GoAbroad Interview

Taylor Anderson - Operations Manager & Martinique Country Director

Taylor Anderson - Operations Manager and Martinique Country Director

Between working in the home office and leading trips in Martinique and France, Taylor Anderson is excited to be part of the Global Works team. French has been a part of her life since her family moved to  Brussels, Belgium in middle school and she’s continued to dive into the language with study and travels ever since. When at home in Boulder, she enjoys running, skiing, and a good chai latte. She’s excited travel and explore with Global Works participants!

How did you first become connected with Global Works?

In 2012 I started as an intern at Global Works, assisting with enrollment processing. That summer, I led my first trip to France and I’ve continued to return to France with groups every year since! My role in the office has changed over the years, but I continue to balance out office responsibilities with trip leading a few times a year.

volunteer rebuilding a stone wall in France
Rebuilding a historic stone wall in France

How have your own international experiences shaped your career aspirations?

A huge amount. I have been lucky enough to travel quite a bit and I knew that I wanted to find a way to continue to feed my curiosity for travel with my career. With this job, I get to share the experience of visiting new places, practicing French, and meeting new people with those that I travel with. It makes the experiences that much more meaningful.

What does a typical day of work look like for you?

Most of the year I’m in the office. Here, my day typically consists of answering emails, communicating with teachers who are planning trips with us, and working with our Program Directors who are helping set up the details of our trips. I work with our France, Martinique, Spain, and China Directors.  I also handle airfare for our programs, which means I communicate regularly with our travel agent partner. Many of my daily tasks change depending on how close we are to trip season!

Tourist in Barcelona
Traveling in Barcelona this summer

When I’m leading a trip, I’m with the group 24/7. My tasks include orchestrating daily activities, transportation and meals, communicating with local contacts/providers, checking in with the students/chaperones on any health concerns, running group activities, and leading language exercises. It’s very busy, but invigorating!

What makes Global Works different from other similar programs around the world?

The communities we work with. We have built bonds and relationships with homestay families, service organizations, and local guides all over the world. They are just as excited to see our groups arrive every year as we are to be there. It’s an incredibly close, family-oriented experience that many tourist programs cannot provide. By joining Global Works, your joining our international family.

How do you define cultural exchange?

Cultural exchange is an opportunity to learn about and test your previously conceived notions about another culture or place. 

This is an interaction with someone from the community that you are visiting - a conversation, an activity - that allows both parties to ask questions and learn more about where the other is coming from. In Martinique, we visit schools and sometimes just a simple conversation with someone your own age from another place can be the most rewarding part of the day.

tourists jump in front of the Eiffel Tower, Paris
Jumping photo at the Tour Eiffel

Why do you think cultural exchange is important in the world today?

Learning about people and cultures different than your own is incredibly important, especially in the world today. Nothing breaks down barriers like personal connections, which you get through the community connections we build on our trips. Asking questions, and listening to the answers, can be incredibly powerful in helping to understand where someone else is coming from. And where your own thoughts/ideas may be coming from as well.

What is one thing you hope participants take away from Global Works’ programs?

It’s good to get out of your comfort zone. Especially when it comes to learning a language, it’s better to try and make mistakes than not to try at all. You may feel awkward, but you’ll be so glad that you tried. And I’ll bet you did better than you thought you would.

As Martinique country director, what do you think makes Martinique a unique place for international experience?

Wow, where to start? As Americans, we learn astonishingly little about the French Caribbean, its culture, or its history. Martinique is such a treasure trove of French and Creole history, culture, foods, music, languages, people, all set in a stunning tropical locale. It’s an important lesson for students to learn that France exists beyond the “Hexagon.” And with less English-speakers, Martinique is a great option for those who want to really practice their French while being active, playing outside, and regularly meeting locals.

hikers in the Swiss Alps
Hiking in the Alps on a Global Works trip

What is your best piece of advice for participants on their way to Martinique?

Bring a willingness to reach out and connect with people - and plenty of sunscreen!

What is the most rewarding part of your job?

Hearing from students about the personal connections they make with local students/homestay families. In the end, it’s the personal connections that make the trip!