Log in


Alumni News

  • 24 Jan 2023 6:00 PM | Tavon Cooke (Administrator)

    ISEP Alumni gathered at the bustling Greyhound Café Emquartier in Bangkok to catch up and relive moments from their study abroad experiences.  ISEP intern Mai Kasemsawade noted that hearing everyone’s stories really re-energized her as she continues along on her own study abroad journey in the United States.  Another attendee was also inspired to look into study abroad options for herself! 

    There will be more in-person meetups planned for those who couldn’t make this one.  These events provide an alumni an opportunity to network and share stories of their experiences and time abroad.  Current and prospective ISEP students, supporters, as well as university and community partners are also welcome to attend.

    If you are interested in helping with an in person event in your city, please reach out so we can chat about it.  Cheers!

  • 22 Jan 2023 6:00 PM | Tavon Cooke (Administrator)

    Careers in International Education Panel Discussion 

    February 8, 2023

    1:00 p.m. to 2:00p.m. (Eastern Time)

    Click here for Zoom Registration Link

    ISEP community,

    Are you are interested in pursuing a career in international education?  If so, we are pleased to invite you to a Zoom panel discussion featuring ISEP alumni currently working in the field.

    Among the topics that will be discussed include how study abroad prepares one for a job in international education, current trends in international education, some challenges of working in the field, and tips on how to enter the field.

    You are welcome to send in questions to the panelists in advance to Tavon Cooke, whose email is below, so that they may answer them during the event.  


    • Andrus Ashoo, Director of the Office of Citizen Scholar Development at the University of Virginia
    • Sarah Barr, Director of Global Engagement at Nebraska Wesleyan University 
    • Dondre Hess, Global Learning Advisor at Washington State University
    • Veronica Whittemore, Study Abroad Advisor at Washington University in St. Louis


    Zach Tobin, Director of Member Relations for the United States at ISEP

    Important: Click here to register for the event: ISEP Career Event.

    For questions, please contact Tavon Cooke at [email protected]

  • 6 Jan 2023 12:00 PM | Tavon Cooke (Administrator)

    Given its rich history and culture, France is one of the most popular destinations for students seeking to study and for alumni looking to work.  Read on for more information about each.

    Opportunities for Work

    The Teaching Assistant Program in France (TAPIF) is a popular program that offers applicants the opportunity to work in France for 7 months, teaching English to French students of all ages. 

    TAPIF selects about 1500 U.S. citizens and permanent residents each year to teach in public schools across all regions of France and in its overseas territories including French Guiana, Guadeloupe, Martinique, and Réunion. 

    Non-U.S. citizens whose native language is not English are also sought after through the larger Assistants de langue en France program, which recruits approximately 4,500 young educators from 68 countries to teach 15 languages annually in France. The Assistants de langue en France program is managed by France Éducation international.

    TAPIF also partners with French and US graduate schools to provide generous scholarships for alumni as they pursue related graduate study.

    Opportunities for Study

    Graduate Scholars in France program is also a great opportunity to highlight for all alumni as it extends to masters programs taught fully in English. There’s also a sub-scholarship offered by Université de Lyon outlined at the link below.

  • 3 Jan 2023 12:00 PM | Tavon Cooke (Administrator)

    We are excited to announce that ISEP will host two undergraduate Princeton University students, Mai Kasemsawade and Alan Plotz, for their Princeternship program from January 3rd to January 27, 2023. This program allows students to explore potential career fields of interest during the university’s winter break period. 

    Mai is a freshman at Princeton who plans to major in International and Public Affairs with a certificate in Finance. She is currently working as a communications intern for Princeton Entrepreneurship Council. She also previously interned at a Thai news agency. She is looking forward to learning more about international education at ISEP Study Abroad.

    Alan Plotz is sophomore at Princeton and is also planning to major in International and Public Affairs. He currently works as a research assistant for the Bridging Divides Initiative tracking political violence in New England. Alan is passionate about increasing access to study abroad, after studying in Tajikistan in 2019 with NSLI-Y, a state department program. He is eager to learn more about the functioning of an international education NGO. 

