What position do you hold at Walking Tree Travel? What has been your career path so far?
Paul: I am a Director and Co-Founder at Walking Tree Travel. I started Walking Tree Travel in 2005 with two friends from high school, who shared similar values.
Did YOU study or volunteer abroad?! If so, where and what inspired you to go?
Paul: The summer of my Junior year of high school, I went on a two-week program to France, Italy, and Greece with a group of friends and our History teacher. Although we spent most of our time on tour busses and eating in fairly generic places, this trip helped open my eyes to how big the world is and helped propel me on the path that I have been on ever since. This first trip also helped clarify our vision for the type of organization we wanted Walking Tree Travel to become, contrasted with a typical tour to give young people the opportunity to have a unique, fun, and life-changing adventure.
In college, I studied abroad in Madrid, Spain for a semester. I have always loved exploring, whether it was the local park next to my childhood house or biking in the mountains, and I knew that I wanted to see and experience as much as possible. What better way to do so then get out there and see the world at a young age!
What does the future hold for Walking Tree Travel - any exciting new programs to share?
Paul: The horizon has never looked brighter! In 2014, we are expanding our offerings to include programs for college students to Uganda, Rwanda, Bolivia, Brazil, and through a unique partnership with two Stanford faculty, a hybrid high school-college program in China. We have developed a Global Leadership Curriculum that will be the focus of several new programs to Spain, Morocco, Mexico, and the USA. We also look forward to further expanding on our international outreach efforts, which will give students from around the world the opportunity to travel together on a program where they learn and grow together.
What about the future of the high school abroad industry? How do you think international education will change over the next 10 years?
Paul: I see the student travel industry thriving in the next ten years, building upon existing offering in more traditional destinations while expanding to locations that might seem remote or inaccessible today. Student programs to the Moon, perhaps?