About TravelBud

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

TravelBud is a specialist teach abroad 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. Meet the team →

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 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.

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.

Grace Martens TravelBud

Grace Martens

Enrollments Manager



Grace Martens

Enrollments Manager

QUALIFICATIONS
  • Bachelor of Arts (BA) in International Relations from Stellenbosch University
  • Accredited TEFL/TESOL Certification

Grace Martens TravelBud

Grace is an enrollment 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 abroad and will be 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!

Brooke Mazac TravelBud

Brooke Mazac

Enrollments Coordinator



Brooke Mazac

Enrollments Coordinator

QUALIFICATIONS
  • Bachelor's Degree in Education and Early Childhood Development from Nicholls State University, USA
  • Associates Degree in Preschool Management from Nicholls State University, USA
  • Accreddited TESOL/TEFL Certification

Brooke Mazac TravelBud

Brooke grew up just south of New Orleans, Lousiana and after living in Thailand for just over a year, she's returning to Louisiana as a TravelBud Enrollments Coordinator.

During her time in Thailand, she taught conversational English in a small town called Tak to about 500 of the cutest kindergarteners you’ve ever seen. They made her feel like an absolute celebrity and their hugs and laughs brightened every day she spent at her school.

As an Enrollments Coordinator, Brooke helps people get things rolling when they are looking to teach abroad with TravelBud. She answers questions, put fears to rest, and gets them excited about their new experience.

Brooke is also the Content Specialist at TravelBud, managing social media profiles, handling content submissions, and doing writing and alumni relations as well.

Aside from traveling, her passions include lounging in coffee shops with a good book, watching Jeopardy!, and cooking and eating with friends and family.

She's quite lucky to have traveled quite a bit before going over to Thailand. She's been to 18 countries; some highlights of her travels were walking 500 miles on the Camino de Santiago, taking a ski lift up to the Great Wall of China, scuba diving in Thailand, and watching the Springboks win the Rugby World Cup in Cape Town, South Africa.

Her future travel aspirations include visiting the new 7 wonders of the world, and she's already crossed one off the list - The Great Wall of China!

Gary Manuel TravelBud

Gary Manuel

Enrollments Coordinator



Gary Manuel

Enrollments Coordinator

QUALIFICATIONS
  • National Diploma in Marketing from the Cape Peninsula University of Technology, Cape Town.

Gary Manuel TravelBud

A Cape Town local, Gary has joined the TravelBud team as an enrollments coordinator. He’ll be using his travel and volunteering experience to encourage anyone who is interested in teaching abroad to seize this incredible opportunity to change lives!

Gary’s traveled to the UK and also explored Thailand where he did some conservation volunteer work, documenting coral reefs and planting trees in the fight against deforestation. Back home in South Africa, Gary’s been involved in volunteer work with refurbing kindergartens and in a law and human rights project.


For Gary, volunteering provided a much-valued opportunity for reflection and a chance to practice gratitude:

“Volunteering abroad has taught me to appreciate life and not to take your blessings for granted.”

When Gary’s not volunteering his time or helping make teach abroad dreams come true, he’s either spending time with his godson playing Fortnite or exploring his foodie side where he’s a local market aficionado. Gary’s all about balance though so as much as you’ll find him at the hottest new food truck, you’ll also see him keeping active by running (even if it sometimes ends as more of a walk) and he’s even started learning to skateboard. Got any tips for him on treating those grazes? Ouch!

Gary’s travel bucket list is wide open, so offer him some suggestions from your experiences when you chat and if you’ve been to Mexico, he’d really appreciate some pointers on making his dream volunteering opportunity come true: to work in Mexico with his self-confessed spirit animal: the sea turtle.

Saskia Smuts TravelBud

Saskia Smuts

Support Manager



Saskia Smuts

Support Manager

QUALIFICATIONS
  • Accredited TEFL/TESOL Certification
  • Studying towards a Bachelor of Education (BEd) through the University of South Africa

Saskia Smuts TravelBud

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!



Stu Brown

Managing Director

QUALIFICATIONS
  • Accredited TEFL/TESOL certification
  • Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Social Dynamics from Stellenbosch University

Stu Brown TravelBud

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.

Liam Kelly TravelBud

Liam Kelly

Founder



Liam Kelly

Founder

QUALIFICATIONS
  • Accredited TEFL/TESOL certification
  • Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Brand Communication from the AAA School of Advertising in Cape Town

Liam Kelly TravelBud

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.

Tristan Owen TravelBud

Tristan Owen

Systems Manager



Tristan Owen

Systems Manager

QUALIFICATIONS
  • Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Media Production from the University of Cape Town
  • Postgraduate Degree in Enterprise Management from the University of Cape Town

Tristan Owen TravelBud

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

Director

QUALIFICATIONS
  • Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Philosophy and Law from the University of Cape Town
  • Bachelor of Laws (LLB) from the University of Cape Town
  • Master of Laws (LLM) from King's College London

Luke Kelly TravelBud

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.

TravelBud was founded in 2012 and has grown to offer an incredible range of teach programs; from popular destinations like Thailand and South Korea, to 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 Year End Party 2018
Stu Brown MD of TravelBud at NAFSA 2018
TravelBud's Enrollment Team
TravelBud Staff Hiking Lions Head in Cape Town South Africa
TravelBud Year End Function
TravelBud Staff Lunch Meeting
Benji, TravelBud's resident doggo
TravelBud's giftpack to students
Our headquarters are in Cape Town and we have satellite offices in Asia with remote staff who collaborate efficiently from all over the world. Between us, we cover 2 continents, 3 nationalities, 5 languages, 4 cats and 5 dogs.

What makes us different to other teach English 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.

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.
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Responsible

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

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 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.
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Pre-departure support

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

Ready to get started?

Contact us and we’ll discuss your options

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