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6 posts from July 2015


A Parent’s Perspective: On Studying Abroad in Tanzania

For many parents, the concept of studying abroad can be unfamiliar and overwhelming. This is particularly true when their child is interested in studying in a nontraditional location or in a developing country: how will they ensure that their child is safe during their time abroad?

When Joanna and Philippe See’s daughter Caroline expressed interest in studying abroad in Africa, Joanna was supportive of her daughter’s desires, but with one condition: that Caroline would study abroad through a CIEE program. In high school, Caroline went abroad through the CIEE South Korea Scholarship program, where she had an ‘absolutely amazing’ experience and discovered a passion for different cultures. In college, Caroline began studying sociology, which led her to pursue a semester abroad in Iringa, Tanzania, located in eastern Africa, through CIEE. 


Caroline (center) with her parents in Tanzania.

Joanna says that her household has always been internationally focused; her husband, Philippe, is from France, and they have hosted international high school students during the school year. Joanna and Philippe travelled to Tanzania to visit her daughter during her semester abroad, and had the opportunity to see the region through her daughter’s eyes. “She took us through a lot of the highlights of her CIEE program,” Joanna recalls. They went on a safari in a national park, toured the university, and met with the resident director of the Iringa program. 


Caroline and her family in Tanzania.  

        “During Caroline’s time abroad with CIEE – both in Korea and in Tanzania – she felt an ‘automatic acceptance’ into the new cultures and ways of communicating."

Caroline had studied Swahili prior to departing for Tanzania, and became fluent in the language during her time abroad. Joanna says that it was an incredible experience to see her daughter in a new element. “She thrives in foreign cultures,” she says, “she absolutely loves to travel, and has fallen in love with Africa.” Caroline struggles with some learning challenges, and Joanna says that during Caroline’s time abroad with CIEE – both in Korea and in Tanzania – she felt an ‘automatic acceptance’ into the new cultures and ways of communicating. “[Caroline] says that she finds a certain level of automatic forgiveness with being abroad,” she explains, “and it’s changed her world, she’s become more sure of herself, and just makes her want to see more and do more and learn more languages and meet more people.”

This summer, Caroline has returned to Tanzania to volunteer with the Igoda Children’s Village, a safe haven for orphans and vulnerable children from 0-18 years of age, and to conduct interviews for her senior thesis on NGOs and healthcare in Africa. After graduation, Caroline plans to work and live in Africa. “It’s a long flight,” Joanna laughs, “but it’s so worth it.” 

CIEE is committed to increasing access to international exchange opportunities for everyone, including students with disabilities. In celebration of the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, and in partnership with Mobility International USA (MIUSA), we’re awarding 25 scholarships to students to enroll in CIEE study abroad programs. 


CIEE Opens Doors to Study Abroad with More Short-Term Sessions

CIEE: Council on International Educational Exchange is expanding short-term study abroad offerings to increase access to international education opportunities for U.S. undergraduates of all academic disciplines and majors. Beginning in 2016, the leading nonprofit international education and exchange organization will offer 36 new study abroad sessions in January and May to help ensure every student has the chance to study abroad.

Each three-and-a-half week session will offer students international experience and academic credit without impacting on-campus schedules or summer plans. January programs will be held during universities’ winter breaks, and May programs will be offered following the end of the academic year but prior to the start of traditional summer programs.

Each session is priced affordably at under $3,000. Eligible students will have access to scholarships and grants to further help defray the costs of studying abroad.

“Every student should have the chance to study abroad. Research shows that studying abroad helps to increase academic success, graduation rates, and post-graduate placements in jobs and graduate schools. By offering more sessions in more intervals, we help students of all academic majors and challenging schedules to participate,” said CIEE President and Chief Executive Officer James P. Pellow, Ed.D. “If a pre-med student has a rigorous academic schedule or a student athlete has a schedule that doesn’t allow them to be away from campus for a semester, they can instead take short-term programs in January during winter break, in May after the traditional year ends, or during the summer. They’ll gain critical international experience and stay on track for graduation – a win-win for both the students and their institutions.”

Session themes will include business, liberal arts, and STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) topics, such as culture and reproductive health in Ghana and sustainable development in the tropics in Costa Rica. Students complete one course tied to the session theme, go on excursions to sites of cultural or historical significance related to the theme, and take part in activities focused on immersion in the local culture.

“For example, students on CIEE’s January Communications, New Media, and Journalism session in Prague, Czech Republic, take a course on the power of social media, visit local media like Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty, and meet with Charles University students,” continued Pellow. “Every component of the new sessions is designed to work together to provide students with maximum learning and cultural immersion in a short timeframe.”

By expanding short-term sessions, CIEE is taking the next step in its commitment to Generation Study Abroad™, a five-year initiative developed by the Institute of International Education. CIEE has pledged to break down the main barriers to study abroad – cost, curriculum, and culture – to help double the number of American students who study abroad to 600,000 by the year 2020.