    Both Mai and Alan will be working with ISEP's alumni base throughout January to help them share their study abroad stories with the world.  

  • 19 Dec 2022 6:00 PM | Tavon Cooke (Administrator)

    Photo Credit: Hernán Fratto

    ISEP congratulates alumnus and board member Hernán Fratto on winning three Emmy awards at the 64th Chicago/Midwest Emmy Awards Gala Hernán won in the following categories: Outstanding Achievement for News Gathering - Societal Concerns News; Outstanding Achievement for News Special; and Outstanding Achievement for News Gathering - Military News.

    Having studied on exchange to Northwestern State University in Louisiana while he was a student at Universidad del Salvador, Hernán credits his ISEP experience with teaching him the importance of following your passions and not being afraid to take risks

    If you missed Hernán’s interview with ISEP CEO and President John Lucas, you can watch it by logging into your account here:

    ¡Felicidades, Hernán!

  • 18 Dec 2022 10:00 AM | Tavon Cooke (Administrator)

    ISEP is excited to announce the return of in-person events!  These events provide an opportunity for alumni to network and and share stories of their experiences and time abroad.  Current and prospective ISEP students, supporters, as well as university and community partners are also welcome to attend.

    Alumni gathered at the Bohemian Spirit Restaurant, located at the Bohemian National Hall (an important center for Czech & Slovak cultures) in Manhattan, to get to know each other and hear about their study abroad experiences.  Big thanks to Petr Vrba, an ISEP alumnus from the Czech Republic who recently completed an internship at the United Nations, for the recommendation.  

    Don't worry if you missed the event.  There will be more events to come in 2023, including meetups in London, Seoul, California, and Washington, DC. If you are interested in helping with an in person event in your city, please reach out so we can chat about it.   


  • 29 Nov 2022 12:00 PM | Tavon Cooke (Administrator)

    Said Ghneim, from Bielefeld University and currently on exchange at Washington State University with an ISEP Community Scholarship, took the time to update us on some local travel he did during Thanksgiving Break. 

    In a recent interview with ISEP, Said mentioned he wants to be an English teacher, and came to the US to improve his English and cultural understanding.  He said that study abroad xperiences are critical and can help young people immerse themselves in a new environment,

    Which in turn helps students gain experiences which can have a huge positive impact on their future and the decisions they make. 

    Thank you, Said, for sharing these great pics! 

  • 28 Oct 2022 12:00 PM | Tavon Cooke (Administrator)

    October 2022 Updates

    Greetings ISEP community.  We are pleased to share some exciting updates from ISEP’s activities over the past few months.  Please also read on for ways to re-connect and share your ISEP experiences with others.

    National Hispanic Heritage Month 2022

    President and CEO John Lucas recently interviewed board member Hernán Fratto in commemoration of National Hispanic Heritage Month, which is celebrated annually between September 15th and October 15th.  The importance of following your passions and not being afraid to take risks, as well as understanding that success looks different for everyone, featured among the themes touched upon in the conversation.  You can watch the video by logging in to the resources section of the alumni portal.

    Upcoming webinars

    We are in the middle of planning exciting webinars that will talk about careers in international education, careers in international affairs, as well as a webinar designed for students who have recently completed their ISEP experience abroad and are thinking about next steps.  Stay tuned for more information about those.

    Volunteer to share Your story!

    We are seeking alumni who are interested in being featured sharing your experiences from your time abroad.  Your story could inspire others who may be on the fence to submit their applications and have the same life changing experiences as you had.

    All volunteers are welcome, and we are especially eager to hear from alumni with the following identities: LGBTQIA+, older and student caregivers, first generation & low income, Black, Latino/a/e/x, indigenous, women, and non-U.S. citizen alumni!

    To volunteer or learn more, click here to email Tavon Cooke.

    In-person events

    With local conditions continuing to improve around the world, we are planning alumni mixers in various cities, including Seoul, San Jose, Washington, D.C., and elsewhere in Northern California.  Be on the lookout for more information about those.  If you are interested in an alumni event in your city and are able to help set one up, reach out and we can discuss it with you.

