The title of this blog post has a twofold meaning for me personally, and I'm very happy to share these news with you!
The COVID pandemic forced everyone of us to put a halt to our lives and reshape our routines in extremely unexpected ways. In my case, the latter included to stop working at CIEE and moving to a new city, with absolutely no idea of what was to come for me in the future. It was hard, it was sad, it was scary, but in the long term, it was extremely benefitial. Similarly, CIEE Santiago was forced to pause its operations and the destination remained opened but with no incoming students for two years.
Well, guess what! This coming fall, CIEE Santiago is welcoming its first cohort of students since the pandemic, and I'm also back to this wonderful organization! Yay! (Hence, "happy to be back!").
Now, bear with me for a moment. It has been two years away from CIEE and I'm now arriving afresh, letting myself absorb the opportunity as if new. I'm absolutely proud to belong here! When I returned to CIEE, as a member of CIEE Santiago, I was again surprised and marveled at the extreme care and professionalism of every single study-abroad professional that I have encounter at our organization so far. Not only I had to become familiar with new health and safety protocolos (measures which have given CIEE a name in this realm within the study abroad field), spend several hours in training courses in different topics (including diversity and inclusion, and working with students with mental health issues, among others), but I have also noted how the local staff took the pandemic break to rethink our duties and improve certain processes for the benefit of the student's experience. I myself was given the chance to advance ideas which will enrich our local offering, so I'm extremely happy to partake in this new and improved CIEE Santiago!
I truly hope more students choose CIEE to fulfill their study-abroad adventure! As a staff who was away and back, I now see and recognize that we are a top-nocht organization in the field, and all of our team, locally and overseas, has a true committment to education, to understanding, and to giving students the chance to expand their horizons through intentional, quality, crafted programs. I cannot emphasize more the care and dedication I have noted in our staff to attend the needs of every participant, and the great enthusiasm with which we fulfill our duties. I'm thrilled to be part of this organization (again) and to receive our Liberal Art students for the first time after two years!