Our success – our people. Behind any successful organization stands a diverse group of committed people. Our staff of over 30 people spans four continents, five time zones, and many cities. Our main U.S. office is located in the historic center of Annapolis, Maryland; we welcome your visit anytime. From our home office we personally connect with all program participants from the initial phone call up until your arrival in your host city. All of the Global Experiences team members have personal experience living and working abroad and are here to pay it forward!

Global Experiences and AIFS Study Abroad are now working together – the division is known as AIFS Abroad and encompasses all of our programs. Working together as one team allows us to continue to deliver our high-quality programs and customer service that you know, and trust. Meet the AIFS Abroad team here.

Emily Merson
Co-founder and CEO

Emily is the co-founder and CEO of Global Experiences. Since co-founding in 2001, Emily has grown the program to 11 cities globally, and expanding the global team. In 2013 Emily took over as CEO and has focused her attention on expanding partnerships with universities and colleges in the US and building an award winning global career readiness program. Global Experiences has helped almost 8,000 young professionals further their career through international professional experience and global understanding.

Emily was the driving force behind Global Experiences innovative partnership with Gallup Education in 2012 that lead to the organizations award winning career development program. In 2015 she was awarded the Enterprising Womens Magazine Award, and lead GE to 2 goabroad.com innovation awards and inclusion in the Inc5000. Emily has served on the NAFSA committee for Work Internship and Volunteer since 2015 and has presented at national and international conferences on the topics of international education, internships and career development. Emily is originally from Sydney, Australia and holds three passports (Australia, US and UK) and has degrees from the UNSW in Sydney, Australia, and Uppsala University in Sweden. Emily is passionate about innovation in the US Education system and changing the lives of young people through global engagement and career development experiences.

Carri Orrison
Vice President of Operations

Carri Orrison is our Vice President of Operations. Originally from Maine she feels happy when she is near water so working in Annapolis is a dream come true.She graduated from Gettysburg College in Pennsylvania with a degree in French and was on the tennis team at this Division III school.

After graduating she moved to the Washington DC area and spent 13 years working at the Australian Embassy assisting students get to Australia, advisors understand educational system and ensuring everyone knew that Australia has more to offer besides beaches and beer. She also worked for The Scholar Ship which was a semester study program (based on a ship) which sent US and non-US students around the world to study and develop cultural awareness. She has traveled to France, Italy, Greece and Australia. She is a mom to two brilliant, talented, sporty kids and one furry dog.

Duncan Hamshere
Head of Global Business Development

Duncan Hamshere is our Head of Global Business Development. Duncan is delighted to have joined Global Experiences. Duncan is originally from Manchester in northern England but has had a varied international career taking him to a number of different countries, including roles working as a services manager for the UK National Recognition and Information Centre, as a Development Manager at the Barcelona Graduate School of Economics and most recently as a senior international trade Advisor for the UK Government. Duncan is a qualified teacher and has worked in and travelled to over 40 countries.

Kelly Holland
Director of Institutional Relations

Kelly Holland is the Director of Institutional Relations for Global Experiences and AIFS Abroad. In her role she works closely with university partners around the United States on marketing, promotion, and ensuring a successful experience for both intern and office. A Pennsylvania native, Kelly first left the U.S. at age 20 to spent a semester in Granada, Spain with the American Institute of Foreign Study (AIFS). She returned several years later to teach English for the Spanish Ministry of Education in Andalucia.

Kelly holds an M.Ed. in Comparative and International Education from Lehigh University, and a B.A. in International Business and Spanish from Moravian College. Kelly was previously the Associate Director of Study Abroad at Towson University in Maryland, and Interim Director of Study Abroad at Eastern Illinois University in Illinois. Her travels cross more than 25 countries and counting including favorites like Hungary, Greece, Spain, and Turkey. If she doesn't have her nose in a book, Kelly can be found in the kitchen cooking or baking.

