The Greenheart team is dynamic, mission-driven, and dedicated to expanding worldviews. Get to know our founders, board of directors, and staff.
Emanuel Kuntzelman has dedicated his life to raising environmental awareness, promoting cultural understanding, and advocating for world peace. A lifelong spiritual seeker, he is the Founder and President of Greenheart International. Founded in 1985 as the Center for Cultural Interchange, the organization changed its name to Greenheart International in 2013 in efforts to further embody the work of connecting people and planet. Greenheart now encompasses three major branches: Greenheart Exchange, Greenheart Travel, and the Greenheart Shop. The cultural exchange division facilitates programs for some 10,000 international students annually who come to the United States on a wide array of programs, many of which are organized under the four J-1 visa designations that Greenheart has from the Department of State. Greenheart Travel provides opportunities for Americans to work, volunteer, and travel abroad. Within the two exchange branches, Greenheart partners with some 250 organizations in 97 countries. The Greenheart Shop promotes eco-friendly and fair trade products for conscious consumers, and features a retail store in the Old Town neighborhood of Chicago, an e-commerce option, and a wholesale line called “Sobremesa.” The shop offers products from 55 countries and provides wholesaling to some 500 retail shops nationwide.
Other Greenheart affiliates include the Greenheart Club, which currently logs over 42,000 volunteer hours annually and sponsors 85 projects in 20 countries. The Greenheart Camp provides scholarships for Chicago youth to explore nature and expand their worldviews. Greenheart also supports Greenheart Music and the Casita Verde environmental center, both located on the Spanish island of Ibiza.
Additionally, Emanuel is co-founder and president of the Foundation for the Future (Fundacion por el Futuro) based in Madrid, Spain. He has lived most of his life in Europe, but now resides primarily in Chicago, where Greenheart is based. In addition to his duties related to Greenheart, Emanuel is a motivational speaker and initiator of the Global Purpose Movement, working toward positive planetary transformation. He has organized retreats and workshops throughout the U.S. and Spain. He is also a writer and his blogs and general philosophy can be found on his personal website: www.emanuelkuntzleman.com. Emanuel’s debut book, Riding the Wave of Global Purpose, is forthcoming.
Laura Rose is Chief Executive Officer and co-founder of the nonprofit Greenheart International, which has facilitated the cultural exchange experiences of more than 150,000 participants from 85 countries and supports fair trade artisans from numerous developing nations.
Laura co-founded Fundación por El Futuro devoted to the creation of environmental and educational programs for American and Spanish youth and since 2001 has been a key supporter of the growth and mission of the Casita Verde, an educational eco-center in Ibiza, Spain which showcases sustainable living and alternative energies and is visited by thousands of students and adults each year.
She has served on numerous boards in Spain, the U.S. and the UK, and most recently was on the executive committee for the Council on Standards for International Education and Travel, as well as vice chair for the board of the Alliance for International Exchange based in Washington, DC.
As an experienced public speaker, she facilitates public speaking workshops and has been a panelist and speaker in numerous forums. She recently gave the keynote address at a CSIET conference in Washington and has worked closely with members of the U.S. Department of State, community leaders and international representatives to further the causes of public diplomacy and mutual understanding.
Her other passions are studying and speaking the romance languages, film, history, flower arranging and aspiring to see every nook and cranny of Southern and Eastern Europe in this lifetime.
In 1993, Chris founded the Casita Verde model ecology centre, using a small rented house near San Jose. After trying unsuccessfully to establish a couple of different commercial Ecological Centres, including the ‘Eivissa Ecolandia’ pilot project during 2001, Chris decided to re-focus his attention on improving the facilities and potential of the Casita Verde. At the same time, and with the help of others, he began to develop the ‘Green Heart’ strategy plan, with the idea of including the whole island of Ibiza in a new and more global project. During early 2003, Chris and Marc Osmo, our in-house graphic designer at the time, came up with the concept of making a ‘Greenheart Project Farm’, which would provide a platform for the development of ideas and projects of many people and which would be managed by a growing multi-national steering committee, under the umbrella of the not-for-profit organisation ‘Fundación por el Futuro’.
Chris presently represents the “Foundation for the Future” in Ibiza, is president of the study group “Ibiza Ecologic”, and director of the model ecological centre at Casita Verde.
Jack Blanks has been working in the field of international relief and development since 1974, beginning with a three-year assignment as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Benin, West Africa. Following his Peace Corps service, he worked six years for Save the Children in the African countries of Burkina Faso and Malawi in both a technical and program management capacity. In 1987-88 he served as a Desk Officer at the Peace Corps Headquarters in Washington D.C., covering four African nations.
Since 1988, he has been involved primarily in international health activities. As the Director of Programs for the International Eye Foundation in Bethesda, MD, he coordinated worldwide prevention and cure of blindness programs from 1988-1993. As the Executive Director of the Onchocerciasis Elimination Program in the Americas (a Carter Center led initiative) he launched a successful program to eliminate river blindness in six Latin American nations from 1993 to 1996. Jack joined Project HOPE, a Virginia-based international health assistance agency, in 1996 and served sequentially as Regional Director for Africa, Latin America and Asia. During his last several years at Project HOPE he served as Director for Strategic Alliances, supporting the development of partnerships with corporations, other non-profit organizations, and government agencies. He also coordinated disaster relief efforts for Project HOPE after the 2004 tsunami in Indonesia and Hurricane Katrina in 2006.
After 13 years with Project HOPE, Jack joined Seva Foundation as the Executive Director in 2009. Seva was founded in 1978 with a mission to alleviate suffering caused by disease and poverty. Operating in over 20 countries including the United States, Seva currently works to prevent blindness and restore sight in developing nations and underserved Native American communities.
Mr. Blanks holds a BA in Religion from Catawba College and a Master of Science Degree in International Administration from Central Michigan University. Besides English, he speaks French and Spanish fluently.
Residents of Sacramento, California since 2002, the Blanks family includes three grown children (all working or in post graduate programs). Jack’s wife, Nancy, is an attorney for the Federal Government specializing in natural resource law.
