I caught up with Kevin Connors, the eyes and ears of Winterline’s European operations. Here’s what he had to say about European art, the ever-changing weather, and the things students have to look forward to in Europe.
Q: What does a regional director do?
KC: I visualize all aspects of the program for the time students are in my region – from the overall program goals and learning outcomes to the nitty-gritty details of food, sleep, transportation, and everything in between. I have years of experience designing experiential and academic programs on three continents, and this is still one of the most exciting and challenging parts of the job.
Q: So what do you love most about your region?
KC: I love the diversity of Europe. Even before the recent migration wave, Europe had become multicultural – more so in many of the largest cities on the continent. And I love the contrasts between the different nations around Europe.
I also love the art. I’m still blown away by the work of Dutch masters like Vermeer and other great European artists. There’s a vibrant contemporary art scene.
Q: What do students have to look forward to in Europe?
KC: All of the above! And great food.
Q: What countries have you visited?
KC: I’ve been to so many. Let me see... The Netherlands, Spain, Germany, the UK, Italy, France, Denmark, Ireland, Portugal, Belgium, Croatia, Greece, Turkey, and Morocco. I’ve also been to Tunisia, Uganda, Botswana, South Africa, Namibia, Mexico, El Salvador, Guatemala, Cuba, Jamaica, Belize, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Canada, Thailand, Malaysia, and Nepal.
Q: Wow! So it’s safe to say you love to travel. What’s your favorite part of traveling?
KC: Just walking around and looking. Cities are great places to people-watch. Or in the countryside, it’s great to take in the beauty of the rural area.
Q: What have you learned traveling abroad, and how have you applied it to your life?
KC: I’ve learned patience – or at least I hope I have. I’ve also learned to try to look at things from different perspectives.
Q: What’s next on your travel bucket list? Anywhere you really want to travel?
KC: Suriname, Australia. And I want to travel around the U.S. with my husband.
Q: Did you take a gap year?
KC: Not exactly a gap year, but I did drop out of college after 3 years, and then went back 10 years later to complete my undergraduate degrees. Taking time off from school gives you the confidence and courage to actively shape your own education.
Q: Is there a particular motto you live by?
KC: I’m not a big believer in mottos, but after living in many different places and climates, I’d say there is no such thing as bad weather – only inappropriate clothing.
Q: What do you miss most when you’re not in your home country?
KC: Being with my friends and community there. They are wonderful, loving, and at times, like dysfunctional extended family!
In addition to his travels abroad, we also found out Kevin used to be a natural foods chef and a New York City taxi driver. Cool, right?
Kevin has been in educational travel for more than 25 years and lives in Amsterdam with his husband. He's an incredible addition to the Winterline team. Learn more about Kevin on his bio page.