Staff Spotlight: Saskia Smuts

Support Manager


What is your favorite travel memory?

My fondest and most vivid memory whilst traveling abroad, was a moment that passed in a few minutes. Whilst traveling from Jodhpur in India to our next destination, we momentarily stopped at a traffic light next to heap of trash. On this heap of trash sat an old Indian lady in the most beautiful and colorful sari with a shard of broken mirror in her one hand, applying lipstick with the other hand.

This particular occurrence showed me how strong the human spirit is and taught me to always look for the beauty in life, even when it seems impossible. I fell in love with Asia in that moment.

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

My TravelBud journey has been an incredible one. We are such a tight knit team and we support each other with great care, whether it's in the work environment or our personal lives.

I feel like this definitely reflects in the work we do, we're a team that always strives to add a personal touch when dealing with our applicants. I can't imagine a work environment without the TravelBud team, I grow more attached and fond of my job on a daily basis.

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

An applicant once told me about a moment she experienced after arriving in Thailand, and this really stuck with me. She had probably been there for two or three weeks, when one night she went swimming in the ocean with some friends. As soon as they walked into the sea, it lit up with luminescent phosphor. It was the first time she had experienced this, and had never heard of luminescent phosphor before.

When she told me her story I was more captured by the emotions on her face, and the look of total amazement. Even though she experienced that moment months and months ago, it was like she was traveling back in time to that exact experience and reliving it all over again.

It is that look of discovery, adventure, amazement and a first time experience which makes my job the best one in the world!

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

I would definitely choose Vietnam. I absolutely love Vietnam and the Vietnamese culture. Hoi An is a dream town in my opinion, and I would go and live there in a heartbeat.

It is also a country where the English teachers really come together and support each other, the community of teachers there is amazing. They do fun things like poi classes on a Thursday evening, or paint parties over weekends. The teaching community really puts in an effort to bring English teachers together, and to support each other.

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

The individuals that make up the TravelBud team are definitely the ingredients to our uniqueness. We're all passionate about travelling and learning about the world. We love sharing our experiences abroad and supporting others to embrace the world of traveling.

I'm proud of our team every day. There's always a highlight or something to celebrate. Like today, when an applicant called us "The Bomb" - that felt seriously awesome!

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

Supporting each other and our applicants in every way possible and enjoying what you do - every day there's an email waiting for me that will put a smile on my face, it makes my heart happy to know everyone, my team and applicants, are doing well and enjoying what they're doing.