In addition to our Australian-based team that help prepare you for your overseas experience, CISaustralia has personal and supportive ‘on the ground’ staff in all host destinations. Our on-site representatives will meet and greet you on arrival and are there to help you with emergencies, issues or concerns around your program. When travelling on a CISaustralia program you will always have someone in country to contact – even if simply for some local advice when you are looking for an activity or dining recommendation, our team wants to ensure you make the most of your time overseas.
Click a country below to learn about our Site Director in that location:
- Costa Rica
- Czech Republic
- New Caledonia
- New Zealand
- South Africa
- Multi-Country (January Travelling Programs)
Meet Pasqual – our Continent Site Director for Africa
Pasqual, a South African born and raised in Cape Town, has a passion for people and travel. The travel bug bit her when she embarked on an exchange program to Italy at only 16 and she hasn't stopped since. She completed her Psychology Honours degree at the University of Stellenbosch, volunteering in many organisations assisting the local townships in the surrounding areas. It was there that she was introduced to an international volunteer and student community and witnessed how much they got out of experiencing the uniqueness of South Africa. It is flavour and beat which she wishes to share with you. After her studies she worked as a tour guide in Europe for three years solidifying her passion for making people’s holiday dreams a reality. She then went on to work in operations for the tour company as they made their big move to South East Asia. After living in Thailand for a year she heard the call for home and has since returned. As a registered tourist guide in South Africa she hopes to continue sharing her love for people, travel and her country.
Travel tip: Be brave, be soft, stay open to opportunities and adventure, wear sunscreen and a smile and most importantly always trust your instinct. Travel allows you to view the world but in the end you realise that what you really discovered is yourself.
From Pasqual: “What I love about South Africa: Besides the big five, our glorious coast line and great weather, the people of South Africa is what sets it apart. Vibrant, colourful and diverse; worldly to rural, you can learn important lessons when you see such contrast in one place. We are united by our love for music, dance, food and the intrinsic pull of being children of Africa.”
Meet Frank – our Site Director in Belize
Born and raised in Germany, Frank graduated from the Technical University Munich with a degree in Natural Resource Management before earning a Master’s Degree in Sustainable Tourism Management. He is a certified Open Water Scuba Instructor with diving experience in Portugal, Indonesia and Honduras. Frank is passionate about the great outdoors of Belize and its marine environment, as well as the preservation of its natural and cultural heritage. As Site Director, he is dedicated to providing an extraordinary, educational and fascinating experience for students while preserving his passion for the successful conservation of the unparalleled biodiversity in Belize, as well as introducing volunteers to the concepts of eco-protection.
Meet Ross – our Site Director in Cambodia
Ross was born in Stawell, Victoria in Australia and is now retired after 32 years as a Technician. He has 3 daughters, and after his marriage of 25 years ended he decided to travel, which is when he discovered South East Asia and Cambodia. In 2006, Ross and two other friends decided to help the children in poverty who were scavenging at the local rubbish dump in Phnom Penh. They created an NGO with the mission to provide Education, Medical Care and Family Assistance for the extreme poor. Ross has now lived in Phnom Penh for over 11 years.
Meet Vanny – our Site Coordinator in Cambodia
Vanny Em is from the Takeo province of Cambodia and is the fifth of eight siblings. She attended Pannasastra University of Cambodia in Phnom Penh and has a Bachelor degree in both Finance and Teaching. She is currently completing her MBA degree. Vanny loves teaching children and gets great satisfaction from working and helping poor families, with education and medical needs as well various other issues.
Lisa was born in Costa Rica and has also lived in the United States on several occasions. She is an alumna of Veritas University, where she majored in photography, and is currently pursuing her Bachelor's degree in Tourism and Hotel Management. She is passionate about travel, and has had 10 years of experience leading study abroad groups all throughout Costa Rica, Nicaragua and Panama. In her free time, Lisa enjoys going to art exhibits, watching movies, dancing and learning new languages. She speaks Spanish, English and Portuguese, and is currently learning French.
