Simon was born in Bogota, Colombia and was raised in Detroit, Michigan. He's been working in the International Education/Meaningful Travel field for over 10 years. After graduating from the University of Montana with a degree in Rural and Environmental Sociology, he found himself volunteering internationally in Trujillo, Peru. He credits this experience as the springboard into the world of International Education and Meaningful Travel.
After his volunteer experience, Simon stayed for over a year in Peru and worked as an ESL teacher at a large institution with the mission of promoting cultural ties between Peru and North America. Simon then returned to the United States but quickly found himself back in Peru co-leading service adventure trips for high school and university-aged students. Upon his return to the U.S. he landed in Denver, Colorado, teaching at an International non-profit university as an ESL teacher.
Simon's most recent position is as Director of Customized Academic Programs with The Colombian Project, based in Cali, Colombia. Simon is based in the United States and works with institutions of higher education to develop and facilitate short-term, faculty-led programs to Colombia. Previously he was In-Country Director/Volunteer Coordinator for a U.K. based responsible travel company. The organization, Kaya Responsible Travel, provided internships and volunteer experiences for international travelers in Cusco and the surrounding Sacred Valley of Peru. Simon worked closely with the programs manager in the U.K. to place volunteers with local organizations in the areas of social work, community development, micro-finance and environmental conservation. He is currently developing short term faculty-led and service-learning programs for students in the Unites States to travel to Colombia.
"The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others."
- Mahatma Gandhi
"I never teach my pupils. I only attempt to provide the conditions in which they can learn."
- aLBERT EINSTEIN
Personal Mission Statement
I aim to help students experience meaningful, thought-provoking travel experiences by developing and facilitating short-term, faculty-led programs to Colombia.
The Colombian Project
Director of Customized Academic Programs, New York City, Cali, Colombia
We work with institutions of higher education in developing unmatched short-term programs abroad in Colombia. We are experts with regards to Colombia and will coordinate all logistics while even more importantly serving as a partner in the true sense of the word with faculty, departments and staff, empowering them to develop and subsequently experience the best possible program abroad. Whether you've devoted your entire academic career or have just started your body of research on Colombia, we'll leverage off of that to develop a customized academic program/course; that will serve after the in-country experience and be able to be integrated into your curriculum once back on campus. Allow us to facilitate and in turn, Colombia, to serve as your extended experiential classroom.
Kaya Responsible Travel
In-Country Director/Volunteer Coordinator, Cusco, Perú
Served as the Country Director and Volunteer Coordinator for U.K. based responsible travel company.
• Designed, organized and managed a volunteer and internship abroad program.
• Created strong relationships with local grass-root, governmental and welfare organizations, cultural institutions, professionals and scholars.
• Led weekly meetings with volunteers and interns for general feedback and cultural differences discussions.
• Coordinated with and reported to program director in Fort Collins, Colorado and Manchester, England HQ for volunteers and interns assignments, pre, during, and post assignments.
Networking, credibility and accountability were the name of the game. Cusco, Perú presented its own set of unique challenges with regards to meaningful travel. Brimming with up to 180 different NGO's, the challenge therein lied with establishing Kaya and myself, serving as an extension of Kaya in the arguably overly saturated realm of international volunteering. During my time with Kaya, through countless hours, visits, correspondences and follow-ups, I secured two new partnerships with on the ground organizations which led to three new, distinct projects, ranging from innovative agriculture to working with young mothers and their infant children.
Visions Service Adventures
Site Leader, Urubamba, Perú, Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic
Colorado Heights University (formerly Teikyo Loretto Heights University)
English as a Second Language ESL Teacher, Denver Colorado
El Centro Peruano Americano
English as a Second Language ESL Teacher, Trujillo, Perú
SIT Graduate Institute
Graduate courses in Intercultural Service, Leadership and Management.
Focus on social entrepreneurship and sustainable development.
The University of Montana
Bachelor of Arts in Sociology.
Emphasis in rural and environmental Sociology.
School for International Training
Rennert Bilingual Center, New York, New York