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 Australia. And, of course, feel free to contact us anytime if you have questions!
Meet Team Newcastle
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 Australia team. From the beaches to the wildlife to the laid-back lifestyle, Australia is an incredible place to spend a semester. Allison is excited to be able to help students study abroad in the Land Down Under!
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.
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.
Director - South Pacific
Michelle has more than 25 years experience in International Education. Michelle started working for The University of New South Wales (UNSW) Study Abroad office part time whilst she was a student completing her Bachelor of Science. After graduating Michelle then accepted a full time role which led to her love of international education. Over the past 25 years Michelle has worked at UNSW with Study Abroad, Exchange programs and full degree students and has been involved in various leadership roles during this time. As part of the Senior Management Team for the International Centre Michelle provided strategic advice to developing pathways to international education programs and developed key relationships within the international education community. Michelle oversaw the management of the Study Abroad & Exchange program and was most recently Deputy Director: Global Education and Recruitment prior to her current role with TEAN.
What led you to your current role as TEAN’s Director – South Pacific?
I’ve worked in study abroad for more than 25 years at UNSW…20 of which was with the TEAN program! I managed the Study Abroad & Exchange portfolios at UNSW and when I was approached to take on this new role, I was very excited to try something new with a company that I have a lot of respect for. I love what TEAN does – from recruitment to in-country support and everything in between. We are truly hands-on and our students have the experience of a lifetime.
What originally got you into the field?
While I was studying at UNSW I worked casually in the Study Abroad Office and met some great international students. I don’t mean to sound cliche but I loved being involved in their life-changing experiences – that was what hooked me. I was originally just going to continue for a year and then move to the U.K. but obviously the job changed my career path indefinitely.
What is the best part of your job?
Seeing the students live their best life. I also love seeing and hearing about their experiences while abroad, like what changed them and what they didn’t expect. They leave our program a different person – one that is ready to take on the world. Again a cliche but it’s true!
What are some of the common challenges student have to overcome to study in Australia?
Students are shocked by how different Australia actually is from the U.S. They see the same icons and pop culture but, underneath, we have a very different culture. I think students can sometimes go through culture shock more than if going to study in a country with another language because the differences aren’t obvious at first so are very surprising. The university degrees are set up differently here too. Most degrees are only three years and there aren’t as many electives. Australia’s teaching methods and assessments are different as well, more independent which I feel students get used to and like. Worrying about credits transferring to home universities is a concern so students need to work closely with their advisors before leaving their home schools.
In your experience what makes Sydney a great place to study abroad?
Australia overall has excellent universities, incredible cities and is very safe. Sydney in particular is a fabulous multicultural city that offers absolutely anything and everything you could want. The busy weekly lifestyle gives way to laid back weekends and exploring new areas, taking in shows at the Opera House, or a sporting match at the former Olympic Park. Or you can just grab brunch or coffee at the beach! You can make your experience what you want.