Greenheart Travel is Up for THREE GoAbroad.com Innovation Awards!

Greenheart Travel is Up for THREE GoAbroad.com Innovation Awards!

The prestigious GoAbroad Innovation Awards Academy will vote to determine the winner for each of these awards. The winners will then be announced at the GoAbroad Reception during the NAFSA Annual Conference in Washington D.C later in May.

Innovative New Program – Teach English/TEFL – Greenheart Travel’s Teach English in Costa Rica Program

We are excited to be assisting the Costa Rican Government’s “Skills for Life” initiative, which provides intensive English education and life skills training to local Costa Rican communities. The goal of the program is to empower and improve the employability of at-risk young adults to gain employment at local businesses where a basic to intermediate level of English is required.

Learning English is a gateway to careers and jobs beyond what some of these students might have access to without this education. This program aims to make a big impact in each community where teachers are placed, as well as in each student’s life.

In order to receive classes, students must qualify for government assistance based on their current income and employment status and must be able to dedicate 30 hours per week to attend English classes. We help train volunteer teachers with ways to encourage consistent attendance from their students.

Read more from Greenheart Travel Teach in Costa Rica alumni Marybeth Ward:

This program is so important to the students we teach. These students are receiving an opportunity to learn English that they wouldn’t have gotten otherwise. Every day, I watch students become more confident and inquisitive. I watch students surprise me with their knowledge and abilities. Every day has its challenges, but watching my students succeed and flourish makes me so grateful that I decided to come to Costa Rica.

Innovation in Cultural Immersion – Greenheart Travel Atlas

Over the past year, Greenheart Travel has been providing our travelers with the Greenheart Travel Atlas, a unique resource for cultural immersion. The Atlas’s 40-page guidebook and 5 accompanying interactive videos include goals and exercises for before, during, and after a person’s time abroad. The three main topics we want our travelers to focus on, and that are covered in the Atlas, are Personal & Professional Development, Cultural Understanding, and Environmental Awareness. We understand that everyone deals with goal setting, culture shock, homesickness, cultural immersion – and just travel in general – in their own way, so we created the Atlas to cover a range of strategies and challenges for when someone is abroad.  

Since the time we launched the Atlas one year ago, we have seen numerous benefits to providing our travelers with this resource. While many find the “Immersing Myself Challenge” to be considerably helpful after moving abroad, others find the “Processing My Re-Entry Feelings Exercise” a comfort after moving back home. Despite the fact that a 40-page guidebook may seem daunting to travelers, we were extremely overjoyed at how many people found comfort and navigation through the Greenheart Travel Atlas during their many stages of life abroad. 

Our overall goal with the Atlas is to provide our travelers with tools to create a more intentional cultural immersion experience and give them the resources to make their travel experience unique and unforgettable.

Greenheart Travel Atlas Activities Include:

  • Steps to set personal goals for your time abroad prior to your departure.
  • Tips for navigating culture shock and homesickness at the start of your adventure.
  • Exercises for successful cultural immersion, environmental awareness, and reflection during your time in another country.
  • Prompts for journaling and blogging during your experience.
  • Support and guidance for reverse culture shock when you return home.
  • Reviews for your personal achievements and tips for incorporating your experience in everyday life after you return.

Innovation in Philanthropy – Greenheart Odyssey

At the heart of our mission is the Greenheart Odyssey, a series of five leadership programs providing need-based and merit-based scholarships for youth in Chicago and around the globe. We walk alongside our participants from middle school to adulthood, empowering the next generation of change-makers in all six inhabited continents. As their final

project, these bright young minds come together to address an urgent global issue on a local scale on the Greenheart Alumni Council.

There are 5 Programs that Make Up the Greenheart Odyssey (All of Which are Scholarship Funded) 

  1. Camp Greenheart welcomes Chicago youth to have a true summer camp experience filled with team building, confidence boosting, and creativity-inspiring activities—free of any financial burden. This experience is further enriched with environmental and social awareness education that empowers campers to become leaders in their communities. Campers return with a deeper appreciation for their natural surroundings and concern for the well-being of their self, others, and the world.
  2. Greenheart Quest broadens under-resourced Chicago youth’s perspectives through eco-volunteer work and cultural immersion ar our volunteer project in Puerto Rico. They return home with a desire to learn about new cultures, a framework for international leadership, and an inspired vision to serve communities.
  3. Jr. Greenheart Global Leader’s Conference – Jr. Leaders spend five days in Chicago exploring global leadership. They engage in service, public speaking workshops, cultural exchange, and one-on-one engagement with innovative leaders.
  4. Greenheart Global Leader’s Conference – Adult Global Leaders spend a week in Washington, D.C. learning how to be advocates for cultural exchange and community development. Business, social justice, and sustainability workshops culminate in a Department of State visit and panelist opportunity.
  5. Greenheart Global Alumni Council – Council members are empowered by the unique opportunity to come together in-person at the Purpose Summit: Berlin and in online spaces. They develop initiatives that have an international impact.

Stay tuned for the winners being announced during the NAFSA Annual Conference in Washington D.C!

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