It's hard to pick just one. My first experience living with a host family was in Costa Rica as a volunteer for WorldTeach. I was extremely nervous about my ability to communicate in Spanish and with the concept of living with people I'd never met for the next 11 months. My thoughts were racing as I followed directions and took a bus far up to the mountains in rural Costa Rica. After a 1/2 mile walk a located the house and knocked on the front tour. A little girl opened the door and gave me a big hug. Within minutes I was enjoying a plate of arroz con pollo (rice and chicken) followed by a dance party in the living room with all the kids in the family. I learned a lot about hospitality that day.
What is your favorite travel memory?
What do you believe to be the biggest factor in being a successful company?
In my experience the most important factor in success for a company is in the quality of the services they offer. It's easy to tell when something has been rushed or when there is little care or intention. If you put passion and care behind what you do then others will notice and even feel the same way you do about your business.
We are fortunate at Global Works to be surrounded by passionate people committed to global education and student travel.
How have you changed/grown since working for your current company?
A few more gray hairs for one! On a more serious note, the most important thing I've learned is how to listen first and to better avoid judging a situation or people. There isn't necessarily one way to get something done, and it's more fulfilling to accomplish something as a team than to make your point or always be right.
What unique qualities does your company possess?
I don't know enough about other companies and their culture, but I can say for sure that was have the most wonderful community of staff who love what they do and consistently put the needs of others before there own. I think we have a strong ethical foundation and are always looking to make decisions that benefit as many people and things as possible.
What is the best story you've heard from a return student?
We constantly here from students and parents about how this experience has positively impacted them and their communities back home. One of the most amazing stories involved a student from the US who had been adopted form Panama. Coincidentally our trip in Panama had a project planned at the same orphanage this student had come from. She joined our program and was able to return there during the trip and provide a truly breathtaking perspective to her group.
Even more amazing was that following the trip she had inquired with our Panamanian guide about the possibility of tracking down her birth family. Somehow he was able to track them down in a village located in the Darien Gap, one of the most remote areas in Central America. She was later able to connect with her birth parents directly.