Roy Curran has been a member of the Board of Directors since October 2006 and previously served as advisor to the board. Roy is President, CEO, and a member of the Board of Directors of Oak Bank. He is also President and CEO of Rush-Oak Corporation, Oak Bank’s holding company in Chicago, Illinois. Roy has spent more than 35 years in community banking in Illinois. He served as a member of the Board of Directors of District 33 Foundation for Educational Excellence from 1991 to 2002 in West Chicago.
Dr. Shamini Jain is a psychologist, scientist, and social entrepreneur. She is the Founder and Director of the Consciousness and Healing Initiative (CHI; www.CHI.is), a collaborative accelerator that links scientists, practitioners, artists, entrepreneurs, and educators to facilitate the science and practice of healing. CHI was formed through Dr. Jain’s deep desire to bring key stakeholders together to create a coherent and effective movement to move us beyond the “decade of the brain”, into the “age of consciousness and healing”. Founding partners of CHI include the Miraglo Foundation; Institute of Noetic Sciences; the Academy of Integrative Health and Medicine; San Diego Cancer Research Institute; Westreich Foundation; and Chopra Foundation.
Dr. Jain obtained her B.A. in Neuroscience and Behavior from Columbia University, and her Ph.D. degree from the SDSU/UC San Diego Joint Doctoral Program in Clinical Psychology, with a research focus in psychoneuroimmunology. She conducted her clinical residency at the La Jolla VA Hospital/UC San Diego, and her post-doctoral fellowship at UCLA’s Division of Cancer Prevention and Control Research. While a graduate student, Dr. Jain received NIH funding and conducted the first-ever clinical trial at UC San Diego on hands-on-healing in cancer survivors, the results of which are published in the prestigious journal Cancer, widely read by oncologists.
Currently, in addition to running CHI, Dr. Jain is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at UC San Diego, and has been an active member of UCSD Center for Integrative Medicine’s Research Committee for the past 5 years. She is also a student of Rev. Rosalyn Bruyere in the healing arts.
Dr. Jain has published extensively in the areas of psychoneuroimmunology and well-being, integrative medicine, and healing. She has received numerous awards from scientific societies including the American Psychosomatic Society, the American Psychological Association, Society of Behavioral Medicine, Psychoneuroimmunology Research Society, and others for her work. Shamini’s published research in healing has been featured by TIME Magazine and CNN, as well as other radio and media. Shamini has a passion for sharing the science of healing, regularly speaking on topics surrounding healing and well-being in diverse venues including NATO; TEDx; major universities and medical centers; health-related conferences and corporations. She also contributes as an author on these topics in online blogs for Huffington Post, The Times of India, and Fulfillment Daily. Shamini’s scientific publications, example talks, speaking schedule, blogs and more can be found at www.shaminijain.com.
Rich has been a member of the Board of Directors since November 2005, and serves as Treasurer. He has forty years of experience in private business, and over 25 years of experience serving on boards of NGOs in the cultural exchange, education, youth sports, and financial sectors.
Currently, Rich works for Corning, Incorporated. His focus is on developing technology and business innovation strategies for emerging markets, and managing new business initiatives in emerging technology applications in agriculture; food quality and security; and sustainable manufacturing practices. One such initiative is the application of spectral imaging sensors for sustainable farming practices.
Previously, Rich served in finance, business development, program management and general management roles with major aerospace companies. As General Manager of Goodrich/Recon/Optical, Inc., with over $50 million in annual Sales, and Director of Marketing and Business Development for Europe and the Middle East, Rich opened up new markets through collaborations with local companies. Additionally, he established and staffed an office in Rome, Italy, where he lived as an expatriate with his family for nine years.
Rich has served on numerous NGO boards of directors. While living in Rome, he served on the board of the American Overseas School of Rome for seven years and as its Chair for five years. Others have included the Barrington (Illinois) Area Community Foundation; Recon/Optical, Inc. Employee Credit Union, where he frequently served as its Chair or Treasurer over 20 year period; Barrington National Little League, where he also served as Chair; and as President of the Parish Council and Chair of the Finance Committee for St. Susanna Parish in Rome. Rich is a member of Rotary International, and is a Paul Harris Fellow.
Rich has a Master of Business Administration degree and Certificate in Change Management from Lake Forest Graduate School of Management, and Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration from Wichita State University. He lives with his wife, Lori Tibbett, in Sacramento, California. They have five children and eleven grandchildren.
Claudia has been with Greenheart since 1995 when she began on a part time basis. She loved the mission and her co-workers and has stayed ever since. She has worn many hats and currently dons an array of ever changing selections that keeps things fresh and vibrant. As Personnel Director she meets with all new hires and helps with smooth onboarding. Building management duties have included rehabbing more than a handful office spaces into beautiful work environments for staff. Overseeing the IT department is a daily education that helps keep her brain well oiled. New projects that are always just around corner add to the fun!
Claudia was born and raised in Bolivar, Pennsylvania where she got the cultural exchange bug as a high school travel abroad participant. Currently living in Chicago with her husband of 32 years she loves to explore the city. Claudia covets her Chicago magazines for the monthly restaurant Hot List. She has added running to her list of new ventures and hopes to run her first official 5K in early 2014. Family dinners that include her two grown sons are the best times on earth.
Jamel, a Chicago native, has always had a passion for improving the lives of others and learning about other communities and cultures. She has over 15 years expertise as a HR Leader and Consultant in the Chicagoland area supporting child welfare, health and human services, health care, small businesses, and nonprofit organizations. In addition, she has facilitated a variety of training programs in the areas of leadership, performance management, conflict resolution, and employee relations.
Jamel has a Bachelor of Science in Training and Development from Southern Illinois University Carbondale and a Master’s degree from Northeastern Illinois University in Human Resources Development. She also is certified as a Professional in Human Resources (PHR) from the Human Resources Certification Institute (HRCI) and as a Society of Human Resources Management Certified Professional (SHRM-CP).
She is a United States Air Force (USAF) veteran, a devoted wife and mother of four. Jamel and her spouse Gregory recently celebrated their 27th anniversary in Indonesia. During her spare time she enjoys theater, traveling, sports, and home improvement.
