Meet Meri!

Introducing Meri S.

MeriMeri is originally from Finland, and graduated from the university of Jyväskylä with a Master’s degree in Anthropology. She speaks four languages (English, French, Finnish and Swedish) and is passionate about cultures and traveling. Meri has lived and worked as an Erasmus student in the south of France, volunteered in India for an NGO in Jaipur for 6 months and has currently been living in Martinique for the last seven years, where she worked in a cultural association before becoming a freelance tour guide. While working at the association she coordinated a two-year international Youth Exchange project and two European Voluntary Service projects. She enjoys showing travelers the authentic Martinique off the beaten track and on her free-time reads, goes to the gym and spends time with her family and friends. Meri will be there for you during your entire time in Martinique to make sure your program experience is safe, meaningful and positive. She is looking forward to sharing her love for Martinique and the Caribbean culture with you!

What’s an OPC? 

As part of your customized faculty-led program abroad, you will be led and supported by a CISabroad On-Site Program Coordinator (OPC). OPCs are experienced and well trained staff members, there to ensure the schedule goes according to plan. Each OPC attends an extensive training program that involves a range of modules – risk management, emergency response, safety, logistics’, cultural awareness, communication, culture shock, budgeting, social media, La Vida Local and customer service.

The primary role of the OPC is to facilitate the in-country implementation of the assigned customized program, by providing safety / emergency response and logistical support. During the program, the OPC is responsible for managing the day-to-day logistics of the assigned customized program and providing in-country support to both the faculty and students. Using personal travel experience, professional work experience (and where possible language knowledge), the OPC will help create a program environment that is safe and culturally engaging. The CISabroad OPC may or may not be an in country local. The majority of CISabroad OPCs are expats from the US, who have travelled, lived, volunteered, or worked abroad in the program destination.

The OPC is not a registered tour guide nor expected to provide tours of sites visited during the program. If the program is one that requires specific guided tours of various sites, these will be provided separately. The OPC provides a general neighborhood walking tour to help the group identify the nearest bank/ATM, pharmacy, laundry-mat, grocery store and other similar conveniences.

The OPC’s role allows Faculty to focus on the academic objectives and the students to make the most of their time overseas!