Meet Leah – our Site Director in Czech Republic
Leah is originally from Toronto, Canada but has lived in Prague for the past 8 years. In Canada, Leah was the Cultural Affairs Coordinator at the University of Toronto for 7 years where her responsibilities included the organisation and coordination of a season of arts and cultural events for the staff, faculty, students and surrounding community. In addition to regular/seasonal programming, Leah was responsible for coordinating conferences, workshops, and special projects such as the 'Prague Toronto Theatre Project', an international theatre exchange between the University of Toronto, DAMU (Charles University Theatre program) and Studio Ypsilon Theatre. This project took students from Canada and put them on stage in Prague with actors and students from DAMU to create a unique bilingual creative collaboration. Leah’s responsibilities for this project included publicity, production, fundraising and coordination of accommodations/flights as well as day trips and itineraries for a group of over 40 students, faculty and actors. This was truly an amazing experience and what brought Leah to permanently live in the beautiful city of Prague! Leah is also a professional photographer and graphic designer.
Meet Anna – our Site Director in England
Anna holds a B.A. in English and German from Ca’Foscari University of Venice. The Italian village where she was born was never enough for her and from a young age she decided she wanted to see the world and meet a lot of people from different cultures. Fascinated by foreign languages and travelling, she first studied abroad in London when she was in high school and…oops, she did it again at Humboldt Universität in Berlin a few years after. New York City holds a special place in her heart, ever since she was an intern at the Italian Cultural Institute there. After volunteering and working for the non-profit association, AFS Intercultural Programs, helping hundreds of high school students enrol and prepare for their experience abroad, she moved to London and focused on working with university students. She loves musicals, fashion, drinking green tea, studying Korean and backpacking throughout Southeast Asia.
Meet Regina – our Site Director in England
Originally from Texas, Regina has done her best to make a career out of her love of travelling. As an undergrad, Regina studied abroad in Alicante, Spain three summers in a row, and then spent her junior year studying Italian at Universita’ per Stranieri in Perugia, Italy. After earning her Bachelor degree in Journalism with a concentration in Advertising from the University of North Texas, she moved back to Italy where she spent nearly ten years working for the Umbra Institute as Program Manager. After earning her Master’s in Creative Writing from Goddard College, Regina moved to New Zealand where she spent some time with the locals picking grapes in Hawke’s Bay. She has visited over twenty countries and speaks fluent Spanish and Italian. She arrived in London in December 2014.
Details coming soon
Details coming soon
Meet John – our Site Director in Ireland
John was born and raised in Ireland. He grew up on a dairy farm in Tipperary before heading to college. He studied at the National University of Ireland, Galway and University of Limerick. John adores travelling and has lived and worked in five different European countries. He has taught in Spain, Germany, Ireland and the United Kingdom, worked on farms in the Netherlands and has led study abroad programs in the British Isles and Austria. John believes both international education and travel are essential in today’s world and is on hand to help smooth our participants' paths whilst abroad.
John is married to Anja – 15 years and counting! Together they have a teen (Nathan 14) and tween (Lauren 12). When John isn’t dealing with teen vs tween friction and angst he loves watching westerns, war films and watching/tweeting about sport. He’s completely crazy about almost all sports and promises to take participants to see a match of one kind or another. All in all he’s a very friendly person who always wants to help others achieve their goals.
Romina is a native Roman who graduated with a degree in International Communications at the University for Foreigners of Perugia in 2005. In the same year, she returned to Rome where she started working for IES. In the following two years she decided to study International Relations and enrolled in the MA in International Affairs at the SIOI school in Rome. In 2007, Romina graduated in International Relations at the same University of Perugia and after completing the MA she undertook an internship at the Italian Development Cooperation Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Rome. At the beginning of 2008, after completing the internship, Romina was offered a position to work as a Communication and Public Information Officer within the civilian component of the Provincial Reconstruction Team in Herat for the NATO mission in Afghanistan. Between 2008 and 2009 she accomplished two missions in Afghanistan. In 2009 she started working for the Italian Development Cooperation Office at the Italian Embassy in Beirut. In Lebanon she worked as a Communication and Public Information Officer and she was also in charge of the joint projects which were later carried out together with the Italian troops within the United Nations mission in Southern Lebanon. In the summer of 2010 Romina left Lebanon to work in Yemen, where she held the same office within the Italian Development Cooperation Department of Sana’s. In the spring of 2011, due to the serious and uncertain situation in Yemen, all the Italian Embassy staff were ordered to leave the country for security reasons. Because of the consequences of the Arab Spring in the Middle East, the Arabian Peninsula and in Northern Africa, Romina has decided to work in Rome and enjoy with her friends and family the beauty of the 'Eternal City'.
