The onsite directors will be your program leader and are there to lead and guide you during your study abroad experience. Our programs also have assistant directors that help manage the programs, especially during the excursions and cultural activities. Onsite directors are usually host-country nationals with cross-cultural experience. All of our directors have experience working with groups and have international experience (travel and work) and many have studied abroad themselves as students.
Germán Casado was born and raised in Dúrcal, a small Andalusian town outside of Granada, Spain. He holds a Master’s Degree in Translation & Interpretation (English, French, & Italian) from the prestigious University of Granada. He also has a degree in Business French from the Business Chamber of Paris. Germán is also a certified tour guide and guide of the Sierra Nevada Natural Park. Germán has studied and lived in France, Belgium and Italy, where he perfected his language skills. He is a true outdoor enthusiast! Germán has worked for sporting events such as the World Championship for Alpine Skiing in the Sierra Nevada (Granada), and the World Cup for mountain biking. Germán is skilled at rock climbing, mountaineering, mountain biking, skiing and rollerblading. There isn’t much Germán doesn’t do! He has worked as a mountain guide leading hiking trips to the Alps and the Atlas mountains. Besides travel and outdoor extreme sports, Germán has worked as a producer for documentary films for the BBC and other European programs that focus on Andalusia. Since 1997, Germán has operated a travel and study abroad business in Granada for North American and European students.
Alejandro was born and raised in Cádiz, Spain, but finished high school in Kingston, TN. Tennessee is where he earned the nickname, "The Spaniard", which he loved. Back in Spain, Alejandro studied at the Universidad de Granada and graduated with degrees in Law (2000) and Political Science (2003), while also studying Philosophy. Alejandro is very passionate about learning and academics! He has always been interested in the history of political thought, a passion that sheds light on his academic journey. Alejandro has also lived and worked abroad starting with Aarhus, Denmark (1999-2000) and then Edinburgh, Scotland (2003-2005). These past years he has worked as a private guide in Andalucía, and led bike tours for a US company (2010 - 2019). Alejandro loves languages and is currently studying German. Recently he has been spending many months in Germany, embracing life once again as a student. Although, Alejandro says, “above all, sport is my passion”. He is an outdoors person now: swimming, cycling, running, and playing tennis. He especially gravitates towards endurance sports. Out of this passion, he has become well-versed in nutrition, a topic about which he can spend hours conversing. Alejandro loves to work with foreign travelers, especially Americans, to whom he still feels quite connected after his high school year in Tennessee and summers spent working in the Smoky Mountains. Alejandro feels like an ambassador showing his home country to others. He is very aware that there is more to a language than just the grammar and the vocabulary. Without experiencing first-hand the culture that lives with the language there is no real learning. He understands very well the importance of why it makes so much sense to spend time in the country where the language of study is spoken. As to his private life, Alejandro has no children of his own but instead he has a niece and a nephew who constantly remind him that he’s become a professional uncle now ("Tito Ale").
Miguel was born and raised in Lisbon, Portugal to Spanish and Portuguese parents. He grew up speaking both languages practically. Aware of the importance of knowing different languages, his parents enrolled him in Lisbon’s British Kindergarten, and later he studied at Lisbon’s Spanish Institute. From a very early age Miguel started to embrace a bilingual and international environment especially since every year people from different parts of the world would arrive at his school. At the age of twenty Miguel moved to Granada for the first time and instantly fell in love with this beautiful city. The Arabic influences reminded him of his hometown in Portugal and, although he was in completely different surroundings, he found a special connection between Lisbon and Granada, considering both of them to be his home. Leaping from one city to the other throughout the years, Miguel has lived in Granada since 2011 working as a translator, a teacher for the Portuguese exam of the Over 25 University Admission Exams and as an Exam Invigilator for the British Council. In addition to teaching Spanish and Portuguese, while in Lisbon, Miguel worked at an amusement park as a special effects technician on an Irish film crew and as a tour guide in Lisbon´s Bairro Alto. He also helped organize a painting exhibition in Oslo, Norway and was one of the producers of “Flamenco is Time”, a flamenco festival that took place on the island of Majorca in 2013 where Tomatito performed, one of flamenco’s greatest performers. As you can see, Miguel stays busy and has many varied interests and talents! Some of his greatest passions are music, cinema, reading, travelling and getting to know new places. After being welcomed in so many places he has visited over the years, he’s always looking forward to returning the favor and welcoming new visitors. Miguel has worked as a study abroad director since 2015.
