About Us


International Education and Meaningful Travel (IEMT) are the founding pillars of Voy.  Whether you or your students are going abroad to study, work, volunteer, or simply expand horizons during an educational gap year or spring break, Voy is a valuable source of relevant travel information based on real first-hand student experiences.  A site for travel-enthusiasts, especially students and their mentors, Voy is your one-stop-shop for useful tips, advice, websites, and the latest news relevant to help make the prospect of your next trip abroad, for whatever the reason, all the less challenging.  Voy also provides a chance for people who are interested in study abroad opportunities to ask questions, seek advice, and discuss their concerns and excitement with others who are in the same position as them via the discussion forums.  Please help us make this site as useful and engaging as possible by contacting the administrator with your suggestions via the Contact link.

We look forward to hearing from you and being your travel partner!

Welcome abroad.




Writers, Photographers, Travelers



Founded in 2015, "Voyage" started as a group project in an International Education graduate program at Florida International University in Miami, Florida.  Once live on the internet, Voyage quickly attracted a lot of attention from students around the country interested in educational opportunities abroad.  We also began to receive inquiries from students all over the world interested in studying in the United States.

Voyage then became "Voy," playing on the Spanish word for "I'm going..." (Voy abroad!), while at the same time utilizing the new domain Voy.gs as a homage to its the original name.

As more questions and topics poured in from around the world and Voy responded by publishing more and more articles to address them, the "project" quickly morphed into a valuable online resource full of information helping students organize and plan international educational opportunities.

Now, Voy regularly publishes informative and engaging pieces written by students, for students covering a wide range of topics related to international education and meaningful travel.

Voy offers valuable internships in creative writing, marketing, social media, and other related fields to college students all over the world, providing professional development experience and serving as a platform for students to learn from other students who have faced the same concerns and challenges around study, or more general travel, abroad.


Voy is here to connect the world through study abroad, international education, and meaningful travel.

Students often give up on the idea of going abroad for countless reasons, often dismissing the notion as nothing more than a dream. International education, however, has proven to have a major impact on student's lives, both personally and professionally. Therefore, our mission is to alleviate common concerns and frustrations students may have leading up to, and during, educational and professional sojourns abroad to make the dream of world travel into a viable reality.


To increase the number of students participating in international educational and professional opportunities and help reach industry goals of doubling the number of students going abroad by 2020, while also making international students feel welcomed here at home.


The current goal of Voy for the upcoming 2017-2018 academic year is to enable students to participate in high-quality study or volunteer programs abroad by awarding several micro-scholarships to students demonstrating high financial need and academic promise.



Paul Downey

Founder & Chief Executive Officer

Paul Joseph Downey is a graduate of both The Ohio State University with bachelor degrees in Spanish and International Studies, and Florida International University with a Master of Science in International Education.  Born in Columbus, Ohio, and currently residing in Washington, DC, he also considers South Korea, Miami, Madrid, Paris, and Buenos Aires all very dear to his heart.


William-Jose Velez Gonzalez

Chief Operations Officer

William-José Vélez González is a graduate from Florida International University in Engineering Management and Biomedical Engineering with a minor in International Relations. Born in Mayaguez, Puerto Rico, he lives in Washington, DC and has been to Mexico, Belize, Honduras, Cayman Islands, Korea, Japan, Hong Kong and Macau.


Debora Aberastury

Assistant Editor

Debora Aberastury graduated from Webster University with a B.A. in International Relations, and is a current M.A. candidate in International Relations at Webster Vienna Private University. She studied abroad in England and Greece.

Libby You is a Senior at the University of Texas at Austin majoring in International Relations & Global Studies and Asian Cultures & Languages with a specification in Korean and a minor in European Studies. Coming from a small town in Texas, she was always curious in the vast world that lay in the horizon. The trips to visit family in Malaysia and Singapore every few years were a welcome adventure, but never enough to satiate her curiosity. This curiosity developed her passion of learning about different cultures and different languages. In the spring semester of 2016, Libby studied abroad in Seoul where she fell deeper in love with travelling abroad. After graduating in the spring of 2017, she hopes to continue her adventures with a trip through Europe and getting a job either teaching English abroad or one that will allow her to continue learning and interacting with the world.

Ebonie Ellison ‘17 comes from Hartford, Connecticut where she graduated from Middletown high school. Ebonie was the captain of the basketball team where she won honorable mentions at the region and state level. At Arizona State University, Ebonie plans to pursue a degree in history with a concentration in American history and a minor in African American Studies. She is also apart of the student run newspaper the polytech while volunteering as a reading tutor for FLOC. After graduation Ebonie plans to pursue her Master’s in English.

