Staff Spotlight: Alicia MacLoughlin

Manager of Programs and Operations


Alicia is a big proponent of experiential learning and she firmly believes that “the best way to predict the future is to create it.” She has previously worked as Client Experience Officer at CHUKKA Caribbean Adventures in Jamaica, as Brand Ambassador at Newport International Polo Club in the U.S., and as Local Director for Global Leadership Adventures in Argentina. Alicia studied Business, Data Science and User Experience (UX), and she is often looking for ways to develop more skills. You will always find her asking questions and trying new things, and in her free time, she takes joy in contemporary dance, acrobatics, and playing polo.

What is your favorite travel memory?

A travel memory that comes to mind: turning sixteen years old in a small town in Pitlochry, Scotland, surrounded by the warmth of a Scottish and an American family. It was my first time being abroad alone, and I cherish that time so dearly because I now see it as a stepping stone in my journey of intercultural communication.

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

I joined the Puentes Abroad team back in 2017 and have been proud of my company ever since. Through leadership positions, I have become more empathetic and more patient, My project management abilities have improved. I have learned how to manage my time better, and discovered that it is valuable to make yourself vulnerable.
What is the best story you've heard from a return student?
It has always been rewarding to hear how the Puentes program experience has impacted, confirmed, or changed students’ academic and professional interests and to witness their personal growth.

I can also mention countless anecdotes of students becoming immersed in our culture. For example, student-athletes have trained with local Olympic teams! One student intern was a swimmer and he managed to train with the Argentine Olympic team, and another student was a wrestler and he got to train with the Uruguayan Olympic team.

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

I would go on an immersive trip around Argentina. If I could choose the guiding theme, it would be the fascinating topics of “Economics and Finances in Argentina: A Case Study of a Volatile Market” or “Mental Health and Psychology in “No-Stigma” Argentina”.

With stunning landscapes, intense personalities and passions, and talented professionals across numerous industries, Argentina is the eighth-largest country in the world, and the largest Spanish-speaking nation by area. With European influences and "gaucho" (Argentine cowboy) culture, the country's creative sector of music, arts, cinema, and design is bustling, innovating, and achieving like never before. Argentina is a powerhouse in agriculture and livestock, and it has also produced some of the world's top athletes in soccer, rugby, and polo.

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

We are multilingual and multicultural people who are able to flow seamlessly between Spanish and English and between Argentine/Uruguayan and other world cultures.

We are pragmatic optimists who love creative problem solving and embrace curiosity.

We are interested and interesting; we ask questions and listen intently to absorb each person’s story. We are humble and lifelong learners.
What do you believe to be the biggest factor in being a successful company?
The people.
People who deliberate thoroughly and take action confidently.
People who value open, honest, and clear communication.
People who strive to be proactive, innovative, and constantly improving.
People who value technology as a powerful tool for collaboration and productivity.
People who behold a dynamic and cheerful approach to work, yet who treasure life balance.