GoAbroad Interview

Scott Tayloe - Director of Customized Faculty-Led Programs

Scott Tayloe - Director of Customized Faculty-Led Programs

Scott has been working in international education for over a decade, despite his original plans of becoming a pilot and traveling the world by air. While studying aviation at Jacksonville University, he had the opportunity to study abroad at the University of Sydney, as well as in Costa Rica and France. These experiences opened his eyes to a new career path, and he hasn’t looked back since. Scott is not only the director of customized faculty-led programs for CISabroad, he also serves as co-chair of NAFSA’s Rainbow SIG, which is dedicated to promoting study abroad opportunities and resources for LGBTQ students.

You manage all faculty led programs abroad at CISabroad. What is the most interesting faculty program you have helped create? 

My favorite program to date was an LGBTQ program that we designed for the University of Louisville. The program took place in Athens and gave our students insight into the struggles and activism for LGBTQ rights in Greece. We partnered up with key organizations and our students connected with peoples of all ages and backgrounds, hearing about their lives and sharing stories. Our group met with Rainbow Families, an organization working with families of same-sex parents. It came to their attention that there was no literature showcasing two dads or two moms in a family, something that does exist in U.S. culture. Through a year long fundraising drive and a local Greek author, the students and university raised enough money that in their second year they had a book launch party, launching the first same-sex book in all of Greece.

View of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Scott Tayloe on a site visit in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

You have an MBA and an aviation degree. Were you always destined to work in international education?

I think I was destined to see the world, something I thought could only be done as a pilot. I always felt awkward in the cockpit, all I wanted to do was go back and talk to the passengers on the plane and hear their stories. Where have they been and where were they going? That fascinated me more than anything.

Stumbling into international education was one of the best things that ever happened to me.

As an undergrad, you studied abroad at the University of Sydney. What CISabroad Australia program is your favorite?

Definitely our semester at Macquarie program; I will always have a love for any program in the Sydney area. 

Friends dressed up like the French Kiss

Scott Tayloe at the office on Halloween, dressed up with his colleagues as French Kiss

What surprised you the most about studying abroad in Australia?

The language. I swore they spoke English, hence I chose it, but from day one I had no idea what my Aussie mates were saying to me!

Why do so few guys study abroad? Why did you think it was the right thing to do when you were a student?

I think historically study abroad evolved as a chance to experience other cultures, but also was geared mostly to the social sciences, art, humanities, etc., which tend to have more females as majors. Over the last five to ten years we’ve seen a huge increase in business, engineering, aviation, etc., programming overseas, and in turn, more men taking part in study abroad. I, myself, needed to get away and truly find my place in the world. I was struggling with what direction to take in life and felt taking myself out of my comfort zone would allow me to do so more effectively.

You also volunteered in the Philippines, how did that experience impact you?

The people and the culture affected me greatly. On the surface it looked as though they had nothing, but that was just material goods; in reality, they were the happiest, most warm and loving people I have ever come to meet. I ended up learning more from them then they got from my volunteer work for sure. 

Family visiting the London Eye

Scott Tayloe leading a CISabroad group in London

You recently became a father for the first time. How old will your son be when he studies abroad for the first time? Where would you send him if you could choose his study abroad location?

If he had a passport we would already be overseas! I’m sure he will head over to visit our relatives and dear friends in Paris at a very young age, and it’s our hope that we spend more time in France in the coming years. I will definitely promote and encourage him to study abroad, but I don’t want to choose his destination; the world is his playground and he needs to decide where he wishes to go!

What is the one piece of advice you would give him before he studies overseas?

Turn off all electrical devices and take it all in. 

City view in Germany

Scott Tayloe on site at our newest destination - semester in Germany

If you were a student again and could go on any CIS program which one would you choose?

I would study in Aix en Provence in the south of France. I have spent a great deal of time in Paris, and unfortunately find myself speaking English there. I would love the chance to spend a greater amount of time in a location like Southern France where getting by in English is a bit harder to come by. 

What is the difference between a faculty led study program and a regular CISabroad international study program?

Easy enough, a faculty is along for the ride! Also, these are typically much shorter experiences for students. Any chance to get students abroad though is a plus in my books. 

Who is the perfect CIS student?

A student who knows the skills in which they can gain from studying abroad; taking part in these experiences makes you more flexible, more patient, and more open-minded, something all employers look for in hiring their key applicant. We can all benefit from gaining these skills in life!