Staff Spotlight: Marc Smith

Creative Director
Prior to working for API, Marc worked as an art director for various advertising agencies in California and Texas. After graduating from The University of Texas at Austin, he had his first international experience by taking part in an exchange program at Disneyland Paris for six months.

guy petting a deer in japan

What is your favorite travel memory?

Wow. I've had so many. My first night of living in Paris is one of my top memories. I took the RER from Disneyland Paris to the Charles de Gaulle-Étoile station and upon exiting the station, the first thing I see is the Arc de Triomphe lit up with all of its glory. The energy of the Place Charles de Gaulle with all of the cars speeding around the Arc combined with the energy of the Champs-Elysées was something I'll never forget. Vive la France.

Which destination is most underrated? Conversely, which is most overrated?

Underrated: Japan. It seems like many people are not interested in going there. I absolutely love it. The people are incredibly hospitable and kind, the food is amazing, and it definitely feels like you're not in Kansas anymore...or Texas! The Japanese culture and traditions also add to the appeal. Go visit Japan! You won't regret it.

Overrated: Costa Rica. It might have had something to do with it being rainy season but I expected the beaches to be much nicer than they were. Someday, I'll give it another chance.

What do you believe to be the biggest factor in being a successful company?

The leadership and how employees are treated.

How have you changed/grown since working for your current company?

I've become more global and excited about seeing/experiencing more of the world. I've also found my passion of encouraging people to get out of their comfort zone and discover the life changing experience of living and learning abroad.

Describe a time when you felt especially proud to be part of your current team.

After leading a group of high school students in Salamanca, Spain, it was wonderful to see how I inspired the group to explore more of the world and expand their desire to experience other cultures.

What is the best story you've heard from a return student?

One of my students who was on the Spain high school trip was from a small town in North Carolina. She had never been away from her mom, nor had she ever traveled abroad. Studying abroad in Spain totally changed her life. She ended up going to NYU and studied abroad twice while in college.