Romina will be present in Italy and available to students for activities, emergencies, issues or concerns around their program, or just if they're feeling out of place and need some support. All students will be formally introduced to her prior to the start of the program and she will maintain contact with you throughout the program, to ensure that everything is going well.
Meet Linda – our Site Director in Florence
Linda was born and raised in Skanör, Sweden, but has spent the past sixteen years studying and working in the United States, Australia and Italy. An international student for more than seven years, she holds a Masters in International Relations from Monash University in Melbourne, Australia, and a Bachelors degree in History and Political Science from Brenau University in Gainesville, Georgia, United States.
Most of her professional experience is within the field of Student Development, but she has also spent more than six years directing a travel program aimed at offering American study abroad students abundant travel opportunities throughout Europe and beyond. As a result, Linda has travelled extensively, visiting more than 60 countries across the globe. The last eight years, Linda has called Florence, Italy her home where she has worked within the field of international education, specifically with American study abroad students. In her spare time, she enjoys to read and write and is an avid runner and coffee drinker.
Meet Alessandro – our Site Director in Florence
Alessandro Bruno was born in Maryland and raised in Rome, Italy. He has travelled extensively through Europe, Central America, North America and China and considers himself a citizen of the world. During his travels, he acquired a passion for the environment and its preservation, cultures and languages. This passion led him to obtain a BA in Geography with a minor in Chinese Studies from Humboldt State University. In 2010 he spent a semester studying abroad at the University of Shanghai in China and has since become an even stronger proponent of study abroad programs, no matter where. Alessandro has also successfully completed the National Park Service Law Enforcement Training Program and a Wilderness First Responder course. Among Alessandro’s favourite activities are wakeboarding, kayaking, diving, travelling and getting lost on purpose in new places, eating sushi, learning new languages and cooking.
Meet Jeff – our Site Director in Japan
Jeff was born in central New Jersey and moved up to northern New Jersey after graduating from Rider University where he studied Business Administration. In his first job after graduation, he worked for a small College in northern New Jersey where he started the Office of International Programs, Study Abroad programs, language programs and established international exchange programs with the College. He was sent to tour Asia to establish international educational exchanges and within ten years working at the College, he established many partnerships and coordinated exchanges for humdreds of students from all over Asia. After establishing over fifty exchange partnerships and after traveling throughout Asia extensively, he decided to move to Tokyo to expand on the business. Since then, he has developed many programs and support systems for students from all over the world to study in Japan as well as specialising in study abroad programs, human resources, teacher management and language and exchange programs in Japan and in other Asian countries.
From Jeff: “Every day, every month, and every year, your life should be stimulating and different from what you are familiar with. Jump into environments different from where you have grown up to know, where you are exposed to different people with different points of view, styles, languages, ideas, food, and philosophies. This makes everyday exciting, fun, stimulating, and forever interesting! Study abroad might be the first step into this life and hopefully just the beginning!”
Meet Jan – our Site Director in Malaysia
Jan shies away from the limelight but is an amazing operator and provides outstanding intern placements and support for our students. Jan will reluctantly admit that she has almost two decades in the Australian higher education sector, spending the last 13 years in and around Asia. Her passion has always been global student mobility. Jan has called Kuala Lumpur home for the last six years. Not bad for a girl from the quiet suburbs of Melbourne.
