VoyageHouston, Houston, Texas, February 14, 2018
Today we’d like to introduce you to Hanna Doyle.
So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
I was born and raised in Oulu, Finland. My first experience living in the U.S. was in 1997, when I was a foreign exchange student for one year of high school in Scandia, Minnesota. I enjoyed my time in the U.S. so much that I wanted to come back, so, I returned in 2001 to be an Au Pair for one year in Chicago. In 2006, I moved to Houston and started college at the University of Houston, Conrad N. Hilton College. After graduation in 2009, I worked in the Private Club industry for several years and joined ICES in 2013 as a Local Coordinator. Now I am a Regional Director for Texas and New Mexico. ICES, founded in 1991, as an exchange student organization that brings in students from all over the world to learn and experience life in the U.S. Having seen the benefits of the exchange student program myself, I can say that working with international teens and American families has changed my life for sure. I have a true passion for it and I love giving those kids an opportunity to broaden their horizons in the United States, just like I did back in 1997.
Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
I think the biggest struggle for me was to keep up with all the immigration paperwork and finally getting my U.S. Citizenship in 2015. What a relief it was! However, it took several forms and years to get my citizenship, but now it is all done. On another note, getting used to the Texas weather and Houston traffic took some time as well.
Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about International Cultural Exchange Services – what should we know?
ICES is a non-profit organization, dedicated to promoting a peaceful world by increasing international awareness and understanding through cultural sharing experiences. As the global community we live in becomes increasingly interdependent and subject to change, today’s young people will face numerous challenges on the journey to becoming tomorrow’s leaders. We believe the foreign student exchange experience helps young people of all nationalities embrace those challenges and discover new opportunities that will help them dream and achieve more than they ever thought possible. ICES is a leader in the field of youth exchange. My main role as a Regional Director, is to recruit and train new local coordinators, obtain placements within Texas and New Mexico, ensure that all paperwork related to student placements are accurate and compliant.
Any shoutouts? Who else deserves credit in this story – who has played a meaningful role?
ICES Texas team would not be this successful if we did not have our loving host families and wonderful foreign exchange students. A huge credit also goes out to our Local Coordinators who are on call 24/7 and have never let me down. Go, team Texas!