a guidebook. I met a lot of cool people, had a chance to stay in a beautiful cabin in middle of rice fields and learned to scuba dive.

Xena Profile Picture

Xena Pulliam

Internship Program Coordinator

Hailing from Knox, NY, Xena earned her BA in media and society from Hobart & William Smith Colleges where she also completed programs in English, aesthetics, environmental studies and leadership. During her junior year, she studied abroad in London and fell in love with the history, culture and countries she explored throughout Europe. She vowed to never stop traveling the world and has since lived on three different continents. Now based in Melbourne, Xena loves helping students discover the magic that she feels when exploring a new country. She also enjoys reading a good book on the beach, dabbling in creative writing and eating copious amounts of the delicious food that her partner (a chef!) makes.

Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

Shivani Rajan

Resident Assistant - Auckland

Shivani is an AUT University Communications graduate and spent a semester on exchange at Cardiff University. It’s a time still cherished very close to her heart. She loves the opportunity to work alongside international students, and is very passionate about the opportunities that come with studying abroad. Shivani welcomes TEAN students to Auckland and helps them not only learn about themselves but to also make the most of their learning opportunities while in New Zealand.

Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

Akisi Rokovucago

Resident Director - Fiji

Born and raised in Suva, Akisi studied Tourism and Management & Public Administration at the University of the South Pacific and has been using her degree ever since by working in the tourism industry. Passionate about travel and the local environment, Akisi loves sharing her knowledge with students to help you better understand Fiji’s culture and your experiences in the island nation.

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Ashley Stewart

Resident Assistant - Wellington

Born and raised on the South Island, Ashley studied at the University of Otago in Dunedin where he delved into the worlds of theatre, game design and media studies. While involved with the International Student Department during high school, he discovered a passion for storytelling and New Zealand culture so, following his studies, worked at the Otago Museum and as a Resident Assistant for TEAN in Dunedin. He loves showing new students and travelers from around the world how to make the most of this amazing country and its hidden secrets. He has recently made the move up to Wellington on the North Island, bringing with him his collection of stories, experiences, swords and classic Kiwi humour.

Thomas Sullivan

Resident Assistant - Brisbane

Originally from Wisconsin, Thomas is currently pursuing his master’s degree at the University of Queensland. He is a graduate of Elmhurst College and studied abroad three times including a semester in Australia and a summer internship in New Zealand with TEAN! He previously completed an internship at the TEAN HQ in Chicago and now is our Brisbane Resident Assistant. He hopes his passion for learning about one’s self and exploring the world inspires all students he has the pleasure of meeting.

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Erin Sundstrom

Resident Assistant - Gold Coast

Born in Newcastle, Erin has since lived in Darwin, Brisbane and most recently the Gold Coast where she studies at Bond University. As a lover of sports, she competes in Women’s AFL for both Bond University and the Gold Coast Suns. She’s also been involved in Bond’s netball, touch football and even ten pin bowling programs. In her spare time, Erin enjoys the Gold Coast’s best kept secrets and is excited to share all her local knowledge with visiting students.

Eerik Tan

Resident Assistant - Singapore

Eerik is born and raised in Singapore and loves sharing his knowledge of the “little red dot” with others. He graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Real Estate and Facilities Management at Heriot watt Edinburgh. Eerik is currently a realtor with Orangetee in Singapore and has vast experience in helping expats from all over find suitable places to live. He enjoys sharing his knowledge and the values of the multi cultural Singapore with students. In his free time Eerik loves to paint and takes muay thai to keep fit.

Photo of TEAN Staff Bailey Wilson

Bailey Wilson

Resident Assistant - Sydney

Bailey studied abroad with TEAN at Griffith University in the Gold Coast. She fell in love with all things Australia and knew she would come back at some point to live for a longer period of time. Bailey is a graduate of Azusa Pacific University and now works with TEAN in Sydney. Although her heart will always be in her home state of Oklahoma, Bailey never wants to stop exploring and has traveled to over 24 countries! She has loved every minute of adventure, learning, and watching the sunrise on rooftops and shores all over the world.

Directors

Russ Alexander

Director of Programs and Development

Russ was involved with the first group of US study abroad students to come to Australia in the late 1980s. He studied abroad as a high school student for a year in Tyler, Texas and a semester at Georgetown University in Washington DC. Russ graduated from the University of New South Wales in Sydney, where he also became the Associate Director for Study Abroad. Russ joined the Study Australia team in 2000 and now directs the programs in Asia and is responsible for the educational design elements of our Australian/South Pacific programs. Russ is based in Chicago.

Pronouns: He/Him/His

Q&A

What is your role at TEAN?
I am one of the Directors and co-owners of TEAN. Most of my main responsibilities sit in the development of our programs and the institutional relationships of our partner universities abroad.

What makes the Asia Pacific great for studying, interning and living abroad?
The diversity of the region stands out and for many Americans it still provides an option from the well-trodden study abroad pathways to Europe. This part of the world offers pretty much everything from the incredible natural beauty of New Zealand, the South Pacific and Australia through to the fascinating and welcoming cultures of Southeast Asia to the cutting edge technologies and dynamic cities of China and South Korea.