Christopher has been a lifelong resident of Chicago and has been advancing his career for the last 20 years in accounting. He has worked in customer service, hospitality, finance and in the service industries before joining Greenheart. He looks forward to putting his energy and experience into Greenheart to help further its mission, connecting people and planet.
His interests include following the Blackhawks and Cubs and indulging in new restaurants. He is committed to helping control the feral cat population through the TNR Program “Trap Neuter and Release.” He is also a proud owner of a dog, two cats, and an African Grey parrot.
Paula alternates her working and personal life between left-brain critical thinking and right-brain creative expression. She started out in banking over 30 years ago. She studied liberal arts and business at Purdue University and has worked in bookkeeping in banking, public accounting, the hotel industry, and private medical practice. Paula also has a B.A. in Graphic Design from Columbia College and worked as a graphic designer in publishing and freelanced. She managed her family’s automotive service shop and co-owned an event decorating company. Paula has also done professional puppeteering. She endeavors to bring a creative approach to life’s little challenges. As the Accounting Associate, Paula keeps things running smoothly and orderly in the department. She supports Greenheart’s mission of social responsibility and personal transformation and is active in Chicago’s conscious communities. Growing up on a farm has given her a respect for the natural world and sustainable living. She lives in a tiny wooded haven in the Rogers Park neighborhood with her husband, three cats, and various wild animals, where she cultivates, cooks, creates, cogitates and conjures.
I am originally from Michigan, more specifically the rural “Thumb”. I moved to Chicago in the fall of 2006. I have a Bachelor of Business Administration in Accountancy from Adrian College. I have worked in accounting with public accounting firms; primarily performing reviews and audits for a variety of clients and subsequently with a web based tech sales company and later in the non-profit sector with a large charter school organization. I bring experience with financial reporting, month and year end close, and working with external auditors along with process review/improvement and documentation. In my free time I enjoy playing volleyball, spending time with my Little Brother from Big Brothers Big Sisters along with my nephews and niece, watching good binge worthy shows and sports, and attending craft beer events and releases with friends.
I was born and raised here in Chicago. I have an Associates Degree and I have been doing Account Payable for about ten years. I am part of the Englewood Rising Group and we help to mentor the young people in our neighborhood. My hobbies are bike riding and going to the health club as well as, going to the movies and plays. I am the youngest of two, and have one son and two grandsons.
Hometown: Chicago, IL
University: Bowling Green State University, DePaul University
Where I’ve Traveled: 42/50 States, Canada, Mexico, Japan, and other countries
What I like to do: Knitting and other crafts, cooking, trying new restaurants, exploring the city, going to music, comedy, and magic shows, playing video games, watching netflix, and eating pizza.
Hometown: Chicago, IL
Languages: English, Bengali
University: BA in Economics, BA in Political Science
Where I’ve Traveled: Bangladesh, United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Bahrain, France, Switzerland, United Kingdom, Italy, Uruguay, Argentina, Puerto Rico, Canada, the Southern Caribbean, and Spain
What I like to do: Read, Binge-watch Media Content, Travel, Cook, and Play Trivia
Hometown: Taipei, Taiwan
Languages: English, some French, some Spanish, some Mandarin
University: Allegheny College, B.S. in Psychology, Minor in Dance and Movement Studies
Where I’ve Traveled:Taiwan, Some states in the U.S., Toronto, Montreal, Quebec, Mexico City
What I like to do: Shoot hoops, travel, watch TV/movies, play chess
After completing his certification as a Cisco Certified Networking Associate (CCNA), Arturo worked as a Field Technician for a consulting firm managing a full spectrum of IT services for clients. He brings his enthusiasm, quick problem solving skills and great energy with him. A native Chicagoan, Arturo lives in Portage Park with his family that includes 2 small children. In his spare time he enjoys reading, music recording, and motorsports.
Hometown: Chicago, IL
Languages: English and Latin
University: DePaul University/Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology
Where I’ve Traveled: Austria, Greece, Mexico, Turkey
What I like to do: Camping, fishing, hiking, cooking, biking, and calligraphy
Andrea Dennis is a charismatic organizer, fundraiser, and facilitator in the fields of cultural exchange, fair trade, service learning and sacred connection. She is committed to creating space for transformation to emerge for individuals and the collective. Through organizing, facilitating, interviewing, and hosting, Andrea supports deep personal and group connection. Her approach is influenced by a wide-ranging background in multiple fields including: meditation, yoga, permaculture, and community organizing. She received teacher trainings in Primordial Sound Meditation from the Chopra Center; a 200hr yoga teacher training course from Yoga Now Chicago; a certification for Fundraising from the Heart by Lynne Twist; a permaculture Design Certificate at the Earth Activist Training by Starhawk and Charles Williams; and became a Life-Cycle Celebrant through the Celebrant Institute and Foundation. Andrea is a published author in the anthology Purpose Rising. She has served on the Board of Directors for the Chicago Social Enterprise Alliance and currently serves with Chicago Fair Trade. She volunteers with Chicago elderly and youth, and is lovingly committed to bringing forth a flourishing existence for all beings. She rides her bike around the city and enjoys lounging.
Hometown: Crest Hill, IL
Languages: English, Sign language (beginner)
University: Bradley University, Bachelor of Science in Organizational Communication; minors: Leadership Studies and Business Management
Where I’ve Traveled: All over the U.S., Canada, Netherlands, England, Italy, Spain, France, Czech Republic, Ireland, Scotland, China, and Thailand
What I like to do: Traveling the world, seeing musicals, surfing Pinterest, and taking road trips
Nicole, born in California and raised in the Midwest, received her Bachelor of Arts in Sociology and Spanish from Augustana College. Bitten by the travel bug at an early age, she studied abroad in Ecuador and interned at the Flamenco Museum in Seville, Spain. She then pursued an even lengthier abroad experience by becoming TEFL certified and teaching English in Chile for 3 years where she met her amazing husband, lived for a time in a Chilean copper mine, and solidified her Spanish and Portuguese.
Feeling called upon to spread her enthusiasm for cultural exchange and language, Nicole knew that she needed to work for Greenheart upon returning to Chicago in early 2016. Before joining DOVE as the Service Learning and Outreach Manager, she worked as a temporary Program Assistant and Cultural Outreach Assistant for Greenheart’s Work and Travel program. She loves connecting with the Chicago community and has volunteered regularly with Equality Illinois and the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights.
