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!

Program Managers

Kristen Jackson

Senior Program Manager

Kristen’s love for all things Australia began when she had an internship in Sydney in college. Because she enjoyed her experience so much, she was determined to move back to Australia for a longer period of time so packed her bags in Chicago and jetted off to Sydney for a year! Kristen worked with incoming American study abroad students to show them around Sydney and helped them settle into their new life in Australia. Now back in Chicago, Kristen is excited to work with TEAN students headed to Australia!

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.

Nick Falzone

Program Manager

Nick is a Chicago transplant with a special place in his heart for Vienna (his former study abroad home). That said, ever since joining TEAN’s Team Australia four years ago, he’s been hooked on all things Oz – everything from taking selfies with quokkas on Rottnest Island near Perth to the diving in the Great Barrier Reef – Nick loves guiding students in planning their studies down under! He has also taken on the role of TEAN’s Diversity and Disability Coordinator for all programs in addition to his program management. IG: @nfveivnick

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.

Leslie Johnson

Program Manager

Leslie has always felt a close connection to Australia given that her grandmother is originally from Tasmania. She’s traveled extensively along the country’s east coast visiting family, different universities, the region’s fascinating cities like Melbourne, Brisbane, Townsville and Cairns, and incredible nature hotspots of the Great Barrier Reef, Whitsundays and more. Through her travels, Leslie fell in love with Australia’s people and scenery and now shares her insight with students wanting to study Down Under.

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 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!

Australia Staff

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

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.

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.