CET’s 40th Anniversary

We're celebrating forty years of study abroad cultural exchange language learning local roommates exploration


We're celebrating 40 years of innovative study abroad cultural exchange language learning local roommates exploring the world

Letter from
Mark Lenhart

Executive Director,
CET Academic Programs


We’re celebrating with in-person parties, virtual panels, and alumni stories all year long. Sign up for emails so you don’t miss out!

Share your CET Story

We want to hear from you! Send your favorite photos, tell us your best memories, and share advice for future study abroad students.

Moments in CET History


"China Educational Tours" is founded in Boston, MA. Their first study abroad program, CET Beijing, opens in Summer of 1982. In 1987-1988, Mark Lenhart, then a student at Bowdoin College, studies at CET Beijing, by then one of the largest study abroad programs in China.


China enrollments rebound in this period, and CET adds new destinations in 2001. CET Vietnam, CET Siena, and CET Prague become the first CET destinations to open outside of China.


Film and photography programs in partnership with FAMU open in Prague. Building on our core strength in language teaching, intensive language programs are opened in Japan and Syria (now CET Jordan). Long-time Academic Travel Abroad executives Kate Simpson and Chase Poffenberger (and CET alum!) take over ownership of ATA and CET in 2012. Mark Lenhart joins the ownership team a few years later in 2016.


CET pivots to adapt international education in a world of halted travel. In July 2020, CET establishes the COVID Playbook and launches three International Student Programs in Beijing, Shanghai, and Florence, three Virtual Intensive Language & Culture programs in China, Japan, and Jordan, and launched Custom Language Training for students and non-students alike. Beginning Spring 2021, in-person programs in Prague and Jordan returned.


The first local roommate program launches at CET Harbin in 1988. The 1989 Tian'anmen Massacre derails study abroad in China and CET enrollments. In 1994, CET is acquired by Academic Travel Abroad (ATA)—friendly competitors and fellow China experts—and relocates to Washington, DC.


CET partners with Middlebury College in 2004 to open the first Middlebury School in China program in Hangzhou. In 2008, CET's first internship program opens in Shanghai, and buoyed by the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, CET's enrollments in China hit all-time highs.


CET continues to expand to new destinations. Programs in Brazil (2015) and Colombia (2019) mark the first CET options in Latin America. And in 2018, CET went back to high school, running the first pre-college programs under the CET name in Beijing and Florence.

2022 & Beyond

As the world recovers and changes, so does CET. Squarely in a recovery period, CET is focused on reviving in-person programming while also Building Back Better—ensuring the Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion and Sustainability plans are at the forefront of our full return to travel.

Student Voices
Through the Years

Letter from Mark Lenhart

Executive Director,
CET Academic Programs

“Whether you studied in Beijing, Florence, or Amman, the memories are strong because the experience was so formative—it shaped the way you see the world, the way you engage with it, the way you see your place in it.  You remember your days abroad because there was never a time before or since when you felt so overwhelmed—or learned so much.”

Stay in the loop

We’re celebrating with in-person parties, virtual panels, and alumni stories all year long. Sign up for emails so you don’t miss out!

Learn More about our Programs!