20 Year Celebration Recap: What Made Us Smile in 2017

by Published

It’s been a big year for GoAbroad. We reflected deeply on what 20 years in the field of international education means to us. We gave away dozens of travel scholarships. We threw a damn good party. Let's take a walk back through yesteryear.

We kickstarted the year by participating in the Women’s March in Washington D.C. under the banner of “International Educators United for Women.” In February, GoAbroad held it’s biannual company-wide conference and celebration at our offices in Tacloban in the Philippines. Here, we brainstorm ways to better serve travelers, review past successes and areas of improvement, recognize outstanding team members, and yes—sing lots of karaoke (and drink LOTS of fruit shakes). 

As Q1 rolled into Q2, we began thinking more seriously about how we wanted to celebrate our gratitude for twenty years of service in the field of international education. Keeping accessibility in mind, we earmarked $10,000 to giveaway as scholarships to 20 future meaningful travelers. We loved remembering the good ol’ days with friends at NAFSA in Los Angeles. The 7th Innovation Awards shindig was a major hit—maybe it was the limousine, maybe it was the recognition of incredible innovation in our field. Or maybe it was LaSharon arriving late to receive her own award. Either way, our STA Travel Partners looked pretty darn cute in gold.

Summertime is still busy for us GoAbroaders, with Nicole traveling to the Global Internship Conference in Chile, our executive team retreating and big-picture-thinking in Croatia (#jobperks), Megan spending a few weeks in Nepal leading a high school community service program, and Michael taking the reins of HQ. Longtime IT-couple Neri & Clyde finally tied the knot, CTO Daphne welcomed a new litter of puppies, Troy’s beard got curlier thanks to humidity, and sweet Arlo was born and took over as the GoAbroad Office Baby (sorry Erin).

baby arlo
Welcome to the world, little Arlo David Van der Werff! Meaningful traveler in training.

Summer faded into fall, and Q3 started as Nicole and Jonathan hit the conference road again and Erin went on her first solo trip to Iceland. We launched a gap year directory, welcomed Noah back to the family on our Last Farewells product, and co-sponsored an amazing volunteer scholarship giveaway with Lonely Planet. Elsa and Troy were humbled as they traveled to East Africa to visit some of the GoAbroad Foundation's partners. And Jonas, well—he still drives the coolest car in all of Leyte.

And that brings us here. The end of 2017, and the end of commemorating 20 years in international education. Our mission shines brighter than ever, and we feel poised to continue evolving to best meet our client and community needs. Here are 20 things that made us smile during this fabulous year of celebrating 20 years of meaningful travel.

20 things that made us smile this year

  • We gave away 21 scholarships & a gap year experience. That's over $20,000 worth of travel-goodness!
  • Malia Obama completed her gap year in South America & the U.S., catalyzing interest in gap years as a viable pre-college option. You go girl!
  • The beard impressions in this video👇  are just tooo fun and funny!
thumbs up

  • The momentum of the Global Leadership League. Their inspirational speakers and gatherings of all-star women at conferences adds a new level of community to our field.
  • That time Troy bought 65 sausage McMuffins for the GAP office.
  • The GoAbroad Foundation had a successful #GivingTuesday campaign, raising $2000 to donate to Thailand’s Hope Home for their new sensory room.
  • The fact that so many International Education members, organizations, and institutions fought together against travel bans and for the equal rights of women.
  • Dance parties at NAFSA and GAP with friends and coworkers and colleagues—y’all have some goooood moves (even Troy!). 
  • Archer remembering any of our USGA team member names. This is a REAL life highlight, y'all.
  • The galvanization of travel as a tool for increasing compassion and empathy. Troy's speech at the Innovation Awards about the importance of people traveling highlighted the ways that being given the chance to visit other areas—in your country or outside of it—can absolutely impact your worldview and interest in working for the benefit of others.
  • We welcomed so many incredible interns to the GoAbroad family. Thank you Tiffany, Shelby, Sydney, Kelsey, Josie, Kaylan, Jane, Kaylee, Luciana, Jordan, Raquel, Jason, Bryan, and Rex for making us better! We love you guys!
  • The new breadule (aka our office fresh bread schedule).
  • The reactions of Innovation Award attendees when getting out of the limos—the only words that come to mind are “true joy” and we were so happy to share that with our frIEnds
  • So many travel opportunities! Erin is en route to Prague to get her TEFL certificate, Megan and Nicole found real-life emojis all over Japan, Michael will be honeymooning in the Land of Smiles, Troy visited Myanmar and Bulgaria, some of our Philippines' based team members romped around Malaysia and Brunei, and so many more. Kayla set the record for most trips within two months: Taiwan, Cambodia, and France, though Jonathan gives her a run for her money when it comes to collective hours spent in-flight. And that’s just scratching the surface—many more passports were stamped and border agents’ eye contact avoided; our team truly lives the brand.
  • We inspired millions of others to travel meaningfully. How humbling is that. 

goabroad limo

#TFW your stretch limo is too big to crop into your photo

Thanks for a great 20 years! Here’s to 20 more...

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Topic:  Current Events