Staff Spotlight: David Watkins


Senior Program Advisor David Watkins assists with the application process and is here to answer program, cultural and academic questions before departure. David graduated from the University of Cincinnati with bachelor’s degrees in international affairs and political science. He studied abroad in France, Israel and the West Bank, and began a study abroad program with IFSA-Butler in Egypt during the spring of 2011. After political evacuation from Egypt, he continued his studies in Morocco. David currently advises students planning on studying abroad in England, New Zealand, the Middle East, and Australia while pursuing an MBA at Butler University.

Which study abroad destination is most underrated? Conversely, which is most overrated?

Anywhere that is off the beaten path – non-traditional countries/areas, Small towns, villages, less well-known schools. In my experience and in the experiences of many of my students, there is often a deeper cultural experience to be found outside the cosmopolitan cities of the world.

Look for those areas that other people aren’t going to and go there; look for the schools that you haven’t heard of and look for courses there. Being in a location where you struggle to find people like yourself is a good thing!

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

I’m breaking the rules here and picking two things: innovation and great employees. Companies, particularly those that have been around awhile, have to be able to keep up with the ever-changing preferences of today’s student. Great employees breed great companies through motivation and true belief in the work they are doing.

What country have you always wanted to visit?

Jordan! I love Arabic language and culture and Petra is on my short list to visit!

What was your favorite traveling experience?

I happened to find myself in Egypt on an IFSA-Butler program at Alexandria University for the January 2011 Revolution to overthrow the regime of Hosni Mubarak. While we were eventually evacuated from the country, the experience was life-changing.

I certainly never expected to witness the historic upheaval of a people discovering that they had the power to change the course of history. You never quite know what’s in store when you step out onto the road and study abroad!