Our marketing and advertising cookies are non-essential and you can opt out of using them with this tool. Blocking cookies may impact your experience on our website.
These cookies are necessary for our sites to function properly. These cookies secure our forms, support login sessions and remember user dialogue. Because the site does not function without these cookies, opt-out is not available. They are not used for marketing or analytics.
These cookies are used to enhance the relevance of our advertising on social media and to tailor messages relevant to your interests.
These cookies collect anonymous data on how visitors use our site and how our pages perform. We use this information to make the best site possible for our users.
This privacy notice describes how Greenheart International collects, uses, and discloses Personally Identifying Information (also known as “PII”) or Personal Data (collectively “Personal Information”) from and about users of Greenheart International websites. This privacy notice also applies to any associated paper forms. Please read this privacy notice before using Greenheart International websites or submitting any personal information.
These practices may be changed at any time. Changes will be posted along with the date of the change. You should review this privacy notice when you visit Greenheart International websites to make sure that you understand how Personal Information is collected, used, and disclosed.
Why We Collect Information
The Personal Information you provide to us is only used to:
Fulfill your specific request or provide the service or information you requested
Comply with legal requirements and to protect our legal rights
Improve our programs and services
In any other way, if you have provided us with express permission to do so
We may use non-Personal Information for additional reasons described in the remainder of this privacy notice.
If you identify yourself to us by sending us an email with questions or comments, we may retain your comments for future reference.
What Information We Collect
Greenheart collects Personal Information, which is information that on its own or in combination with other information may be used to identify, contact, or locate an individual. Examples include:
Username and password for our websites
Credit card, other payment information and financial and economic information
Social Security number or other government-issued identification number
Social media account names
Passport number or other similar travel-related information, such as a visa
Personal interests, activities, hobbies, etc.
Religious and philosophical affiliation
Gender and/or sex
Date of birth and/or birthday
Country of citizenship
Work and volunteer History
Family information (e.g. names, email, phone numbers)
Photographs and videos
Education information (e.g. school attended, diplomas, transcripts)
Greenheart International collects other information that relates to you but does not identify you. Examples include clickstream data and web-browsing information (such as the date and time you visit a website, whether you click on various advertisements or links and the search terms you enter when using a website), and information about your computer, device and internet connection, and geographic location.
How We Collect Personal Information
We collect Personal Information from you in the following ways:
When you register for one of our websites or submit an inquiry through one of our websites;
When you complete and submit a paper or electronic form associated with Greenheart International;
When you send us an email or use other features of one of our websites to contact or interact with us;
When you contact us by telephone regarding Greenheart International; or
Automatically when you visit Greenheart International websites (n.b., the only Personal Information we automatically collect is your IP address, which is only considered Personal Information in certain circumstances).
Distribution of Information
We may share information gathered by us from Greenheart International websites with governmental agencies or other companies assisting us in providing services to you. We may do so when:
Permitted or required by law;
We apply for or assist you in applying for a visa or other documentation necessary for you to participate in one of our programs;
Interacting with third parties who are involved in, assist in the provision of or are otherwise involved with our programs, products, and services (e.g., host families, travel agencies, schools, U.S. Department of State); or
Trying to protect against, prevent or investigate actual or potential fraud or unauthorized transactions.
Information provided under one of the four preceding bullet points will not be used by those receiving it for marketing purposes, unless specifically authorized by the user.
Third parties who provide webhosting services or other services that make possible the operation of Greenheart International websites and the services you request through the websites may have access to information that you provide us to the extent that those third parties require access to our databases to service the websites.
In connection with the sale or transfer of all or part of our assets, we reserve the right to transfer information we have obtained from or about you.
We are not responsible for any breach of security or for any actions of any third parties that receive information from us.
Transfer of Information
Greenheart International websites are hosted and maintained in the United States of America. Your Personal Information may be transmitted to countries outside of the European Economic Area, including the United States of America. You can obtain details of the mechanism under which your personal data is transferred outside the EU by contacting us. If your Personal Information is transferred outside the European Economic Area to third party service providers, we will take steps to ensure that your Personal Information receives the same level of protection as if it remained within the European Economic Area, including by entering into data transfer agreements using the European Commission approved Standard Contractual Clauses, or by relying on certification schemes such as the EU–US Privacy Shield.
