Get to know our tour managers, well-traveled and fascinating individuals who make your ACIS educational tours truly unique and unforgettable. Today we’re happy to introduce you to Simone Aquilina.
Hi Simone! Thank you for chatting with us today. Why don’t you start by telling us a little bit about your background?
I studied at the University of Malta where I obtained an Honours Degree in International Relations. Two years later I sat for my Masters in the same subject. My research was dedicated to Environmental NGO’s and their impact on international relations. I grew up in Malta, a small island in the Mediterranean. Although I love living in Malta, I have always found it a bit too tiny for my liking. I love the anonymity of a city, so at 18 went to live in London for a while. I still visit London often as I find it a fascinating city. As a “Malteser” I speak Maltese (a Semitic language, i.e. belonging to the Arabic and Hebrew languages but with a Latin alphabet) and English. I also speak Italian, French, and Arabic. I am also a great fan of the Spanish language.
What would you say are some of your passions?
I love traveling, but as an ACIS Tour Manager I’m sure that comes as no surprise. I am a foodie and I love food markets. I adore sourcing new ingredients; it is like winning a lottery for me. I was in Bologna recently and finally figured how to make a perfect Bolognese their way – bliss! I also love the outdoors and going on long hikes. I have a little garden which I enjoy planting full of flowers and herbs. Although I have always been interested in sports, last year I discovered cross fit and I can say I am a convert. Once I’ve finished a class, it feels so good. It’s like I’ve won another lottery!
Did you travel as a student? Where did you go?
My first trip was a school trip to Tunisia at 15. I was overwhelmed by the remains of Carthage. I realized then that the world is such a large place and different cultures were so enriching. That is when I also decided that I wanted to work in tourism.
What’s one thing you wish every young adult/student could experience while traveling?
Traveling is like a closed box full of gifts. You never know what the present is until you start unwrapping. Enjoy the unwrapping of each country you visit. All cities are different and that is what makes them unique. However, don’t just look at the big picture of a city look at how people dress, what they eat, etc… The everyday things which we take for granted are fascinating because every nationality has their own way of doing things.
Such a perfect metaphor for travel! Can you tell us something interesting about yourself that we might not know?
Well as a food lover, I love cooking and a few summers ago Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie were in Malta with their family filming World War Z. My friend and I were their personal chefs and it was a beautiful experience. What impressed me most was how down to earth they are. They are a wonderful family with good values. I was never a fan simply because I don’t watch movies much but after meeting them they have earned my total respect.
We’re star-struck just thinking about it! It’s great to hear even the biggest celebrities can be down to earth with family values. If you had to convince a parent to allow their child to travel on an ACIS tour, what would you say?
As a parent of two teenage boys, I tend to see things as both a Tour Manager and parent. With the high level of Tour Directors ACIS employs, who know the cities well, you can put your minds at rest. Your kids are in the best hands. We love what we do so what we do is top class. We know our cities well so we take great responsibility in showing your child beautiful European cities but also ensuring that their safety is a prime factor too.
Thanks for chatting with us, Simone!