Employee Spotlight: Elizabeth Kelleher

1. What is your name and job title?

Elizabeth Kelleher, Residential Manager for the Washington DC metro area


2. When did you start working at gphomestay?

September, 2014


3. Where have you traveled to outside of the United States?

I’ve traveled to Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Spain, France, Holland, Austria, Italy, and China


4. What other languages do you speak? 

I speak English and Spanish


5. Please describe a time when you experienced culture shock in a funny way.

Showers in Costa Rica are heated by electric water heaters located on top of the shower. One day the water heater on my shower caught on fire. I had to find a way to get out of the glass door shower while turning off the water to shut off the oxygen that was fueling the fire at the same time. When I told my Costa Rican friends about this later they said that this was something that happened from time to time and they even had a local word to describe when it happened. That’s nothing that I had ever experienced in the US and there’s nothing that I could do but laugh about it later!


6. What’s something about American culture that you have found others outside of America find weird?

Americans really love having ice in our drinks! I had never really thought about how ingrained ice is in our culture but I’ve been frequently asked by international students and friends why we drink it with everything—especially when it’s cold outside.. I’m not sure why we Americans love ice so much, but I’ll gladly stand by that tradition!


7. If you could physically transport yourself to any place in the world at this moment, where would you go?

I really love the city of San Sebastian in Spain. To me it has the perfect mix of being a city, having great beaches, and access to the mountains. It is also home to some of the best pintxos (Basque tapas) that one can find! I’d gladly transport to San Sebastian for a few day break!


8. If you could be instantly fluent in one language that you currently do not speak, which would it be?

I would love to be able to speak Arabic. It’s completely different from other languages that I’ve studied before and I have always found the alphabet to be fascinating!


9. Why do you like working in international education?

As our world continues to get more interconnected with increased travel, communications, and multinational businesses it’s important to help young people adapt to new settings and understand different cultures outside of their home cultures. I really enjoy helping students and families bridge the gaps between cultures and believe that in the long run that these micro interactions will have a macro effect in how people interact with one another.


10. What do you think is the greatest benefit of hosting a student?

It’s a great way to open up your world without leaving home! Not everyone has had the opportunity to travel and learn about different parts of the world and this is a wonderful way to learn more about a new culture right at home. Plus, it’s fun seeing your own culture through someone else’s eyes!