GoAbroad Interview

Emily Sauey - Site Specialist

Emily Sauey - Site Specialist

Emily is a Colorado native, and majored in International Affairs at James Madison University. Her international experience started when she studied abroad in Grenoble, France and continued when she taught English in Guiyang, Guizhou, China. When she is not working at CEA, Emily enjoys spending time with her husband and son, usually exploring beautiful Arizona and always planning her next adventure (next up, Portugal!).

You’re from Colorado, and you went to James Madison University in Virginia, how did you get connected to CEA Study Abroad (based in Arizona)?

After my husband and I spent some time globe-hopping (Denver and China primarily), we moved to Arizona in 2011 for a different job. For a while, I had been talking about the idea of getting into the study abroad field. In 2014, I had an informational interview with a study abroad advisor at ASU, who pointed me in the direction of CEA Study Abroad. They happened to be hiring for Site Specialists at the time, and I was hired! Everything just kind of fell into place for me, and I couldn’t be happier in my current position.

Hiking through Leaping Tiger Gorge in China

Emily hiking through Leaping Tiger Gorge

You advise students headed to study abroad in Barcelona, Grenoble, and Prague, what does a typical day look like as a Site Specialist?

My daily goal working with students is to set them up for success while studying abroad, and preparing to study abroad is a lot of work! So for me, that means helping students complete a variety of tasks: getting classes approved, applying for student visas, submitting documents for our on-site staff, things like that. It is a lot of daily communication with students, answering questions about program details, and hopefully setting realistic expectations about their program and what their daily life will look like while living in their new city.

What about each of the programs you advise for is unique?

Grenoble - This program is so near and dear to my heart since I studied here! Grenoble is a charming city nestled in the French Alps, a typical French city that students are lucky enough to visit for a short time. Students study French language and culture at the University of Stendhal or business at Grenoble Ecole de Management. At Stendhal, courses are all taught in French with students from around the world. And fun fact, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis studied there as a girl! The Grenoble Ecole de Management was recently ranked as the number seven business school in France. Students are taught by visiting professionals, so they receive a completely unique education. Students who live in Grenoble will have all the academic benefits as well as access to amazing outdoor activities in the three mountain ranges that surround the city. Whether it is skiing, hiking, biking, paragliding, or anything in between - Grenoble has it all!

Prague - Oh Prague, what an amazing city. It is so unique and provides a wonderful mixture of Eastern vs. Western Europe. This is what is so unique about Prague, world history is literally all around you, all you have to do is take a walk down the street! Students take courses at Anglo American University which is housed in a the restored Thurn-Taxis Palace, the closest to Hogwarts any student can get! Small class sizes, international professors and classmates, and courses in a variety of subjects make Anglo American University an amazing academic institution. Beyond class, our Prague staff organizes some truly amazing excursions and cultural activities! One day, I would love to join them on the trip to Krakow! A fun fact for Prague: the Charles Castle is in the Guinness Book of world records as the castle that has been under construction for the longest time, since the 1300s!

CEA Sit Specialist Team

The CEA Site Specialist team showing our Spanish Pride!

Barcelona - Barcelona is our most popular for a good reason. An amazing mixture of cosmopolitan lifestyle with art, history, and access to a variety of beautiful Spanish landscapes. We offer a variety of different programs in Barcelona, so a student can find any course they need to take to fulfill academic requirements while living in the most amazing location. I think what sticks out from this program is our staff and their commitment to help students get the most out of their experience. Whether it is volunteering while abroad, participating on one of our many excursions, or practicing their speaking skills with local students. each student will leave Barcelona having really been introduced to Barcelona and Spain. 

You’re academic background is in international affairs, how are you able to apply your knowledge to your role with CEA Study Abroad?

My favorite thing that came from my training in international affairs was learning about different cultures and about how people live and understand the world. Studying abroad gives one the unique experience to live in another culture and for a brief time, be completely immersed in a different way of life. What other opportunity can you be a part of that will allow you this experience? As a Site Specialist, I try to convey this to all of my students in an attempt to properly prepare them for what is to come.

During college you studied abroad in France, and traveled much of Europe. How did this experience shape your interest in working in the field of international education?

I truly believe that the best education someone can have is dynamic and interactive, beyond the classroom. During my time abroad, I gained so much. Not only in the classroom, but also as an individual. I truly believe that I would not be the person I am today if I hadn’t had taken that leap. It is so exciting to think that I could help someone else have a similar experience!

What did teaching English in China teach you, and how do you use it when advising students?

Teaching in China was...a huge growing experience. I was in a completely unfamiliar environment in a city of 4 million with about 300 foreign individuals. It was isolating, exciting, challenging, delicious, beautiful, and weird. The biggest thing that I took away from that experience that I can apply to advising is that proper preparation is essential. I walked into that situation not knowing essential details about my living situation, the culture, or my support network. If I had known what to be prepared for, I think that my experience would have been very different. That being said, my main goal is to properly explain to students what they should expect from their study abroad experience, from classes to their living situation, excursions, food, cost of living, and every other detail!

10,000 Buddhas in the United States

Emily with 10,000 Buddhas

As a Site Specialist you speak with parents and guardians constantly, what is the most frequently asked question you receive and what is your response?

The main question that I get from parents is, “Will my child be safe?” As a parent myself, I can completely understand this concern. While my son is only one, I get it; the world can be a scary place! My answer is always the same, “Our on-site staff is amazing, their main goal is to make sure that your child is supported while abroad, and they are acting as an advocate for your child in every way.”

Truly, I believe that the best part about CEA Study Abroad is the support that the students get, from the Admissions counselor to the Site Specialist to the Student Accounts team, then the on-site staff.

What’s the best piece of advice you could give to prospective CEA Study Abroad students headed to Barcelona, Grenoble, or Prague?

Never be afraid to take part in an adventure because you are embarrassed or scared. The world can be a pretty forgiving place for a wanderlust young adult, everyone has been there at some point! Be fearless, willing, and courageous!

What is the most fulfilling part of your role with CEA Study Abroad?

I feel like a broken record, but really the most fulfilling part of my role is knowing that my students get to their location properly prepared and ready for this life changing experience! The knowledge that each student I work with will spend several months in a new country and will leave armed with a new cultural appreciation, funny travel stories, and a desire to travel again is truly an amazing feeling.

Colosseum in Rome, Italy

Just hangin with the Colosseum

You’ve been with CEA Study Abroad for six months, what has been your biggest achievement thus far

In my short time with CEA, I think that my biggest achievement has been twofold: working with my own students who are preparing to leave for their summer programs and supporting our amazing enrollment team. Without the CEA enrollment team, our students would be in trouble! Contributing and executing new ideas to make our team more efficient has been fun and successful!

What are your goals for 2015?

As for 2015, I’ve got a lot of goals! First and foremost, I am so excited for all of my students to have a safe and life changing experience abroad. I am also looking forward to improving our communication to our students, their parents, and our university partners. Continued strengthening within the enrollment department is also a daily goal for me. In my continual quest for travel, I’m adding Portugal to my list! It’s gonna be a busy and exciting 2015!