Students Staff

14 June 2019

Meet our Essex Abroad team

Filed under: Latest news — ckeitch @ 10:40 am

Kristi Connell is our new Essex Abroad Manager. We met her to find out more about her, her team, and how they support students studying abroad.

What is your background? What did you do before you came to Essex? 

Our Essex Abroad team

Our Essex Abroad team

Before coming to Essex I worked for Pearson Education as a Qualification Delivery and Awarding Manager. My key role was managing the portfolio of their international qualifications through a range of activities like producing exam material, assessing exams and managing relationships with international stakeholders. Prior to that, I had a career in the education sector, teaching Design and Technology at secondary school for eight years with various levels of management and leadership responsibility. Before that I was an Interior Designer and I was still doing some freelance design work up until a couple of years ago.

That’s quite a varied CV. What brought you to Essex?

Being a local girl, I have always had some interaction with the University of Essex whether it be as a three year old in the University nursery, or coming to watch the firework display a couple of years ago. I always thought that at some point I would love to work there. To be honest, I wasn’t actually looking for a new job but always liked to keep an eye out on the website just to see the types of roles which were being advertised. Back in Autumn 2018, I was having a look and came across the role for the Essex Abroad Manager… my instant thought was “that sounds perfect for me”… a few months later, here I am.

Tell us more about your new team. What is the main focus of your work?

The key focus for the team is student mobility for studying abroad opportunities, supporting and guiding students through their journey from start to finish. We work with our own students who are going abroad, providing them with all the information they need, as well as incoming students who are coming to study at Essex for a year. We also offer and advise on short term programmes which enable any student to have a valuable international experience, like attending summer schools or making the most of volunteering opportunities. That gives you a taster for what we do, but there is so much more.

How many people are there in your team?

Seven. They are Julie Proctor and Jessica Frank for outgoing, Hellen Ekka and Chelsea Morrell for incoming, Ellie Laing for marketing, events and promotions, Lauren Holden for grants and agreements, and Rosie Bonny, our brand new International Experience Manager.

What big projects do your team have coming up?

Over the summer we’re reviewing all the partners we have agreements with to make sure they are fit for purpose.  We’re also going to be improving all the support and resource materials we have about Essex Abroad for our internal stakeholders – updating, simplifying and consolidating everything to make sure it is up to date and as useful as we can make it.

What has surprised you most about working at Essex?

The cat! I had no idea about our Campus Cat, Pebbles. On a serious note, though, I love how inclusive and diverse Essex is. I knew it would be, but I didn’t realise quite how much.

What’s the future for Essex Abroad?

Everything is one big adventure for me and the team. We are all really passionate to have more students partake in the experiences they can have as part of their degree, and would love for Essex Abroad to be more of a household name, with as many students as possible engaging with all the fantastic opportunities that are available to them. We also want to make sure that we’re engaging with more international students and making sure students are coming to Essex for their exchange programmes. Our key priority for the future is to build and develop our relationships with internal stakeholders. We need you as much as our students need us, and we’re all looking forward to working with people from across the University much more closely from here on in.

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