When she’s not working, Nicole likes to take walks, delve into Latin American novels, pet other people’s dogs, and eat her Chilean husband’s delicious home cooking. She has been lucky enough to travel to over 15 countries across 4 continents and doesn’t plan to stop any time soon!
Zoey Wallace is a dedicated advocate for Greenheart’s Odyssey programs, raising funds for local and international youth through dynamic event planning, relationship building, and fundraising campaign management. She’s passionate about providing opportunities for teens to explore the natural world, community service, and global leadership.
As a former Marketing and Development Manager for WorldChicago and Fundraising Care Specialist for the Muscular Dystrophy Association, she has extensive experience in donor relations, international youth exchange programming, summer camp governance, and community engagement.
She fell in love with the Windy City in 2013, while earning her Master’s Degree in International Relations at the University of Chicago, and is proud to partner with Greenheart in supporting Chicago’s at-risk youth. She is a member of the Association of Fundraising Professionals, Chicago Women in Philanthropy, and Young Nonprofit Professional Network.
She’s studied, travelled, and volunteered her way through Europe and Central America, and has China, Egypt, and Bali on her bucket list. When she’s not soliciting auction donations or drafting a sponsorship proposal, she enjoys jogging on Chicago’s Lakefront Trail, sipping copious amounts of coffee, and encouraging her toddler’s shenanigans.
Alejandro was born and raised in Mexico and moved to the US to learn English at the age of 18. Since then, he has earned his B.S. in Advertising from UIUC, worked in NYC, Chicago, and Mexico City for clients such as Play Station, Bayer, SC Johnson, Google, Wrigley, Dos Equis, and the American Ballet Theater.
His eagerness to see the world has sent him on solo trips across Asia and Europe, booking last minute flights to Oceania and Africa, and even a sabbatical in Latin America. Wherever he is traveling, Alejandro is constantly searching for what makes a place unique–its people.
A lot of his work is greatly influenced by his international background and extensive travel experiences. He is a storyteller who aims to create real stories of representation that convey complex human emotions.
When he is not taking photos or putting together videos, he is probably catching a matinee, enjoying some cold brew, people-watching, reading or any/all of the above in another country.
Gaby is a descendant of Russian-Jewish ancestry, as his parents moved to the USA from Riga, Latvia in 1988 when the Soviet Union was still in existence. Although Gaby was born in Italy, he was raised the suburbs of Chicago and he now resides in the Bucktown neighborhood of central Chicago. In 2015, Gaby graduated with an MFA in Graphic Design from the Academy of Arts in San Francisco, where he developed a simple visual solution to help travelers understand others and express themselves anywhere in the world. Gaby enjoys working in all areas of design, especially logo development and branding. Outside of his career, Gaby likes to travel, paint, and volunteer his time with differently abled artists.
Benny is a longtime web developer loosely based in Chicago, IL. He’s lived and worked in many cities in North and South America, Europe, and Asia and is currently splitting time between Chicago and Denpasar, Indonesia.
His more notable travels include a bicycle tour of the US West Coast, motorcycle trips through Mexico, and trekking in Laos and Thailand. In his free time he bends himself into a strained lotus position and patiently awaits the next Corey Feldman & The Angels album.
Growing up in the Chicago suburbs with a family who always encouraged travel, Olivia was exposed to new cultures from a very early age and grew up living a very culturally curious lifestyle for as long as she can remember.
While earning a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and Studio Art at Augustana College, she developed a passion for expanding her creativity and community involvement. She enjoyed instructing art classes at senior living centers, loom weaving in her art studio and traveling on two separate study abroad programs to both Italy and Guatemala. These experiences not only enhanced her eagerness to explore the world but sparked a love interest in wildlife, conservation, fair trade and sustainable travel.
She has visited 13 countries in total across 3 separate continents. Her next big adventure is a trip to Zambia where she will visit local villages, paint a herd of wild elephants and publicly speak about the benefits of ecotourism to travel partners. In her spare time, she enjoys practicing French, loom weaving and discovering new hidden gems with her closest friends. The saying she most commonly lives by is, “It’s not about where you go, but who you’re with that makes all the difference.”
Hometown: Homer Glen, Illinois
Languages: English & some Spanish
University: Undergrad: Illinois Wesleyan & Grad: New York University
Where I’ve Traveled: Brazil, Colombia, Hungary, Germany, Ireland, England, Canada
What I like to do: Practice yoga, live sustainably, ride my bike, practice Earth-based ceremonial traditions, cuddle with my cat, and sing.
Jason first became passionate about intercultural exchange while studying abroad at James Cook University in Queensland, Australia. Originally from Minnesota, Jason earned a Bachelor of Science in Child Development and a Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology from the University of Minnesota -Twin Cities. After completing his undergraduate degrees, Jason served two years as a Peace Corps Youth Development Volunteer in Ukraine. Following his Peace Corps service, Jason continued his education at the SIT Graduate Institute studying Intercultural Service, Leadership, and Management. Jason is responsible for providing information and assistance to new and existing international partners on CCI Greenheart and Greenheart Travel products, operations and procedures to develop or strengthen partnerships. Outside of work, Jason enjoys spending his free time cooking, honing his green thumb and exploring Chicago.
Originally from New Jersey but a long time South suburbs resident, Nick fell in love with international travel and exchange while studying abroad at Keio University in Tokyo, Japan. After earning a degree in International Business from Illinois Wesleyan University he decided to return to Japan as an English Teaching Assistant. As part of a yearlong internship at Technos College in Koganei, Tokyo Nick was able to help and connect to many students through English education and discovered a love for helping students understand the world through international exchange.
Nick is excited to join Greenheart as its his first job in Chicago, the best city in the world, and spend more time exploring the city. Sports and dogs are his main passions and is hoping to adopt one, if not several, dogs in the near future.
