Staff Spotlight: McKinley Cole

Academic Coordinator & Recruiter


McKinley is an Eastern Kentucky University grad and two-time study abroad alumna from Kentucky. She lives in Austin, TX and works with Sol Education Abroad to help students have their own awesome experiences abroad!

What is your favorite travel memory?

I met one of my best friends while she was studying abroad at my university in the U.S. and she invited me to her wedding in her home country of China. I had the opportunity to attend two weddings - one in her hometown and one in her husband's hometown - and travel with them! It was some of the best food I've ever had and I will forever be thankful for their incredible hospitality.

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

I have grown so much so quickly with SOL. It started even when I was a student on the program, gaining confidence in myself and my abilities. Since working with SOL, I've learned how to balance all the different responsibilities we juggle here in the office. I've learned how to be flexible and adapt to all the different situations that come with the industry.

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

Some of the best stories I've heard from return students is the stories of when they get to go back again. We've had many students who end up going back after their program to visit with their homestay and local friends. Their excitement to return to a place that was once new and to now go back and feel like it's home is so inspiring.

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

I would choose our program in Buenos Aires, Argentina! As a student, I attended our Costa Rica and Spain programs so I am familiar with those locations, and I visited our Mexico program last summer. Argentina is last on my list and I would love to visit a city as incredible and as big as Buenos Aires!

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

SOL is unique because everyone in our office has studied abroad with the program and knows what it's like to be a student abroad. I'm always proud to say that I'm a two-time SOL alumni. I chose this program because it was the most affordable option I could find and SOL makes study abroad accessible to students who may not have had that opportunity otherwise.

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

Believing in what you do and why you do it. We firmly believe in our mission statement of treating students the way we wanted to be treated when we studied abroad. Each member of our team, from our staff here in the U.S, to our onsite staff, to our local homestays, is dedicated to helping students have an amazing experience abroad. The reason I came back to work for SOL was because I wanted to help students experience study abroad the way my directors helped me during my time abroad.