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Craig Brookins

I was born in the city of Rome. Rome, New York. My father was in the military so we moved around lot before settling in Panama for 5 years until the age of 10. Living in Panama and driving through Central America to return to the United States created a desire to continue being around the Spanish language and Hispanic culture. It also motivated me to receive an MA in Hispanic Literature from the University of Arizona where I taught from 1995 – 2000 before accepting a position as Caribbean Operations Director for an adventure travel company for teenagers called Broadreach. The years I taught for them afforded me travel to Mexico (Baja and Oaxaca), Ecuador, Fiji, The Solomon Islands and most of the Caribbean but it also renewed my desire to return to academia.

I have been employed at NC State since the Fall of 2005. Among the courses I especially enjoy creating and teaching are conversation and introduction to culture and grammar through the use of film. I have recently taken over the role as the spring instructor for FLS 101 and it has been exceptionally gratifying.

  • My Program
  • Advice for Students
  • Advice for Faculty Directors

Where do you lead a program?

I currently lead a month long summer program in Segovia, Spain.

How long have you run your study abroad program?

I have run this program since the summer of 2007.

What makes your study abroad program unique?

One thing that makes my study abroad program unique is the ability to learn about a certain aspect of history or a technology in the country and then go on an excursion and experience it firsthand. For example, discussing the concept behind the making of tapestries that are worth hundreds of millions of dollars is interesting but visiting the factory where they are made and seeing the process makes it so much more informative.

What stands out as your favorite memory from the study abroad programs that you have directed?

A recurring favorite memory I have from the Segovia program is the farewell dinner the night before we leave. We dine like royalty and are treated as such. Reminiscing about all of the experiences from the past month is always extraordinary.

If you could give prospective students one piece of advice about
study abroad, what would it be?

One piece of advice that I like to give prospective students about study abroad is to stay open to the experience. Once you are able to let go of your own preconceived notions of how your host country is supposed to be and simply become part of the experience your time abroad becomes a lot more rewarding.

What are you looking for from the students who apply to your program?

When students apply to the program I am looking for ones that are excited about living with a host family, using the language on a daily basis and experiencing all of the positive things that Spain has to offer. There is a lot of diversity culturally and a wide variety of opportunities available in Spain so hopefully students will take advantage of this.

What is the most rewarding aspect of being a Faculty Director?

Two of the most rewarding aspects of being a Faculty Director are observing the development of your students and seeing the enthusiasm they bring to the program.

If you could give new Faculty Directors of study abroad programs one piece of advice about leading a program, what would it be?

A piece of advice for new Faculty Directors of Study Abroad programs is this: frontload your students as much as possible before the program. Set the bar pretty high and you will be happily surprised about how many still perform above that goal.

What marketing tips would you suggest to your fellow Faculty Directors to encourage more NC State students to study abroad?

When marketing your program, try to focus on what makes your program unique and use past participants to do presentations in addition to your personal efforts. We can speak to students all day long about how wonderful our programs are but when they hear about them directly from former students, there is a lot more credibility.