Greenheart

Program Reviews

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Daphne
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Couldn’t recommend Greenheart Travel enough!

Greenheart Travel was among my first choices of travel agencies for my year abroad in Norway. I started the process long before I actually needed too, but they were always there for me along the way. 2020/2021 was a very difficult year for any student, let alone a student going abroad. The Greenheart staff was beyond supportive, and was always there whenever I needed any advice. They gave me amazing support with the whole application and visa process as well. I will continue any journeys abroad with Greenheart in the future.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
My advice to future travelers is to take in EVERY moment. Something I wish I did more while I was abroad was really live in the moment, and once I started to do that, I enjoyed my year much more!
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Alejandra
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

South Korea Program

Amazing program for students who are interested in teaching abroad. You will receive all the support and guidance you need throughout the whole program, which is definitely helpful for individuals who are going abroad for their first time. Ana is very helpful and supportive throughout the whole process. She made the whole process go by smoothly and easy. Any questions or concerns I had she was always there to assist me. Thank you for all your support and guidance. I am beyond excited to be in South Korea teaching English. It’s a dream that I’ve always had and I’m so happy to be pursuing it. Again, thank you Greenheart travel and Ana for all your help!

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Kiana
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Worth it!

Everything from the people that I’ve met, the support I’ve received, and the experiences thus far, have been worth taking that leap of faith into the unknown! My journey is only beginning and I’m excited to see what my new home in Thailand holds. I’m looking forward to making a difference by teaching students English as well as getting to know the locals. I know there will be challenges but, that’s all a part of the process. Greenheart was with me every step of the way to prepare me before I left and I would choose them again!

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Be flexible and put yourself out there even though it may be uncomfortable at times!
Response from Greenheart

Hi Kiana! Thank you so much for your review. We are so happy that you had a wonderful time. Stay in touch and best wishes on your next adventure!
Greenheart Travel

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Quinn
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Cut short, but well worth it

I was accepted to teach in a French school rather than homestay, the program was canceled after I had been accepted. Rather than making me shift to a different program, Greenheart worked with me and allowed me to do what I had initially intended. I adored my host family and school, and had a great connection with my teachers and the students in my short time there. My host family really helped me to adjust to France, and taught me a lot of words and phrases that I could use. They encouraged me to explore the town and city, and taught me how to cook and bake French foods. It helped me grow my confidence as a French speaker, and someone who works with students. I was supposed to do the 3 mos. program, but left after 1.5 weeks due to Covid. Greenheart and its partners were helpful and understanding, and did the best they could to answer my questions in such an uncertain time for the world. They answered my questions as best they could, and I am looking to do another program with them in the future. I cannot say how the price of the program matches what was provided since I did not get to fully experience it, but I do not regret going. I spoke conversational french, but far behind the level that I thought I did. I suggest being truthful with your language level, and learning the basics.

What was your funniest moment?
My host family had a blackboard in their kitchen that they wrote french-English words on. There were many fun times teaching the kids and parents new words. A favorite was "Zucchini", which my host brother shouted a lot, and taught his friends. My host parents spoke good english because of work, so they asked very specific questions about English words and sayings. In my first few classes, students asked me questions the entire period, and I loved the random things they came up with.
Response from Greenheart

We reached out individually to you but we wanted to thank you for writing this review. We really appreciate your kind words and for being such a wonderful person to work with during such a difficult and complicated time. We’re so grateful to hear that you loved your family and felt like it was a great learning experience for you. Hope that you can take another travel journey soon! Cheers, Greenheart Travel

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Madison
3/10
No, I don't recommend this program