Meet Teena – our Site Coordinator in Malaysia
For every thinker, you need a do’er. Teena is Jan’s right hand woman. Teena ensures that all operations are project managed with extreme finesse. Teena is the true link between East and West, regularly being dispatched to the depths of the Borneo jungle in order to initiate a new bespoke student program, typically involving some type of orchid or furry arachnid.
Meet Natasha – our Internship Coordinator in Malaysia
It’s the relationship that matters for Natasha. She just loves meeting people from all walks of life. She believes that people come together for a reason. Coming from the island of Borneo and a long service in hospitality, her super-friendly disposition and confidence shine through on the rainiest days. As Internship Coordinator, she’s the bridge that connects the interns and the host. For her, it’s all about making your experience worthwhile! When she’s not on the job, she likes to go for her yoga, watch soppy romantic and dramatic movies, listen to her playlist, try her best to read the books she buys but her most favourite thing to do is to spend time and hang out with her favourite people.
Meet Scott and Sunita – our in country support in Nepal
Scott and Sunita are your CISaustralia on-site support contacts in Nepal. Scott has lived in Nepal for over a decade. He has established health clinics and hospitals in rural communities across Nepal and in 2010 was recognised for the Sir Edmund Hillary Medal for his service in Nepal. Sir Edmund Hillary was the first to climb Mt. Everest, the world's highest peak, which is located in Nepal.
Sunita was born and raised in Nepal. Her childhood memories are of persecution for having been born a daughter, rather than a son. Since early childhood, she's felt in the most personal and direct means the oppression that women in Nepal face daily. Sunita has dedicated her life to helping women and children in Nepal to have a better life. Both Scott and Sunita welcome you to be a part of their work, helping women, children and improving lives of thousands in Nepal.
Meet Tiffany – our Site Director in New Caledonia
Tiffany was born in France and started to travel when she was 18 years old in the USA. From that moment, she hasn’t stopped. In addition to other travel, she lived in Finland for 5 years, Italy for a few months and Australia for one year. She has established herself in New Caledonia and has lived there for over 5 years, giving her a good knowledge of the country, culture and its traditions. Tiffany studied Tourism in France and has worked as a tour guide for many years in various countries. She enjoys boating, kiting, scuba diving, hiking and horse riding, as well as meeting new people.
Meet Clare – our Site Director in New Zealand
Clare is from Dunedin, New Zealand and currently lives in Wellington. Clare studied abroad in Germany as part of her degree at the University of Otago and has since travelled around parts of the Pacific, Southeast Asia, North America and Europe. She can’t wait to experience even more of the world and loves introducing others to her little corner of it, Aotearoa/New Zealand. On a day off, Clare is usually trying to recreate some delicious dish she tried offshore, walking a track in the Wellington hills or attending a festival in the city. Clare has worked in international education for eight years.
Details coming soon
Meet Mila – our Site Director in Peru (Rainforest Environmental Conservation volunteer program)
Milagro (Mila) was born in Cusco, Peru where she completed her primary and secondary studies and pursued a degree in Economics at the Universidad Nacional San Antonio Abad del Cusco. Although she did not graduate from San Antonio Abad, she later completed her studies at the Universidad Particular Andina del Cusco, graduating with the title Certified Public Accountant.
After graduating, she began working for a variety of public and private institutions including serving as the Director of the Charity Pharmacies of Cusco. Additionally, she worked for many different municipalities as a supplies and logistics specialist and held the post of Administrative Director for the Municipality of Urubamba, before joining ProPeru as the accountant in 2003. In May 2009, Milagro assumed the post of Administrative Director of ProPeru. She did her Master's degree in Administration with a focus on Tourism at La Universidad San Antonio Abad del Cusco.
Mila looks forward to meeting and supporting all CIS students attending the CISaustralia Rainforest Environmental Conservation program in Peru.
Meet Cristian – our Site Director in Peru (Universidad San Ignacio de Loyola, in Cusco)
Originally from Peru, Cristian studies Tourism in his native Cusco, where students undertake in-depth studies of Peru's archaeology, flora, fauna and history. Cristian will soon complete his Master’s degree in Administration with mention in Tourism Management. He is also currently a teacher in the Private University of Cusco (Universidad Andina). In addition, Cristian has been guiding visitors for 11 years. He has three children: two daughters and one son.
