GoAbroad Interview

Rosie Mansfield - Managing Director

Rosie Mansfield - Managing Director

Rookie mum and GoCambio’s Managing Director, Rosie Mansfield has set her sights high for this ground-breaking platform set to help people learn for less and travel for less. County Waterford, Ireland has been her home for the past 10 years, where she also volunteers on a committee that runs a family-friendly summer festival. With a background in the eLearning, teaching English as a foreign language (TEFL), and volunteer travel industries, it is no wonder she’s so passionate about GoCambio.

What inspired you to work for GoCambio?

I’m attracted to things that break away from the norm; I love to do things different, and GoCambio is all about that. It’s about a different way to travel, learn, and experience cultures. No one else is out there connecting people the way we do, so it feels like you’re doing something special every day you come to work. It also helped that the founders were pretty cool too!

Sea view at Strangford Lough, Northern Ireland

Rosie at Strangford Lough in Northern Ireland, near her home village of Cloughey

You were born in Northern Ireland, you went to university in Scotland, and you live in Ireland. How do your own experiences hopping around Europe help you make GoCambio better?

I’m lucky to say that I’ve experienced living with all types of personalities, nationalities, and cultures. Initially it meant that I could see instantly how the world needed cambioing and how it was my job to spread the word. My experience helped me to understand the benefits of sharing what you know to help others, which gives me an ultimate belief in what we’re doing. How I translate that into making GoCambio better is by focusing on our platform (where all the magic happens), making it faster, easier, more friendly for members to use, and of course, listening to community feedback.

What does a typical day at the office look like for you?

Every single day is different (thank goodness!) and keeps me on my toes. I’d go stir crazy if days blurred into each other. I arrive at the office and I like to start the day with a bang, so often I play a song on my phone to give the team a laugh or a boost in the morning; sometimes it’s the French national anthem (we have three French staff) or another favourite is M People “Proud”.

I’m always pretty cheery and I like our office to be high energy. One important part of my job is to make sure we have the right environment and atmosphere to create success. I check in and see how everyone is. We have twelve in our team and I’m proud to say they’re a fantastic bunch. I’m a big believer in everyone having autonomy and enough space to achieve goals following their own path.

Work at GoCambio is fast-paced, so we use as many work efficiency hacks as possible to meet our deadlines. While the staff are working a million miles an hour to get tasks and projects done, I’m looking and preparing for what’s next. We have a lot of plans for GoCambio over the next number of years, and those ideas will succeed based on the work we do now.

Rosie Mansfield representing GoCambio at the Enterprise Awards in Ireland

Rosie at the recent Enterprise Awards, where GoCambio won first prize for South Cork

Why is GoCambio not just another international homestay exchange program?

Firstly, because it’s free. As a traveler you don’t pay to stay with your host. On top of that, GoCambio is so much more about sharing your talents and skills with people around the world who want to learn them. It’s about connecting people who will become friends, making the world a little smaller, a little friendlier. For example, a British journalist tried out cambioing in Sweden in 2015 as part of a story, and since then he’s planning to visit his host again and take his wife and baby.

You’ve traveled to Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam, and will be traveling to Cambodia in a few months. What do you think makes Asia an unique place for cultural exchange?

When you travel to Ireland, a common greeting you’ll hear in Irish is céad míle fáilte literally “a hundred thousand welcomes”, and I get the same sense of feeling welcome when I travel Asia. In Vietnam, I traveled by motorbike from Nha Trang to Dalat, so many people opened up their homes and wanted to share food, a drink, or a few words with us that it has stuck in my mind as one of the most friendliest experiences. I also like the respect and importance that Asian cultures place on family values. I figure you can’t go too far wrong in life if you stick to these kind of core values.

Why would you recommend a Cambio in Southeast Asia specifically?

It’s such a beautiful part of the world. For travelers from the west, it can actually feel like another world! I’d encourage anyone who’s even just the tiniest bit curious about Asian culture to choose it as a cambio destination. As a skilled traveler (that skill could be your native English language), you will have so many hosts to choose from since so many people want to learn or improve their level of English.

Rosie Mansfield, Managing Director of GoCambio

Rosie at the GoCambio office

Where do you wish you could go cambioing abroad?

I’d LOVE to cambio in Japan. I’ve always wanted to travel there, learn more about Japanese traditions, and, of course, try on a few kimonos. So for me, it would be the perfect cambio destination.

What travel dreams do you have for your own daughter?

That she starts sooner that I did and sees more than I will ever see; every parent wants more for their kids. I want to teach her how exciting traveling, working, and studying abroad is. It’ll be her most valuable education, to be a citizen of the world.

What do you think the future of GoCambio holds?

GoCambio has over 10,000 members, some would already call that a small movement of people. It’s definitely a community. Cambioing is such a powerful concept that I see it growing really quickly to become a completely familiar way to travel, just as well known as gap years, TEFL jobs, and couchsurfing. These were all novel terms not that long ago, but are so familiar to us now. I’m looking forward to celebrating our millionth member (in the not too distant future).