From Alina “The Mind, Heart and Soul of Conexus”

I started my passion for traveling and studying abroad at age five when I left Cuba on the last Red Cross boat in 1963.  I knew zero English and nothing about the United States…little did I know that in losing my country, I gained the world. I grew up speaking Spanish at home, and struggling with English at school. Yet, at the age of 10, my dad insisted that I begin other languages. His passion for his family to learn multiple foreign languages every few years and to travel and study abroad was a life-long mission for him.    

As early as 12, I was helping my dad organize his study abroad trips at the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville. I was his Girl Friday, and also served as the French-English-Spanish interpreter on the trips. Living, studying abroad, and traveling the United States and the world became a normal part of my summer adventures. 

After studying languages abroad in Europe, Asian and Latin America, I became fluent in several languages. For several years, I worked as the Program Director for a major study abroad company managing hundreds of middle/high school, and university students in Spain. The experience was great training, yet I wanted to offer better quality programs with more personalized attention to enhance the students’ experience in a far deeper way. It was obvioius! There was no one better to partner with than my dad. We worked together escorting thousands of students to over 11 countries doing cultural tours and study abroad programs.  

Then came the unexpected death of my father in 2007. My mentor’s absence marked a significant transition in my life. I began a journey of reflection and personal growth in which I found my purpose and life mission. But, it wasn’t until early 2011 that that everything came together… I had been living my purpose through my work yet I had not realized it! It was then that I decided to change the name of the organization to reflect what my father and I so passionately love to do. 

I continue to enjoy guiding study abroad programs, cultural tours and healing journeys all across the world. I love to see how those who engage in the experience change by seeing the world differently. This awareness of connecting with others changes your perspective and I believe that by learning to understand and love one another and our differences, we get closer to creating world peace.  

I get a kick from helping others share their passion. 

Contact me if you wish me guide you in developing your program.

Reach out to me at our Contact Us page!