Seeing Amman through the eyes of Access The World Scholarship Recipient, Lauren Distler

The city of Amman is built almost entirely out of white sandstone, so when viewed from from a distance it looks like outcroppings of rock on the hillsides.

Amman scene

The Roman colosseum in Amman, where events and concerts are still held today: 


Jordanian Independance Day Band:


A mosque downtown:


Many of my favorite memories come from the trips we took--

Floating in the Dead Sea:

Amman 4

Umm Qais:
Riding through the Hippodrome in the ancient city of Umm Qais:

Amman 5

Umm Qais, Old and New:

Amman 7


Pictures completely fail to capture the beauty of the Hagia Sophia, or the awe one feels walking around in a place suffused with so much human history.

Hagia Sophia

Amman 8

Learning to cook Turkish food:

Amman 9

Sultanahmet (Blue Mosque):

Amman 11

Sultanahmet lit up at night- one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen. Those pinpricks of light you see are actually birds wheeling in the sky about the mosque, their wings illuminated from below: Amman 12


One of the most interesting things I came across in Petra was a church carved into the cliffside. Having been in Istanbul the week before, it was fascinating to compare the church's austere elegance with the opulence of places like the Hagia Sophia. Two very different structures built for the same purpose.

The church in Petra:

Amman 13

Inside the Hagia Sophia:

Amman 14

Wadi Rum:
   My favorite memory of the whole trip was when we were in Wadi Rum (which translates to "Rock Valley"), this place in the desert that used to be the floor of an ocean millennia ago. At some point there was an earthquake that drained the ocean, leaving behind a desert and these /huge/ sedimentary rock formations that rise out of the sand like jagged towers. During the day we rode camels and 4x4s around the desert, got these awesome meals from the bedouin tribe we were staying with, watched the sun set, etc; but what I really was looking forward to was when the stars came out. After nightfall a couple of friends and I hiked back out of the camp and climbed up one of the rock formations (I got a couple of nice scrapes and bruises from that but it was worth it). There was the road in the distance, and a couple of camps dotting the landscape below, but other than that there was no source of light pollution for miles and miles. Laying back on the rocks there were so many stars above that it was difficult to pick out the familiar constellations from among the thousands of glowing pinpricks. To my right, low in the sky, one could make out the big dipper; to my left, the hazy clouds of the milky way. If you thought about it right you could see the sky as curving above you, a glittering dome stretching from horizon to horizon.
   Telling this story, a friend asked me if seeing the cosmos made me feel small. I replied that no, if anything witnessing that vast beauty above me reinforced the delight I find in the idea that, through pure chance and probability (atoms bumping against each other), the universe created something with which it could observe itself.

Amman 15

The desert at sunset:

Amman 16

CIEE and Mobility International USA are partnering to offer motivated and high-achieving U.S. college students with disabilities the opportunity to study abroad!

To celebrate the 25th anniversary of President George H.W. Bush's signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act in July 1990, CIEE is awarding 25 scholarships to students to enroll in CIEE study abroad programs.



Access the World Scholarship Recipient Reflects on her Study Abroad Experience!

First and foremost, I want to say thank you to CIEE for allowing me to to experience study abroad during the summer of 2015, Session 1 in France through the “Access the World Scholarship”.  I realized that I can survive traveling alone internationally, since this was my first time ever traveling fully across the Atlantic Ocean and going to Europe. I went to Paris twice on my own and Amsterdam for a day.  I really learned a lot in the class on European Integration on the politics, policy, law and on the culture of France and the E.U. The teachers were very in tune with the material. I loved the way they were able to put the information together in ways that I was able to retain, via readings out loud, smart board, videos, conversations, and more. I felt that knowing the politics and culture really helped me understand France more while I was there. I learned from my host family more ways to eat healthy and realized that self-care and taking time instead of rushing while eating is crucial. I also, liked the excursions to the other places in France (Carcassonne and Collioure).   Within Toulouse I enjoyed eating macaroons and making dinner with my host family.   During the "ICE" Weekend in Madrid I was able to taste different cuisines, speak more fluently and meet students from other programs. I liked the Survival French class that I took.   The teacher was able to teach me words that I needed to use for going to restaurants and asking for directions. Also, I was able to write things down phonetically in order to communicate in French. I liked the experience of seeing how the culture and food is different from the United States in a good way. I miss the price of organic food and the transportation in France. I also liked the fact that I got to meet other people either previous students from the semester course and to speak with people from the city in Toulouse. Last but not least, I would like to thank all the people involved in CIEE Toulouse for being aware of my food restrictions and for giving me advice on where to go to eat for lunch and where to buy food. I found places like Vietnamese restaurants and other organic natural restaurants that serve gluten free and dairy free thanks to their advice.    20150616_185205

A carousal in Toulose


Study trip to Airbus in Toulouse to learn about the aviation industry


Jardin de Plantes


CIEE and Mobility International USA are partnering to offer motivated and high-achieving U.S. college students with disabilities the opportunity to study abroad!

