As we get to know you through the application process to study abroad, it’s only fair that you know a bit about us too! Read on to learn more about the programs team behind all the emails and phone calls and our in-country staff who you will get to know during your time in South Korea. And, of course, feel free to contact us anytime if you have questions!

Program Managers

Photo of TEAN staff Trisha Turner

Trisha Turner

Program Manager

Trisha is the Team Asia lead working on TEAN programs in Korea and China. Coming from a background of working abroad in Germany, Trisha has traveled to over 35 countries – her most recent travel being a whirlwind trip to Asia! Trisha was lucky enough to visit Seoul during the spring while the cherry blossoms were in bloom. Her favorite thing about Korea is how open locals are in sharing their culture and traditional customs. Korea has such a rich culture and Trisha loves being able to help students experience Seoul and Busan.

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.

Allison Kelley

Assistant Program Manager

Allison’s first experience overseas was her internship at a business school in Paris as an undergrad. That experience sparked her love of international education, and she is happy to now work at TEAN’s Chicago office on the Asia team. She loves helping students discover all that Korea has to offer. Some of Allison’s travel highlights include overlooking Seoul from the Bukchon Observatory and watching the sunrise on Haeundae Beach in Busan. There is so much to see, do and eat in Korea – it will never bore you!

Q&A

Explain a bit about your role at TEAN.
I work on several of our programs, helping advise students throughout the application process and prepare for their semester abroad. I am also on our custom programs team where I coordinate faculty-led programs.

How did your study abroad experience lead to you working at TEAN?
Between working at my school and working closely with my advisors before going abroad, I realized that I really enjoyed interacting with students and wanted to help other people experience the immense personal growth and independence that comes from traveling internationally. TEAN was the perfect fit in terms of its mission and structure, and I’m so happy to have ended up here!

What advice do you give to a student who wants to study abroad but has no idea where they should go?
I think the biggest question you should ask yourself is what you want to gain from the experience. Have you been studying a language your whole life and want an opportunity to use it? Do you want to experience a culture that is completely opposite from how you grew up? Do you want to be surrounded by the hustle and bustle of a big city or do you want to feel like a part of the community in a small town? Starting with these kinds of questions will help narrow down the list.

What makes TEAN HQ in Chicago a great place to work?
The TEAN office has a very positive atmosphere and is filled with people who are passionate about what they do. I look forward to working alongside my colleagues each day! Our office dog, Kora, is also a great addition to the team, and loves to visit our desks or join us in meetings.

What do you like to do in your free time?
Besides traveling, I love spending afternoons in coffee shops, going to concerts and virtually exploring the world on Google Earth street view! My goal this year is to be able to locate every country on a map.

Photo of Allison Bader

Allison Bader

Assistant Program Manager

Allison lived in Busan, South Korea for two years teaching English to elementary school students through the EPIK program. Busan truly has everything: mountains, beaches, endless shopping, delicious street food and – of course – noraebang! Whether you’re dining on live eel at Jagalchi fish market or enjoying the view from the top of Seoul Tower, Korea is a unique and hospitable country that makes a perfect catalyst for exploration and self discovery. Allison is excited to help TEAN students experience Korea for themselves through study abroad!

Q&A

What is your role at TEAN? Explain your day to day.
I work with students studying abroad on our Asia programs, including China and Korea as well as the internship programs. I help them with every step of the process, from the time they apply to the time they go abroad.

How did your semester in Manchester influence/encourage you to spend two years in South Korea teaching English after graduation?
Studying in Manchester gave me so much independence! Navigating a foreign city on my own using public transportation was a big deal for me. Fortunately, the people in Manchester were incredibly nice and helpful. Before I knew it, the semester was over, and I jumped at the next opportunity to go abroad. My semester abroad made living abroad full-time after graduation seem like an achievable reality and, once I found a tangible way to do that, I went for it!

What do you think someone can gain from an experience abroad?
I think being abroad really changes your view of yourself and what you’re capable of for the better. You’re much more adaptable, competent and resilient than you think you are. When you learn how to face and handle challenges away from home for the first time, you learn that you can depend on yourself in hard times, which I think is a very powerful thing.

What’s the best dish you’ve had throughout your travels? Include what it is, why you liked it and what’s in it.
My favorite Korean dessert is called patbingsu, which is shaved ice topped with red beans, chopped fruit and condensed milk! It’s incredibly refreshing on hot summer days, and a perfect treat to eat while sitting in a cool cafe or by the beach.

What are some highlights from your travels?
I loved visiting Angkor Wat in Cambodia, snorkeling in the Philippines, hiking to Seokbulsa Temple in Busan, and eating all the delicious street food in Taipei and Bangkok.

Korea Staff

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!

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.”

Seunghyun Cho

Resident Coordinator - Busan

After her first year at university in Busan, Seunghyun dreamt of new adventures, places and cultures, which drew her to travel to Europe and South Africa. Throughout school she also spent time volunteering teaching Korean language to foreigners. Now, her greatest passion is meeting different people and sharing one another’s culture. This, together with her positive attitude and readiness to always lend a helping hand, has naturally led her to work with study abroad students helping make their semesters abroad in Busan and incredible experience!