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Empowering young women (and herself): Christina’s EF journey

“For as long as I can remember, I’ve been working towards a goal without fully knowing what it is,” Christina says.

Meet Christina for even a moment, and it’s clear that she pours her heart and soul into everything she does. Hard work seems to be an effortless ethos for her, as if it’s in her DNA.

“Working in retail and restaurants, it was ruthless,” she says. “It was always sink-or-swim. But I kept at it, working my way through college. I am the first in my family to go to college, so the life I was creating for myself was all new to me. But even when I didn’t know exactly where I was going, I knew I had to keep going.”

Then, one afternoon not long after graduation, Christina’s friend invited her to lunch at EF Education First. As they chatted and walked around the office, Christina met the EF Tours for Girls team. They hit it off immediately as the team described their inspiring work to empower young women through travel.

Travelers with EF Tours for Girls doing a service project in Belize

“I had never even heard of EF before meeting my friend for lunch,” she says. “But being there and meeting the team, something really clicked for me.”

As a self-described feminist and former Girl Scout herself, working with young women was a natural fit for Christina.

“My family wasn’t big on travel,” Christina shares. “It wasn’t talked about or promoted. My dad didn’t even want to go over the bridge from our home in Gloucester.”

Christina found that she was stepping outside of her own comfort zone when talking about exploring the world. Digging deep into her reserve of grit and self-confidence, Christina decided to take the plunge and accept a role as a Tour Consultant for EF Tours for Girls. And to her surprise, she found that her own experience as a nervous traveler helped her relate to her customers. “I understood their reluctance and could empathize, which helped me build relationships.”

That was in 2018. Since then, Christina has been a rollercoaster journey marked by incredible growth — and life-changing loss.

“My dad was diagnosed with terminal lung cancer a week before I started at EF,” she says. At the same time her world was opening up to an exciting new professional chapter, privately, her world was crumbling.

“I was going through it,” she says, “but I was determined to be successful. And EF helped me every step of the way. They supported me and gave me the tools and motivation I needed to succeed. My manager’s investment in me and compassion for my situation kept me going.”

While losing her dad was the most difficult thing she has ever endured, true to form, Christina committed to emerging from her grief a stronger person. “No more fear,” she says, as she describes her new attitude about seizing the moment and seeing the world.

“Panama, Mexico, Italy…Now, I’m seeing the world. And I’m seeing that all the work I put in for all those years is paying off.”

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