Educator profile

A family’s teaching & traveling tradition

Rikki K.

Group leader, CO


For Rikki, a high school Spanish teacher from Colorado, travel and family go hand in hand.

Rikki has been traveling with EF for the past 20 years, but she’s only been leading trips as a Group Leader for the last five. Prior to that, she was introduced to EF through the tours led by her dad, Bryan—a Spanish teacher himself for 32 years and counting. And before that, her grandmother, a former middle school teacher, led three tours with EF. Within their family, there’s been an incredible travel tradition passed down from one generation to the next.

Rikki first traveled on one of her dad’s EF tours in 1999 to England, Ireland, and Wales. After that, she went on to join him for 14 more of his tours. “I have a very unique perspective on [educational travel] because I’ve done it since I was nine. I was a daughter, and then a student, and then a chaperone. Now, I’m a teacher traveling,” Rikki reflects. “I have experienced every single level, and I can’t speak more highly of it.”

It all began when Rikki’s grandmother stumbled upon EF completely by accident at an educational conference she was attending. The chance meeting led her to lead EF tours—and those tours would later inspire her son, and future granddaughter, to lead them one day. Including the tour to the UK, Rikki’s father has led over 30 trips with EF—and most times her mom, sister, or grandmother still join, too. “Traveling is quite literally a family affair in our household,” Rikki explains.

Rikki is more than happy to follow her family’s path. 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 in 2019. “It was half his kids and half my kids. It’s one of my favorite things I’ve done in my entire life. He’s never seen me in the teacher role,” explains Rikki. “He always says it was the moment he was his proudest.”

I am a firm believer that you can’t speak about the world unless you’ve seen the world around you.

By leading her own EF tours, Rikki is following in the footsteps of the family who inspired her in the first place. 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 getting started, but she’s already been able to use some of her Global Rewards points towards more travel opportunities with EF. 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 before, and the trip gave her, as a Spanish teacher, the opportunity to expand her knowledge of different dialects—knowledge she’s been able to pass along to her students. That particular travel experience also 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.”

Left: Rikki, Brian, and Rikki's sister on their EF tour in Peru. Right: Thirteen years after taking her first EF tour in Peru with her dad, Rikki brought her own group of students.

Not only did the tour’s service components make an impression on Rikki, the experience of traveling with fellow teacher-travelers blew her away, too—gaining helpful insights and forming lasting friendships. And, her travel opportunity in the DR sparked an interest in potentially returning one day with her students.

Thanks to Rikki’s grandmother and dad paving the way, a passion for bringing more students out into the world was passed down from one generation to the next. “I am a firm believer that you can’t speak about the world around you unless you’ve seen the world around you,” Rikki says. “My perspectives, beliefs, and core values have been shaped and constantly changed because of my experiences with travel. If I can share my experiences with even one student and have this tradition have the same impact on them, I’m good.”

Numbers that speak louder than words

Rikki and her whole family have impacted the lives of so many students. And with lots of travel on the horizon, there are even more incredible experiences to come.

1240+ Student lives changed

41 EF tours led

12 Training tours joined

8 Upcoming tours planned

Kate Nolan

Kate is a Content Creator at EF. She’s loves searching for the perfect playlist, being outdoors, and enjoying the views from the window seat.

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