Augusta Viccellio
Vice President, Enrollment and Marketing

Augusta Viccellio is the VP of Enrollment and Marketing for Global Experiences and AIFS Abroad. Starting at Global Experiences in 2014 as an Admissions Counselor, Augusta spent 2 years working directly with future interns before moving into the position of Sales Manager. She earned her undergraduate degree in Sociology and History from Indiana University, where she spent a summer interning in Tanzania before moving to Paris after graduation. Augusta is passionate about helping others make the decision to leave their comfort zone and experience the world in a professional setting!

Damien Marshall
Regional Vice President, Partnership Development

B.A. International Studies, Ohio University, M.A. Italian, The Ohio State University

Damien's first experience abroad was at the age of 16, when he spent an academic year near Torino, Italy. As an undergrad, he spent a semester studying in Odense, Denmark. He has spent over two years of his life abroad, visiting a total of 24 countries (with an ever-growing travel wish-list to fulfill!).

Damien is an avid Boston Celtics fan and has a tradition with his son of traveling to see them play in a different city every year. He loves Halloween and is always happy to show photos of some of his favorite costumes (Mr. T, Jolly Green Giant, Macho Man Randy Savage).

Damien began working in international education while studying at The Ohio State University, working in OSU's Office of International Education. He also taught Italian language classes. After finishing his program in 2004, he joined AIFS. Beyond his work in university relations, he has worked with AIFS programs overseas in Rome, London, San Jose, Prague and China (multi-city). He has served on the NAFSA Region VI team and has also chaired the Lessons from Abroad Ohio conference.

Michelle Walters
Regional Vice President, University Relations

M.A., International and Human Rights Education; B.A. Communication

During her undergrad, Michelle studied abroad with AIFS at the University of Limerick in Ireland. She taught abroad for a year in Osaka, Japan and through her Master’s program, spent two summers living and collaborating with an Indigenous Community in the Ecuadorian Amazon jungle. Michelle has traveled to over 30 countries and has visited 6 of the 7 continents.

Michelle loves checking items off her very random bucket list. So far, she's accomplished her goal of visiting every US Presidential Library, and has traveled to all 50 states. One day, she hopes to cross the finish lines of all 6 World Major Marathons (she's run 2 so far!)

Michelle started her career in the International Education field in 2007 as an admissions advisor for study abroad programs in the UK and Ireland. She joined AIFS in 2008 when the organization opened their West Coast office and was able to work closely with each of the AIFS Divisions. In 2012, Michelle began to work solely with the University Relations team within the College Division and since then has had the opportunity to develop partnerships and collaborate with Universities across the West Coast, Rocky Mountains and Southern US.

Jen Mackin
Director of Internships

Jen Mackin is the Director of Internships at Global Experiences and AIFS Abroad. Originally from outside of Philadelphia, she graduated with a B.A. in History from Ursinus College in Pennsylvania in 2013. Jen studied abroad in Rome in 2011 and interned in London in 2013. She taught high school in Pennsylvania before transitioning to higher education and joining the GE team in 2015 where she gets to help send college students abroad. Jen enjoys crossing new cities off of her travel bucket list, spending time outdoors and cheering on her beloved Philadelphia Eagles.

Kory Saunders
Director of Inclusion Initiatives

B.S. in Marketing; B.A. in Spanish; M.B.A. in International Business; M.A. in International Marketing

Kory did a summer short-term program in Spain after her first year at Hampton University. She then studied abroad in Mexico for Spanish language acquisition. Post-graduation she did a short-term summer architecture study abroad program in Brazil. Kory completed most of her graduate course work in Valencia, Spain where she lived for six months. She has taken students to study Costa Rica and Adelaide, Australia and has completed site visits there, and Buenos Aires, Argentina. Kory has traveled to six of the seven continents for work and pleasure and looks forward to getting to Antarctica in the future.

Kory is a mirror image identical twin. She loves spending time and exploring the world near and far with her family and friends. She is glad to be in Maryland where is she is more centrally located to a lot more of her family and friends up and down the east coast.

