When you’re planning an educational tour with ACIS, your International Program Consultant is your partner. It is their job to help you choose or customize a trip, recruit a group and prepare for the amazing adventure that lies ahead. Meet Brita Domino, one of our amazing consultants who is an expert at helping her teachers get a trip off the ground and ensuring it’s an experience they will remember always.
Tell us about yourself. What’s your role at ACIS?
Howdy, y’all! My name is Brita (Bree-tah, I know it looks like your water filter) and I am an International Program Consultant, which is a lot of words to say, I help teachers make the world more accessible to their students. I recently moved to the mountains of Colorado but was previously a Texas gal my whole life- hence the Howdy! I came to ACIS through the way of my former career… teaching! When I am not helping groups plan their voyages around the world, I am either traveling the world myself, getting lost in the mountains with my fiancé, or curled up reading a delightful book with our dogs.
Howdy! We’re so glad to have you as part of the ACIS team. Tell us a bit about your travel history and why you switched careers from teacher to program consultant?
My first trip abroad was a two-week pilgrimage with my faith community in college. We went all around England- London, Coventry, Oxford and Canterbury (my favorite!). From then on, I had the travel bug and wanted to experience as many other cultures and lifestyles as possible. After college, I took my sister and myself on a voyage around Ireland, Scotland, and London. I then began my teaching career, where I had heard of teachers who took students on educational tours but was never quite sure how to lead my own. My mentor in my third year of teaching was taking a group of students to France with ACIS and asked if I would like to come. To my delight, he made me the Group Leader and our small group was Paris-bound. What I have neglected to mention in this story, our trip was for March 2020. I woke up in the quiet French countryside on the Thursday of our trip to realize we were being sent home due to the threat of COVID-19. The way in which ACIS clearly communicated with us and held our hands (virtually) until we were back at our beloved IAH made this first-time group leader an ACIS convert for life. That fall our school planned our next trip to Italy in March of 2022. Somewhere along the way, I realized my calling to teaching may have just been the first step in my life’s plan, as educational travel soon became what made me happy to think about and encourage my students to pursue study abroad opportunities, and of course, trips led by me with ACIS. ACIS has the motto, “Travel changes lives,” ACIS and travel have certainly changed mine, and led me to become a happier and more fulfilled me!
It’s changed mine too! How do you help teachers plan their best tour possible?
I value the relationships and clear communication I have with all my travelers. I love to hear about what you want out of your destinations, what your students were absolutely enamored with, and what we can improve on next time. No one knows your group better than you, but I would like to think that I build a relationship out of mutual respect and trust, and that will help us make sure your journey is one that will be a shimmering memory for you and your students in the years to come.
What is your biggest travel tip for teachers?
There are three things I think that every teacher needs to be successful on an overseas trip:
1. An extra power adapter. There will always be one child who didn’t get one or lost theirs, so it’s nice to provide them with the option to charge up and stay in contact with their parents. An external power bank wouldn’t be a bad idea either…
2. A nice rain jacket! It also helps cut out the wind in those European spring showers.
3. Optimism! Your students feed off your energy for the trip, and the more excited you get, the more excited they become! I usually planned trips to new places for me, because that made the destinations that more exciting. Plus, who doesn’t love traveling with the teacher who makes everything a little brighter?
And what about a travel tip for students?
Nike was on to something with their slogan, “Just do it.” Take the risk of trying something new and out of your comfort zone. Go to the place you never dreamed that you could and eat every dessert you come across.