No matter how many educational student tours you lead, no two will ever be the same. The masterminds of keeping these tours fresh and engaging are innovative and passionate Tour Directors. As integral parts of the touring experience, it’s important to speak with your tour consultant about what type of Tour Director would connect best with you and your group.
I had the chance to catch up with Tour Director Donna S. to share her story. Get to know more about Donna and her approach to making your tour engaging and memorable.
KB: Tell me your name and where you’re from.
DS: My name is Donna. I am originally from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, but I now live in San Antonio, Texas.
KB: How long have you been a TD with EF Explore America?
DS: I have been a Tour Director with EF Explore America since about 2008.
KB: Where are some of your favorite places to go on Explore America?
DS: I love all the different places I go, for different reasons. I love eastern seaboard tours, just because I get a little bit of everything.
KB: Why do you like about being a Tour Director?
DS: Every day is a new challenge for me. Every time I go, it feels like a different tour because the students really make it different. The way they respond to the different venues, the questions they ask me, make it special every single time. So, I feel like I’m learning something new every day.
KB: Why do you think it’s important for students to travel?
DS: I think it broadens their horizons more than anything else. Really, sometimes these students come from very small towns and they’re not used to seeing, not only other venues, but other people. When you expose students, especially to places like Boston or New York, which are very big cities and have very diverse populations, I think the kids learn so much from that.
KB: How does the itinerary allow for you to reflect the teachers’ priorities?
DS: That’s actually one of the really nice things about working for EF Explore America is that those itineraries are not necessarily cast in stone. We can switch things up depending on what the teacher wants. You know, that quite often changes while you’re on tour. As the Group Leader is going along, they’ll say you know what, I’m done with the history part, let’s do something fun for the next hour, or something like that.
KB: Last question…Do you have a favorite story or moment from tour.
DS: Oh, I do have, you know, one of my favorite things about being a Tour Director is bonding with the students. That’s what I really love, and I cannot tell you how many times students have come up to me and actually hugged me and said thank you. That’s really a big deal, coming from an eighth grader. So, those are the highlights.