We passionately believe in the life-changing power of the teach abroad experience.
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.
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.
- Bachelor of Arts (BA) in International Relations from Stellenbosch University
- Accredited TEFL/TESOL Certification
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!
- 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 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!
- National Diploma in Marketing from the Cape Peninsula University of Technology, Cape Town.
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.
- Accredited TEFL/TESOL Certification
- Studying towards a Bachelor of Education (BEd) through the University of South Africa
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!
- Accredited TEFL/TESOL certification
- Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Social Dynamics from Stellenbosch University
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.
- Accredited TEFL/TESOL certification
- Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Brand Communication from the AAA School of Advertising in Cape Town
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.
- 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 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!
- 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 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.
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.
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.