Colorado educators have participated in various international teacher exchange programs since the 1940s. CITEL was formed in 1985 by a group of exchange educators returning to Colorado.
Since then CITEL has evolved into a well-organized network of educators dedicated to sharing, supporting and promoting the concept of international teacher exchanges. CITEL is a 501(c)(3) organization.
WHAT is CITEL?
CITEL was founded in 1985 to provide educational, cultural, and social support for teachers participating in Colorado’s exchange program with Australia (formerly called the Australia/New Zealand Educator Exchange Program or ANZEE). They also supported the Fulbright teacher exchange program. CITEL’s exchange program changed focus when New Zealand discontinued their participation and the US Department of State eliminated the Fulbright teacher exchange program.
CITEL now facilitates Australian exchange programs. Though it was once just a Colorado program, CITEL has expanded to include teachers from other states. CITEL assists in interviews, orientations, workshops, and debriefing for both exchange programs. CITEL members provide practical suggestions, advice and guidance to exchangees and their families. When Colorado teachers return home, CITEL provides an important group of kindred spirits who help honor the tremendous experiences gained during the year abroad.
CITEL is a 501(c)3 non-profit corporation that works with the Colorado Education Association (CEA) and the Colorado Department of Education. Members pay a small annual membership fee.
HOW IT BEGAN
Colorado has participated in various international teacher exchanges since the early 1950s. In November,1984, a group of Colorado teachers on exchange in Adelaide, South Australia, were impressed by the excellent Australian support group sponsored by that education system. They thought there should be a similar group in Colorado for international teachers coming to the state, as well as for past, present, and future Colorado exchange teachers.
In early 1985, a core group of individuals held an organizational meeting and then met with the Colorado Department of Education, the Colorado Education Association, and the Fulbright program. From the beginning, CITEL’s goal was to provide support for exchange educators, from all countries, who are working in Colorado. We also provide encouragement to Colorado educators throughout the exchange process. CITEL has evolved into a well-organized network of educators dedicated to sharing, supporting and promoting the concept of international educator exchanges.
CITEL’s founding belief is that an exchange year is not only rewarding but extremely challenging, both personally and professionally. Inbound and outbound educators and their families must be flexible, self-reliant and able to accept different ways of seeing and doing things. Those who are better prepared for such an exciting year abroad will get the most out of it.
CITEL members who have completed the exchange experience serve as mentors and friends to those preparing to go overseas and to educators who have just arrived in Colorado. CITEL strives to help everyone realize all the benefits of their exchange year, here or abroad.
Through periodic activities, events, and personal contacts, CITEL provides the vehicle for bringing together past, present and future Colorado exchange educators with current international exchange educators. Informal mentoring and friendships enrich the experience for those preparing to go overseas and for those spending the year in Colorado. For returning educators, CITEL aids in the re-entry process and also provides a way to utilize, share and extend their exchange experiences.
FUNCTIONS AND EVENTS
CITEL hosts numerous events and activities throughout the year. They provide intensive orientations for outgoing and incoming educators. They also provide many social activities. These include sporting events, outdoor adventures, and even “lunch bunch” gatherings for family members of exchange teachers.