    In Case You Missed It:  Take the alumni engagement survey!

    ISEP launched an alumni engagement survey in August to get a sense of the types of activities you would like to participate in.  If you haven’t taken it yet, there is still time.  Click here to take the survey.

    Take the Alumni Survey

    Take care for now, and be back in touch soon!

  • 26 Aug 2022 12:00 PM | Tavon Cooke (Administrator)

    Restarting Alumni Engagement!

    Greetings ISEP community.  My name is Tavon Cooke, and I work on alumni engagement efforts at ISEP.  Like many of you, I look back with fond memories at my study abroad experiences, and remark at how they shaped me into the person I am today. 

    ISEP is preparing a number of activities to reconnect with all of you.  For instance, we are planning a series of events focusing on how to leverage your international experiences as you consider further academic and professional opportunities.  We will also be exploring local meetups that will allow for networking and sharing of your experiences with others.  If you are interested in participating in or helping to plan any of these events, please complete our ISEP Alumni Engagement survey and we will be in touch soon. 

    In the meantime, please register (or update your information) here on our free Alumni Association Portal to receive invites for future events, and join our LinkedIn group.

    I look forward to getting to know as many of you as possible.  Feel free to connect with me at [email protected] or through LinkedIn to hear about what’s new at ISEP, or if you simply want to connect to share your ISEP experiences.

    Take care for now, and be back in touch soon!

    Take the Alumni Survey

  • 26 Aug 2020 10:45 AM | Gretchen McCarthy (Administrator)

    Julia graduated in 2019 from Virginia Tech with degrees in International Public Policy, Spanish, and a minor in Arabic. During her junior year, she studied abroad at La Universidad de Murcia in Spain for six months. She now works at a nonprofit in Washington D.C. to empower those directly impacted by the United States’ broken immigration system through storytelling, as a means of driving policy change. She attributes living abroad to equipping her with some of the most vital skills she uses in her career today. Read about how she reflects on her time abroad in her own words:

    Julia hiking in Murcia.

    Why Murcia?

    Ever since I began studying Spanish in elementary school, I dreamed of going abroad. Every Spanish teacher I've ever had described full language immersion at the magical last puzzle piece to language fluency. Therefore, choosing a location with as minimal English available as possible was one of my top priorities. I forced myself to be surrounded by Spanish for six months through choosing a region with few tourists and going through ISEP, on a program where I knew no one else from my home university. Another big factor for me was deciding between a Latin American country or Spain.

    Entering college, I knew that I wanted to one day work in the U.S. immigration space, and because of that I had always planned on studying in a Latin American country. However, throughout undergrad I ended up taking many courses on Spanish culture and literature in my department at Virginia Tech, because I really admired the professors that taught those courses. During my freshman year, I was searching for extracurricular activities and my love for dance and random experiences led me to joining a flamenco dance group that I was a part of all four years of college. Naturally, this further peaked my interest in Spanish culture.

    The last deciding factor in choosing to study in Spain was when I added a minor in Arabic around my sophomore year. My love for languages continued to grow. I was also interested to learn more about the Arab world as I noticed an apparent rise of islamophobia in the U.S. around this time. Arab culture still prevails throughout most regions in Spain and particularly in the South. This truly seemed like the perfect location to continue my studies, I even ended up taking a course in Moroccan dialect at the university in Murcia.

    The beautiful cathedral, Murcia's status as a university town, its nickname as the "orchard of Europe", proximity to gorgeous beaches, and constant sunny weather were all factors that became the icing on top of the cake.

    La Catedral de Murcia during Easter celebrations.

    How to Utilize Your Network

    While in Spain, I reached out to an organization that I had interned with the previous summer. I received information about an international conference in Munich, Germany that the organization was taking part in and I let them know that I was in Spain, and asked if I would be able to attend. Without even directly asking, they offered to sponsor my trip to Munich from Murcia. The conference dates coincided with my university’s spring break and I decided to present a budget plan to see if I could extend my return trip back from Munich.

