Did you study abroad? If so, where and what inspired you to go?
Jeffrey: Yes, I was lucky enough to study abroad twice. My first experience was at Oxford, England, as part of my college’s British Studies Summer program. It was the summer after my freshmen year. I’d always known I would study abroad ever since my older cousin studied abroad in Australia so I jumped at the first opportunity I had.
My second stint was a semester abroad in St Andrews, Scotland, during my senior year. Having spend a summer abroad, I knew I wanted to experience a semester abroad to have a full immersion. It turned out to be exactly as I hoped as I met so many wonderful people during those 4 months who’ve become great friends.
What does the future hold for Stint Ireland - any exciting new programs to share?
Jeffrey: Recently, we launched “Work in Ireland,” a new program that gives people the chance to come to Ireland on the working holiday agreement to work and travel. As a new company, we are extremely ambitious. The study abroad industry has been around for decades and it’s at the forefront of higher education now more than ever.
There’s a movement to increase participation in the United States because of it’s perceived benefits. This is a good sign. However, it’s important not only to think of quantity but also the quality of the experience. We’re keen on being innovative in the way we conduct our business; we’re never satisfied with the status quo.
We want to lead the way and set the standard for study abroad in the 21st century, using the endless resources available to structure meaningful programs that benefit the community and the individual in addition to lowering the barriers of entry to study abroad programs.
What about the future of the industry? How do you think study and/or intern abroad and international education will change over the next 10 years?
Jeffrey: There’s a lot of research being published about the benefits of international experiences. However, many programs are ill-equipped to implement some essential services such as cross-cultural preparation or re-entry classes. Program costs are a problem as it prevents many less privileged students from getting an international experience.
In the next 10 years, we’ll see a rise in the implementation of experiential education that optimizes the student’s experience and increases the impact they have on their adopted community. Infrastructure for support and social networks for students abroad will be put in place providing genuine cultural immersion.
With the proven tangible benefits to the host community and the individual comes the opportunity to implement a viable crowdfunding model to lower the barriers of entry allowing lower-income students a chance they would not have if it were 5 years ago, or even now.
What unique qualities does your company possess?
Jeffrey: We believe in being genuine. We are aware that there are people behind every aspect of our business. Every single applicant has a different background and unique journey ahead of them. Every company and organization we work with in Ireland is made up of people working on something they’re passionate about.
And the city of Dublin, and the country of Ireland, are places we love. With this in mind, we’re devoted to facilitating growth in both our program participants and our local community. We encourage the cross-pollination of cultures. Of talent. Of people. It is a powerful phenomenon and we hope it’ll help change the world in a positive way.