Our organization came into existence in China and has since expanded to facilitate faculty-led programs worldwide.


Guilin beginnings

The Solstice story began amongst the karst mountains of Guilin, China. After studying, working, and living in China for a combined ten years—and after experiencing study abroad programs that fell short of their potential—Solstice founders Robert and Bradford Fried established the Chinese Language Institute (CLI) in spring of 2009.

It took the Virginia brothers six months to sign up their first student—万事开头难!—and the institute hosted a resounding four students by the end of year one. After year two, the number reached 40, then over 150 in year three.

Focus remained on fostering a wonderful, welcoming community that respects students and teachers from all walks of life, and slowly, word began to spread. By year seven, the institute had welcomed over 1,000 students to its center in Guilin from more than 30 countries. As of this writing, CLI has welcomed over 2,000 students from more than 45 countries. We encourage you to hear directly from our alumni.

Our core team has remained together since joining the effort in 2009, 2010, and 2011, all of whom are also part of Solstice. We remain focused on fostering a healthy and productive learning environment through embodying our community’s values.



expanding Globally

From the beginning, one of CLI’s core services has been developing and facilitating faculty-led custom programs.

After leading three annual International Residencies in China on behalf of Virginia Tech's Executive Masters in Natural Resources, our VT faculty partners informed CLI that the subsequent year’s program—in 2013—would be held in Turkey and Morocco. Our team expressed interest in facilitating the program, submitted our proposal, and were granted the opportunity. And thus CLI brought its distinct approach to faculty-led programs beyond China and launched the Solstice Education effort.

Solstice now designs and delivers custom faculty-led programs in 18 countries on behalf of around 20 US-based institutions. We encourage you to contact us to chat specifically about your global program. We're happy to introduce you to our institutional partners so that you may gain additional insight into our team’s dedication and quality of service.


The Solstice Approach

Our approach is simple: understand the faculty leader’s vision for his or her global program; be a fully committed steward of that vision; share our resources, best practices, and extensive experience in global education; and deliver a safe, seamless, and highly enriching in-country experience to everyone involved.

Our job is to make all aspects of leading your students abroad—developing in-country resources, processing student enrollment, managing program finances, ensuring student health and safety, managing risk, and planning and implementing logistics—as simple and seamless as possible for you.


Meet The Team