Employee Spotlight: Simone Sprague

What is your name and job title?
Simone Sprague, Student Development Manager.

When did you start working at Cambridge Network?
October, 2014.

Where have you traveled to outside of the United States?
I grew up in the Netherlands and traveled all over Europe as a child. My dad was a Merchant Marine Captain, and my favorite childhood memories are of spending time onboard the ship, traveling all over the Baltic. It was on the ship that I learned my first English words in communicating with the Cape Verdian Cook: “Do you have cookies?” I moved to the U.S. after college, and during my job designing shore excursions for a cruise line, I got to go the the Caribbean, the Mediterranean, and the Baltic, as well as Africa and Asia. Our most recent life-changing family trip was to South America and Antarctica, and I am currently planning a trip to China with my teenage daughter, who is taking Chinese.

What other languages do you speak?
My native language is Dutch, and I can get by in German, Spanish, and French.

Please describe a time when you experienced culture shock in a funny way.
I love scuba diving, and during an advanced course, the teacher was trying to get us to experience nitrogen narcosis (goofy behavior as a result of lack of oxygen). While underwater, he signaled us to play “Rock, paper, scissors.” I just looked at my partner, puzzled by what he was doing, as this game is not played anywhere else in the world. When it was my turn, I showed them my best jazz hands and could not understand why they all thought this was so strange…

What’s something about American culture that you have found others outside of America find weird?
The love of chewing gum, and the fact that ALL American teens seem to wear braces.

If you could travel back in time to any point in history, when and where would it be?
Egypt during the time of the Pharos. I’d love to watch them build the architectural wonders.

What was your favorite food that you tried in another country?
Indonesian food. No close second.

If you could physically transport yourself to any place in the world at this moment, where would you go?
A hut built over the clear blue water in Tahiti.

If you could be instantly fluent in one language that you currently do not speak, which would it be?
Chinese, so I could understand what the students are saying behind my back (just kidding!). My daughters are studying the language and I’m fascinated.

If you could eat one food in any quantity for the rest of your life with no ill effects whatsoever, what food would you choose?
Watermelon. And chocolate covered strawberries.

Why do you like working in international education?
Working in this field has made the world a much smaller place. When I worked at an international business school in Maastricht, I met friends from all over Africa and Asia, and it changed my perspective on a lot of things and enriched my life tremendously.

What do you think is the greatest benefit of hosting a student?
Creating memories for them and providing a save place while they are embarking on a scary adventure.

What do you think is the biggest benefit of studying abroad?
Expanding your world views, becoming more accepting of others, and meeting lots of interesting people.

If you could only read one book for the rest of your life which book would it be?
The Genesis Code by John Case.