Meet Savannah McDermott, Greenheart Travel’s Teach & Work Abroad Program Coordinator!
Savannah studied International Studies and Spanish at Indiana University and spent a semester studying in Buenos Aires, which gave her a taste for malbec and life abroad. After graduation, she moved to Zafra, a small town in rural western Spain, where she taught at a public high school for two years. She then moved to southern Thailand, where she lived in a shipping container home in the jungle and taught classes of 55 adorable second graders and managed a small English academy for 18 months.
Homesick for Spain, she moved to the heart of Madrid to teach in a public school, work on her Spanish, and regularly eat her weight in tapas. She has traveled extensively in Spain, Portugal, France, Ireland, and Thailand, and has visited Morocco, Argentina, Mexico, Belize and Honduras. In her free time, she enjoys cooking, reading, watching cheesy Spanish television, and obsessively planning out the next trip—Greece and Costa Rica are high on the list.
Read on to learn a bit more about Savannah’s favorite international city, a special travel “aha” moment and why she loves working at Greenheart Travel.
I grew up in Springfield, the quiet capital city of Illinois. There’s not a whole lot going on there, but there is a local delicacy that involves cheese fries, so that’s cool.
My answer changes regularly, but right now I’d have to say Lisbon. The architecture is completely unique, the food is amazing, and it’s for some reason underrated so it’s not full of the hordes of tourists that plague most big European cities.
I am insanely good at Tetris and I can pack for a week-long trip in a tiny backpack. I think those are related skills.
Thai—even while I was living there and eating it every day, I never got sick of it. I could definitely do Penang curry for lunch and pad see ewe for dinner for the rest of my life.
Sit on the beach in San Sebastian and eat tapas and drink white wine every single day forever.
That fat panda that rolls down the hill.
When I first moved to Spain, I was placed in a small town where no one spoke English. I hadn’t made many friends, I had no idea what I was doing in my teaching job, and I just felt lost. It was really stressful and lonely for a while. One day I went hiking by myself in the countryside, and found this hidden trail that went by a ruined farmhouse. The place was a few hundred years old—just crumbling stone covered in wildflowers. I sat down on the front steps to rest and looked around. I was surrounded in wild olive trees and horse pastures, the mountain behind me and the whitewashed town in the distance ahead. I’ve never felt more at peace. I realized at that moment that all the challenges I was facing were worth it if I could have moments like this.
Definitely my coworkers—these people are rad. It’s amazing to be able to spend all day with people who share my values and also have endless awesome travel stories.