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 Sydney
Manager of Enrollment
John has worked with students studying in Australia for more than six years and knows these universities inside and out. John studied public relations during undergrad, business administration for his masters, and has a passion for travel and different cultures.
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.
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!
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 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
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 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’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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.