Evan is a guy who needed to go to Japan to really know what he wanted to do with his life.  There, Evan was able to learn Japanese.  As a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, he was forced to speak Japanese on a daily basis.  Not only that, but he was forced to learn Portuguese, which was a very big surprise, and forced to use the Spanish he knew.  That was when it him that he loved languages and would love to spend the rest of his life learning them.  He is currently learning Mandarin at Brigham Young University-Idaho and hopes to take on Korean and Cantonese in the future.  His focus is in the field of translation and interpretation.  Through this, he hopes to be able to see more of the world with his wife and future child.

Shardae studied in Valparaiso Chile in the Fall of 2014. She loves encouraging other students to go abroad and helping them find resources to make that dream a reality.

Sharon believes that there is no one as communicative as she (both in English and Chinese). Her capability of efficiently communicating is incredible, thanks to years of working as leader of class and volunteer.

Karina Thadani is a student at Boston College with a passion for writing and travel. In her spare time, Karina often crafts short stories and practices her creative writing skills. She writes articles for her school’s magazine and explores new and unique writing styles in class. She also enjoys indulging in new cultures and cities, and is looking forward to studying abroad in the future. After semesters of college dining hall food, she is especially excited to sample exotic foreign dishes. She hopes to someday travel the world, meet new people, and become integrated in different customs across the globe, all while writing about her experiences in various countries.

Dr. Holly Silvestri has lived and worked in a variety of countries, including France, Spain, Mexico, Paraguay, and others. She studied abroad in high school as well as college and is firmly convinced that working and living abroad has enriched her life tremendously. She is fascinated by what makes people tick and how different cultures approach life.

Marie Terrier is a French exchange student at Georgetown University in Washington DC in the Fall 2016 and Spring 2017 semesters. While her home institution Sciences po Lyon provided classes in all social sciences disciplines, she specialized herself in the United States in history and international relations. When she comes back to France, she is going to start a master’s degree in journalism, as she wants to be a journalist in international relations. Marie is using her year abroad to travel to many places across the US and even in other countries such as Canada and Cuba. She also loves track and field and helping people by given them advice, therefore, she can’t wait to share her own amazing experience!

Cleo Barker is a rising senior at the University of Maine, majoring in International Affairs and Journalism with a minor in Spanish. Embarking on a study abroad adventure to San Sebastián, Spain during the Spring 2016 semester was one of the best decisions of her life, and has fueled a passion for travel and learning about different cultures. She also had the chance to visit France, Ireland, and Italy during her study abroad semester and has made several trips to Canada. During the school year, she works as a copy editor for the university’s student-run newspaper and participates in theater productions. She can’t wait for the next opportunity to travel the world and make new discoveries!

voy_internship_gabrielpacanaGabriel Pacana considers himself to be a freelance writer who is looking to expand my knowledge and skillset in writing, which includes SEO, business writing, technical writing and “untouched” topics. He also has wanderlust, which is why he joined the Voy Internship program. He hopes to know more about travel and living abroad so that when the time comes he will be a happy camper.

Sarah Derrick is a second year  Honors student at Radford University. She is studying journalism and communication studies.

She has a passion for taking day trips to places near by and traveling to new countries! Her favorite thing to do in a place is find a food market and a rock climbing gym!

Asia Hester is a student at the University of Maryland College Park majoring in Multiplatform Journalism and minoring in French Studies. She loves all things international and values the importance cultural knowledge. After her first international trip to Paris, France, she caught the wanderlust bug. Paris only gave her a little taste of traveling abroad. She hasn't had the opportunity study abroad, but after graduating she hopes to join the Teaching Assistant Program in France (TAPIF). By joining the Voy internship program, she hopes to learn all the tips and tricks of traveling. Currently, she's a copy editor for M Magazine, a local fashion and culture magazine focused on the Washington D.C., Maryland, Virginia area. Asia loves creating videos in her spare time and watching YouTube videos about fashion and travel vlogs. Before the end of 2017, her next trip will be to Montreal and Quebec City, Canada.