What is your favorite TEAN event?
My favorite event is our annual TEAN Fun Run that takes place at NAFSA (the largest International Education Conference in the world). The conference attracts around 10,000 attendees and is a blur of meetings, sessions and receptions. We decided 6 years ago that instead of holding another cocktail event like everyone else we would donate that money instead. We invited colleagues to show up to a 1K walk or 5K run through the city and we donate a sum to a different charity annually based on the number of participants. It’s a fun outdoorsy event that gets people out of the conference venue and does make a difference. In 5 years we have donated over $22,000 to charities as diverse as the Christchurch and Nepal Earthquake Appeals, a special Thai school for burmese refugees and an American charity that rehabilitates those affected by drug and alcohol.

What does TEAN’s core value Choose Earth mean to you?
That every single decision we make as individuals has an impact and a consequence. We have a responsibility to leave this place better than we found it. By making simple, informed decisions around our everyday actions, we can improve the lives of people we have never met by reducing global inequalities and fostering social justice and fairness, plus we can protect our planet for future generations by reducing our own environmental footprint.

How would you describe the TEAN Chicago office to someone who hasn’t been there before?
We are located in the Chicago downtown area of River North occupying an entire floor of an old red brick warehouse building. Our offices are open plan, creative spaces with our large wooden beamed ceilings a defining feature. Giant amoeba desks with plants growing from them, Thai day beds, bean bags, cycle desks and and an office dog attempt to create a relaxed, informal work space with a welcoming, youthful vibe. Communal areas like our kitchen and lounges add a family feel but mostly I hope we have a pleasant, friendly environment that fosters information sharing and efficiency through its design.

Lauren Gabell

Marketing Director & Thailand Summer Programs Director

Originally from Australia, Lauren’s passion for international education was ignited after studying abroad as an undergrad. Lauren has worked for the international offices at both Monash University and Deakin University, in Melbourne, Australia. At Deakin University she was responsible for developing the study abroad program, and marketing the university in Europe, North America and Thailand. Lauren joined TEAN in 2006 and has been involved with TEAN’s programs throughout Asia Pacific.

Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

Sean Lennon

Director and Co-Founder

Sean is TEAN’s Director and Co-founder and has lived in Perth, Australia since 1993. Upon arriving in Australia, Sean worked with international students attending the University of Notre Dame Australia in Fremantle. Other previous experience includes senior roles within the human resources consulting industry in both Australia and the U.S. He earned a BA and MSA from the University of Notre Dame (Indiana), and is member of NAFSA, The Forum on Education Abroad, AMCHAM (Australia, New Zealand, Korea and China) and AustCham Korea.

Pronouns: He/Him/His

Chris Shepherd

Director and Co-Founder

Chris has been the Director for the U.S. operations since 1995 and co-founded The Education Abroad Network. He has lived abroad in Australia three times and has traveled extensively throughout Australia, New Zealand, Asia and Africa. He is a graduate of the University of Notre Dame and a member of NAFSA and The Forum on Education Abroad.

Pronouns: He/Him/His

Q&A

How did TEAN get its start?
Sean Lennon and I started the organization in 1995 as we felt many of the current study abroad programs were too rigid and did not cater to the needs of individual students. At the time we were both working for an Australian university so we met lots of students that substantiated that view which provided us the impetus to move forward. We really wanted to help each and every student maximize their time abroad. You can read more about our story here.

What do you consider some of the major milestones for the company over the last 20+ years?
We do not get too caught up in numbers, but reaching our 20th anniversary in 2015 was special. The 20 year milestone itself was great, but the 20 for 20 Scholarship Campaign we hosted around the celebration made it even better. Our partners supported us with more than $150,000 in special scholarship funds to award in honor of the anniversary and we also awarded our first full ride scholarship from TEAN.

What do you think has helped make TEAN successful as it’s grown?
We have been successful as we have maintained our personalized approach to each applicant. That is a key focus of our training program and we also ensure all staff have relevant experience in the countries where we offer programs. It is fine to be customer service oriented, but you also need the knowledge to really make a difference as a program advisor. Our staff are also able to become “experts” as we solely focus on the Asia Pacific region.

Last year your family had a “study abroad” experience, can you tell us more about that?
We were able to live in Sydney, Australia and do some fun family travel throughout the region. The absolute highlight was my four daughters were able to attend a public school together. It was wonderful for them to have their own study abroad experience and for my wife and I to see firsthand how that experience had such a positive impact on them. Professionally it was very rewarding to work more closely with our on-site staff and expand my own knowledge of our programs, partners and locations.

Why was it important for TEAN to adopt a new company core value of Choose Earth?
For the majority of Americans who can study abroad (and our own staff) they are among the most fortunate people on the planet. While our society has so many positive attributes we are also a very wasteful and entitled society. We feel study abroad is a good opportunity to introduce or reinforce a sustainable lifestyle as students can sometimes be more open to learning and growing as individuals while they are abroad. This is not necessarily easy as we are competing for our student’s attention on many levels, but we are up for the challenge!