Unique & Eye-Opening: CEA Alumnus and Expat

As part of our 20th anniversary celebration, CEA is gathering two decades worth of interviews and insights from alumni. We present a unique and eye-opening perspective on international education from former CEA Aix-en-Provence student, Richie Santosdiaz who studied abroad with CEA in 2007, and is now an Expert in Economic Development, adjunct lecturer, founder of Young American Expat

Before he arrived in Aix-en-Provence, Richie, a self-starter by heart, was not sure of what he was about to get himself into, but was still unphased by the prospect of living in an unfamiliar place.

RS: I was looking forward to living in France and learning a new language. I think what I loved that I didn’t expect was how beautiful Aix was and how rich in history and culture it really had. I’ve been fortunate to have been pretty well traveled so wasn’t scared to go abroad. Also I was in Argentina in the Fall beforehand. My biggest concern was I thought Aix would be really small – it was, but it was such a fun place and a great hub to see much of Europe! 

His only challenge: the French Language.

RS: I only learned French in college as part of my degree with International Business so when I arrived it wasn’t perfect by any means. It forced me to practice when I was able to.

Nevertheless, Richie found a passion for international affairs and expat relations.

RS: My time abroad has impacted me so much that what I took from it most was eventually I could build an international career off the back of it. 

Richie is now a consultant in London whose experience in expanding his horizons comes through in other passion projects.

RS: I am a London-based economic development expert for a management consulting firm as a day job. I am also an adjunct lecturer, do occasional media work in my expertise and passions and finally the founder of Young American Expat. 

Study abroad has clearly impacted me that I have been abroad ever since, making a career out of my international experience!

Young American Expat showcases the life of expats (the around 9 million of them) is their 20s and 30s.

Richie S. is a CEA alumni. He studied International Business at University of Scranton and studied abroad with CEA in Aix-en-Provence in the spring of 2007. He is currently an Expert in economic development in London.

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