Wouldn't recommend Greenheart of all programs

Have had the idea to live in Norway for as long as I could remember and seeing that it was possible to do high school abroad program I thought all my dreams had come true! I picked Greenheart because I got the best impression from them and how communicative they were with answering questions and video chatting before applying and being accepted. The actual program was an entire different story. I paid $16k to get physically and mentally abused by my Danish host family while I was doing a Norwegian study program. The fact the family wasn't even Norwegian should've been a red flag to begin with. I understand there's only so much the company can do with screening families, but it's more so how Greenheart and their partner institution in Norway (STS) handled the situation. They continuously belittled me and downplayed the severity of the situation I was living in. I physically didn't feel comfortable living in my host family's house, after being threatened and manipulated numerous times- as well as having my independent phone plan shut off by them. I spent all my free time staying with friends and even some of my teachers at school who reached out to help. I had asked Greenheart/ STS to step in countless times, and called them nightly with my concerns. They were aware of all the gore details, but refused to do anything about it until my host family also requested I be transferred. My outlook on the program was tarnished after the first few months, but Greenheart/ STS couldn't understand why I had a hard time adjusting once I was placed in a new home. This experience was definitely one i'll never forget, and a lot of it I wish I could. It took almost a year for me to mentally get past what I experienced abroad through this program. The country and school was wonderful though! I definitely recommend traveling and doing study programs similar to this, just NOT through Greenheart.

What would you improve about this program?
I wish that the program understood how serious it is to be a minor living abroad with total strangers and cared more about how we felt. After all, I am the one that paid for this program and they disregarded everything I told/ asked of them throughout my trip.
Response from Greenheart

Hi Madison, Thank you very much for providing your feedback on your experience on Greenheart Travel’s and STS’s High School Abroad Norway program. Student safety and well-being are our top priority and Greenheart Travel’s in-country partners conduct rigorous screening of potential host families. Through our monthly check-ins with students, host families, and schools, we ensure our students are having successful programs and have the tools they need to adapt to life in country. When about a month into your program you had a disagreement with your host sister, our 24/7 on-site and long-distance emergency staff members worked to make sure you and your parents were heard and supported. One of the greatest opportunities as an exchange student is to gain conflict resolution and cross-cultural communication skills. Our policy is always to be objective with all parties and work through any gaps in communication and cultural misunderstandings before changing host families. We set this expectation prior to departures, and cover it extensively in program preparation materials and during the online pre-departure trainings with students and parents. After working with you and your host family on the relationship for about a week, we ultimately decided to place you with a different host family in the same area. We’re sorry to hear that you felt that Greenheart Travel didn’t understand your challenges. Being an exchange student is one of the hardest, yet most rewarding, life experiences we can have. During programs, we frequently check in with participants and parents to offer resources, alumni tips, inspirational articles and Ted Talks, all with the goal of giving students what they need to gain confidence and have the best possible experiences. We’re glad to hear that in the end, you had a great experience overall in Norway, made new friends, and enjoyed your school. Thank you again for providing feedback. We wish you the best in any future international endeavor.

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Lexi
2/10
No, I don't recommend this program

Think of all the possible outcomes before joining!

Signed up for the 3 month program in winter of 2019. You have a coordinator here in the U.S and another coordinator once you step foot in Spain. Both of them were great at accommodating my requests!! Although unfortunately I did have bad experiences with the two families I was with. One family was constantly arguing and it was a very strict environment that did not feel comfortable. I mentioned to the mother how I felt, left for some coffee, and the same night she chained the door for the first time. So I couldn’t get in the house and I had to find a hostel to stay in for the night I was a nervous wreck. I requested a change in families only to be kicked out by the second family on December 26 in the middle of the holidays just because I could not accommodate the mothers VERY last minute request to teach one of her children that day (I was out of town and she knew). Aside from this, both families expected me to have vast extensive knowledge on how to teach yet Greenheart promotes that it is not a requirement to have teaching experience. If you do not want to risk having any issues, you would be better off going on your own and renting a room. A lot of foreigners in Spain you can meet and explore the city with!