Melissa Elliotte
Regional Director, University Relations, Northeast

Melissa works closely with university partners to support their abroad office needs, agreements, visits, and custom program development. She first traveled abroad at the age of 17 to live with a host family in Belgium for the summer. She returned for 15 more years to study and work in Aix-en-Provence, Deauville, Paris, Limerick, Lugano and London.

Melissa holds a M.A. in Creative & Literary Critical Writing from Royal Holloway University of London, a M.A. in French from Middlebury College, and a B.A. in European Studies from Vanderbilt University. She began working in international education as a study abroad advisor in 2004. She continued her career primarily in university relations for a study abroad provider, international admissions at a Swiss university, and business development for a study abroad/SEVIS software company.

Fun fact: Melissa was a singer-songwriter for several years in Ireland. Now, she enjoys hiking with her family and their 2 rescue dogs, Bennet and Hailey.

Crystal Craycraft
Regional Director, University Relations

M.A. International Studies, Business ; B.A. Organizational Communication, Asian Studies ; Graduate Certificate in Higher Education Leadership

Starting her international experiences during her undergraduate degree, Crystal first traveled to Ghana on a Faculty-led program. She went on to spend a semester in Xi'an, China and completed a cultural communications internship in Beijing. She returned to China for her master's degree to teach English at Hangzhou Dianzi University part time for an academic year.

She's traveled to over 14 countries both personally and professionally. In her spare time Crystal loves to visit with friends and family, listen to live music, practice yoga, and eat at every given opportunity. Her travel bucket list is still long with dreams of traveling to places such as Vietnam, Italy and South Korea.

Katie Pazda
Regional Director

M.A. International Affairs; B.A. East Asian Languages, Literature, and Culture

Katie studied in Japan for an academic year as a university sophomore. She also went abroad on two short term faculty-led programs as a graduate student, traveling to Senegal and Israel. She has traveled to 12 countries and counting.

Katie enjoys baking, reading fiction, seeing plays or musicals, and photography. When traveling, she enjoys trying new coffee shops. She has completed over a dozen half marathons and enjoys dressing up for the Disney races.

Katie began working in international education in 2011 and has held positions in education abroad at the George Washington University, the University of Tampa as an Education Abroad Advisor, and the University of South Florida as a Program Manager and a Curriculum Integration Administrator. Before working in international education, she worked for a year with the Embassy of Japan in Washington, DC. She has also taught first year seminar courses and co-led short term study abroad programs with university students. She is presently part of NAFSA's Trainer Corps. Katie joined AIFS in 2021.

Joel Freeman
Regional Director

B.A. French and International Studies

Joel studied abroad in Pau, France for an academic year. Joel is a big fan of baseball (go Brewers!) and basketball (go Bucks!) and loves exploring Southeastern Wisconsin via bike on many beautiful trails. Joel spends much of his time thinking about his next meal.

Amy Wilson
Student Accounts Manager

Amy is a Student Accounts Manager at Global Experiences. She brings years of knowledge as a program consultant to a role that includes managing employer relationships in Sydney, New York, and Washington, DC. Amy Wilson is a longtime employee of Global Experiences. In her previous role she helped connect students to employers in some of our program locations, and is excited to further our alumni efforts. Amy has traveled to South Africa, Portugal, and many other countries.

Hailey Morris
Program Manager

Hailey is the Program Manager for Global Experiences' programs. While studying at Virginia Tech, Hailey spent a summer studying in Madrid, Spain, in 2014 and had the opportunity to travel to Switzerland and France. She is looking forward to combining her passions for travel and higher education to help students grow professionally in an international setting. She holds two Bachelor’s degrees in International Studies and Spanish. Outside of work you will either find her in the kitchen or at the driving range.

