Read our Q&A with Kindle Smyth, Director of Recruitment & Development at EF High School Exchange Year.
As Director of Recruitment and Development, what’s your typical day like?
This changes every day, which is one of the things I love most about my role. I might do everything from film a webinar for our International Exchange Coordinators (IECs), write a script for a microlearning, talk strategy with our leadership team, help an IEC find a resource they need, prepare for a new staff member joining the team, or work with the events team to plan our next National Meeting.
You have worked at EF for 2 years. What do you like most about working at EF High School Exchange Year?
The people, hands down. Helping a student go on a year of exchange is a complicated process, and from our colleagues abroad who find the right participants, to the teams who get all the details in order and keep us in line with State Department requirements, to the travel team who gets every student across an ocean, to the support team who hear the tears, to the tech team who pushes our innovation forward, and especially to the local coordinators who find host families and create a wonderful experience for students and families all year long. Every single person is all in with this program because they truly believe this work matters, that international exchange changes lives and makes the world a better place. Being their teammate is a delight and an honor.
A little bird told us that you recently visited our EF Class of '20 students at Camp in Allentown, PA. Tell us more about it!
I did, and I went to Welcome Days in New York too! Seeing these programs in action filled my heart with pride to see what our students experience in their first few days in the U.S. To be part of EF is to experience fun, innovation, attention to detail, great communication, possibility, and usually a lot of dancing! Our summer arrival programs are every one of these things, and more.
Besides your management experience, we found out that you were a teacher once. How did that experience help you throughout your EF journey?
My focus as an educator was on teaching people how to learn. That means starting with someone’s current ability and knowledge, and building from there. That has helped immensely at EF because our colleagues and participants come from all different backgrounds, experiences and perspectives. If I can seek first to understand their starting place, we can build together from there. It makes communication easier and more enjoyable.
You have also been involved in many volunteering and educational projects which clearly show your commitment to improving people’s lives. How do you think EF may help students with their future prospects?
Oh wow, I think this potential is endless. Jumping into an EF adventure you learn to have more courage, more fun, think innovatively, try new things, make mistakes (and grow from them), cheer for the success of others, bring your unique skills, and be open to new opportunities. I see that with our students, and it’s been my experience too!
A favorite place or city: Lately I love getting out on the water in Boston! There are ferries, boat tours and harborside walks, and all are a lovely way to see what a beautiful city this is!
A guilty pleasure: In n Out burger (but I feel no guilt about that goodness!)
A language you’d like to learn: Japanese, to keep my niece & nephew on their toes (my brother and his family live in Japan)
A life quote: “It’s not what you do, it’s how you do it.” Oh, and “WOOT!”
A superpower you’d love to have: As a gal who likes travel, I’m going with teleportation!