Kate GerdesDirector of Marketing & Operations

    Q&A With Marketing & Campus Relations Team Member: Kate

    Q: What do you do at BCA Study Abroad? What is your favorite part of your job?

    A: One of my primary responsibilities is to work with the BCA marketing team to ensure that we are helping students realize their dream of studying abroad. I also support the custom programs team with their work and work closely with the executive director, director of programs and director of finance in lots of different areas. I love that my work is so varied and I always have something new to learn.


    Q: What is your favorite travel memory?

    A: I have been privileged enough to have amazing travel experiences with family and friends in the United States and in many countries throughout the world. It’s challenging to choose just one experience! One of my favorite memories is when my husband and I traveled to Ecuador. It was his first time out of the country and he was a bit nervous. The very first person we met in Ecuador had been an international student at the local college where we live, so my husband quickly became comfortable and suddenly had a true appreciation for the phrase “it’s a small world!”


    Q: What is one piece of advice you would give a student thinking about studying abroad?

    A: I usually tell students to really think about the type of experience they want to have and their goals for their time abroad and then make sure to research and find a program that fits those goals. I also challenge them to work every day to meet their goals. Cultural immersion doesn’t just happen. You have to take the initiative and put yourself out there if you really want to learn and grow.


    Q: Do you have any pets?

    A: I am a full-fledged crazy dog mom to Lucy (a puggle) and Lulu (a cockapoo).


    Q: Did you study abroad?! If so, where and what inspired you to study abroad?

    A: Yes!  I spent one semester studying in Hamilton, New Zealand and one semester studying in Perugia, Italy. My grandfather and parents instilled in me a love of learning and adventure, but they did not have the opportunity to go to four-year college, study abroad or travel outside of the U.S. & Canada. I wanted to make sure that I took full advantage of all of the benefits my college offered so I studied abroad twice!


    Q: What is your favorite ice cream flavor?

    A: Chocolate hazelnut.


    Q: What do you like to do in your free time?

    A: I love spending time with my husband and our dogs hiking and visiting new places together. I also like gardening, cooking, baking, reading, binge watching docuseries, and hanging out with my family and friends.


    Q: Before you travel to a new place what research do you do to learn about the host community, local cultures or the impact of your visit?

    A: Typically, I try to read a little about the history and culture of the location where I am going in the months leading up to my visit. If possible, I also look for an English-language newspaper to learn a bit about what’s going on in the region currently. I also purchase a phrase book to try to learn at least a few phrases of the local language.

    When I travel I prefer to stay in small, locally owned hotels or B&B’s and to visit local shops, art studios and restaurants so that I’m supporting local people rather than large chains.