For Rikki K., travel and family go hand in hand. Rikki has been traveling with EF for the past 20 years, but has only been going as a Group Leader for the last five. Prior to that, she was introduced to EF through the tours that her dad, Bryan, was leading. And before that, her grandmother led tours with EF as well. Inside their family, there’s been an incredible chain reaction of travel.
Her dad has led over 30 trips, and that’s what inspired Rikki to lead her own educational tours. “I am a firm believer that you can’t speak about the world around you unless you’ve seen the world around you,” Rikki reflects. “I don’t claim to know everything about the world, but I know that my perspectives, my beliefs, and my core values have been shaped and constantly changed because of my experiences with travel.”
Rikki is more than happy to follow in her dad’s footsteps. The father-daughter duo has a good deal of friendly competition regarding their Group Leader roles—whether it’s who has been to a certain country, if they’ve tried a certain treat, or who’s traveling next. They even led an EF tour to China together. “It was half his kids and half my kids. It was one of my favorite things I’ve ever done. He’s never seen me in the teacher role,” explains Rikki. “He always says it was the moment he was his proudest.”
Though Rikki has some catching up to do, she’s quickly closing in on her dad’s incredible milestones as an EF Group Leader. Rikki may be at just the beginning of her own legacy, but she’s already been able to use some of her Global Rewards points towards transformative travel. She was able to experience a Service Learning tour in the Dominican Republic with other educators. The DR was a place she had never been, and as Spanish teacher she could expand her knowledge of different dialects to pass on to her students. However, it quickly became more than just a travel opportunity, and her Service Learning tour showed Rikki a side of EF she hadn’t experienced before. “My favorite part about every trip is just interacting with the locals. But [being able] to see an immediate change for the better was one of the most impactful things.”
Not only did the tour’s service components make an impression on Rikki, the experience of traveling with fellow teachers blew her away, too. “The group 100% made the trip what it was,” Rikki says. “I still talk to quite a few of the teachers.” She gained helpful insights from her fellow travelers, explored the magic of visiting a country for the first time, and left feeling like they had made a tangible impact. “We were directly helping to change and positively affect the community that we were traveling through. That was one of the big things that drew me to the trip, as well as just how different it was from tours that I’ve done before.”
Rikki’s thankful she was able to use her Global Points toward her travel opportunity in the DR, because it’s sparked her interest in returning there with her students. Plus, it’s motivated her to continue accruing points to use in the future. “For me personally, [the program] has been able to fit into my very specific needs and wants, and that’s really important. It’s very flexible and that makes it more appealing to want to plan more trips, and bring more students.”
Above all, Rikki’s travel gene is a strong one—and, by seeing the world through EF in various ways, it’s allowing her to slowly catch up to all the records set by her dad. It aligns perfectly with her passion for bringing more students out into the world, and her goal of continuing the chain reaction of travel that’s so alive within her own family. “For me, if I can share my experiences with even one student and then have this tradition have the same impact on them, I’m good.”