My path, my way: Effy's story

31 Jul 2019 - Effy Cao

My name is Effy and I was born in Italy and grew up in Milan. When I was younger, I studied abroad a lot and since then I’ve followed my path to Kaplan’s head office in London, where I work as an International Student Adviser. 

Studying abroad

My first experience of studying abroad was when I was 13 and my parents sent me to China for the summer. In Italy, school finishes earlier than in other countries, so I had the chance to study in China for 2 months during the summer. I attended the school in the rural village where my parents grew up, and it was a really impactful and life-changing experience for me.

My path, my way: Effy's story

Then when I was 17, I went to spend a semester at a high school in Texas. I loved the USA and decided that I wanted to study my bachelor’s degree there. I became an international student at the University of Iowa and studied there for 4 years, plus 1 year of Optional Practical Training (OPT), an initiative that allows you to work full time on a student visa after you graduate.

I chose to study abroad because I hoped to improve my English, broaden my horizons, gain independence, experience a new culture, and to grow as a person, and I really feel that I achieved those goals.

Lifelong impact

Studying abroad has had an impact on all aspects of my life. Some of the friends I made have become like my family, and I have learned to be more confident and self-reliant, as I became my own person. The experience helped me gain leadership and problem-solving skills, communication skills, and cultural awareness, all of which are now essential in my professional life.

My path, my way: Effy's story

In my role as an International Student Adviser, I feel that I am well placed to help students on their path to study at university abroad. While each person’s journey is unique, I think that my own set of experiences and the skills I gained during my years of studying abroad help me to communicate with empathy – something that is crucial for this job.

Working at Kaplan

My passion for international higher education stems from the belief that education is one of the most valuable investments you can make. International students have a special spot in my heart because many of the people closest to me, including my parents and friends, have all been international students at some point, so I find fulfilment in the international higher education industry for many reasons.

Effy's path to success

Studied abroad as a teenager

which sparked a passion for international education

Enrolled at the University of Iowa in the USA

to study her bachelor's degree

Moved to London in the UK

to work for Kaplan International Pathways and help international students on their path

As an International Student Adviser, I have the privilege to interact and build relationships with students from all over the world who are embarking on this journey. I get to listen to their stories, address their concerns, answer their questions, and advise them as best I can during this extremely exciting time of their lives. I consider myself to be very lucky.

This is my path so far.

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