Cookie/Tracking Technology – Use of Non-Personal Information
Greenheart International websites use cookie and tracking technology to collect non-Personal Information. Our system also automatically gathers information about areas you visit on our websites, and about the links you select from within one of our websites to the other areas of the World Wide Web or elsewhere online. We use such information in the aggregate to understand how our users as a group use the services and resources provided on our websites. This way we know which areas of our websites are preferred by our users, which areas need improvement, and what technologies are being used so that we may continually improve our websites. Personal Information cannot be collected via cookies and other tracking technology, however, if you previously provided us with your Personal Information, cookies may be tied to such information. Aggregate cookie and tracking information may be shared with third parties but that aggregate information does not identify individual website users. Our web servers do not record visitor email addresses unless that information is submitted by the visitor. We may determine what technology is available through your browser to provide you with the most appropriate version of a web page. Greenheart International uses Google Analytics, Facebook Pixel, Gravity Forms, Yoast, Formstack, Calendly, GoOverseas, and other web traffic tracking tools.
Links to Other Websites
Greenheart International websites contain links to other websites. These links are for your convenience. We do not control, endorse or review the privacy notices of other websites, which may be different than this privacy notice. You should review the privacy notice of other websites before choosing to disclose Personal Information.
Greenheart takes steps to secure your Personal Information. We exercise care in providing secure transmissions when we need to transfer your Personal Information from our servers. Our websites use secure server software encryption, which is indicated by https in the url of the website. Encryption is a common method of ensuring that information remains private. Greenheart International cannot guarantee or warrant that the information that you transmit to us, or any communications is completely secure.
Retention of Personal Information
Greenheart International only retains data for as long as necessary for the purposes indicated in this privacy notice or for such other period as may be permitted or required by law.
For children age 14-16, Greenheart International takes additional steps to protect their Personal Information. We do not intend to collect Personal Information from children aged 13 or younger. These additional steps include:
Notifying parents about our privacy practices, including the types of Personal Information we may collect, how the Personal Information is used, and with whom (and how) it is disclosed;
Obtaining consent from the parent for the collection of Personal Information, which may be done in a paper format;
Collecting and storing only the Personal Information reasonably necessary for the purpose we for which we are receiving it; and
Providing parents with the right to request access to or a copy of their children’s Personal Information.
The marks Greenheart, Greenheart Heart Logo, and Sobresmesa are either registered or unregistered trademarks of Greenheart International. All Rights Reserved. Any unauthorized use is prohibited.
Certain jurisdictions provide their residents or citizens with certain rights about their Personal Information. These may include the right to request access to the data we hold about you, to obtain a copy of your Personal Information, to request that your Personal Information be erased, to correct inaccurate information, to ask us to restrict how we process your Personal Information, or to withdraw your consent to our processing of your Personal Information. Your individual rights will depend on your residency and citizenship.
Please contact us using the following information for more information about this privacy notice, to notify us of a concern or complaint, or to exercise any of the individual rights you may have.
Additionally, all marketing emails and newsletters from Greenheart International allow you to opt out of further correspondence. You can do so by clicking the link within the emails, which will guide you on how to opt-out.
Below is a list of things I learned about myself, Spain, and other little tips based on my journey studying abroad in Spain so far. I hope this is good advice for anyone looking to travel!
The Journey Begins: Airport Advice
Meeting new people is the best thing, and remember to keep an open mind. Who knows, they may just become one of your best friends some day.
Taking pictures of two people jumping in a crowded airport is not the best idea.
When doubting where to walk in an airport, just follow the massive crowd. They usually know what they’re doing.
I know flying on a plane with a new friend is exciting and you want to get to know them, but remember to sleep. Especially if it’s a red eye flight. Seriously you will look dead in the morning if you don’t.
Arriving in Spain and Orientation in Madrid
EVERYWHERE you go when traveling, check that you have money, your phone or another way to communicate, and especially your passport. It is essential you remember your passport, if nothing else.
Check with your roommates, if you have any, if they have any special requests and/or necessities, and try your best to listen to them.