Hometown: Chicago, IL
Languages: Serbian, English & Russian
University: University of Iowa — BA in International Studies, BA in Russian Lang and Culture, Certificate in Human Rights
Where I have traveled: All around North & Central America, and Serbia when I was a tiny baby
What I like to do: Pretend I have a show on Food Network while cooking, and photograph my Rottweiler puppy as if he was a model
Hometown: Rock Island, IL
Languages: English-native, Portuguese-beginner
University: University of Denver, M.A. International Administration; Northern Illinois University, B.A. Anthropology
Where I’ve Traveled: Austria, Bahamas, Belgium, Brazil, Costa Rica, Denmark, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Luxembourg, Mexico, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Trinidad and Tobago, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland
What I like to do: Biking with my family along the lake, exploring Chicago with my kids, swimming, traveling, horseback riding, gardening
Hometown: St. Charles, IL
Languages: Thai, Pig Latin
University: University of Illinois, Communication
Where I’ve Traveled: Australia, Thailand, Burma, Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia, Malaysia, Singapore, China, Morocco, Spain, France, England, Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay, Costa Rica
What I like to do: Reading, enjoying Chicago summers, Theater, Basketball and eating Thai food
Hometown: Evanston, IL
University: DePaul University, MS, Human Services in Counseling; BS, Elementary Education
Where I’ve Traveled: France, Italy, Spain, Hong Kong, Mainland China, Thailand, Sri Lanka, Kuala Lumpur
What I like to do: Enjoying my two darling little boys, being outside, reading and horses.
Hometown: Lombard, IL
University: DePaul University/Bachelor of Arts in French
Where I’ve Traveled: France, Costa Rica, Uruguay, Argentina, Japan, Thailand, traveled throughout Europe
What I like to do: I love to read, go to the beach, travel, watch movies, and hang out with my husband and dog
Hometown: Toledo, OH
University: DePaul University (B.A. International Studies) University of Fribourg (American College Program)
Where I’ve Traveled: Switzerland, Germany, Austria, Hungary, Czech Republic, Poland, Turkey, England, Ireland, The Netherlands, France, Belgium, Spain, Portugal, Italy, Greece, Brazil, Egypt, Republic of Georgia
What I like to do: I love exploring Chicago, taking music lessons at the Old Town School of Folk Music, organizing volunteer projects, and cheering on my favorite women’s soccer team, the Chicago Red Stars.
Hometown: Aiken, SC
University: Bachelor of Arts in Theater Performance (Minor Creative Writing) Winthrop University – 1 year of Study Abroad at Kingston University in Southwest London
Where I’ve Traveled: England, Scotland, Wales, Ireland, France, Netherlands, Argentina, Aruba, Spain, Greece, Italy, Portugal, Croatia, Hungary, Czech Republic, Austria, Mexico (lived in many parts of the US)
What I like to do: Passionate about film, theater, writing, and performance – connecting people through story and mutual shared experience. And of course, to travel!
Hometown: Woodland Park, CO
Languages: English, Spanish
University: Colorado State; International Studies and Political Sciences
Where I’ve Traveled: Costa Rica, Panama, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Chile, Argentina, Uruguay, England, Wales, Spain
What I like to do: Biking, exploring, eating and traveling
Hometown: Denver, Colorado
Languages: English, elementary Korean
University: Colorado State; English, University of Bristol, England; Gender and International Relations
Where I’ve Traveled: South Korea, Japan, Philippines, Thailand, Australia, Czech Republic, France, Greece, Iceland, Ireland and the United Kingdom
What I like to do: I love to try to new restaurants and foods, travel, learn new things and hang out with my family and my cat
I am originally from Portland, OR and started my Midwest venture in 2011 when I moved to Wisconsin to attend Beloit College. At Beloit, I majored in Religious Studies and studied abroad in Indonesia. After graduating, I took a short break from the Midwest and moved to Boston, MA to work for Hult International Business School as a Visas & Compliance Coordinator. I have been living in Madison, WI for the past two years, working for University of Wisconsin Hospitals & Clinics in their Adolescent Alcohol/Drug Assessment & Intervention Program. In that position, I provided case management services to teens and families involved with the Juvenile Justice System and Child Protective Services. I also love to do volunteer work, and have spent the past few years working with refugees and immigrants teaching English and U.S. civics. When I’m not working, I love traveling, trail running, camping, learning languages, writing, singing, and eating donuts. I am really looking forward to working at Greenheart!
Hometown: Dunlap, IL
Languages: English (Native), Russian (Beginner), Spanish (Beginner)
University: University College London (M.A. Russian Studies), Loyola University Chicago (B.A. English and Women’s Studies & Gender Studies)
Where I’ve Traveled: Australia, Costa Rica, Denmark, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Russia, Singapore, Slovenia, Switzerland, Tunisia, and the United Kingdom
What I like to do: Bake treats in an effort to satisfy my sweet tooth, watch cheesy movies, and go kayaking
Hometown: Winfield, IL
University: Miami of Ohio
Where I’ve Traveled: Italy, England, Spain, and France
What I like to do: I love going to the movies in my free time or exploring museums and historical landmarks
Hometown: Winnetka, IL
University: University of Denver
Where I’ve Traveled: Twenty-eight countries, 6 continents.
What I like to do: Travel, spending time in nature, exploring all Chicago has to offer!
Hometown: O’Fallon, IL
Languages: some Spanish and Greek
University: DePaul University
Where I’ve Traveled: Germany, Italy, Switzerland, Luxembourg, France, Austria, Greece, Turkey, Cyprus, India, Thailand, Mexico, and Costa Rica
What I like to do: Reading, baking, playing soccer, exploring museums, dancing, and board games!
Hometown: Denver, CO
University: Attended Metropolitan State College and Coaches Training Institute
Where I’ve Traveled: Puerto Rico, France, Costa Rica, Italy, Aruba, Argentina, Spain
What I like to do: Make memories with my family, experience live music, get lost in a good book, engage in heartfelt conversation
Hometown: Champaign-Urbana, IL
University: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Master of Arts, Applied Linguistics
Where I’ve Traveled: Canada, Mexico, Belize, Costa Rica, Brazil, Argentina, Spain, France, Ireland, England, France, Germany, Italy, Portugal, Czech Republic, Singapore, Turkey, Thailand, China, Taiwan, Japan, Australia, New Zealand
What I like to do: Cooking (and eating), watching cooking shows, gardening, reading, traveling, hiking, dancing, yoga, running, and trying to keep up with my husband on weekend road biking trips
Hometown: Naperville, IL
University: Illinois Wesleyan University/BA in International Diplomatic Studies and French
Where I’ve Traveled: France, Czech Republic, Austria, Slovakia, Germany, Belgium, England Argentina, Canada and Spain
What I like to do: Cooking, cooking, and cooking! I spend a lot of my time experimenting in the kitchen, but when I’m not you’ll can also find me reading, watching Netflix, or outside enjoying the sun in any way I can (when it’s warm, of course!)