Cristian says, "I want to thank everyone who likes to travel because it gives me the chance to meet them!"
Meet Elsa – our Site Director in the Phillippines
Elsa earned her degree in Psychology and Sociology from Grand Valley State University in Grand Rapids, Michigan. In early 2013, Elsa picked up her life and moved to the Philippines to live and work full time, a country that first stole her heart during a volunteer program in 2009. During her constant trips between the U.S. and the Philippines between 2009 and 2013, Elsa became highly involved with community programs, fundraising, construction projects and children's activities in local Filipino communities. Now serving as CISaustralia's Philippines Site Director, Elsa assists students in adjusting to life in the Philippines and getting the most out of their volunteer experience.
Meet Jeanna – our Site Director in Scotland
Jeanna was born overlooking Loch Ness and grew up in the Highlands of Scotland on the West Coast. She studied in Edinburgh, and after completing her Science degree, went on to work as a local and central government officer often giving lectures to undergraduates in local universities.
"My family has a strong Scottish heritage, on one side Clan MacDougall (who once owned and controlled vast lands in the West of Scotland, the Clan now ‘impoverished’ nobility) and on the other a lineage of Cuthberts going back to St. Cuthbert (whose legacy still influences society today). My Celtic roots give my family our language, music, fun, compassion and culture which continue to this day. Learning and education has been a strong influence in the family over generations.
Like many Scots, I enjoy the fantastic landscape here, from great sailing in the West, to off-road motorcycle and skiing in the Highlands. The rivers and lochs are second to none for a range of leisure and sports. I have been fortunate to travel, and love many parts of our world and Europe; however, I choose to reside in Edinburgh for many reasons, including the wonderful architecture, history, the people, the arts, theatre, restaurants, pubs, writing, thinking and learning that flourishes here. I delight in meeting visitors to our city and country, and share with them the real Scottish experience.”
Meet Rich – our Site Director in Spain
Hailing from Chicago, Rich Kurtzman has been living in Barcelona since 2002. He has a wealth of international experience having worked professionally or as a volunteer in countries including Spain, Russia, Italy, the Philippines and Morocco. Rich has worked in a variety of positions, including Study Abroad Site Director, Academic Dean and Student Advisor, as well as Intercultural Competence Coordinator and Professor of Language and Culture. Rich has the knowledge and understands what students expect and need when studying abroad. He is especially excited to introduce you to the magnificent sights, sounds, tastes and smells that make Barcelona such an amazing city. Rich is supported by a range of other staff who specialise in different student services.
Meet Pasqual – our Continent Site Director for Africa and on-site support in Cape Town (click here)
Meet Logan – our Site Coordinator in Port Elizabeth
Logan has been with the Big Five Wildlife Management and Conservation project in South Africa from inception and has worked in various roles within the reserve. At present, Logan oversees the various components on the project site, including the logistics for volunteer participants and their general wellbeing. Logan’s dream is to travel the world with his grandkids once he retires.
St Lucia – Site Coordinator
Details coming soon
Meet Pasqual – our Continent Site Director for Africa (click here)
Zanzibar – Site Coordinator
Details coming soon
Meet David – our Site Director in Thailand
David is based out of Chiang Mai and travels all over Thailand as needed. He was born in the UK and moved to the U.S. when he was 16, completing high school and university in Colorado. As an avid traveller, his first thought on graduation was to travel to Asia. He volunteered and lived with a family in Kathmandu for 2 months before travelling to Thailand. He quickly fell in love with the country and for the last 9 years has worked as a teacher, for local NGOs and now helping Thai people and communities connect with people travelling to Thailand. He loves his work because it allows him to share his love of Thailand and its people with others and at the same time support the great things that people all over Thailand are doing every day. He completed his MA in Asia Pacific Studies in 2013 and is fluent in Thai.
