Staff Member Spotlight: Lydia Theologus

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Lydia spent her senior year of college interning abroad in Florence, Italy for a Tuscan Wine Touring company. After graduating, she wanted to help other young professionals have the same life-changing experiences. At GE, Lydia's favorite job tasks are showcasing their interns' amazing experiences abroad on their platforms.

What is your favorite travel memory?

When thinking of my favorite travel memories, an array of breathtaking new sights, laughter, stepping out of my comfort zone, and spending time with unforgettable people flashes through my mind. One memory that combines all four aspects was during my time interning abroad in Florence, Italy.

My roommates and I took a day trip to visit Cinque Terre, the string of centuries-old villages on the Italian Riviera coastline. After exploring Riomaggiore (picture the famous shot of colorful houses on a seaside cliff), the beach town of Monterosso al Mare was next on our list. The furthest villages away from each other, there were two options for methods of transportation: the train, or a strenuous 7.5 mile hike that could take up to 5 hours. While most of the group opted for the train, my roommate from Amsterdam was feeling adventurous and asked me to join her in the hike.

Together, we braved through climbing, descending, narrow passages, and steep, uneven stone steps. Though it was exhausting, the trek was well worth it as we discovered incredible views of the coast, lush olive groves, and exotic plants and flowers.

My favorite part was coming across a quaint stand selling limoncello during one of the descents, manned by a sweet old Italian man. While I may have regretted thinking that taking a limoncello shot in the middle of a 5-hour hike would be refreshing, I’ll never regret that I said yes to a new adventure that would turn into a cherished memory.

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

I started working at Global Experiences fresh out of college, eager to learn and take on responsibilities. While I've gained technical skills such as learning how to code and Photoshop, I've also learned valuable soft skills that I'll have with me for the years to come. I've gained organizational skills and become more confident in my decision making. Through being welcomed to give new ideas and input, my creativity has also been able to grow.

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

I'm lucky to be able to work with many of our alumni and interns while they're abroad and capturing their stories and experiences. I get to hear a lot of awesome perks that our interns receive from working hard at their internships, but my favorite was when our Barcelona Fashion Business intern, Olivia V., attended the 080 Barcelona Fashion Show for work. She was interviewed by Elle Magazine, and was featured on their next issue!

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

This question is perfect for me because I have gone on one of GE's internship abroad programs!

Fall of my senior year, I had a marketing internship abroad in Florence, Italy for 3 months. Studying abroad in Italy had always been a dream of mine, and Florence seemed like the perfect choice for many reasons. I wanted to experience a different culture, and knew that Florence had so much art, history and architecture to offer for me to learn and explore. For my first time living abroad, I wanted to live somewhere that was easy to get around in, yet was also an easy gateway to explore the rest of the country and Europe. The language barrier did not bother me either because I heard that Italians were friendly and just appreciated you trying to speak their language.

Upon arriving, these reasons proved to be right on all accounts. Interning in Florence, Italy was everything that I could have dreamed of and more!

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

I find Global Experiences to be unique because of how passionate every member of our team is about our mission. We've all had life-changing experiences abroad, and want to help young professionals gain a worldly perspective while enhancing their career path. We truly care about every single intern that goes through our program and are dedicated to finding the best possible match for them from pre-departure to when they're on the ground. I felt that myself as I was going through the Florence program, and was confirmed once I started working behind the scenes at GE.

I was especially proud of my team when we pledged to donate $20,000 every year in scholarships to interns. We want to make this experience accessible to as many students as possible, and to make this official was really exciting.

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

I believe that the biggest factor in being a successful company is to value your customers and always put their best interests first. It's important to ask for their feedback, listen, and act on it. No one knows their customer journey better than they do. Using their data to create useful, personalized experiences for others is okay, but it's important not to abuse their data. A successful business starts and ends with valued customers.