At SAI we are proud of our highly qualified, well trained staff, many of whom have been with SAI for 10+ years! We think this sets SAI apart and makes it a very unique company. Our staff truly make SAI. We are, therefore, excited to announce our new “Staff Spotlight” feature. Each month we will be highlighting one of the members of our staff so that you can get to know us a little bit better.
Monthly Staff Spotlight: Chiara Cruciano
What’s your name and title?
Chiara Cruciano, Admissions Counselor, Barcelona and Paris
How long have you been at SAI?
I’ve been working with SAI intermittently since 2009, but just became full-time staff in January of this year (2014).
What do you love most about working at SAI?
I love engaging with all the inspiring and driven students who believe in the importance of a global education. It’s wonderful to have so many students interested in exposure to the rest of the world! I am also energized by the incredible schools and programs that we work with – the opportunities are endless. Can I go back to college?!
What is your favorite place you have ever visited and why?
Zanzibar. The beaches, combined with the depth of culture, left me in absolute awe.
Do you have any memorable traveling stories to share?
I often think about the little shop that I frequented almost every day during my study abroad program in Sicily while I was in college. Their sandwiches were out of this world, and the couple that ran the shop were truly the kindest I had come across. It’s funny how such small things stick with you – I hope every SAI student has their own great story about unforgettable food and kind shopkeepers.
What’s your favorite European food/meal (Italian, French, Spanish or British)?
Pizza! As the tale goes, I ate two full pizzas when I was a wee little seven year old. I’d do it again any day.
What’s your favorite thing about European culture (Italian, French, Spanish or British)?
I’ll have to say the extended meals. Too often we forget the importance of sitting down for a proper meal with friends and family. I respect the fact that time is deliberately carved out of the day for full meals (while balancing this with simple on-the-go meals like a croissant – YUM!).
What is your best advice to students embarking on their first study abroad experience?
In all my global travels, I have stuck to a few key goals that have proved useful: (1) Don’t make any judgements before you have been somewhere at least two full weeks. It takes time to find your comfort – don’t think it’ll happen immediately (Jetlag is no joke). (2) Go out to a new place every single day for your first few weeks. A new grocery store, a new shop, a new park. See something new every day. (3) Put all your effort into communicating respectfully in the local culture. Even if you don’t speak any of the language, learn please, thank you, hello and goodbye, and use them every chance you can. Don’t go straight into English – show an interest! And always smile. Smiles, even when awkward, convey your interest in wanting to get to know someone. (4) And finally, never wear heels in an apartment with tile/concrete floors.