What position do you hold at GL? What has been your career path so far?
Liz: Coordinator for the Panama Program. I have started and run my own jewelry business, worked with an International NGO, served as an Americorps VISTA volunteer, done Case Management for a Green Jobs initiative and now working with a team to start up a co-working space for socially minded entrepreneurs in Raleigh, NC called the HUB.
Did YOU study abroad? If so, where did you go and what inspired you to go?!
Liz: Yes, I did study abroad. I spent a summer in Costa Rica doing volunteer work and adventure travel and I also spent six months in Madrid, Spain studying business and art. I have always been drawn to the Latin American and Spanish culture. I love the language, food and lifestyle. I was bitten by the travel bug again last year and moved to Panama to work. I would encourage everyone to travel, get out of their comfort zone and experience a new place, even if it is just the next state over.
What does the future hold for GL - any new programs to share?
Liz: Leadership exCHANGe is going into its 14th year and we just partnered with the Sullivan Foundation and added Costa Rica to our list of programs for this year. Not only can you gain leadership and social entrepreneurship skills in the Panama program, but you can stay for 4 more weeks in Costa Rica and apply those skills you learned in the classroom to work on community based projects. Great experiential learning in a beautiful country!
What about the future of the industry? How do you think study abroad and international education will change over the next 10 years?
Liz: Something that makes our program unique is the blend of students from so many different countries. I hope that the future of the study abroad industry continues to push for this type of interactive immersion. More and more students are finding the value in international programs and are taking the opportunity to travel and live in another country. I think that in the next 10 years the percentage of students that study abroad will continue to increase and that students will seek out programs that are more intentional about integrating them into the culture of the place where they are studying. In my opinion you cannot afford not to study abroad. It is an incredible investment in your future and will help shape your global perspective.