Hometown: Oxford, OH
Languages: Some Korean and Spanish
University: DePaul University/ BA in International Studies and Peace, Justice, & Conflict Studies
Where I’ve Traveled To: Canada, South Korea, England
What I like to do: I love reading, watching Netflix, going for walks when the weathers nice, trying out new coffee shops, and attempting to cook
Hometown: Greenville, SC
University: Bard College/BA in Literature
Where I’ve Traveled: Mexico, Costa Rica, Argentina, Uruguay, France, Spain, England, Scotland, Ireland, France, Germany, Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Italy
What I like to do: Yoga, Reading the New Yorker, Eating, Movies, Dancing
Hometown: Chicago, IL
University: University of Illinois, Political Science and Social Work
Where I’ve Traveled: Ireland, Ghana, Gambia, Senegal, Morocco, Italy, England, Germany, Canada, Austria, Switzerland, Spain, France, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Russia, Mongolia, and China
What I like to do: Spend time with friends and family, read, go on adventures
Hometown: Skokie, IL
Languages: English, Spanish
University: Northwestern University, International Studies & Spanish
Where I’ve Traveled: Belize, Guatemala, Peru, Spain, France, Holland, Cayman Islands, England, Morocco, and Portugal
What I like to do: Learn about people, places and things, read, make crafts, plan my next adventure
Hometown: Mason, Michigan
Languages: Spanish (Intermediate)
University: Grand Valley State University
Where I’ve Traveled: China, Hong Kong, Japan, Vietnam, Spain, Portugal, England, Germany, and Iceland
What I like to do: I enjoy traveling, gardening, photography, eating sushi, salsa dancing, and spending time on Lake Michigan.
Hometown:Baton Rouge, Louisiana
Languages: English, Spanish, German
University: B.A. in Literature and Languages from Southeastern Louisiana University;
M.A. in International Relations from Furtwangen University
Where I’ve Traveled: Canada, England, Ireland, Spain, France, Germany, Luxembourg, Belgium, Italy, Poland, Turkey, Greece, Hungary, Netherlands, Austria, Czech Republic
What I Like To Do: I like read, going on adventures, and constantly planning new travels and spending time with my dog
Hometown: Waurika, Oklahoma
University: Yavapai College, Prescott, AZ
Where I’ve traveled: Germany, Italy, France, Switzerland, Austria, Spain, England, Greece, Brazil, Argentina, Costa Rica, Aruba, and Mexico.
What I like to do: Gardening, interior design, cooking, watching college football and basketball, and enjoying time with family, particularly my 4 grandchildren.
Hometown: Elmira, NY
Languages: Spanish and a touch of Korean
University: Canisius College
Where I’ve traveled: Korea, Spain, France, Germany, Austria, Italy, Czech Republic, Lichtenstein, Finland, Sweden, Denmark, Argentina, and more…
What I like to do: Sports fan (especially the Buffalo Bills and Syracuse Orange), boating in the summer, lots of ongoing family activities, and active participation in our local church
Hometown: Vancouver, WA
Languages: English, Spanish
University: University of California, Irvine/ BA in Spanish & Bilingual Education
Where I’ve Traveled: US, Mexico, Guatemala, Cuba, Bolivia, Colombia, Paraguay, Argentina, Spain, France, Denmark, Germany, Czech Republic, Portugal, Switzerland, Netherlands, Italy, Scotland, England
What I like to do: Spending time with my 4 children and husband; Meeting people from all over the world ; Traveling; Making a difference in people’s lives; Baking & eating sweets
Hometown: Sheridan, AR
University: Associates of Applied Science
Where I’ve Traveled: Brazil, Costa Rica, Bahamas, Canada, Greece, Germany, Austria, France, Switzerland, Scotland, England, Czech Republic, Spain, Portugal
What I like to do: Spending time with family, especially my grandchildren! Outdoor activities, photography, traveling, exploring nature, and serving others
Hometown: Seattle, WA
Languages: English and know the essentials of 5 others
Where I’ve Traveled: Spain, Africa, Czech Republic, Austria, France, The Netherlands, Canada, Germany, Italy, Portugal, Argentina, Thailand, Cambodia, Japan
What I like to do: Rock Climb, Read, Travel, Volunteer, Exercise
Hometown: Portland, Maine
Languages: English, French
University: GTC Home Economics
Where I’ve Traveled: Lithuania, Denmark, France, Spain, Germany, Greece, Italy, Mexico, Canada, China, Japan, South Korea, England, Costa Rica, Bahamas, Aruba
What I like to do: Travel and read
Hometown: Akron, OH
Languages: Spanish, French, some Italian, Arabic and Buluc
University: MA in International Higher Education Administration
Where I’ve Traveled: Canada, Mexico, Peru, Guatemala, Argentina, Aruba, St. Lucia, Mali, Cote D’Ivoire, Cameroon, Kenya, Tanzania, Zanzibar, Egypt, England, France, Spain, Italy
What I like to do: An around the world trip
University: Michigan State University
Where I’ve Traveled: Canada, Mexico, Costa Rica, Belize, Caribbean Islands, Germany, France, England, Scotland, Spain, Portugal, Switzerland, Poland, Denmark, Greece, Austria, Czech Republic, Hungary, Italy
What I like to do: Travel, hosting exchange students, gardening, cooking and entertaining
Hometown: Pittsburgh, PA
University: Robert Morris University, Bachelor of Science Business Marketing
Where I’ve Traveled: Ireland, Scotland, Portugal, Spain, Italy, Greece, Croatia, Macedonia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Morocco, Canada, Barbados, Grand Cayman, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, and most of continental US
What I like to do: Spend time with friends and family, cooking, hiking, travel, musicals, volunteering and I love reading and watching autobiographies and historical events to learn about people and events throughout time
Hometown: Born and raised in Southern California and have been here ever since
Languages: English but learning French
Where I’ve traveled: China, Germany, Spain, Serbia, Greece, Italy, Czech Republic, Netherlands, England, Hungary, Canada and Mexico
What I like to do: See the local sites with exchange students; Travel with and without my daughters; Go to concerts; Play games; Camping, when water is involved; Hang with family and friends.
