Tour Director spotlight: Dave Poulin

Shining a spotlight on one of EF’s top-rated Tour Directors

Travelling with Dave Poulin is an experience in and of itself. Born and raised just outside Montréal, he’s always been fascinated with history and travel. In 2010, Dave joined the EF crew, and in 2015, he became a full-time Tour Director. Since then, he’s been guiding travellers across Québec, Canada, and all over the world—and we think he’s really good at it. Not only is he an endless fountain of fascinating facts, but he brings out the best in everyone, making travellers feel included on every tour.

We sat down with Dave to learn why his role is so important on tour, and how his work impacts students.

Tour Directors celebrate learning in unlikely places!

What exactly does a Tour Director do?

Tour Directors wear many hats, but our key role is taking care of logistics and ensuring that the tour flows and is a positive, safe learning experience. We provide additional commentary and information, as well as that local flavour or experience that a traveller is looking for.

When students go beyond the classroom it brings education to life.

How do you help bring learning to life on your tours?

It’s not just about learning history or seeing sights, but there’s also personal learning and growth. These are educational tours. What is education? It’s not just curriculum material. It’s education in upbringing, life skills, and so much more than knowledge of a textbook sort.

The safety of your group is EF’s biggest priority. No matter the situation, we have the experience and presence to take care of it.

What impact does travelling have on students?

It doesn’t have to be a crazy breakthrough, but sometimes you can tell that [some students] are really out of their element. When you see a willingness to try a food, or they say, “That’s cool, I want to come back to Europe,” or they get interested in my job—this is the tiniest spark that I try to ignite.

In Montréal, I saw this one [former] student downtown who recognized me and told me, “I’m a student of history at McGill.
I was totally inspired by the tour and that’s partly thanks to you.” Sometimes there’s actual evidence that comes back. That’s very rewarding.

Unlocking new potential by travelling, opens a world of possibilities.

Why is it so important for you to see students change on tour?

I’m fortunate that I grew up in a family that loved to travel. I’m a firm believer that travel can set [people] on a course they would’ve never considered or accessed. Even within the course of two days, sometimes I see a student that has come out of their shell. I hear from the Group Leaders or chaperones, “This kid has not said a word all year.” Travel, whichever way it takes you, cannot leave you unchanged. There’s absolutely no way.

Feeling inspired yet?

Give your students the opportunity of travel.

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