Be clean and tidy in a hotel room. Not only is it respectful, but can also help you from forgetting things when you check out.
Bacon in Spain is not the same as the USA. 🙁
There’s more donut options at Dunkin’ Donuts!? Like, actually, I want an Oreo fudge cake batter brownie in the USA!
It is VERY easy to get lost in Madrid. The streets look similar, especially in the big shopping district. If you are with other people, make sure to stay together.
Taking in the Sights, Trying Foods and Making Friends
Paella is incredibly good, and it’s fun to try different types to find your favorite! I love the carne paella 🙂
Experience every second of where you are. Take in every sight before and around you. Let it sink in, and admire every drop.
Sometimes it’s best not to take pictures. Just look around and let it absorb into your memory.
It’s okay not to do something. Everyone may take a boat ride or go grab some food. But, just because you think you are there and that you have to do as much as you can, it doesn’t mean you have to do EVERYTHING. If someone else does something you don’t want to do, go find something else like listening to the local music playing or watching fish swim in the lake. This is your experience, don’t forget that.
Be silly, make jokes, have fun. Take funny pics and record hilarious moments. When homesick, it makes things feel a lot better.
Do your best to try and speak the language. You may get it wrong, but most people correct you with a smile and are always happy to help.
On the contrary, learn to be quiet. Try to think more about what you’re doing and where you are and how lucky you are to be there. Silence is just as powerful as the pen, just know when to use it.
Try as much food as you want! The food in Spain is so fresh and vibrant and tasty and just worth the time to experience as much as you can. It’s so good, and my personal favorites are the bread, coffee, and chocolate. The U.S. can’t even compare to the quality of food here.
Dance EVERYWHERE! I know it sounds crazy, but everywhere I went I danced a little bit, sang a little bit, and ran around a bit just to get everyone to laugh, even myself. Let yourself loose, go be crazy. Little dances in the elevator or down the escalator get you excited for what’s to come, and it’s such a simple way to create a smile.
When greeting people, kiss them once on each cheek, except for a boy with a boy, then a simple handshake and hug will do.
Settling into Your New Life at School and with Your Host Family
You will get asked tons of questions! If speaking in Spanish, take your time and don’t feel pressured to get it right! You are here to learn, not to be perfect. If speaking in English, speak slow and concise and ask those you’re speaking to if they need any help understanding. Always be kind and remember they are learning too!
You will get frustrated and think there is something wrong with you. You will feel stupid and like people do not like you at times. And that is 100% normal! I experienced that in my first week! Now I’m much better and my friends and host family are helping me a lot. Just be patient and know you are learning, and you will get better.
Ask the teachers, to the best of your ability, for help. Because I guarantee you will not understand much, if anything at all, for a while. They speak very fast and you will be confused. If you have a question, just ask! Write the notes on the board regardless, and have a friend or host family member help teach you what they mean. It helps you become closer with your teachers, friends, and family.
There is no Kraft Easy Mac or Goldfish crackers. I know, it’s tragic. But hey, find some new snacks! It’s a lot of fun. 🙂
Go to the supermarket and the shops as much as you can, and ask your host family and friends how to say certain things, or ask to buy items. It is very, very helpful.
Hey, remember those friends you met in Madrid for orientation? Don’t forget about them. Comment on their photos, send them a text now and then just to ask how they’re doing. One of my best friends, Olivia, made our orientation and her arrival to Caceres into a video montage. Check it out:
Also, don’t forget that your host family is hosting you out of the generosity of their hearts, so always be grateful for what they’re giving you.
Finally, don’t forget to just smile. Take pictures of you smiling, smile to teachers, friends, strangers even. It will make you feel happier when you look back and remember these great moments.
I hope this helped! All the best to anyone wanting or waiting to come to Spain! It was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.
About the Author:
I’m Grace Forrest, and I’m 15 years old and love to write and sing. Traveling has always been something I’ve loved to do, as I’ve been going to Australia every year since I was six years old. My favorite thing about traveling is the different cultures I get to explore, and comparing different parts of the world and what makes them so different. I hope to combine that with my love of writing and be an anthropologist one day!
Follow Grace on her study abroad adventure and check out her stories from Spain!