Q&A Part 2: Milestones Mark GlobaLinks Learning Abroad’s 20 Years
In Part 2 of this five-part Q&A series, Cynthia Banks describes a few of the milestones along GlobaLinks Learning Abroad’s two-decade journey from study abroad program with just two participants to leading North American international education organization sending more than 20,000 students to destinations across the globe each year. Look for the entire series here.
“At one point in the mid-1990s we sent 100 students in one semester,” Banks said. “The staff couldn’t believe we’d received that many applications.”
Q: There are those extra-clear moments in life when you reach an important milestone or are touched in some new way by what you’ve accomplished. Looking back, do you have a moment or two or three that you really celebrated in your career or really met your personal goals?
An early milestone.
A: After I started, we named the business AustraLearn, and we started sending information to students. There was no Internet or email at that time. I remember going down to my mailbox at the university and one day receiving 25 pieces of mail. Fifteen were junk mail and 10 were students inquiring about the program. In that moment, I was elated because students were expressing interest and my job was to help put them in the program. That sounds small, but in that moment was a sense that we could at least try to make the program work. I hand wrote to every one of those 10 students. Today we receive three large mail tubs daily, not to mention hundreds of emails, and it takes the better part of the day to open it all.
A middle milestone.
A: In the first term I sent two students. That was a milestone, because without those first two students, there was never going to be another group. At one point in the mid-1990s we sent 100 students in one semester. The staff couldn’t believe we’d received that many applications. We worked really hard to get exactly 100 to go on that program in that term. That was a huge milestone. We had champagne, and we celebrated, and it was like we’d accomplished the world. How times have changed!
A recent milestone.
A: I had a rare moment this past year when I was at a party in our little Colorado neighborhood, and a woman who I had never met asked me what I did for a living. I told her about GlobaLinks Learning Abroad, and in the course of our conversation she mentioned her son really wanted an engineering experience overseas but could not find a suitable opportunity at his home campus. I gave her my card, and her son called us to work out an internship. He not only attended the internship and had a highly successful experience, but the company now has offered him full-time employment. In addition, he was described by his mother as introverted and shy prior to going abroad and today is more outgoing. He has even met a nice woman who she hopes will be a future daughter in law. The woman hugged me and told me that we, GlobaLinks, had changed their lives. That always feels right.
Missed other parts of our five-part Q&A with Cynthia Banks? Find them here.