About TravelBud

We passionately believe in the life-changing power of the teach & volunteer abroad experience.

TravelBud is a teach and volunteer organisation helping people experience unique and rewarding cultural adventures abroad. Our mission is to share the transformative power of immersive travel which expands world views by creating global citizens who are more prepared, responsible, and compassionate humans.

OUR VALUES

We understand from direct experience that working and traveling abroad is a challenging, fulfilling and deeply rewarding personal experience. We are committed to walking you through the process and making sure you’re as best prepared to experience your own life-changing adventure.

We believe in community

We value approachability and compassion which help build a more understanding and accepting world across varied cultures and backgrounds.

We believe in constant growth

We value youthful energy, dynamism and adventure; so while we’re grateful for the experiences and growth we’ve had, we always want to improve and learn.

We believe in creating value

We value honesty, authenticity and a personal touch, arming our program participants with the information they need to become more prepared, responsible and empowered humans who walk away with new skills, experiences and a broader worldview.

The TravelBud Blog

Read our blog featuring helpful tips, videos, resources and updates to help prepare and inspire you for your next adventure.

Careers

Are you inspired to help others from around the world to have life-changing travel experiences by volunteering and teaching English abroad? Work with us ›

Our Vision

TravelBud believes in and has experienced the transformative power of immersive travel; it opens our minds to new perspectives, pushes us beyond our comfort zones and returns us home as more understanding, constructive global citizens. We want to impart this life-changing experience to others.

At TravelBud you’re not embarking on a journey, you’re partnering with a team who’s walked the path before you and believes in the reasons you’ve chosen to leave the safe routine of life back home to expand your horizons through new immersive travel experiences.

What is immersive travel?

Immersive travel is travel for the purpose of experiencing day-to-day life in the local communities through which we journey, from their traditions, language and food to their unique perspectives which bring meaning to life.

It’s about approaching travel experiences responsibly and humbly where you come as much to share your life experience as to learn from those you meet along the way.

OUR PROGRAMS

We carefully develop the programs we offer to ensure they each represent our mission. While our programs may be diverse from one another, they all share the following:

Travel

They all require travel to a new and foreign place.

Educational

Participants will leave our programs having learnt something new.

Culturally Immersive

All our programs require our participants to leave their comfort zones and fully immerse themselves in a new foreign culture.

R

Responsible

Our programs are structured to ensure our participants travel responsibly and are respectful to the local environments and communities through which they travel.

What makes us different to other teach and volunteer abroad companies?

We’re not a recruitment company who just finds you a job and we do not receive any commission from any of the schools in our network.

We’re much more about giving you the best level of support than simply getting you a job.

We explain everything clearly and handle all the complexities so you don’t have to. You’ll get to focus on having the best time of your life on your year abroad adventure.

Commission-free programs

We do not earn commissions from schools meaning our focus is on providing you with the best support and guidance for your teach or volunteer abroad experience.

We've taught abroad ourselves

When you’re dealing with our enrollments and support team, you’ll always be speaking to someone who has taught abroad themselves. You’ll get first hand advice on making the most of your trip.

w

Pre-departure support

We assist you with all planning, packing, visas, costs, documentation, booking flights and answering any questions you might have.

Z

24/7 in-country support

If you need any assistance or advice, or in the event of an emergency, we’ll be on hand! Our in-country partners are available and on-hand at anytime.

i

tesol / tefl accreditation

We provide TESOL / TEFL course certifications. Our unique cultural orientations are designed to help ease the transition to a new culture.

guaranteed job placement

We guarantee your job placement in carefully selected and background-checked schools. We handle all the hassle and stress of finding a job.

TravelBud was founded in 2012 and has grown to offer an incredible range of teach and volunteer programs; from popular destinations like Thailand and South Korea, to vibrant cities like Beunos Aires and raw, authentic experiences in Myanmar. We’re building a sustainable business around our personalised support and unique program offerings.

Behind the scenes, we’re just a group of fun-loving humans who are passionate about helping others experience what we’ve all been through. We believe in the profound power of teach and travel to broaden one’s perspective and everything we do is based on that core principle.

