Claudia knew she wanted to pursue a career that would impact young peoples’ lives. She just didn’t know where to begin.
That quickly changed when the then-Tufts University-student discovered EF Education First at a campus job fair. After learning about the EF360 Global Technology Trainee Program—which empowers recent grads to work side by side with EF’s lead technologists and top executives (who hail from tech giants like Microsoft, Google and Apple) to develop business solutions that help students experience more of the world—she applied immediately.
“Having double majored in child development and computer science, I was looking for an opportunity to use both my degrees at a mission-driven company that also had a broad impact,” says Claudia, who’s now midway through her EF360 Tech Trainee year at EF’s Boston office. “EF is by far the largest company I could have chosen that offered both of those things—and with EF’s size comes a wealth of knowledge and projects. There are so many different paths I could follow at EF, and I’m excited by so many of them.”
With a background in education, Claudia took a different approach to her 360 experience than prior trainees who pursued projects in machine learning. Early on she decided she was most interested in developing technology that would positively impact student engagement. Working alongside her EF mentor and the EF Tours Labs student engagement team, she’s now collaborating on major tech initiatives—from a student text bot coded from scratch to an RSVP program—all focused on encouraging high school students to travel with EF Educational Tours.
What does that look like? We followed Claudia through her workday at EF Boston to get a behind-the-scenes look at how she brings new tech initiatives to life (and has fun along the way).
With the option to work at EF offices in Boston, London, Lucerne and Shanghai, Claudia has no regrets about choosing Boston for her 360 year (despite the chilly winters). With ample public transportation, getting to the office is a snap no matter what the weather’s like. “When it’s warmer, I bike to work every day,” says the Pennsylvania native. “I love living in the Cambridge area because everything you could ever want or need is right here, and it’s so easy to get around.”
Claudia usually begins the day at her desk. There she gets caught up on email and prepares for any meetings or projects she might be leading that day. “Working here has boosted my confidence so much,” she says. “In the 360 role, you’re given so much trust and independence, which honestly scared me for the first month or so. The longer I’ve been here, though, the more I’ve started believing in myself and being able to view that trust as an exciting challenge. It’s pushed me to do more than I thought I was capable of and put myself out there in a way I couldn’t have imagined doing in my first job out of school.”
One project Claudia has taken ownership of in her first months at EF is developing a text bot for EF Educational Tours. “The ultimate goal is helping our students get excited and feel more prepared when they’re leaving for tour,” explains Claudia. “I own every aspect of the project, including the roadmap, the programming, and getting the right people in the room for updates. I don’t feel alone in it because there are lots of great people working on it with me, but the autonomy is incredibly exciting. I feel proud to have ownership of a project that will eventually improve the experiences of EF student travelers.”
Another perk of being an EF360? A built-in community of friends—wherever you are in the world. Following her meeting, Claudia often grabs lunch with a fellow Boston-based 360. “The entire 360 community in Boston is always so friendly and checking up on each other,” says Claudia. “It’s nice because we’re scattered throughout the company, so you’ve got connections and brains to pick all over EF! Also, whenever you travel to other offices, the other 360s are always so welcoming and willing to show you around the office and the city.”
In addition to the projects she owns, Claudia also takes on tasks with the EF Tours Labs student engagement team. “Currently I’m helping the team build RSVP, which is a recruitment meeting invitation platform,” she says. “I also pitch in on projects like building alerts when customers use outdated browsers and fixing email features so they work on all types of email clients.” To ensure projects stay on track, Claudia and the team hold a stand-up meeting every afternoon.
EF360 Global Trainees (who focus on tech, finance or management tracks) are empowered to network with one another—whether in the office they’re based in or at events and summits at one of EF’s hubs around the world. It’s not uncommon to find Claudia hashing out new ideas with Raul, a former EF360 Tech Trainee, over coffee. “The best part about this experience is getting to meet and learn from each other,” says Claudia. “The 360 role has the same core spirit across the world, but it looks so different based on who you are and what your projects are. Getting to learn from everyone about how they make the most of this experience is exciting and inspiring.”
After coffee, it’s off to afternoon meetings. Today Claudia and her EF Tours Labs teammates are holding a sprint review, during which they discuss progress on ongoing tech projects with stakeholders throughout EF. “I love that I get to work with and learn from amazing technologists who are building student-facing technology,” says Claudia. “And then I get to be the tech ‘expert’ in certain meetings and talk about how we can use technology to support our students better.”
A few times a week Claudia gets face-to-face time with students when she helps out with the EF Glocal Challenge—an initiative run by EF in partnership with the City of Cambridge and Cambridge Rindge and Latin School. “As part of the challenge, we ask high school students to come up with solutions to a big world problem and implement solutions locally,” she explains. “This year’s theme is: ‘How can we communicate the realities of climate change in our community?’ I bounce around and give each student group support or a little nudge when they need help with design thinking and problem-solving.”
To close out the day, Claudia grabs her yoga mat and heads to a free yoga class at EF’s on-site fitness studio. It’s the perfect way to unwind and transition out of the workday. And for all those considering applying to become an EF360 Tech Trainee, she offers these parting words for you to meditate on: “When it comes down to it, the program relies on you being independently motivated, curious and passionate. My advice is: Come in knowing what you love to do and what you want to learn, and there will be so many people at EF excited to help you get there.”