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Have back up plans and enough funds in case an emergency occurs.
Response from Greenheart

Hi Lexi, Thank you very much for providing your feedback on this program. We take feedback very seriously and we’re always grateful to hear your experience and know how we can improve the program. According to our records, you did live with two host families, one from September to November and another from November until December 26, which was the end of your program and when your 90-day tourist visa expired. We’re sorry to hear that there was a misunderstanding in regards to your end date and when you should have left your second host family and left the country. We’re also disappointed to hear that you were uncomfortable with your host family placements. Both families have been in our network for almost 15 years and hosted several times. Navigating daily life with a new host family in a different country can be challenging, which is why Greenheart Travel prepares teachers before going abroad for this adjustment and why the in-country staff is available 24/7 for any questions or concerns you might have. Homestay teachers are provided support both locally and long-distance from Chicago while on program and are expected to reach out to program staff if there is anything that could make your experience go smoother. Each host family has different reasons for wanting to host a foreign tutor, but all are given the expectation that this is an informal teaching exchange and is not meant to replace formal English education. We continually work to reinforce the expectations of the program for both teachers and host families, so we will use your feedback to ensure there are no confusions moving forward. Thank you again for providing your feedback and we wish you the best in any future international endeavors.

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Aubrey
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

4 Week TESOL Course

Thanks to Covid-19 turning everyone’s world upside down, it wasn’t quite the experience I initially signed up for, but I thought they adapted well. Taking the course online wasn’t as bad as I thought, because I learn much better in person, but I found it very helpful and very informative in how to go about teaching English in a foreign country. Lots of insights on not just teaching but how to deal with culture shock and behavioral issues. The instructor was very knowledgeable and made it very understandable.

What was the most nerve-racking moment and how did you overcome it?
Taking the course online while still being at home working full time, that was pretty difficult.
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Heidi
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Challenging program

I have advanced degrees and thought this course would be like Community College—worth doing but not too demanding. Instead I found it required me to stretch to do well. Of course, that means I got more out of it than I expected. I took the course while I was also learning how to teach English 8 in public school online. It made for endless hours on the computer. Still, I had to push myself to complete the project required each week to my own satisfaction. It was worth the effort. But No Homestay!

What would you improve about this program?
I was not prepared for the complexities of navigating the course online. A more complete orientation before Week 1 of the course would have helped.
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Taylor
8/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Greenheart travel to NZ

Zoe and the crew at Greenheart and IEP in Auckland are super friendly and approachable and were a ton of help. I wish the "orientation" and "tour of the Auckland" were a little more informational because I feel like everything they taught us was pretty self explanatory and things I had already learned in the day or two I was already in New Zealand. Otherwise I appreciated all of the help and the program brought me together with friends I will have for a lifetime. It was really helpful for my bank account to be set up for me, but the program says they "include a sim card" but honestly that was not that helpful because SIM cards are free and I had to go to the phone store to set up my own plan. Obviously the expense was a lot and I could've figured out the working visa on my own but it was nice having a helping hand and the program led me to meet some of the greatest friends I've ever had.

What would you improve about this program?
Greenheart should help set up phone plans and have a list of suggestions ready.

Also there should be a portal just for participants to use to find and post jobs. "BackpackersNZ" is the most common portal in NZ and everyone has access to it but it is the one that Greenheart and IEP suggest the most. It's nothing special. There should be more effort put into helping participants find jobs upon arrival and later into the program.
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Lauren
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Teach in South Korea

I have been very lucky in my placement here. I live in a smaller city that provides me with the best of city and rural life. I only teach at one school and have wonderful co-teachers and lack nothing that I require to do my job. My home is within walking distance of my school and is very comfortable. I have loved every minute of my time here! For those thinking about this program I have a few pieces of advice... First, this is a teaching program, I am a certified teacher in the US so my transition has been fairly easy. I do know some however that have zero teaching experience or relevent course work that a struggling in their positions. Please keep in mind that this is a full time job, not just an extended vacation...Second, everyones experience is different. There will be bad co-teachers and apartments and you may live somewhere you werent expecting. You must be flexible and able to roll with the tide so to speak. Take advantage of this opportunity to experience a new culture. Eat the food! Speak the language! Meet the people...this is how you will get the most out of your experience here.

What would you improve about this program?
I would require that participants have some background/experience in education. This will make the experience less stressful to the participants and give the students better quality English instruction