Meet Claire!

Introducing Claire Novotny

ameliaclairestaffClaire graduated from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst with a Bachelors degree in Anthropology and, more recently, a Masters degree in Intercultural Service, Leadership, and Management from SIT Graduate Institute. During her sophomore year at UMASS she studied abroad in Argentina and fell in love with South America. Over the next couple of years she was able to travel to numerous South and Central American countries, as well as the UK, Europe and Asia! Claire has been to over 20 countries but her desire to learn about the world’s cultures and languages has not yet been fulfilled – will it ever be? Claire is a Northampton, MA native and now lives down the street from where she grew up! These days you can catch her walking around town, rock climbing with friends, singing in the car, or drinking coffee with her nose in a book.

Claire has worked with CIS on and off for 6 years now, leading over 10 programs, and looks forward to joining your group! Claire will travel with your group for the entire program and will be there to support you in every way possible to ensure your time abroad is a safe, meaningful and positive one. She looks forward to meeting and getting to know you soon!

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!