Andrew Parr
Enrollment Manager

Andrew is an Enrollment Manager for Global Experiences and AIFS Abroad. A Pennsylvanian-native, he moved to the Annapolis area in 2013 to teach English and theatre in a public high school. While at the school, he re-established the German American Partnership Program (GAPP) via the assistance of the Goethe-Institut with a Gymnasium in Germany. The program has been successfully running for the last four years. In his free time, Andrew can usually be found in one of two places: the theatre or the gym. He teaches at a local dance studio and writes theatre reviews for the Baltimore-DC Metro area. He enjoys spending time with friends, family, coffee, and his two chinchillas, Pinot and Brie.

Karl Jacobs
Enrollment Manager

Karl is an Enrollment Manager for Global Experiences and AIFS Abroad. A Pennsylvania-native, Karl's wanderlust began in 2007, when he attended a German Gymnasium (high school) outside of Stuttgart through his local Twinning Association. He holds a B.A. in International Studies from Seton Hill University in Greensburg, PA. During his studies he studied and interned abroad in Brussels, Belgium, which convinced him that he had to live in Europe. In 2013, he jumped on a plane for Graz, Austria, where he completed his M.A. in Southeast European Studies. He spent a year studying in Sarajevo, Bosnia-Herzegovina, before returning to Graz to work as an English and History teacher for 4 years. Since returning stateside, he enjoys spending time catching-up with his family and friends.

Chelsea Conran
Enrollment Manager

Chelsea studied in Florence, Italy for a semester during her junior year in college. Since then she has traveled to over 25 countries. Chelsea loves cooking and attending concerts and New York sporting events. She has a 10 lb mini Bernedoodle named Lucy who she loves dearly. Chelsea began her career in the travel industry in 2015. Since then she has held various roles at different travel institutions including Admissions Officer and Placement Specialist at AIFS. She is excited to continue her career in an industry that she loves as an Enrollment Manager for GE.

Lauren Jackson
SEO and Digital Marketing Coordinator

Lauren is the SEO/Digital Marketing Coordinator at Global Experiences. She attended Regents College in London for nearly three years, where she had amazing opportunities to travel to over ten countries. While studying in London, Lauren worked at the world-renowned Selfridges & Co., which she described as 'an incredible and indescribable experience'.

After returning to the states, she finished her studies at Stevenson University with a BS in Marketing and Merchandising.

A Baltimore native, Lauren now resides back at home with her partner and their dogs and cat. Aside from traveling, her hobbies are DIY projects, gardening, and spending time with her family.

Adriana Smith
Regional Manager

M.A., Spanish and Latin American Linguistic, Literary, and Cultural Studies; BA. Criminology and Spanish

Adriana lived and studied in Santander as a junior in undergraduate. She returned to Spain to obtain her Master’s in Spanish and Latin American Linguistic, but also to redeem herself from getting lost during her first study abroad experience. To date, Adriana has traveled to 15+ countries.

Adriana loves being active including hiking, playing football, and walking everywhere she can. In her free time, she blogs about her travel adventures, and gives belly rubs to her two sassy dogs, a Chihuahua, Yorkie, and Pug mix, Leo and Bella.

Adriana began her career in International Education in 2016 as the Assistant Director of International Programs at Presbyterian College in South Carolina. She studied and lived abroad in Spain (twice!), and have also volunteered abroad with the organization, UBECI, in Quito, Ecuador. In 2019, she published the book, “Studying Abroad for Black Women,” a guide that discusses what it means to be a black female college student studying abroad.

Monika Markley
Enrollment Manager

In 2016, Monika joined the international higher education field working for a French immersion program provider. From application to pre-departure orientation, she handled all aspects of student outreach, recruitment and enrollment as well as liaising with university partners. Monika joined the AIFS Abroad/Global Experiences team in 2021 and greatly enjoys connecting students with their ideal program to achieve their study and intern abroad goals. France holds a special place in Monika’s heart: she visited Paris for a high school French club trip, studied abroad in Lyon during her junior year of university and returned to Paris for a summer term. She has traveled to 12 countries and counting! Outside of work, you can find Monika cheering on her Pittsburgh Steelers and Penguins, practicing aerial silks and fine tuning her craft beer palette.