Ariel grew up in rural New York and got on her first plane at thirteen. Ever since then, she hasn’t been able to stop! She graduated from the University of Massachusetts with a B.A. in Spanish and Peace, Violence and Human Rights. She was lucky enough to study abroad in both Peru and Spain during her time at university. After seeing the world and living abroad, she decided to try it again and lived in Australia for a year, working at CISaustralia. For now, Ariel resides in Massachusetts and works in international education. When she is not working she enjoys stand up paddle boarding, going to concerts, cooking delicious food and dreaming of her next adventure! She is excited to welcome you to Boston!
Meet Lisa – our Site Director in Hawai'i, USA
Lisa has been working for CIS in Hawai'i for over 8 years. Lisa is a native Hawaiian and when not assisting CIS students, she works for the Native Hawaiian Education Council as well as being the President and CEO of the Oceanic Education Council which helps Pacific Islander students gain access to higher education. Lisa is very active in the movement to rejuvenate Hawaiian culture and language and has directed a US Federal Grant devoted to re-integrating the Hawaiian language into the local schools' curriculum for several years.
Lisa arranges numerous excursions throughout the semester that are customised to each group's interests. Past excursions have included surfing or fishing trips, camping and trips to local restaurants. Lisa can also arrange a day of community service for students while studying in Hawai'i. Lisa will be in touch prior to your departure to Hawai'i and is a great resource and contact point during your time in Hawai'i.
Meet Nick – our Site Director in LA (UCLA)
Always on the hunt for new opportunities and grand adventures, Nick has lived and travelled across the United States. He was born in Vietnam, raised in Southern California and as a young adult lived in Colorado then Connecticut and finally Massachusetts before returning to L.A. His travels have also taken him to New York, Tennessee, Florida, Nevada and Hawaii. At home, there’s virtually no area of Los Angeles that Nick isn’t familiar with, from the alleyways of Downtown and the streets of Hollywood to shopping plazas in Beverly Hills and the shores of Malibu. He’s a professional hair stylist and his interests include blockbuster movies, pop music, live performances and spending time with friends. Nick looks forward to meeting new people and helping them get to know Los Angeles through CISaustralia’s USA programs.
Meet Anette – our Site Coordinator in LA (UCLA)
Anette Padilla was born and raised in beautiful Southern California. She graduated from the University of Southern California, Santa Barbara (UCSB) with a double major in Sociology and Spanish and minor in Sports Management. Her love for international travel was sparked during a semester abroad in Madrid, Spain. Following graduation she moved to Barcelona to teach English, travel and soak up the European lifestyle.
Anette now resides in Venice Beach and makes the short commute to UCLA for work. If she's not on campus you are likely to find her swimming, biking or running in preparation for her first Ironman Triathlon later this year. Watch a short interview with Anette!
Meet Jason – Our Site Director in Chicago (Loyola University)
Jason Obin is a native of the Chicagoland area and alumnus of Loyola University Chicago. He studied Political Science at Loyola for both his undergraduate and master’s degrees. Jason has lived and studied in Germany, Spain and China and has travelled extensively to many other countries. Some of Jason’s favourite pastimes include playing soccer, going to concerts, travelling, studying languages, meeting people from other cultures, and trying new foods and restaurants. Feel free to ask Jason about recommendations on where to see some live music or try some new food while in Chicago!
Meet Pasqual – our Continent Site Director for Africa (click here)
Meet Jennifer – our Site Coordinator in Livingstone
Jen first visited Africa in 2011 and immediately fell in love with the incredible continent. In 2014, she returned to Africa where she spent her time volunteering on a wildlife research and conservation project. Jennifer also spent time volunteering at a school teaching English to Grade 3 & 4 students, and also assisting in an orphanage. She has a background in business/tourism management and spent a decade working in the travel industry. This gave her the opportunity to travel to many wonderful parts of the globe, with her favourite destination being Africa! Jen has a passion for the volunteer projects in Zambia and works hard to ensure a memorable volunteer experience for all.
Multi-country programs are unique in their travel-study combination. Students on these programs are supported by the country's Site Director, additional support staff who travel with the groups, and the faculty that teach these programs.