Voy_Internship_ChristinaVanOtterlooChristina Van Otterloo is a summer intern for Voy. She is pursuing her Bachelor of Arts degree in English and a minor in anthropology at Arizona State University. After graduating she hopes to be a cultural journalist, educating all ages about various cultures and lifestyles both abroad and stateside. She enjoys learning about different cultures, studying languages, and listening to others’ experiences. Born in India, she was adopted into a Dutch family and raised in a Dutch community. Growing up in an ethnically-uniform bubble led her to explore cultural diversity through means such as television shows, video games, and books. College provided more cultural insight through friends and classes, which encouraged her to write for the sake of cultural awareness. Christina has traveled to many different states in America as well as China and Canada abroad. Her pastimes revolve around manga and foreign music. She currently resides in Modesto, California.

Tanner KnorrTanner Knorr is a graduate from Boston University for both his Bachelor's in Archaeology and Master's in Administrative Studies, concentrating in Economic Development and Tourism Management.  He has been to 11 countries and guarantees there will be many more to come.  After visiting Santorini and Menorca in 2010, he noticed differences between the tourism products on both islands.  This experience made him want to learn more about tourism and work towards positive change for all stakeholders in the industry.  He looks forward to sharing his stories of traveling and studying abroad, as well as discussing various topics relevant to the tourism industry today.

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Aysu Sengunler graduated from Istanbul Bilgi University with a degree in Media and Communication Systems. She spent a year studying abroad in Jönköping, Sweden from 2014 to 2015. She has visited Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Estonia, Spain, Germany and the United States. Now, Asia is at the top of her bucket list and she is dying to go and discover it as soon as possible.

Claire Mapletoft has been unable to deny her love of travel since she discovered that it is a crucial part of being a Sagittarius. This passion has been encouraged by her inescapable joy upon discovering new foods and wines of the world. Traveling became more than a dream when Claire was lucky enough to participate in a study abroad program in both France and Germany, which led her to ultimately study her teaching qualification in Prague. Claire has also lived and worked in both Spain and China, has been published in magazines such as Fringe and Edge, and was accepted to the prestigious Faber Academy. She is currently working on a novel inspired by her love of Asia and the travel experiences she witnessed there. Claire is a graduate of the university of Edinburgh where she holds a Master's in 20th Century American Literature and a Bachelors in English Literature and History. She was born in Nottingham, England and forever a Midlands girl at heart.

image1Emily Maulding is a sophomore English and Spanish double major at the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor in Belton, Texas. She went on her first mission trip to Guatemala in 2012 and has returned three more times since then. She is spending the summer of 2015 studying abroad in San José, Costa Rica. For her, this experience is developing quite a love for Central America! The Latin American culture has taught her important life lessons about humility, the importance of family, and of course, how wonderful traditional food can be! Her poetry has been published in The Baylorian, the yearly publication of the English department at her university. When she is not in class, Emily enjoys a hot cup of tea, reading, knitting, and listening to live music in her hometown of Austin, Texas.

11304154_10103475382327984_943932313_nErin Swift is a travel enthusiast and educator whose personal case of wanderlust began while studying abroad in Quito, Ecuador and Rosario, Argentina. Since then, she has eaten and belly-laughed her way through 10 countries and 3 continents, and doesn’t plan on stopping any time soon. Erin has worked as an English teacher in Madrid, Spain, as well as a Spanish teacher, translator, and interpreter in the United States.

James Ciambor is a writer with a passion for many things, but most of all he has a strong interest in travel. He is currently in pursuit of his bachelor’s degree at SUNY Oswego in Mass Communications, and has written for a variety of publications. Recent articles include work for The Rochester Insomniac and Knuckle Down Lacrosse. He currently hold an associate degree in Television Communications from Monroe Community College, where he graduated with distinction and made the Dean’s list several times. At Monroe he worked on student newspaper The Monroe Doctrine. He is fascinated with different cultures, their customs, and their history, and loves writing about them. He is very excited to share his travel stories and advice with the Voy community.

Kelsey Tharp recently graduated from Indiana University and received a B.A. in English. During her last semester at IU, she studied abroad in Adelaide, Australia and desperately wants to return some day. She has a passion for travel and encourages everyone to take the opportunity to live in another country! She has been previously published in Inside Indiana University Bloomington, IU's Physical Plant Perspective newsletter and the Wine, Spirits and Beer Advocate blog. Outside of writing, she is an avid reader and chef.

11295637_10206229813847354_5862107752772829034_nLizzy Spock is a current senior at the Pennsylvania State University double majoring in art history and journalism. In the spring of 2015, she spent the best four months of her life studying in Aix-en-Provence, France. She has always had a passion for traveling and examining cultures outside of her own, so the opportunity to live with a family in a foreign country made it easy to experience first-hand the way the locals really live. Not only was she able to make herself at home in a new environment, but also spend her free time traveling around Europe- to over nine different countries! Through this experience, she learned about life, culture, and how our perspectives change as we move throughout the world. She holds these rich experiences with her as she continues to explore the world, and is so excited to share everything she's learned!

