What is your favorite travel memory?
This is a hard question. Some of my best memories are of my travels through Spain with students. Thinking back, one of my favorites is from my years as a LITA group leader and an evening that I was invited to have dinner with one of our students, his host parents, his two host brothers, and a few other cousins, aunts and uncles.
When I arrived, they invited me into a small, one-room apartment they owned in town that was dedicated exclusively to the hosting of family meals. I sat packed in at a long rectangular table amongst primos, hermanos, tíos, y padres, eating lechazo and musing over town happenings and family news.
Now weeks into the homestay, I felt so privileged to witness just how much of a member of the family our student had become. Seeing him laugh with his hermanos and have philosophical conversations with his tío and tía, I was struck again and again with the image of him having spent the previous three weeks exactly like that, as uno más de la familia.
When we went out after dinner for ice cream, and then a coffee, and another coffee, meandering around town and stopping into one café after the other, the beauty of witnessing a life that was once so foreign but that had become so familiar sank in. THAT is something that will stick with me forever.
What is the best story you've heard from a return student?
A memory that will stay with me for a long time is the narrative of a student’s deep connection with his internship mentors, a family of wine makers from the plains of Castilla y León.
A simple internship at their artisan bodega, giving tours of their traditional facilities and bottling their newly pressed and processed grapes, turned into excursions to the bodega’s vineyards, family dinners, and a lifelong relationship forged in an unlikely place.
What makes your company unique? When were you especially proud of your team?
LITA is a different type of program in many ways, but I think what truly sets us apart is the personal nature of our programs.
As a team of two, Jordan, LITA’s Director, and I are intimately involved in every detail of our programs, from program development and pre-departure preparations and trainings, to ongoing conversations with students and on the ground support in Spain.
We are privileged to have roots and long-standing relationships in rural Spain that allow us to personalize each student’s experience in a unique way.
It is this approach that really sets us apart and makes us so proud of LITA.
What do you believe to be the biggest factor in being a successful company?
For me, success is a measure of genuine passion and care. Within the lens of a company, these elements must permeate even the smallest interaction and detail. They must inform all decisions and be the impetus for the why and how. This is fundamental in the growth and success of any company and is imperative when dealing with students, their well-being and education.