Staff Member Spotlight: Fabiola Estrada Valtierra

Title
Founder and Director

Photos

What is your favorite travel memory?

My favorite travel memory is sitting at the stairs of the Golden Temple - a religious city in Amritsar, India - and hearing the ceremonial call from the speakers that were situated in several points of the wall.

I remember thinking that even though I couldn't be further away from home, I have never felt more at ease and in touch with my true self!

I realized there and then that I wanted to provoke those feelings in other travelers by showing them my own country and all of its exotic and mythical places. It was then when the idea of CLA was born!

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

Starting a company (an NGO in my case) is a challenge in every possible way. You learn so much about everything and realize that to thrive you need to have many sets of skills and be truly multidisciplinary.

I realized that university doesn't teach you many of the skills you need. The most important thing that I have learned throughout this process is to trust my instincts and to remember that it is ok if you don't know everything about everything, as long as you can accept that and ask for help when you need guidance and you are willing to be an autodidact.

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

I love to hear the things that they miss the most about Guanajuato when they go back home. Funnily enough, things that they miss the most are often elements of their daily routine - the faces of the people waiting for the bus, the kids coming out of school, the man that sells ice-cream in the street where they lived, etc.

If you could go on any program that your company offers, which one would you choose and why?

I would definitely choose the 20 Weeks: Semester in Guanajuato because it has all the components for an amazing experience and for discovering all spectrums of society and culture in Mexico.

What makes your company unique? When were you especially proud of your team?

Myself and the other three founders were study abroad addicts ourselves, so we really identify with our participants and always try to provide the best, most valuable experience for them.

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

Really putting ourselves in the shoes of the student by providing the experiences that we would have liked to have when we studied abroad.