During my undergraduate studies, where I finished with a B.A. in French and Psychology - everyone assumed that I would teach French for my career. I come from a family of teachers so I have nothing against the career - but I 1) don't consider myself masterful enough to be able to teach someone else the language and 2) it wasn't what I wanted to do.
Upon graduating and moving back to the U.S. from France, my childhood best friend was working for an international, educational travel company and suggested I apply for a job. Having never previously heard of this industry sector, I did and thus began a professionally and personally fulfilling career.
The educational travel industry is relatively small but the jobs available in marketing, sales/clients services and operations allow for international travel and a fun, fast-paced job - most positions require language skills and extensive overseas experience. Therefore, these companies are filled with like-minded people who have travelled the world and want to offer that life-changing opportunity to others. The industry is largely Boston-based and some firms have satellite offices throughout the U.S.
ACIS (American Council for International Studies) - www.acis.com
ACIS is the company for whom I worked and is the best in the industry. ACIS offers high-quality, educational travel programs to students (high school and university mainly) from a company that cares and it shows. ACIS is a subsidiary of AIFS (UK based non-profit that organizes study abroad)
EF Educational Tours - www.eftours.com
EF is the largest firm in the industry yet sells itself as a budget travel company for students. EF has many divisions and subsidiaries and includes study abroad, au pair programs et al. EF is a Swedish company at origin and its HQ in Boston is impressive.
CHA - www.cha-tours.com
NETC - www.educationaltravel.com
AAA (Academic Arrangements Abroad) - www.arrangementsabroad.com
AAA is NYC-based.
Post 9/11, this industry suffered and several smaller firms were acquired by the larger ones. While the industry has changed over the past few years - I recommend this field to anyone who believes in travel as a means to learn about other cultures and connect peoples from all over the world. While not a high-paying industry overall, the perks of travel and a fascinating job position are "priceless".