Juan de Dios Valverde
Juan de Dios Valverde (or Juande) was born in Granada, but raised in Valencia. His family later moved to Almería. Juan de moved back to Granada for college and studied Nursing at the University of Granada. After graduating in 2003 he worked abroad as a nurse in England, the US, Italy, and France. After 9 years working in nursing, Juan de decided to make a complete change and dedicate himself to one of his other passions - languages. He took a job on Réunion Island, a French-owned territory located in the Indian Ocean, and worked as a Spanish teacher for 5 years in various schools and institutes. Towards the end of 2017 Juan de decided to return to Spain with his French wife and 3 children. He now dedicates his time to the organization of linguistic events in Granada and Malaga. He is the founder of a newly emerging local company called Tic Talk Language Exchanges, a company dedicated to providing fun and engaging alternative linguistic events. Juan de just loves languages. He speaks Spanish, English, French and Italian and is now learning Portuguese! The majority of free time that he has had throughout his life Juan de has dedicated to travel, playing instruments, learning languages, teaching himself new things, reading psychology books and, above all else, practicing sports such as soccer, basketball, bodyboarding, snowboarding, skateboarding, ultimate frisbee, and...breakdancing! In 2013, Juan de used his interest in breakdancing and founded a sociolinguistic dance association on Réunion Island to help with the reintegration of young people into the local society through urban dance and the urban world.
Marcell was born in London, but grew up in Granada, Spain. His father is German and his mother is Spanish. His last name, Doerrier, is of French origin and he has ancestors from Hungary, Denmark, and Norway. As an adult Marcell has lived in both Germany and Spain. Since he was a child Marcell has always had a love of travel, something his parents instilled in him by always taking him along on their travels. Especially his father who lived in Hawaii, Mexico, Brazil, England and France, as well as Spain and Germany. Marcell has travelled to the United States and Canada as well as Morocco, Russia and most European countries. He has also traveled to visit his Italian, Greek, German, Spanish, Argentine, Peruvian and even American relatives! Marcell has dedicated himself to many activities over the years; both in work and leisure. He has been a basketball coach, a volunteer guide for both Spanish and foreign groups, coordinator and translator for sister cities, and an organizer of recreational activities. Marcell has also worked in the banking sector, real estate, social media, tourism, and retail. He was the program coordinator of an Erasmus Association in Granada (Erasmus is an European exchange program), as well as the homestay coordinator for American students studying abroad in Granada. As far as hobbies are concerned, Marcell loves scuba diving and completed his PADI certification a few years ago. He also really enjoys board games, hiking, reading, writing stories, and playing music. In fact, Marcell is currently part of a band. He also enjoys humor and history, and is a born collector. He loves to collect all sorts of things from drink coasters to Smurfs. Marcell is a lover of the city of Granada and the province of Granada, in particular.
Rocío is a true granadina! She was born and raised right in Granada. She loves her hometown because one can find and do every kind of outdoor and cultural activity. Her father is a well-known alpinist from Granada who made the first winter ascents of routes in the Sierra Nevada mountains (apart from other alpinist activities in Spain, Peru, Bolivia and the Alps). She inherited her love for mountains and climbing from her father. When she was just a baby her parents would take her hiking every weekend. They would also take her traveling around Europe and South America (her mother is from Colombia). When she was just 4 years old she started skiing. Growing up, she spent several months in Chile for ski training. Rocío took part in ski competitions from the time she was 8 until she was 19. She participated in the Spanish Championships, International Championships in France and Chile, as well as the Spanish University Championships. She always ranked among the first three positions in Andalusia and ranked fourth in the Spanish Championship. After competing in ski competitions for 11 years she started working as a ski teacher until she moved to Germany in 2008. During her years working as a ski instructor she studied Translation and Interpreting at the University of Granada (English, German, French and Japanese). Apart from Translation and Interpreting she also took postgraduate courses on how to make art accessible to the visually and hearing impaired. Rocío has lived and studied abroad in several different countries (Scotland as an Erasmus student, Ireland for an English course, and Germany for 5 years). Rocío finds her greatest joy in nature and traveling. She is also an active climber and alpinist and has been to the top of many famous mountains such as Mont Blanc and Mulhacén. She has gone rock climbing, ice climbing and skiing everywhere in Spain, the UK, Germany and France. Rocío enjoys trying any kind of nature-oriented or extreme sport (from paragliding to kitesurfing to bungee jumping). She has also taken road trips around Europe and Africa in her van (Germany to Turkey, Greece to the UK, Slovakia to Morocco, Hungary to Portugal). Rocío is quite the adventurer! She truly loves languages and getting to know different cultures (and foods!). She feels that learning about other cultures allows her to see things from a different point of view.