The launch of TheRealAbroad.com this week will equip future study-abroad par-ticipants with an all-new guide to traveling that is sure to have travel guide distributors running back to the drawing board.
The brainchild of Jack Henley ’12, The Real Abroad promises to revitalize the study abroad experience for students who are sick of having to depend on past study group participants to point them in the right direction in terms of sites to see, restaurants to visit, nightlife to indulge in and much, much more. Instead, all this information will be in one large database right at your fingertips. Run by students and for students, The Real Abroad is one of the only travel sites of its kind, where student users can rate, review and com-ment on their favorite places to eat, drink and have fun while abroad.
Developed in the fall of 2010, Hen-ley, along with Steve Carey ’12 and El-lie Schmidt ’12, got the idea for The Real Abroad while studying in Prague for the semester. They found that there was no real solid source of informa-tion for student travelers of the 18 to 25-year-old demographic. They realized that the best source of information for things to do and see was from students who had traveled there before. While passing along one giant document with this advice, Henley, Schmidt and Carey decided to take the premise for the idea and run with it.
The Real Abroad, now a solo project, really came to life while Henley took part in Colgate’s Thought Into Action (TIA) Institute, a program where students with original ideas can be paired with alumni or parent mentors with entrepreneurial experience who then guide students along the path toward making those ideas reali-ties. Henley credits his mentors at TIA, Andy Greenfield ’74, Dan O’Sullivan and Wills Hapworth ’07, for encouraging him and being invaluable in their support and advice with the project.
While Henley is set to officially launch the site this week, it certainly has not come easily. As much as there are perks to being one’s own boss, he has had to learn to discipline himself to always be up by a certain time and to commit to working, at minimum, five days a week at building the site. Additionally, he had to push back his original September 1 launch date due to glitches with developers.
“If I could go back in time, I definitely would have majored or minored in com-puter science while at Colgate. If you’re involved in business at all, you’re prob-ably going to be dealing with a website and it helps to know what you’re talking about not only so that you’re not taken advantage of, but it helps when commu-nicating with those who are helping to develop the website,” Henley said.
Henley’s advice for aspiring entrepre-neurs is to find what you are passionate about and run with it.
“Take advantage of being a year out of college and, if you have an idea that you can see being implemented well, run with it,” Henley said. “And, if all doesn’t work out, you don’t really lose that much by joining the job market a year later.”
Contact Michellee Nelson at [email protected]