GoAbroad Interview

Kirsty Wohl - Operations Coordinator

Kirsty Wohl - Operations Coordinator

Kirsty has been the operations coordinator for GeoVisions for over a year. Originally from Los Angeles, California, she earned her bachelor's degree in mass communication from Menlo College and studied at the University of London for a year. Kirsty loves cooking, music, and gardening. She believes everyone should be curious, and most importantly, work hard and play hard!

You are a rather new team member at GeoVisions, how did you get connected with the organization?

I actually saw an advertisement on Facebook through a friend that posted the job for operations coordinator. It seemed like a very interesting job and I sent in my resume. The GeoVisions team was very gracious and we seemed like a great fit, so they hired me!

Friends posing together on a street in Cuba

Kirsty (far right) meets with our partners and participants in Cuba

As a study abroad alum yourself, having studied abroad in London for a year, how do you use your own experiences abroad in your current role?

I think that my experience in London changed my view of the world tremendously. I realized at 19 years old, when I was there, that the world is much bigger than I realized, if that makes sense. It expanded my views on different cultures and made me more understanding of different countries traditions and viewpoints.

Your degree in mass communications clearly goes hand in hand with your professional career. What does a typical day of work look like for you?

I typically go through all of our participants who are leaving soon and try to get a hold of them to ask if they have any questions. I also might Skype with any of our partners to go over our programs and discuss what participants need. I also go through applications, request documents from applicants, and get updates from our staff about placements.

Volunteer with children in Cuba

Kirsty works closely with participants, like Steve, to make sure their trip to Cuba is all smiles.

How do you inspire GeoVisions participants to “be curious” during their time abroad?

I think it’s important to be really flexible and adaptable when you are in a different culture.  Being open minded and a bit adventurous is very helpful when you are abroad! Sometimes things change at a moment’s notice and sometimes you might have no idea what will happen that day, but that’s okay.

What is your best piece of advice for aspiring participants?

My advice would be to be open-minded, curious, respectful, and kind on your journey. We have so much to gain for ourselves by learning from different cultures and growing as people.

What do you believe is the defining characteristic of GeoVisions that sets it apart from other international program providers?

I believe that GeoVisions has a track record for excellent customer service and really sees every participant as an individual who wants to expand their horizons. We want to help them be comfortable in reaching their goal to learn more outside of what they already know, and give them a comfortable experience in the process. We provide detailed tutoring information and resources so that they can go to the country of their choice and bring with them tool to teach and that are helpful for them.

If you could participate in any of GeoVisions programs, which one would you choose and why?

I am really excited about our Cuba program; I went there in October 2015 and it was amazing. I loved the people, the rich history, and the food! It was like being in a time capsule. Cuba is changing so much and there is such an excitement in the air there right now. It’s invigorating.

International volunteer with local kids in Cuba

With the help of Kirsty, Marlene's dream of traveling to Cuba became a reality.

What is the most rewarding part about working for GeoVisions?

I am rewarded by the stories I hear from participants of when they get back that the experience changed their lives forever. Helping them get there is very satisfying and makes me remember when I went abroad in 1990. It changes you as a person forever and in the most positive way. That makes me smile.

GeoVisions’ mission states that “GeoVisions is committed to help individuals develop global skills to succeed in the twenty-first century.” What do you think is the most important global skill that participants acquire during GeoVisions’ programs?

I think that the most important global skill they learn is a better perspective about the world and a more open mind. I think it helps people have a broader sense of themselves and builds confidence, which is helpful in business and personal relationships.