Students looking at mountains


Meet Our Dedicated Staff


Xperitas is a leader in cross-cultural programs that embody authentic language and cultural immersion. Our staff strives to embody our mission of transforming lives through shared global experience and intercultural learning. Through our language and cultural immersion programs we work to provide travel experiences abroad that inspire personal and cultural connections with communities worldwide.

Jenny Behrens
Director of Language Programs
After graduating from the University of La Crosse Wisconsin with a degree in Spanish and Geography, Jenny spent one year volunteering in Ecuador. She spent eight years in Spain where she taught English and opened her own English Academy. Jenny speaks Spanish fluently and loves travelling, spending time with friends and being active.
Katie Blood
Program Manager, Spanish
Born and raised in the Twin Cities metro, Katie’s passion for Spanish was sparked during a high school trip to Ecuador. This passion led her to obtain her degree in Spanish and Communication studies at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, and teach English in southern Costa Rica for two years. Back in the US, Katie worked as a bilingual case manager and managed a volunteer program for an educational nonprofit. These experiences have enriched her life, and she looks forward to connecting others with transformative, immersion travel programs. Outside of work, Katie enjoys exploring new restaurants (Minneapolis has a great food scene!!) and hiking trails in her home in Minneapolis, MN.
Debby Bluem
Air Manager
Debby has worked in the travel industry for over 35 years. While growing up, her family hosted an exchange student from Israel and she has replicated this experience for her children by hosting a student from France. In her free time, Debby likes to travel and hike in the mountains.
Lucia Cervera Vazquez
Program Manager, Spanish
Lucia is a native of Granada, Spain. Her journey as a professional tennis player took her on adventures around the globe, allowing her to witness firsthand the transformative power of cultural exchange. These experiences ignited Lucia with a deep appreciation for diversity and a passion for fostering connections across borders. This passion led her to obtain a degree in Education and come to the U.S. to experience new cultures and ways of living. She's excited to be part of the Xperitas team that's dedicated to creating unforgettable experiences where we also bring the joy of intercultural learning to students. Outside of work, Lucia enjoys exercising, exploring different food scenes, and hiking with her dog (Tina), and her partner.
Katie Cizel
Marketing Manager
Believing in the power of storytelling, Katie understands that connecting marketing to immersion travel isn't just about promoting destinations; it's about crafting authentic narratives that invite others to experience the world in all its richness. As an avid explorer and cultural enthusiast, Katie has a passion for the universal languages of food and music. She enjoyes visiting friends across the country, and exploring new places around the world- from vibrant cityscapes to serene ski resorts, to being transported through a good book.
Tricia Corbet-Duddy
Customer Experience Manager
As a New England native, currently residing in Maine, Tricia has experience in customer service, product development coordination and sales operations support. A lifelong language learner and explorer of foreign countries, Tricia has participated in study abroad/language programs since high school in Spain and Germany, has volunteered in Peru, and spent 3 years living in Perth, Western Australia. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Spanish Language from the University of Mary Washington in Fredericksburg, Virginia. In her free time, she likes to run, take spin classes, watercolor paint and continue her 300+ day German-language streak in Duolingo.
Bethany De Leon
Program Manager, Spanish
Bethany's passion for global citizenship and cultural exchange began during her college years. Her bilingual proficiency in Spanish and her degree in Spanish language literature and civilizations, combined with her minor in anthropology, have equipped her with the necessary skills to connect with individuals from diverse backgrounds. Serving with AmeriCorps, she dedicated herself to helping in shelters for victims of domestic violence and with migrant farm workers. Bethany has lived and taught in Costa Rica as an ESL certified teacher. She then moved to the Dominican Republic, where she taught for eight years as a Montessori certified educator. Her journey brought her cross-cultural communication skills back to the United States, to work with Major League Baseball. Bethany brings a wealth of experience to the role of Program Manager at Xperitas, dedicated to providing the profound and transformative impact she knows such experiences can have first-hand. Fun Fact! Bethany was part of the group that holds a Guinness world record for the largest Bachata dance ever performed.
Virginie Donzo
Senior Program Manager, French
Virginie is a former French teacher and language enthusiast with over 10 years of teaching experience. She holds a Master's degree in English Literature from Jean Moulin University in Lyon, and is fluent in both French and English. Virginie has taught at universities in the United States, France, Jordan, Japan, and the United Kingdom. She is passionate about travel, culture, and education, and has been working at Xperitas for 6 years now, where she is able to combine her love of languages and teaching with her passion for travel.
Hanna Edwards
Senior Program Manager, German
Hanna is a German native, who moved to the United States full-time in 2015. She graduated from the University of Applied Sciences Cologne, Germany with a Bachelor’s degree in Multilingual Communication and earned her Master’s degree in North American Studies from the University of Bonn, Germany. The German word “Fernweh” (a strong urge to travel and get to know the unknown) has been an important part of Hanna’s life. As a high school and university student she took part in several student exchanges and language immersion programs. This is why Hanna understands from first-hand experience why language immersion travel is so valuable to any student learning a foreign language. She has more than 13 years of professional experience in Germany and the US managing different cultural exchange, language immersion travel and education programs. Hanna also has experience teaching German and ESL. In her free time, Hanna loves to go on nature hikes with her husband and children. She feels happiest outdoors and loves to be on the water.
Leslie Gale
Executive Director
Leslie has 25+ years of experience in the global education space as a language teacher, curriculum designer and in K-12 school operations. She first experienced the life-changing impact of cultural exchange as a college student on a 10-week homestay program in Morelia, Mexico. Leslie sees Xperitas’ mission as an extension of her own passion for bridging the divisions between people through the development of cultural competency and understanding.
Matthew Lilly
Program Manager, French
Matthew’s professional activity has included a variety of K-12 contexts. He has worked in The American School in Switzerland’s summer programs, taught English with the Teaching Assistant Program in France, and just concluded seven years at Norfolk Academy (VA) where he taught English and French and planned local, domestic, and international educational travel. Matthew completed his undergraduate work in French and Italian Studies at West Virginia University and holds an M.Ed. in Independent School Leadership from Vanderbilt University. He enjoys spending time with his family, friends, and retired racing greyhound; exploring his new city, Charlotte, North Carolina; and planning his next adventure.
Amy Litman
Director of Advancement, Marketing & Communications
Amy comes to Xperitas with more than 14 years of experience in community and donor relations and a passion for making the world a better place. She is excited about working with under-resourced students and schools to ensure that Xperitas’ cultural and language immersion experiences are accessible to all.
Emma Rojas
Director of Language Programs
Emma was born in St. Paul and graduated from the University of Minnesota with a degree in Family Social Science and Spanish. She spent five years in Costa Rica teaching English and serving as an Admissions Counselor. Emma speaks Spanish fluently, loves taking pictures and enjoys road trips!
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Career Opportunities

We are a nonprofit leader in student language and cultural immersion travel programs. Our programs transform lives through shared global experience and intercultural learning. Please visit our Careers and Internships page to learn about opportunities to join our team.