Dr. Zamastil is currently the Managing Director at the European Study Abroad Center, a small provider of short-term study abroad programs based in Prague, Czech Republic. For the past 15 years, she has been taking groups of students to Prague to study business and marketing in one of the most breath-taking cities in Europe. With a background in higher education and law, she strives to get as many young Americans overseas during their college experience as possible by offering an affordable four-six week option.
What is your favorite travel memory?
It would be impossible to select just one! Traveling to Venice with my best friend when we were in law school, discovering Old Town Square in Prague, exploring Thailand and Cambodia with my husband, sitting on the beach in the Philippines, wine-tasting in France, sailing in Key West, hiking in Kazakhstan.
Each memory marks a special point in time and makes me realize there are so many more places I need to go.
How have you changed/grown since working for your current company?
I founded this company because I wanted to do study abroad the right way; no red tape, no strict requirements to apply and a fair price. Over the years we have had hundreds of students come through our program and as each session finishes, I am proud of the students accomplishments and look forward to watching their life stories unfold as they move into the business world.
Since working for ESAC, I have come to appreciate the value of travel from a cross-cultural perspective and how it truly broadens one's life.
What is the best story you've heard from a return student?
Again, so many! I have students who have moved abroad to volunteer for charities in Latin America, students who have started their own businesses, students who have accepted high level positions, students who have gone into teaching.
More than 15 years ago, one of our alumni went on to teach in Germany, China, Thailand and Abu Dhabi. During his free summers, he came to Prague to teach International Business for our program, the same course he was enrolled in all those years ago. He still teaches for us today!
What makes your company unique? When were you especially proud of your team?
Our team has been together for many years, we are like a family. Our professors, managers and advisers are all local to Europe and specifically Prague so we are experts on the city and region.
We are there to assist with every aspect of the students experience, from travel and budget, to giving tips for the hidden secrets around town.
No problem is ever too big or small for our staff to handle, they are happy to help and enjoy working with American students.
What do you believe to be the biggest factor in being a successful company?
Being there. Being on site, in Prague, being at the meetings, at orientation, on campus, in class, generally having a presence. Being active in every aspect of the company, from marketing, to enrollment to helping student with travel plans.
We never outsource our work, we do it ourselves so that we know what our students needs are. We do surveys and reviews and take active steps to make changes when needed if something is no working.
Being flexible allows us to move quickly when we need to. But mostly, our success boils down to just being there for our students.