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Kristina Gallagher, a True Traveler

Photo Courtesy of Kristina Gallagher

Photo Courtesy of Kristina Gallagher

Gerald Olvera, Feature Writer

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Kristina Gallagher always wanted to see new places and people as a young girl, growing up in Ossining, N.Y.

She would travel every day with a handheld GeoSafari laptop and drew inspiration from a friend who also loved to travel, going so far as to plan her entire career around travel and leisure. Gallagher spent her childhood dreaming of places to visit and playing basketball.

While basketball was a part of her life in high school, the Johnson & Wales graduate discovered that the game she loved was conflicting with the career she desired.

“Studying abroad was not encouraged for athletes at my college,” Gallagher said. She chose a field that was based upon seeing the world and graduated with a degree in International Tourism and Hotel Management.

While living abroad in Thailand and Paris, she did some soul searching, and returned to the United States with focus and determination.

Gallagher became the Education Abroad Advisor for Pace University in 2014, after completing her Master’s Degree in Higher Education and Administration from Baruch College.

“I had an epiphany while living in Paris that made me realize I needed to work in education abroad,” Gallagher said. “I needed to help students go through this experience.”

There wasn’t a study abroad program when she arrived at the Pleasantville campus, it was still in a developmental phase. Her position was created to build a foundation for the education abroad program.

“I’ve been working to create a culture for study abroad and international students,” Gallagher said. “I’m passionate about students getting out and having this experience.”

She continues to travel as a requirement for the position and it still is very realistic for her. She keeps the perspective for new students entering this program.

The Study Abroad program is a wonderful privilege and reaching out to students can be difficult. They can get overwhelmed with pressure and stress from school and social media, but Gallagher expresses she sets students up for success.

“I can relate to students,” Gallagher said. “I know what they will go through and will be there for them.” Her first time abroad was not very pleasant. She was stuck in an airport for ten hours and arrived in Greece without her luggage.

She said it was hard being in a country where you don’t speak the language. The culture shock of not having your everyday norms and nuances were really uncomfortable. However, Pace’s abroad leader has visited 23 countries and is ready to see more.

“I have the travel bug, it never left, even when I was pursuing other ventures,” Gallagher said. “I need to keep travel in my life every day!”

 

 

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