Mary Grace von Thron, Campus Carrier deputy news editor
Michaela Lumpert, Campus Carrier news editor
Chris Borda, director of the Office of International Experiences at Berry, resigned from his position at the end of the fall 2020 semester. According to a Dec. 9 Instagram post by Borda, he and his family, which includes his wife and two children, have embarked on a year-long journey exploring the United States in an RV.
In a recent update on Instagram from the International Experience Office, Borda explained that he left Berry to follow the advice he always gives to students, to just travel. He and his family decided that this was the best option for them, and have been spending the past two months travelling through national parks, state parks and RV parks.
Office coordinator for International Experiences, senior Julia Churchill, says this decision to leave was not made lightly by Borda.
“We had several team meetings before he left to go over things,” Churchill said.
According to Churchill, the student workers were surprised, but not shocked at Borda’s decision.
“We were super excited for him and his family because it has been a dream that they’ve had for a long time, so we were all super supportive, but sad, especially the seniors who have known him for so long because he wasn’t going to be here for our last semester,” Churchill said.
Due to Borda’s departure, the International Experiences has begun looking for a new director.
“We’re excited for opportunities to have something new, but we also know that Chris was an amazing boss and mentor and so we know that no one can fill his shoes,” Churchill said. “But we are looking forward to finding somebody else who has maybe a different direction for the office to take.”
Even though the student workers at International Experiences are currently running the program without a boss, Churchill feels that Borda adequately trained them to be able to continue operations without him being there in person.
“He trained us and allowed us work on a lot of the same things that he was working on and oversaw. And since there are three seniors in our office, we all know the work pretty well,” Churchill said.
Churchill also mentioned since there are currently no students studying abroad due to the COVID-19 pandemic, a lot of focus has shifted from helping students plan their study abroad trip to organizing the office and searching for a new director. There has been an overabundance of applicants for this position, mainly people that were laid off from their jobs in the travel industry due to the economic recession fueled by the pandemic.
“So there are a lot of people who are looking for work who have the expertise and the background to fill this role,” Churchill said. “So, we are excited to see some different people who already have experience with helping college students’ study abroad.”
Even though student workers at International Experiences are excited to find a new director, they know that it will be challenging to find someone that meets their expectations after having Borda as their boss.
“He was just always really encouraging. He really encouraged us to have conversations related to work and about things that we cared about,” Churchill said.
Borda is documenting his family’s travels on his Instagram page @travelinglightrv. He left students with advice on travelling on the International Experience Office Instagram.
“Those of us who can’t escape our wanderlust know that the great joys of travel are always mixed up with the curse of having to leave people and places that we love,” Borda said in the caption.