Ever since Andrew Sobiesuo came to the College, he’s been sending students packing.
“Getting students out into the world is my No. 1 priority,” says the associate provost for international education and director of the Center for International Education, who came to the College as a member of the Hispanic studies faculty in 1990. “Study abroad is a necessary part of the educational process.”
Even during his 18 years in the classroom, Sobiesuo couldn’t stress the importance of studying abroad enough.
“I have always believed that when you leave what you’re comfortable with and immerse yourself in something so unfamiliar, you learn not just about the culture and the people, but about yourself,” he explains. “You learn to appreciate who you are and what you have. You’re putting these things into the context
of where you are, and it really helps your whole education.”
Since Sobiesuo came to the Center for International Education, the number of students studying abroad each year has more than doubled – and he’s responsible for each and every one of them.
“It’s a 24/7 job – you have to always be ready to act. That makes it very challenging, but also very fulfilling, frankly,” he says, noting that during academic year 2011-12, the College had 29 study-abroad programs (23 summer and six semester-long). “It’s also my responsibility to advance the program and to develop new programming. I’m always looking for ways to improve on what we already have and to create new opportunities for our students.”
As much as Sobiesuo enjoys sending students out of the country, however, he loves welcoming them home even more.
“It gives me so much satisfaction to sit down with the students when they come back and see how they’ve changed,” he smiles. “You can tell how much they have learned and how they have become a better person. It’s very rewarding for me.”