Kelsey Bridewell
Enrollment Coordinator

Kelsey is an Enrollment Coordinator with AIFS Abroad and Global Experiences. She began her journey with AIFS in college as a student studying abroad in Budapest, Hungary in the Spring of 2018. While studying in Hungary, Kelsey had the opportunity to travel to 13 different countries in the EU. Upon returning to the U.S., she became an AIFS Alumni Ambassador working with her home University, California State University, Chico. Upon graduating with a B.A. in Communications Studies and double minors in Marketing and International Studies, she moved to Denver, CO with her roommate from the AIFS Program. She can often be found hiking in CO with her dog Zia or planning her next great adventure!

Becca Newman
Enrollment Coordinator

Becca Newman is an Enrollment Coordinator at AIFS Abroad and Global Experiences. Becca studied abroad in Ireland during the summer between her sophomore and junior year. This trip to Ireland ignited her love of living abroad! After graduating college with a B.A. in Political Science, Becca moved to South Korea to teach English as a foreign language. She has traveled to over 25 countries and is excited to see more of the world. Previously, Becca worked in the travel industry curating trips to Southeast and East Asia. She is excited to combine her love of education and travel here at AIFS Abroad. In her free time, Becca likes to spend time outdoors and cheer on the Clemson Tigers.

Michelle Ortiz
Enrollment Coordinator

Michelle Ortiz is an Enrollment Coordinator at AIFS Abroad and Global Experiences. She graduated with a dual B.A. in International Relations and Spanish Language and Cultures, and a minor in Journalism from California State University. She studied abroad at the Universidad Complutense de Madrid in the Spanish capital where she also was able to tutor English to refugee children. Upon her return, she was able to study and work in various international opportunities like working with indigenous Mayan communities in Yucatan, Mexico. And conducting award-winning research for her work of "Love Stories of Boñar" while working with the Spanish Red Cross in Northern Spain. She has traveled to more than 25 countries. Her love for international education came from her personal experiences and her previous job at the Miami University of Art and Design where she helped guide and traveled to recruit international students. You can find her at your local thrift store searching for cool gems from the '60s and watching reruns of anything Anthony Bourdain.

Peter Ballagh
Placement Director, Ireland

Peter Ballagh is the Director of the Dublin Program with responsibility for Placements, Programming and Student Welfare. He joined GE in 2013 and has a background in secondary school teaching and training as well as experience in the field of cultural tourism as a tour guide in Dublin and consultant with the Heritage Council of Ireland. He has been an active member of the EU Election Observation Missions since 2002 and has completed numerous missions throughout Africa and Asia.

Rachel Smith
Program Director, Italy

Rachel is the Italy Program Director and Program Advisor for Italy and France locations. She started with Global Experiences in 2014 as a Location Coordinator in Florence, Italy and has grown her career within the company. She has lived in Florence since 2013, speaks fluent Italian and has a bilingual dog Stella. Rachel has two bachelor degrees and a masters degree in Art History and considers herself an expert in "all-things-Italian."

Anna Fornabaio
Placement Director, Italy

Anna Fornabaio is the Italy Placement Director for Global Experiences. Born in a little town in the south of Italy, she moved to Arezzo in Tuscany when she was 14 years old. She currently lives in Florence, where she has been working closely with employers in Milan and Florence for over nine years. Anna studied Political Science at university and received her master’s in Event Planning and Management of European Study Abroad Programs. As a student, Anna interned and studied abroad in Brussels, so she has been in our interns’ shoes and is familiar with the experience they are about to embark upon. While interning abroad is a wonderful experience, she recognizes that it can be challenging. Not only is she there to help find our interns find a life-changing internship, but she’s also also there to help them adjust to their new life in Italy!

