Let’s start from the beginning. Meet Michelle Edmands. She means the world to us! Are you ready to find out why? She is one of the first CISabroad study abroad students to make one of the best decisions of her life. She chose in 1999 to study abroad with CISabroad to Australia for her Spring semester. Today we celebrate 15 years of sending brilliant students like Michelle to study abroad all over the world. Here’s what she said in a recent interview.
One of the first CISabroad students to study in Australia!
Why did you choose to study abroad? Why CIS? CIS was on-site at Suffolk University, so it was easily accessible and convenient. As soon as I met with Jeff and got some information, I never thought of looking at other study abroad programs.
Why did you choose Australia? I went on the Semester on the Gold Coast program. I knew I wanted to go to a place where English was the primary language, the weather would be warm and sunny, and to be near the ocean. I went for one semester (autumn here, summer there) and they had a communications programs, which was my major at Suffolk.
How has studying abroad impacted your life? It was an amazing 3 1/2 months that I will never forget. It certainly exposed me to new cultures and being independent so far from home. My family was able to visit for two weeks and we traveled around the country, so we did everything from snorkel on the Great Barrier Reef to visit a comedy club in Melbourne. I still find myself using terms I learned there, such as “roundabout” instead of rotary, and “no worries”. My experience was so positive that I would definitely encourage my children to study abroad when they get older.
What is your most memorable experience? Two things come to mind right away:
*On our first evening there, me and some other girls I met while traveling to Bond, wanted to go out in town. We had not had a chance to exchange our money, and were in the study abroad office trying to get some information on where to go and how to get there. The counselor onsite was so kind and helpful- she gave us some of her own money so we could get the bus into town and have some spending money until we could exchange our American dollars. I remember thinking how generous that was and something you didn’t see a lot of at home.
*While I was on the Gold Coast in 2000, the Olympics were going on in Sydney. We had an Olympic size pool on campus and the teams would practice there (although we weren’t allowed to bother them). Seven of us rented a van and drove to Sydney and managed to get tickets for $25 each to the men’s gold-medal soccer game. We watched as Cameroon defeated Spain after double-overtime and then penalty shots. The game was amazing and the fact that we were sitting in the bleachers was surreal!
What advice do you have for future students? Don’t be afraid to try something new. It is such an amazing opportunity to meet people, try things out of your comfort zone and learn about a whole new place. People really love travelers and want to share their stories and offer advice. Ask locals about things to do or restaurants that are off the beaten path.
Are you still in touch with other alumni? I am still in touch with my friend Kim who also studied at the same university. She is from New Jersey and we met on our stopover in Malaysia. My expectations on our accommodations were low, but the hotel we stayed at was absolutely gorgeous. We were only there for six hours, not even over-night. We were each given a room, and food/drink vouchers. Kim and I started talking and realized we were going to the same school. As we sat in the lobby, drinking a glass of champagne, we watched monkeys climbing up the windows of the hotel. To this day, we share pictures of our children and always remember each other’s birthday.
My entire experience was wonderful, starting with meeting Jeff at CISabroad and him answering all of my (and my parents’) questions. We all felt so comfortable with the travel plan, Bond Uni, and the courses. My parents were determined to have me study abroad after my bother spent a semester in Madrid, and I was against it at first. Now I am so grateful that they persisted, as it was truly awesome. After I returned to Suffolk, Jeff asked if I would work with CISabroad a bit, and I helped with orientations for new students, answering their parent’s questions and sharing my experience. I am thankful to have had the opportunity to not only travel abroad through CISabroad but to encourage others to do the same.
Hear what students, interns, and alumni have to say
BOLDLY COMMITTED to providing the best experiences abroad
Get to know your Irish classmates; you can learn about the country and culture from them. I have met people from around the world and from around America. Many of them I still stay in contact with them because we had become close friends and learned a lot from one another. These friendships would not be possible without CIS Abroad.
One aspect I enjoyed the most was the freedom that I had to be a student and visitor. My site director was the best at guiding me and always being there in any circumstance, yet I still felt like an adult.
This program changed my life in many ways, but most importantly it taught me how to be adaptable. I thoroughly enjoyed the intern mixers that allowed us to meet others in our program.
Come in with an open mind, make friends, and don't pass up an opportunity to explore. I now want to go on more adventures and feel more cultured.
Edinboro University of PA
I will forever have a respect for all cultures and people. My favorite aspect of the program was the weekend trips and weekly activities planned for the students.
University of Arkansas
The excursions included in the CIS Abroad program were amazing. The site directors chose awesome tour guides for our excursions and made it a great experience. Both the site directors and the tour guides were extremely caring and knowledgeable about their job. I felt safe at all times.
I stepped outside of my comfort zone and met so many friends while studying on the Gold Coast, which has allowed me to stay in contact with people on almost every continent. Being a marketing student, this diverse network will also benefit me on a professional level.
CIS Abroad created a comfortable and eventful atmosphere. This program opened my eyes to the world and allowed me to grow comfortable in my own skin when placed in new surroundings.
Colby Sawyer College
This experience opened my eyes to the beauty of the world and showed me how small my problems really are. It showed me that I can be whoever I want and do whatever I want and that money isn't everything. Lastly, it introduced me to my CISabroad family.
Keene State University
Going abroad with CISabroad was one of my best decisions. I really loved how CIS created a family through orientation, excursions, Facebook posts, rooming assignments, etc. There was never a moment where I felt alone or helpless. I've made friends that I'll have for the rest of my life.
University of South Carolina
This program made me realize how much I want travel, culture and adventure to be a part of my life forever.
One of the best aspects of the program was my site director, who is one of the most wonderful people I've ever met. The difference between my experience and my fellow students' experiences in other programs was very noticeable.
Loyola University Chicago
Studying abroad enhanced my Spanish-speaking skills, gave me deep friendships, and positively challenged the ways I viewed my own family, culture, and country. I’ve become a better student, sister, daughter, and friend. I can never see the world through the same lenses again. To that I am forever grateful.
Point Loma Nazarene University
This program gave me so many opportunities to learn about the Irish culture and took us on trips with locals to get the full experience. I was extremely prepared through CISabroad and was never nervous about any plans. I mostly miss the amazing people and culture of Ireland.
Boise State University
The best aspect of the program was the amazing people I met, the different culture, living in the city, and experiencing new and exciting things everyday.