TravelBud Staff Hiking Lions Head in Cape Town South Africa
TravelBud Year End Function
TravelBud Staff Lunch Meeting
Benji, TravelBud's resident doggo
Stu Brown MD of TravelBud at NAFSA 2018

Our headquarters are in Cape Town and we have satellite offices in South America and Asia with remote staff who collaborate efficiently from all over the world. Between us, we cover 3 continents, 4 nationalities, 5 languages, 4 cats and 5 dogs.

MEET THE TEAM

We’re a crazy bunch of hard working and committed travelers helping you get the best out of your experience abroad. We’re all collectively invested in the growth and sustainability of TravelBud and value respect, support and understanding within our team.

Liam Kelly TravelBud

Liam Kelly

Founder



Liam Kelly TravelBud

Liam Kelly

Founder

Liam is TravelBud’s co-founder and is the visionary driving force behind our team. He’s from Cape Town, South Africa but finds himself exploring the world and living in a variety of places, most recently Hua Hin, Thailand.

Having taught in Thailand himself, he returned with a newfound appreciation for educators and a vision for supplying better prepared and more passionate teachers to Asia to have the same amazing experiences he did.

Liam says living in Asia taught him not to sweat the small things in life and to have more compassion and patience – this is something he’s instilled in every aspect of life at TravelBud.

A keen videographer, Liam is most often found behind the lense of his camera or nose down behind his laptop editing the next epic video he’s shot. Well, that’s when he’s not discovering the next big underground hip hop scene in Myanmar, Korea or back home in SA – this is one guy who’s passionate about his music!

Travel is also something which runs in Liam’s blood, by the age of 19 he’d been to 25 countries and he’s not showing any signs of slowing down! Currently sitting at the 35 country mark, he dreams of buying a character-filled 4×4 and exploring every last corner of Africa.

Grace Martens TravelBud

Grace Martens

Enrollments Coordinator



Grace Martens TravelBud

Grace Martens

Enrollments Coordinator

Grace is an enrollments coordinator at TravelBud signing people up to our many programs and helping them get all the answers to the questions they may have about taking the plunge and going overseas for amazing teach abroad adventures. Hailing from a beautiful little, coastal town in South Africa called Hermanus, she recently returned from adventures in South Korea and is now based in Cape Town.

Besides travelling, Grace loves cooking, reading Oscar Wilde books, scouring vintage shops for things of another time and going wine tasting at every available opportunity. She taught in South Korea for a year, in a city just outside of Seoul, called Anseong. Living and teaching abroad taught her so many things about herself, the world and life in general making her the wise old soul she is today:

“The most poignant thing I learnt was that you can connect with people, no matter how different your culture, and that the world really is filled with genuinely good people.”

Before Korea Grace had never travelled out of Africa, but since arriving there, she’s gotten the chance to travel to Thailand, Cambodia, Israel and Ireland. She was lucky enough to tick being in Ireland during St Paddy’s day off her bucket list, but finds it a toss up between the Emerald Isle and Israel as her favourite places on Earth.

That might change soon as the list of places she still wants to go is growing daily, with Turkey next on the list!

Lauren McGlenatendolf TravelBud

Lauren McGlenatendolf

Enrollments Coordinator



Lauren McGlenatendolf TravelBud

Lauren McGlenatendolf

Enrollments Coordinator

Lauren is recently returned from a 9 month teaching stint in Thailand which she actually organized through TravelBud!

An avid scrabbler and die hard 2-minute-noodle (instant ramen) aficionado, Lauren is also one of our enrollments coordinators. Like her team mates, she’s responsible for inspiring and guiding would-be teachers & volunteers to the right program for them. She’ll be answering all your questions and sharing her experience of teaching abroad to give each participant a first-hand peek into what their life will be like once they sign up.