MattThomasMatt Thomas recently graduated from Roberts Wesleyan College in Rochester, NY with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communication and Spanish. He studied abroad in Ávila, Spain during his sophomore year of college, igniting a passion for travel, culture, and language. In addition to traveling (and falling for) Spain, he traveled to four other European countries and spent some time in Africa. Since returning from Europe, he has also taught English to international students studying in the United States. A native of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Matt enjoys conversation, community, and iced coffee.

Sarah Brown is a current senior at Tufts University studying English and Child Development. An avid traveler and writer, she spent an incredible semester in Copenhagen, Denmark in the spring of 2015 studying the Danish education system, learning Danish, making lifelong friends, traveling to 10 different countries, and embracing a European lifestyle. She dreadfully misses her bicycle, the rye bread, the sound of the Danish language, and dressing head to toe in black every day of the year. Sarah also speaks French (even to those who have no clue what she is saying), and has traveled to France several times through exchange, language, and study abroad programs in quest of the best chocolate croissant - and to perfect her French. As someone who embraces adventure, getting “intentionally” lost in new places, and meeting new people, she is very excited to be joining the Voy team. After working in the Copenhagen International School this past spring, she hopes to pursue teaching abroad in international schools. Bucket list destinations include: Thailand, New Zealand, Croatia, and Peru.

Jennifer NievesJennifer Nieves was a Collegiate Correspondent at Voy.

Sabella ScaliseSabella Scalise is a Collegiate Correspondent at Voy.

Voy_Internship_KelseyBoeshoreKelsey Boeshore is from New York and graduated from Marist College in 2015 with a degree in Spanish and minors in Global Studies, Latin American/Caribbean Studies, and Social Work and she hopes to eventually pursue a master's in International Education.  Currently, she is a Fulbright ETA in Colombia and will be living in Bogota, Colombia, for the foreseeable future. Kelsey studied abroad her junior year in Seville, Spain, where she got a CELTA English teaching certificate, and Havana, Cuba.  She also took a gap year in 2010 and was a Rotary exchange student in Portoviejo, Ecuador, for 11 months before going to college. 

Voy_Internship_TaraBoeshoreTara Boeshore is from Westhampton, NY, and just recently graduated from Marist College. She was a double major in Spanish and Communications (concentration in public relations) and minored in Latin American/Caribbean studies. She studied abroad in Havana, Cuba for four months during the spring semester of her sophomore year, and then a few months later in Seville, Spain during the fall of her junior year. This September, she is moving to Bogota, Colombia with her sister, where she will be taking a CELTA course to get certified in teaching English and she will eventually teach English there for about a year or so. Tara truly has a passion for travel and study abroad and loves sharing her experiences with others.

cv photoCaitlin Fournier is a native of Stafford, VA who graduated in 2012 from Ferrum College with a B.A. in Spanish and minor in International Studies. She currently lives with her slightly overweight black cat, Lucie, in Madrid, Spain where she is studying a Masters in International Education at the Universidad de Alcalá and working as an English Language Assistant. Her passion for traveling sparked in 2004 when she traversed the globe on her first international flight to Beijing, China, where she helped at an orphanage for several weeks. Since then she has wandered her way to 16 countries around the world including a semester in Seville, Spain where she fell head over heels in love with Spain and the Spanish language. In her free time, Caitlin enjoys reading books, experimenting new recipes in the kitchen, playing soccer, and running long distance races. Currently at the top of her travel list are India and Brazil.

Voy_Internship_DanielleWilkinsonDanielle is a junior at Purdue University studying mass communication. Being aware of the world we live in is something that’s very important to her family and because of that, they have traveled to over 10 countries since she was born. She studied abroad in Barcelona Summer 2015 and is planning to study abroad in London in Spring 2017. Danielle is originally from Atlanta, Georgia so she knows all about sweet tea, southern hospitality, and temperatures 75 degrees and above. She loves traveling because "it gives you a chance to be a different kind of you. You can let loose, explore, and have fun, all while discovering new parts of the world and of yourself" and she thinks that’s incredible. When she is not traveling, you can either find her at home writing while enjoying a cup of chai tea, binge watching shows on Netflix, or hanging out with friends.

Study Abroad 101