To celebrate the 25th anniversary of President George H.W. Bush's signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act in July 1990, CIEE is awarding 25 scholarships to students to enroll in CIEE study abroad programs.


CIEE Study Abroad Alumni Shares Advice to Students with Disabilities

In the spring of 2009, I studied abroad in Rennes, France with CIEE. Despite my every desire to study abroad in Paris, Rennes proved to be more wheelchair accessible and easier to navigate. With admittedly some hesitation, I embarked on what ended up being the best five months of my life. Studying abroad in general is an incredibly humbling experience. I learned so much about myself through both challenges and incomparable adventure. My goal while I was abroad was to have an experience like the rest of my peers. I lived with a host family, took classes at the local university, and traveled with my friends on holidays. I took risks and embraced challenges and took advantage of every opportunity that allowed me to make the most of my time in Rennes. The best part of study abroad was the friendships I formed and the confidence my experience instilled in me. After my experience abroad with CIEE, I returned to Rennes after I graduated from college and spent two years as a teaching assistant in a public high school. Without my initial experience studying abroad, I would have never dreamed of my two years in France as even a remote possibility or opportunity. I learned to advocate for myself and coincidentally found my passion: teaching. After moving back to the United States in 2012, I applied to graduate school to get my Master’s in Education. I moved to Austin in 2013 on a whim. I packed up my car, convinced a friend to be my co-pilot, and started masters class in the fall at Texas State University. Studying abroad didn’t hand me these opportunities, but the experience taught me to problem solve, embrace challenge, take risks, and fostered a special sense of adventure. My advice to students with disabilities who are considering studying abroad isn’t to accept EVERY challenge and jump into an experience you’re not ready for, but rather to think of studying abroad as an opportunity to learn who you are and consider the possibility and opportunities study abroad offers. FullSizeRender


World Trade Center Redevelopment Master Planner Daniel Libeskind and Google Chief Education Evangelist Jaime Casap to Headline 2015 CIEE Annual Conference

CIEE: Council on International Educational Exchange is excited to announce visionary architect Daniel Libeskind and Google Chief Education Evangelist Jaime Casap as the featured speakers for its 2015 CIEE Annual Conference, November 4-7, in Berlin.

Respected innovators in their fields, Libeskind and Casap will offer inspiration to an audience of more than 500 scholars, thinkers, and leaders in international education who are working to reimagine, rebuild, and reinvent study abroad to give all students the tools they need to thrive in the 21st century.

During the conference’s opening presentation on November 4, Libeskind will share his architectural vision and use his own work as an example of how developing and shaping big ideas can lead to transformation. Casap will share his thoughts on the powerful role of technology in revolutionizing education and transforming today’s students into tomorrow’s global citizens during the conference’s Annual Luncheon on November 6.

This year’s conference theme, The Reinvention of Study Abroad: Setting the Course for 2020, is part of CIEE’s commitment to Generation Study Abroad™, an initiative started by the Institute of International Education to double the number of students studying abroad to 600,000 by the year 2020. In support of this initiative, CIEE has pledged to provide $20 million in scholarships and grants to American students, to sponsor passports for 10,000 students, and to offer an annual $20,000 grant to college faculty to support innovative approaches to custom study abroad programs.

To learn more about the CIEE Annual Conference, visit

Daniel Libeskind, Architect, Artist, and Professor
An international figure in architecture and urban design, Daniel Libeskind is renowned for his ability to evoke cultural memory in buildings of equilibrium-defying contemporaneity. Informed by a deep commitment to music, philosophy, and literature, Libeskind aims to create architecture that is resonant, original, and sustainable. Born in Lód’z, Poland, in 1946, Libeskind immigrated to the United States as a teenager.

Daniel Libeskind
Daniel Libeskind, World Trade Center Redevelopment Master Planner

Libeskind established his architectural studio in Berlin, Germany, in 1989 after winning the competition to build the Jewish Museum in Berlin. In February 2003, Studio Libeskind moved its headquarters from Berlin to New York City when Daniel Libeskind was selected as the master planner for the World Trade Center redevelopment. Daniel Libeskind’s practice is involved in designing and realizing a diverse array of urban, cultural, and commercial projects internationally.

Jaime Casap, Chief Education Evangelist, Google, Inc.
Jaime Casap is chief education evangelist at Google, Inc., where he works with educational organizations around the world to help them find ways to continuously improve the quality of education by utilizing and enabling technology capabilities. Born and raised as a first-generation American to a single mother on welfare in Hell’s Kitchen, New York, Casap understands and appreciates the power education has on changing the destiny of a family in just one generation.

Jaime Casap Headshot
Jaime Casap, Google Chief Education Evangelist

In addition to his role at Google, Casap serves on the Board of Directors for the Arizona Science Foundation, New Global Citizens, Arizona Chamber of Commerce, Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce, and serves as an advisor to dozens of organizations focused on education and access, including South by Southwest EDU (SXSWedu,) the Arizona Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, and is on the GSV Advisors Advisory Board. He is also an adjunct professor at Arizona State University, where he teaches classes and guest lectures.