It may be hard to imagine a time when few people from the United States were visiting Asia, but Academic Experiences Abroad (AEA) Founder and Director, Sam Brier, remembers it well. In fact, he was there. So after spending nearly a decade working with universities and NGOs in Japan, China, Laos, Thailand, and East Timor, he returned to the US in 2003 with a vision of establishing an educational and experiential avenue for cross-cultural exchange and understanding. At that time, China and the US were at odds over the Spy Plane incident, the Bird Flu was all over the news, and very few Americans were traveling to Asia. In 2005, in an effort to create unique programs and facilitate meaningful connections for university groups traveling to Asia, Sam launched Academic Experiences Abroad.
After just one year of successful programs, clients began asking us to create programs to Brazil, Ghana, and Europe, so we started exploring those possibilities. As our clients needs have evolved, we have grown too, expanding our services while always keeping in mind Sam’s original mission. Today, AEA continues to facilitate connections and offer unique, customized, faculty-led programs. But our programs are no longer limited to Asia; they are available throughout Asia, Europe, Latin America, Oceania, the Caribbean, and parts of Africa.