Hometown: Montgomery, AL
University: BA, MA English
Where I’ve Traveled: Many countries in South America and Europe, the Caribbean, Mexico, and Canada
What I like to do: Gardening, reading, traveling, and spending time with young people
Hometown: Keller, Texas
University: East Texas State University
Where I’ve traveled: All over the USA, Thailand, Puerto Rico, Paris, London, Ireland, Barcelona, Greece, Hawaii and so many more.
What I like to do: I am passionate about meeting new people and creating experiences through mutual interests and shared experiences. Attending sports games, going camping and working with exchange students has become a great passion of mine. Of course, one of the main things I love to do is spend time with my two amazing daughters and my husband!
Hometown: Wichita, Kansas
University: B.A. from Wheaton College (Ill.), M.A. from University of Illinois Chicago Circle
Where I’ve traveled: I have visited most of the states in the U.S. and have also visited Canada, the Bahamas, Aruba, Honduras, Ecuador, Chile, Argentina, Peru, England, Ireland, Wales, Finland, Denmark, Russia, Ukraine, Estonia, Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, Czech Republic, Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, Bulgaria, Romania, Austria, Switzerland, Italy, Vatican City, Monaco, France, Spain, Portugal, Greece, Turkey, Malta, Morocco, Liberia (West Africa), South Africa, India, China (four times), Macau, Japan, Thailand, Fiji, New Zealand, and Australia (twice). Four years ago I went to the Falkland Islands, South Georgia in the Sandwich Islands, and Antarctica.
What I like to do: Travel, read, complete crossword puzzles
Hometown: Richmond, Maine
Languages: English, some Spanish
Where I’ve traveled:Canada, Mexico, Aruba, St. Martin, Bahamas, Cost Rica, Morocco, Spain, Austria, France, Belgium, Germany, China, Japan, South Korea, Argentina, Russia, Italy, Greece, Hungary, and Jordan.
What I like to do: travel, visiting my exchange students, cooking, being with my grandson, shopping, meeting people, the beach, gardening, decorating, animal rescue, my kitties and ducks!
Hometown: Lansing, Michigan
Languages: I speak some Spanish
University: Western Michigan University- Home of the Broncos!
Travels- I’ve seen a great deal of the U.S., with my favorite parts being Canyonlands National Park in Utah and Lake Powell in Utah and Arizona. My only international travel prior to Budapest is The Bahamas and Canada.
What I like to do: I love watching my sons play soccer, I’m active as a runner and soccer player, I enjoy different series’ with my wife, Beth, reading, and of course, interacting with people of other cultures.
Hometown: Greeley, CO
University: Bachelors of Science
Where I’ve Traveled: Europe
What I like to do: Spending time with my children, swimming, traveling, and learning
Hometown: Chicago, IL
Languages: Danish, Swedish, Norwegian, German, French, English
University: Mulernes Legatskole, Odense, Denmark – Studied Languages & Pedagogy
Where I’ve Traveled: Most of Europe, South America, Africa and the Canadian Wilderness. Bucket List includes Greenland, Iceland & The Faroe Islands
What I like to do: Traveling, learning new languages, reading good books
Hometown: New York, California and currently Iowa
Languages: A little Spanish
University: B.A. UCLA, M.A. Fuller Theological Seminary, LMFT (Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist)
Where I’ve Traveled: I have been to 42 States, 41 countries and 5 continents (and counting).
What I like to do: LOVE to travel. LOVE my husband of over 30 years, 3 adult kids (one kid in law) who are spread all over the US and 2 “Practically perfect in every way” grandchildren (they LOVE Mary Poppins). LOVE culture and my (over) 90 exchange students and all they have taught me. LOVE my church and God’s Word. Also like to exercise, hike, read, socialize. Did I mention I LOVE to travel?
Hometown: Pearland, TX
Languages: English, French and Spanish
University: University of Alabama, Business
Where I’ve Traveled: All over the USA, France, Argentina, Aruba, Costa Rica, Bahamas, Brazil, Bali Indonesia, China, Hong Kong, Nicaragua, Jamaica, Grand Cayman, Mexico, Belize, Honduras, Spain, Switzerland and many more in the future.
What I like to do: I love to travel and learn about new cultures, plan and organize events, crafts, anything outdoors and spending time with family
Hometown: I grew up in Southern California but spent most of my life raising my family in Auburn, CA. I also lived in Chicago for eight years and I now live in Sacramento, California’s capital.
Languages: I speak conversational Italian
University: Sacramento State University BS and California Teaching Credential, TESOL Certificate from University of Cambridge (Rome Campus)
Where I’ve traveled: I lived in Rome, Italy for four years, so I was lucky enough to travel throughout Europe. I’ve also been to South America (Argentina, Paraguay, Uruguay), Cape Town, South Africa and Egypt.
What I like to do: See the local sites with exchange students; play with my grandchildren and children; and play golf, bike ride, and kayak with my husband.
Hometown: Port Barrington, IL
University: Oakton Community College: Early Childhood degree
Where I’ve traveled: Thailand, Costa Rica, Scotland, Spain, Japan, Portugal, and Greece
What I like to do: Scrapbooking and gardening
Hometown: Fremont, NE
Where I’ve traveled: All over the United States and several times to Germany.
What I like to do: I enjoy spending time with my family, snuggling up with my puppies to watch a good movie, or traveling anywhere there is good food.