Inma Lopez
Director, Spain

Inma earned her Bachelor's degree in English Studies in the University of Granada, as well as a degree in Tourism and Conference and Events Management from the University of Edinburgh. She has an extensive experience in International Education directing and coordinating programs in Spain for more than 12 years, as well as organizing and leading trips and activities as tour leader, and working as a tour guide in Barcelona showing the clients the taste of the culture, history and personality of this captivating city through walking, gastronomy and cultural tours.

She was born and raised in the beautiful city of Granada and before moving to Barcelona in 2008 she traveled throughout Europe, Morocco, and the U.S. and lived in several cities of Europe such as Toulouse, London, Liverpool and Edinburgh for many years.

What she loves the most about her job is the huge impact that she makes on students' lives through her guidance and how their lives change thanks to the experience of living abroad and getting immersed in the culture. She recommends students to ‘Take your study abroad experience as something that is part of growing up and enjoy this unique opportunity to the fullest because this chance may only happen once in your lifetime’.

Andrea Hay
Program Director, Sydney

Andrea Hay is the Sydney Program Director for Global Experiences. Andrea works to ensure that the interns have a great experience in Sydney with successful and fulfilling internships. Andrea holds a B.A in Recreation Management from RMIT, Australia. Though she originally hails from Eastern Europe, Andrea moved to the Australian outback at age 11 and has been on the move ever since. She lived in Washington DC for 15 years, returning to Sydney to be closer to family in 2012. She has traveled to more than 25 countries with Cuba, Egypt and Tahiti among her favorites. When she is not traveling, or working, Andrea is super mum to three wonderful daughters.

Shaania Saini
Placement Coordinator, London

Shaania is the London Placement Coordinator at Global Experiences. Born and raised in London, she graduated with a 2:1 in Social Sciences at St.Mary’s Twickenham in 2015. Shaania has traveled abroad every year from India to the US to Hong Kong as her dad works for British Airways. She has worked within the education sector since graduating and has internal experience across the globe. Shaania enjoys exploring new cities and crossing them off her bucket list, spending time going for long walks with her dog and supporting her beloved team Wolverhampton Wanderers.

Carmen Chamorro
Global Engagement Coordinator

Carmen is the Global Engagement Coordinator. In her role, she works closely with Global Experiences' location staff and interns to ensure everyone is having a successful internship experience. A Spanish native, she loves learning about new places and cultures and strongly believes that travelling helps people get the best of themselves. She has been living in 4 different countries and has extensively travelled the world.

Carmen has a portfolio career and a wide range of experiences to ensure she can connect with each of the interns in a personalised way. She is a certified life and executive coach and has done many courses in Mindfulness, as well as two years of university study in Psychology. With a degree in Architecture, she is a registered architect and has commercial experience working in corporate environments, having worked for 8 years at Foster + Partners, one of the biggest architectural firms in the world. She has also worked in many other areas: event organiser, blogger, graphic designer, teacher, waitress, PR, strawberry picker, media runner, writer, sales…

Carmen is really passionate about people and education and wants to get the best out of each student so that they can enjoy their time in London as much as possible.

Mariel Pinel
Location Coordinator, San José

Mariel is the San Jose Location Coordinator for Global Experiences. She has degrees in international cooperation for development from Universidad Nacional de Costa Rica and the Universidad Autónoma de Barcelona, Spain. She has been working for more than a decade for NGOs, international mobility programs and development projects. Mariel is passionate about global citizenship and impacting young people through international experiences. She loves the beach, animals, dancing, reading and spending time with family and friends. She has lived abroad twice (France and Spain) and traveled to over 25 countries in all continents, except for Oceania. She is looking forward to supporting the career development of interns in Costa Rica and to helping them discover her "pura vida" country.

GE Puppy Intern

Maverick is the official mascot of Global Experiences and our resident puppy intern. Maverick is known for bringing his positive energy to the office and enjoys long walks around Annapolis, belly scratches and collecting sticks. In his young age, Maverick has not yet traveled abroad but looks forward to getting his first stamp in his puppy passport soon!

Join The Global Experiences Team

For candidates with the right skills, values, and enthusiasm to enhance our team, we welcome your applications.

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