Staff Spotlight: Jasmin Van Malderen

Title:
International Trip Leader

Photos

B.S. Biomedical Engineering & Management Minor, University of California Irvine. A California native and current resident of Colorado, Jasmin grew up snowboarding, backpacking, kicking soccer balls and jamming on the piano. She loves spending time with her parents, sister and two pups. With a Belgian father and Korean mother, her house is always filled with a mix of cultures and foods. This has allowed her to travel the world, visiting her family that lives across many continents. When she’s not leading with Global Routes she leads road trips across America as a certified tour guide, coaches soccer for the Special Olympics, and competitively snowboards in the winter.

She most recently spent the last few seasons working as an ESL teacher in Thailand and guiding in the mountains of Big Sky, Montana. She is super excited to be a part of Global Routes and to share her love of giving back to the community while immersing herself in the local culture!

What is your favorite travel memory?

After completing two weeks of Friendship Camp, we celebrated at the tidal pools of the Owia Salt Ponds, a calm ocean pool with a gorgeous backdrop of rock, crashing waves, and the vibrant green hills that characterize the island.

After hours of swimming, snorkeling, sunbathing and rock climbing, we got to enjoy some delicious Vincy cuisine prepared for us at the Salt Ponds by our friends and local culinary pros, Andre and Bundo.

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

I've really gotten comfortable with diving into a new culture and meeting new individuals in their home countries. Getting comfortable in stepping out of my comfort zone and learning so many new things can be hard but so amazing and rewarding! Being able to show students how to follow your footsteps so that they may experience the same amazing things you have is the best part.

Working with a variety of students and leaders from a range of backgrounds, I have also improved my conflict resolution skills, as a range of problems arose on a daily basis, from big to small. But this is all part of leadership and I am glad I have the skills to be a better leader for the next trip around!

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

We had a student that at the beginning of the trip was not too stoked to be there. She had some attitude and was very testy with the trip leaders. Being able to see her experiences and transformations throughout the duration of the program was one thing, but then to have her enjoy the experience so much and challenge herself with a harder trip the following summer, was more than we could have expected and asked for!

We all still keep in touch and are updated on her life as well as many other past students!

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

Nepal! To challenge myself in a long trek amidst the Himalayas! I love hiking so this would be a great trip for me.

I would love to immerse myself in small local living while exploring a new country I have never been in before! Nepalese people's culture looks so inviting and welcoming and the food looks amazing! It's a tie with Ecuador and Costa Rica too because I would love the opportunity to improve my Spanish as well as explore a new continent!

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

We don't offer a huge variety of trips like other similar companies do. Adam does a great job at really choosing 5-6 trips and working hard on their itinerary. We would rather run 5-6 great, well thought out trips than 15 mediocre ones. With that said, he also spends a great deal of time carefully selecting staff members that would best fit these trips.

The training and thought that goes into each of these trips are incredible, but it really does pay off. I am proud of my team on a daily basis. Every day, there is an instance where we are reminded of what an incredibly talented and blessed group of individuals we all are and how we each individually contribute our own unique skills to the team!

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

Having an open mind. Being open to constructive criticism and being a sponge to soak up the great skills and qualities of my fellow leaders has really allowed me to improve myself as a leader and person overall.

Having an open mind and just jumping into all opportunities 100% with enthusiasm and positivity has only led to great memories and amazing experiences that won't be forgotten!