From the Founders: The TEAN Story

Sean Lennon and Chris Shepherd founded The Education Abroad Network in 1995 while they were both volunteering at a university in Perth, Australia. From their previous study abroad experiences and interactions with students studying abroad at the time, the pair had an “Ah-ha!” moment and realized they could create a new kind of program that catered to each student’s preferences and interests.

This was pre-internet (hard to comprehend, we know!) so individual research was expensive and time consuming, but Sean and Chris were determined to design a study abroad program that was highly personalized and provided students with a range of options. One size does not fit everyone, and never will, so they set out to treat each applicant like a family member, always going the extra mile to tailor the experience and providing advice based on TEAN’s intimate knowledge of the locations and programs.

With no business plan or flashy marketing materials—just a deep desire to help every participant make the most out of their one semester abroad—TEAN was more like a hobby in the early days. After a few more years in the business and a few more satisfied students, Sean and Chris realized they were onto something!

The Education Abroad Network opened new programs in the eastern states of Australia and eventually expanded into New Zealand. Even as the organization grew, TEAN didn’t hire its first full-time marketing staff member until 2002 because we were so focused on crafting high-quality, personalized experiences that immerse students in different cultures and help them see the world from a new point of view.

In 2007, Sean and Chris decided to broaden TEAN’s horizons even further and began offering programs in Asia, thanks to the help of several TEAN team members who had extensive experience in the region. From the first program in China in 2008, TEAN methodically expanded into other cities and countries with a focus on the highest quality programs. Even now, we typically only choose one of every 10 programs we review!

In August 2018, TEAN joined the WorldStrides organization, a leader in educational travel and experiences for learners of all ages since 1967. Since then, our team’s mission has grown stronger than ever, with the added support of an international network that spans more than 100 countries and a dedicated in-house Health and Safety team to ensure participants are covered in any emergency.

Today, TEAN is an industry leader and one of the few geographically focused study abroad organizations. As experts in the Asia Pacific region, our company philosophy remains at the core of everything we do—we’re still committed to providing the very same personalized approach and experience based off our team’s firsthand knowledge, just like we did for our very first student in 1996.