Staff Member Spotlight: Rachel Zitin

Title
Italy Coordinator

Photos

Rachel is originally from North Carolina and has lived in Rome for nearly 10 years. She is a tour guide, trip planner and general lover of all things Italian. She enjoys working behind the scenes to create magical Italian programs, as well as leading groups around Il Bel Paese.

What is your favorite travel memory?

The first time I came to Rome I was supposed to visit for 5 days and ended up staying for nearly 3 months!! I lived in a friend's house with whom I had met studying abroad in Buenos Aires who was generous enough to allow me to stay there the whole trip. Ten years later, I still adore Rome and I am grateful for my study abroad experience for allowing me to say YES to adventures and giving me the awareness to be flexible with travel!

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

I have worked in various capacities with schools and study abroad groups but it wasn't until working with EdOdyssey that I was truly able to experience a full trip with students from start to finish. It is so much more rewarding to get to plan trips and then be with the students through the entire experience. Working with students is one of the most joyful and fulfilling experiences of my career and I can thank EdOdyssey for the opportunity.

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

Travel truly does change people! It is so rewarding to watch students observe foreign cultures, meet people from different backgrounds and recognize that despite our differences we are all the same. It is always so fun to watch the students meet Italian students and learn quickly how much they have in common with them (despite often not being able to speak the same language!).

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

I must admit that I have to pick Peru and Macchu Pichu. This is mainly because it's on my bucket list of travel experiences! I would LOVE to visit for the first time with students who always visit and see new places with the appropriate amount of wonder and awe. In addition to that, our customized Spain programs offer the opportunity to experience off the beaten path adventures which I would love to do too!

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

Our company is incredibly customer-focused and we all work really well together at ensuring that our students and teachers remain the number one priority! In planning trips in Italy, it is often easy to forget how different the culture is and how many things are subject to change. Our team has done an excellent job improvising and rolling with the punches in Italy, all while delivering a world-class experience to our teachers and students!

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

I truly think that human focused staff and an interest in understanding each group's individual needs and collective needs is the number one way to create a program that will provide memories to last a lifetime! Being willing to go the extra mile to ensure a unique experience is what truly makes EdOdyssey stand out amongst other programs. Because who doesn't want to sample street food, visit museums that are normally closed to the public and be taken care of by a tour leader who is truly passionate about their job and the country they're leading in?