Michael Tyler - Director & Founder
After teaching a Barry University for more than two decades, Dr. Tyler had spent time traveling and teaching students for long enough to see a gap in students’ international education opportunities. With experience in Latin America, the Caribbean, and Europe under his belt, Dr. Tyler began developing a multi-country study abroad program to rival all the rest. Voyager Europe was established in 2015, but the extensive experience and knowledge of Dr. Tyler makes the organization seem as if it has been around for years. Each time Voyager Europe sends students abroad, they come back more culturally aware and prepared for their futures.
You have taught at Barry University for over 20 years. Why do you think international education is an essential component to higher education?
We live in a global marketplace. To be successful, students must be able to compete internationally. Learning about other countries and cultures makes our students better prepared for the real world. Students are no longer living in isolation and need to have knowledge of the world around them, because they will end up working overseas or working locally while having international competition. This international experience will give the students the essential tools of cultural and contextual intelligence that will be a competitive edge in dealing with the competition, managing multi-cultural employees, and negotiating cross-border deals.
What is your best piece of advice for current students in regards to international experience?
My best advice is to take advantage of your time abroad. See and do as much as you possibly can and do so with an open mind. So many students go abroad and eat at McDonald’s and spend all their money at clubs. Students should experience the art, history, business, and culture of the places they visit while abroad.
What inspired you to develop Voyager Europe?
I have been a professor for 25 years and enjoy traveling abroad. Several years ago, I started spending my summers as the program director for another multi-country study abroad program. Two years ago, Dr. Reccia Charles and I started Voyager Study Abroad. We were not satisfied with the cultural and educational experiences provided by other multi-country programs.
Why do you think Voyager Europe is different from other international program providers?
There is no other program like Voyager Europe. We travel by high speed or overnight train or plane to ensure that students optimize their time abroad. We include daily professional and cultural activities which are related to the courses we teach. Our professors and staff in Europe travel with the students and we have an unrivaled itinerary: Madrid, Lisbon, Barcelona, Paris, Florence, Venice, Seville, and Berlin, plus day trips to many other important cities.
What makes Europe a valuable place for international experience in your opinion?
Europe has so much to offer in terms of art, history, business, and culture. I think every student should study abroad in Europe first. It is made up of many different countries and cultures that are in close proximity, but vary in terms of customs, language, sites, and lifestyle. Each country, and in many cases each city, has its own unique perspective on the past and present. I think Voyager Europe is so special, because students get to experience this diversity in one program.
You’ve spent time working abroad in Latin America and the Caribbean. How has your own international experience changed your goals personally and professionally?
It has taught me that we are all different and all the same. We all ultimately want the same things. We all can learn a lot from one another once we take the time to interact with each other and experience another perspective of the world.
How does Voyager Study Abroad support participants throughout their time abroad, as well as when they return home and begin making similar changes in their own lives?
All our staff have significant study abroad experience and are familiar with the countries and cities we visit. We communicate with our students before the program and make sure that they are prepared to make the most out of their time while abroad. We plan each day to make sure that the experience is an unforgettable one and upon the student’s return, they are forever part of the Voyager family. I am pleased to say that most of our participants join us again abroad.
What is your favorite part about your job?
I enjoy sharing amazing experiences in new places with our amazing staff and terrific students.