Spotlight on the CIEE Student Life Team

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Members of our student life team look after the health and general wellbeing of all students; organize extra-curricular activities; and are the day-to-day student contacts for any questions or concerns.

Michelle Cumming Løkkegaard, student life manager in Copenhagen, describes the role as part “logistics whiz, tour guide, and mom.” She tells students at orientation she wants three things for them: “to get to know Copenhagen, its neighborhoods and activities; [to achieve] intercultural development; and to remain healthy and safe throughout their stay.”

Natalia Nadal, student life director in Buenos Aires, sees her job as making sure students “have one of their best life-experiences.” Which she does by “providing students with the best  cultural activities options; planning their trips to make them meaningful in every aspect; looking for the homestays that will meet their needs; and listening to them and holding their hand when homesickness invades them, or things are a bigger challenge than they had imagined.”

What is your favorite aspect of your job?

Vanessa Miranda, Rio di Janeiro: The most amazing part is to be able to see the students getting truly immersed in Brazilian culture and see them enhance their cross-cultural communication and all the skills that they develop through this experience. Observing students’ growth makes me very proud.

Natalia Nadal, Buenos Aires:  If I had to choose one favorite aspect, it would be designing and leading study tours where I can show students other areas of my country. They can see contrasts with Buenos Aires and reflect on the academic goals attached to the trip.

Michelle Cumming Løkkegaard, Copenhagen: [My favorite part of my job is] students, of course! I love seeing them become independent and take Copenhagen in as “their” city.

Eva Tomisková, Prague: I love to work with students and I really enjoy that my job is different almost every day.

Palmina Trombetta, Rome: As strange as it sounds, [my favorite part of my job is] when students are sad to leave! This certainly is a great reflection on a job well done on our behalf! A simple ‘thank you’ at the end of their study abroad experience is always greatly appreciated.

Describe a specific interaction with a student that was meaningful for you, or your “aha” moment of working at CIEE.

Natalia Nadal, Buenos Aires: I have many, many “aha” moments, but there are two that stand out. Once visiting Potrerillos Dam in Mendoza province, one student sighed and said, “I learn more watching this landscape than in my Geography class!” I thought “Mission accomplished.” The second one happens repeatedly -- students telling me I am their second (Argentine) Mom.

Eva Tomisková, Prague: Working for almost nine years at CIEE, I had many significant interactions with our students. Every positive comment makes my work meaningful and I feel that what I do makes a difference in the lives of our students.

Vanessa Miranda, Rio di Janeiro: [A special moment was working with] a nonprofit organization called ACE  – Accelerating Community Empowerment to put together an egg hunt where the CIEE students participated together with the kids from one of the biggest favelas in Rio de Janeiro…I could see how meaningful this activity was for our students and for the kids. Being able to exchange love, happiness, and affection was the most memorable gift for the kids and for our CIEE Students.

Palmina Trombetta, Rome: [A meaningful experience for me was] bumping into two students in the city at the end of their study abroad experience, grabbing a coffee together and chatting about their experience and their gratitude to all the staff at CIEE Rome. It made me think that even the little things we do for the students, are so important in their whole experience and muchly appreciated.

Michelle Cumming Løkkegaard, Copenhagen: I feel so privileged to witness students’ growth. A student wrote recently on Instagram: “I realize just how big the world really is. There is something strangely comforting about knowing there are infinite possibilities, places, and people that I can’t even begin to understand until I see it for myself. It’s endless opportunity."

Tell us a random fact or something that might surprise us about you.

Eva Tomisková, Prague: In my free time I love to bake. My carrot and almond cakes are legends among my family and friends.

Natalia Nadal, Buenos Aires: I have lived in Ottawa, Canada and have two sons who are 100% Argentine – 100% Canadian. This fact shows my personal and professional life has always been directed towards international view about life.

Vanessa Miranda, Rio di Janeiro:  I always dreamed of going to Thailand, and once I found a really good sale on airfare, so I bought a ticket. As the airfare sale was really good, I decided to announce it on my Facebook page, and we ended up having 30 Brazilians go to Thailand. I helped organize everything because I was the only one who was able to speak English and the one who knew everything about Thailand. The 30 people let me decide for them because they trusted me. I had a great time and the rest of the group as well.

Michelle Cumming Løkkegaard, Copenhagen: I have a 15-year-old, half Danish son I call my Dankee!

Palmina Trombetta, Rome: I was born and raised in Sydney, Australia. I moved to Rome 14 years ago with the intention of staying only for a couple of years for work experience, yet  I'm still here!

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