Julia is a graduate of University College Cork, Ireland, and set up EazyCity in her final year of college in 2004. Fast forward 15 years, and Julia has grown the company to a team of more than 30 passionate people and a sister company in the US, EZC Study Abroad.
What is your favorite travel memory?
I spent 8 weeks backpacking around some of the most rural parts of Western China with my brother in the summer when I finished high school. We took many train journeys on older style trains where you can sit by the open window as the train passed through acres of rice paddies. There's nothing like a good train journey to get lost in your thoughts and imagination.
How have you changed/grown since working for your current company?
I have learned so much while building this company from the ground up. I have learned to accept that things don't always go as planned and that often, the plan needs to change quickly. In the past, I was a strict planner, and if something didn't go the way I envisaged, it could throw me off. In more recent years, I find I am more open to change and quicker to adapt so I can easily change track if necessary. I suppose you could say I have developed resilience.
What is the best story you've heard from a return student?
I've helped many international students during the past 15 years, and it's always very rewarding to hear that their experience abroad has such a positive impact on them. The best for me is when a student tells me that their time abroad has opened their mind so that they now have a completely different outlook on life and the world. This gives me such joy because it means their experience studying or interning abroad has now opened up a whole new set of opportunities for them back home just because of their different perspective.
If you could go on any program that your company offers, which one would you choose and why?
Honestly, I would probably like to participate on the Intern Abroad program in Ireland or Spain. I have been working in this field since I was in college myself, and so when I see some of the really unique internship opportunities we find for our students, I often think I would love to do an internship in a completely unrelated field to the one I work in just to challenge myself. For example, interning in the area of urban development or city planning really interests me.
What makes your company unique? When were you especially proud of your team?
Most definitely, the people who work at EZC Study Abroad make it unique. They are a fantastic group of passionate and hard-working people who I love working with every day. I can honestly say I am proud of my team on a daily basis.
However, if I had to choose a particular time, it would be when I've seen them go above and beyond to assist our students. That might be something small like just chatting to a student when they sense they might be a bit homesick to being available at any hour of day or night if a student is in need of help. This sense of pride in their work and genuinely wanting our students to have a great experience makes me very proud of my team!
What do you believe to be the biggest factor in being a successful company?
The team is the single biggest factor in the success of a company. Spending time, energy, and resources developing a strong team over the past 15 years is the main reason we have grown a successful business. Developing a strong company culture along the way helps to ensure that you attract the people who are the best fit, and this in turn means your customers get an experience which is second to none. Finance, product, marketing, IT, and sales are all only as good as the people behind them.