    I drafted up a budget for multiple overnight buses and trains that would allow me to stop in different countries on my way back to Spain and compared it to the cost of a flight from Munich to Spain. It actually cost less than a one way ticket back to Spain and the organization had no problem reimbursing me for this amount. I was able to stop in Austria, Hungary, and Barcelona on my way back from Germany with transportation paid for and without missing any classes.  

    I made so many unexpected professional and personal connections on this trip. My attendance at the conference ended up being an incredible opportunity to network with professors from my university and our international partners. I learned about service programs that researchers all around the world were implementing for refugees and other displaced populations. During my trip back through Austria and Hungary traveling alone, I either stayed in hostels or connected with friends of friends or family for housing. Many of them volunteered as local guides for their hometowns in Budapest and Krakow. I challenge all students going abroad to remember that your network runs deep; utilize this as much as possible, seek connections wherever you go, never be afraid to ask someone for a place to stay (you will be shocked how many people welcome you with open arms and take joy in sharing their home with you).

    When I returned to my home university the following semester, I had several professors come to me as a resource for why Virginia Tech should fund research on refugees and create more courses on these topics. Today, the conference is an experience I frequently reference in professional interviews and definitely stands out on my resume.

    Epic Growth from Epic Embarrassment

    Living abroad is an incredible addition to any resume or LinkedIn profile in any professional field. You gain a unique sense of independence, confidence, can advance language skills, learn a new language, adapt cultural humility and survive in an entirely new school system, along with countless other critical soft skills. However, what really impacted my personal and professional life forever and served as the greatest sources of pride for me were the challenges I overcame, discovering a new international network of friends and colleagues, and realizing my deep desire to live abroad again in my future.  

    No class could ever compare to my experience taking an intermediate Moroccan dialect course in Spanish. For the rest of my academic career, I truly remembered that if I passed that class I could pass any class. At Virginia Tech, I had taken Arabic classes in an entirely different dialect, I really had absolutely no idea what was going on in that classroom for several weeks. I could physically feel my brain sweating as it worked on a third language being taught in a second language. I also took a class with a professor that was not very tolerant of international students and did not understand why we took her class. I had to have difficult conversations with both of those professors about my final grades and nothing taught me more about university culture in Spain than making it through those two classes - making it through, also known as, barely passing Arabic and actually failing the other class. I had never failed a class before in my entire life, and as they say, “the most important thing in life is learning how to fall.” I had this new level of confidence after overcoming those fears of failing and embarrassment.

    Other challenges included interactions with locals where my Spanish failed me. At the beginning of my time abroad, and on random bad days throughout, I would have a hard time registering for classes, negotiating bills with landlords, completing necessary forms, understanding lectures and speaking with impatient store clerks that thought I was stupid. When this would happen, I truly wanted to curl into a ball under a blanket where English was the only language that existed. However, I had no choice but to learn how to stop someone and confess when I didn’t understand something (no nodding my head yes and pretending). Doing this to shake off someone thinking that I was not intelligent, and developing unique ways to communicate my needs, very quickly helped mlearn to communicate better in Spanish.  

    While many of these experiences were mortifying, humiliating, and anxiety inducing - I have forever become better equipped to handle these kinds of situations in my career, and life in general, as life is full of these moments. These moments are my favorite stories to tell friends, as I have so much pride in accomplishing what seemed impossible. I gained a new level of empathy for what so many immigrant populations that I work with can go through in the U.S.

    I always knew that I was passionate about traveling and experiencing cultures different from my own. However, before living in Spain, I had never lived in a country besides the U.S. for more than two weeks. Being in Spain was a test for myself and solidified those dreams of living abroad in the future. Even when I returned from Spain, I was able to more deeply connect with international students in the U.S. and further understand their experiences. I connected with networks, like the ISEP alumni network, to continue my involvement and passion for international education as a tool to create more globally conscious and compassionate humans in this world.

    Erasmus students together during orientation.

ISEP Alumni Association 

Address: 1655 N. Fort Myer Drive, Suite 400, Arlington, Virginia, U.S. 22209

+1 (703) 504-9995, Michael Alijewicz, [email protected]

© 2023 Alumni Association. All Rights Reserved.

Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software