While teaching in Bangkok and Chonburi she also learned a lot. Aside from memorizing the list of ASEAN member states, their flags and national animals, teaching abroad taught her a lot about herself:

“It taught me to be on my own, to travel on my own, to eat on my own, to work on my own and be happy and confident in that. No matter how many friends you make out there, you’re always going to have to navigate certain situations alone. That was a valuable experience to have, but in the same breath, it taught me that I can connect with anyone. Some of my best friends from my time abroad are people I never would have expected to connect with.”

Aside from exploring the immense beauty that Thailand has to offer, Lauren has also been privileged enough to visit Laos, Vietnam, the UAE and Ireland. Next up, she hopes to ramp up her fitness levels and tackle hiking the Inca trail.

Saskia Smuts TravelBud

Saskia Smuts

Support Manager



Saskia Smuts TravelBud

Saskia Smuts

Support Manager

Saskia, TravelBud’s mother hen is responsible for the post-signup support and guidance for all our participants. Whether it’s your nerves that need calming or an invoice you need re-sent, when you sign up for a TravelBud program, it will be Saskia who’s there to help you on your way to your life-changing adventure!

Hailing from South Africa’s picturesque winelands, Saskia has herself taught English abroad before in Lop Buri and Phang Nga in Thailand and knows just how much this experience can change your life for the better:

“It taught me empathy, patience, respect and rocking social skills (especially because I tend to be quite quiet!) l went over at a very young age, which made everything a bit harder, but I’m glad I went when I did, as it shaped me into a person I wanted to become.”

Saskia has a big passion for beach life and couldn’t imagine living far from water: “I LOVE THE OCEAN, the sea, the sand, the salt, the sun, the seagulls (even though I am quite terrified of them) the thrill of surfing or even just floating in the water is everything to me.” And in her endeavours to find the best beaches, she’s been lucky enough to explore not only South East Asia and her native South Africa, but also countries farther afield like the US, Japan, Australia, India and Italy.

Where to next? South America is next on Saskia’s list, she wants to go anywhere and everywhere from the beaches of Santa Catarina in Brazil to the eerie desert hand sculpture Mano del Desierto in Chile!

Carolina Barazza TravelBud

Carolina Barraza

Program Development Specialist



Carolina Barazza TravelBud

Carolina Barraza

Program Development Specialist

Carolina is TravelBud’s Program Development Specialist for South America and is responsible for developing and managing new and existing teach abroad programs on the continent. She’s based in Bogotá, Colombia where she grew up also, but spent a great deal of her childhood visiting her family who live on Colombia’s tropical Caribbean coast, a region she’s thoroughly in-love with, and can help you with some amazing insider tips when visiting!

She’s relatively new to the teach abroad world having started working in the business in 2016 and joining TravelBud in 2017, but she’s already making a big impact developing some awesome South American Teach Abroad programs and being the much loved, friendly and helpful face of TravelBud on the ground for everyone who signs up.

Carolina has a massive passion for travel and has studied in Australia and Switzerland and managed to tick off tons from her bucket list while visiting the US, Argentina, Brazil, Cuba, much of Europe, China, Japan, Taiwan, Thailand, New Zealand, Peru, South Africa and even the tropical Indian Ocean island of Mauritius! Out of all her destinations, which was her favourite? It was a tough call but she has to say, it’s Greece: “Something about the warmth of the people reminded me of home, and the food was out of this world!”

So what’s left for this high energy uber positive globetrotter? Anywhere she can see the world’s biggest mammals in the wild, she’s after a spot of whale-watching!

Stu Brown TravelBud

Stu Brown

Managing Director



Stu Brown TravelBud

Stu Brown

Managing Director

A natural born leader, Stu is TravelBud’s Managing Director and one with a difference! He describes his most important focus as “keeping the unique enthusiastic and caring company culture alive as we grow together”. Something which is close to the hearts of every team member.

Stu has been with TravelBud from day one, the moment he finished university two of his closest friends, the Kelly brothers invited him to join them on a new venture: TravelBud! From humble beginnings where he was responsible for everything from accounting to marketing and blogging he’s grown a dream team which is taking the business to new heights.

