image of Patrizio - tour director

The life of a Tour Director:

A Q&A with Patrizio

Why travel with EF? Because you’ll get to meet people like Patrizio P., one of our Tour Directors, who gets to travel all around Europe for a living.

When you go on one of our 250+ tours, you’re more than likely to meet some incredible people along the way. Tour Directors are with you from the second you arrive in your first city and stay with you until you’re at the airport heading home. In between, they’re there to facilitate a lot of walking and sightseeing tours, tell you fun facts about your location, and help out with logistics. They’re basically teachers at heart.

If you’re travelling to Europe, you might meet Patrizio—or one of our other expert staff members. We caught up with him to find out just what makes Tour Directors so special (and trust us, they’re special).

Image of Patrizio with two students

Thanks for chatting with us, Patrizio! So, tell us a bit about your background. Patrizio:

I’m Italian, born and raised in Rome, although I left when I was 19 years old. Since then, I travelled around Europe and lived in the Netherlands and Spain. I studied at university when I was young, but I didn’t feel it was right for me at the time. I decided to take some time off to try to understand myself and what my limits were. In the last few years, in Asia, I took a language course in Chinese. I’m back to university [in Italy], finishing my bachelor’s degree in International Relations. I’ve been working with EF for about seven years.

What exactly does a Tour Director do?

Tour Directors are usually the first ones to wake up and the last ones to go to sleep. We are the face of the company, and [people] always think we do everything by ourselves. That is not true. A successful Tour Director has to have someone that backs him up. For me, it’s all about the people working in my regional office [in Rome]. Also, the people working in Zurich—the headquarters in Europe—who make all the reservations. The Tour Director is the person that puts all those reservations into one day and tries to make it work. Then we spend time with travellers. I run mostly educational tours with high schools. Those tours are fast-paced and there are a lot of activities each day.

How do you bring classroom learning to life for students on tour?

Usually, it’s easy to bring places to life, because especially in countries that are old, they have a lot of stories. Most of the time, I use a story to teach them something different. It might be something about history or culture, but also something that I find interesting. It might be—hopefully—a life lesson, but I like to mix both. I think all Tour Directors love travelling. We’re all very excited about it, even after many years. I still feel excited as a baby when I see the Eiffel Tower.

image of group of students in Paris

Image caption: Patrizio guiding Canadian students on tour in Paris.

Where are some of your favourite places to visit on tour?

It’s a great pleasure to take [travellers] around my hometown of Rome, then also a little bit of southern Italy, because it’s very pretty. The French Riviera is beautiful, especially in summer. In March or April, I enjoy Switzerland. We have beautiful views of the mountains and you can still see the snow tops.

As a Tour Director, why do you think it matters what you do for students?

I like to keep in touch with them. Some of them even decided to come to Europe for university [and told me] “It’s because you showed us here and I just fell in love.” The tours really help them know more about themselves, more about what they’re capable of, what they like or don’t like. Why is it important? I guess because we are human beings. Human beings are curious creatures. We need to have a purpose, a goal to reach. To reach this goal, you need to ask yourself a lot of questions and try to get those answers. I think these trips help them at least ask those questions.

Topic: Tour Director Story

Here’s where the fun begins.

Just like our experienced Tours Directors in locations, our Tour Consultants here on home turf have the knowledge and expertise to create life-changing experiences for you and your students. It all starts with you.

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