Travel has touched Stu’s life deeply as he explored Europe independently while living and working in the UK as a sports coach after he finished high school. It’s taught him that truly exciting and life-changing adventures only happen when you step outside your comfort zone; and not a day goes by when he doesn’t challenge the team to do the same!

So where is his favourite destination? None other than our best-seller, Thailand! And, if he can ever find the time to take a sabbatical from steering the TravelBud ship he’d like to spend his time off volunteering and living in Malawi or Kenya for a bit.

Nick Paul TravelBud

Nick Paul

Marketing Manager



Nick Paul TravelBud

Nick Paul

Marketing Manager

Nick heads up TravelBud’s marketing efforts in Cape Town, South Africa and has had a long history in the travel industry working in student travel and even a big multinational online travel agency. Having changed careers a few times in his life he’s lived in the UK and spent a great deal of time traveling the world from the US to Europe, Africa and most recently South East Asia.

As you’d have guessed, he’s super passionate about travel and his best travel memories include his recent trip to Vietnam, Thailand and South Korea to meet face-to-face with some of TravelBud’s teachers. His most life-changing trip was to the Philippines in 2015:

“I just loved the country, everything about it changed the way I lived, the laid-back attitude to life taught me to smile more, appreciate the small things and collect experiences rather than things.”

Where’s next for Nick? Well, he’s always wanted to explore the ancient ruins of Bagan in Myanmar!

When he’s not blogging for TravelBud Nick will be in the kitchen whipping up something exciting or out on the beach with his two adorable rescue dogs.

Peter Pittendrigh TravelBud

Peter Pittendrigh

Enrollments Manager



Peter Pittendrigh TravelBud

Peter Pittendrigh

Enrollments Manager

Hailing from Tzaneen in South Africa’s far north, Peter is TravelBud’s Enrollments Manager, he’s responsible for signing applicants up to all our teach abroad programs and ensuring they’re fully prepared for the adventure ahead of them.

At work Peter has a huge passion for the life-changing experience that teaching abroad can be, something every single one of our participants can attest to! And he knows, first hand how it can grow you as a person, having taught English in Thailand for a couple of years himself. It has taught him to value his time, work hard and to achieve a good work/life balance.

Speaking of which, Peter has a lot of love for the outdoors and spends his free time hiking, rock climbing, trail running and swimming his way around Southern Africa. Not that he limits his sights to Africa though, he’s well traveled having explored much of Europe and Asia also but his heart still lies in Thailand:

“My favourite place in the world is definitely Tonsai Beach in Krabi in the South of Thailand – best climbing in the world!”

Where to next? Peter’s biggest travel dream is to run the Inca Trail Marathon in Peru!

Tristan Owen TravelBud

Tristan Owen

Systems Manager



Tristan Owen TravelBud

Tristan Owen

Systems Manager

Tristan is TravelBud’s Systems Manager and with 12 years of experience in the field is responsible for the bright and shiny Travelbud website you see before you. He also comes up with all the clever tech to make sure you get the exact info you need when visiting TravelBud.

Hailing from Cape Town, South Africa, when he’s not engulfed by a matrix-like strings of code he’ll be found plucking the strings of his guitar – a skill he taught himself online through a website called justinguitar.com!

He is well traveled having visited places as varied as Australia, Patagonia, Mozambique, the US and Greece and values the way travel constantly challenges him to see things differently:

“I love the sense of perspective it brings when you’re outside your comfort zone.

Of all the places he’s been, he loved Patagonia the best. Next up he hopes to hike in Iceland or try his hand at snowboarding in Austria!

Luke Kelly TravelBud

Luke Kelly

Director



Luke Kelly TravelBud

Luke Kelly

Director

Luke is a director at TravelBud and practices as an advocate at the Cape Bar Society of Advocates in Cape Town, South Africa.

Luke brings strategic business advice and guidance to TravelBud, as well as a dose of enthusiasm for the love of travel.

Ready to get started?

Contact us and we’ll discuss your options

Pin It on Pinterest