Hometown: Russellville, Arkansas
University: Arkansas Tech University
Where I’ve traveled: Athens, Greece; Budapest, Hungry; Cozumel, Mexico
What I like to do: Spend time with my family, travel, crafts and painting
Hometown: Plantation, Florida
Languages: Spanish and American Sign Language (neither fluent)
University: University of the South undergraduate, NDCC for 2 years of ASL while attending Univ of Miami for MD
Where I’ve traveled: all continental US States, most Canadian provinces, Mexico, Guatemala, most of Western Europe, India, Japan, Argentina, Aruba, Bahamas
What I like to do: genealogy, fix it up projects, historical sites/National Parks, reading mysteries/spy novels/classics, card games, drive-in movies, photography (of my kids mostly)
Hometown: Oak Park, IL
Languages: English, Spanish, and some Portuguese
University: University of Wisconsin – Madison, BA Spanish/certified in International Relations
Where I’ve Traveled: Many countries around the world with the exception of many places in SE Asia, Africa and Middle East
What I like to do: Travel, learn languages, eat, cook, hike, movies
Hometown: Jakarta, Indonesia
Languages: Indonesian, Italian, French
University: Marquette University/BA in Communication Studies & Public Relations; Loyola University/MBA in Management & Entrepreneurship
Where I’ve Traveled: Indonesia, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Philippines, Thailand, Japan, South Korea, Hong Kong, China, Jamaica, Mexico, England, Spain, Andorra, France, Monaco, Belgium, Netherlands, Germany, Italy
What I like to do: Learn Italian, serve in various ministries at the Holy Name Cathedral, go karaoke, practice swing dancing & Lindy Hop, and relearn how to play the piano
Hometown: Oak Park, IL
Languages: Spanish and English
University: University of Illinois – Chicago, B.A. in Communication
Where I’ve Traveled: All over Europe (10 countries), China, Morocco, Mexico, and Canada.
What I like to do: Traveling, discussing and watching films, obsessing over President Lincoln and history, and hanging out with close friends and family with a glass of wine
Hometown: Chicago, IL
Languages: Beginner Hebrew
University: Bradley University, B.S. in Communications (Public Relations). Minors in Marketing and Sociology
Where I’ve Traveled: Czech Republic, Germany, Poland, Sweden, Netherlands, Australia, Indonesia, Israel, England
What I like to do: Play and coach soccer, swim, compete in triathlons, travel the world
Hometown: Naperville, IL
Languages: English and Hebrew (super minimal….)
University: Bradley University
Where I’ve Traveled: Israel, Italy, Barcelona, Amsterdam, Switzerland, Ireland, Scotland, London, Paris, Mexico, Croatia, Budapest, Vienna.
What I like to do: I love baking dairy-free treats, playing with puppies, traveling, reading, or catching up on my favorite Netflix shows!
Hometown: Riverhead, New York
Languages: English and some Japanese, French, and Spanish
University: American University/B.A. in International
Studies; University of Michigan/Ph.D. Political Science
Where I have traveled: Ireland, Japan, Germany
What I like to do: Travel, cook, eat, make vermouths and liqueurs, brush up on my foreign languages by listening to podcasts.
Hometown: Downers Grove, Illinois
Languages: English and basic French
University: Loyola University Chicago, BA in Advertisement and Public Relations
Where I have traveled: Ireland, Spain, Portugal, Aruba, Mexico, Canada and around the U.S.!
What I like to do: I enjoy taking long boat rides, reading, snowboarding and finding décor inspiration from HGTV.
Hometown: Tbilisi, Georgia (country, not the state).
Languages: Georgian, German, Russian, and English
University: Denison University – Double BA in Political Science and German, Northwestern University – MA in Public Policy and Administration
Where I’ve Traveled: Georgia, Germany, Italy, France, Greece, Turkey, Poland, the UAE, Egypt, Spain, the United Kingdom, and the United States
What I like to do: I like to ski, ice skate, and try different dance genres (so far I’ve tried myself in Contemporary, African Jazz, Flamenco, and Latin American). I love to browse fashion, work out, and travel.
Hometown: Mitchell, Nebraska, USA
Languages: French and bits of Japanese & German
University: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign M.A. East Asian Studies; University of Nebraska-Lincoln M.A. Business French with a Secondary Concentration in Linguistics; year abroad at the Université de Bordeaux III; summer at Middlebury Japanese program
Where I’ve Traveled: Europe, North Africa, Japan
What I like to do: Bike, shoot pool, do crossword puzzles, lift weights, listen to podcasts, find interesting neighborhoods & ethnic restaurants (& new places to shoot pool)
Hometown: Grand Haven, MI
UniversityB. A. International Relations/B. A. International Economics – Grand Valley State University
Where I’ve Traveled: Europe, Asia, Latin America
What I like to do: Cook, eat, swim, and make people laugh
Hometown: Brookfield, Wisconsin
Languages: Slovak, Spanish, Pig Latin, English
University: University of Wisconsin – Madison/B.A. In Spanish Linguistics; International Studies; Latin American, Caribbean and Iberian Studies; Minor in Global Cultures
Where I’ve Traveled: Argentina, Austria, Bolivia, Canada, China, Costa Rica, Croatia, Czech Republic, Dominican Republic, France, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Jamaica, Jordan, Mexico, Moldova, the Netherlands, Peru, Poland, the Philippines, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Thailand, Turkey, Uruguay, Ukraine, and across the wild and wonderful U.S.A.
What I like to do: SCUBA dive, study the blending and evolution of languages, karaoke, throw parties, hike in the forest, declutter, make soup
Hometown: Opatow, Poland
Languages: Polish, English, Turkish
University: Bahcesehir University/MBA
Where I’ve Traveled: Poland, Slovakia, Czech Republic, Ukraine, Moldova, Germany, Italy, France, Macedonia, Bulgaria, Turkey, Dominican Republic, Jamaica, Mexico, United States.
What I like to do: Long walks; photography; traveling; reading books and travel, lifestyle & parenting blogs
Hometown: Chicago, IL
Languages: Conversational Japanese, once I studied German and Russian….I can order a few things in Dutch
University: Marycrest International University, BA in Global Studies and History
Where I’ve Traveled: Japan, Netherlands, Germany, Russia, Ireland, London, U.S.
What I like to do: Meeting new people, eating new foods, joying cultural events, listening to my husband’s band, and laughing with my family
Hometown: Pionki, Poland
Languages: Polish, English and some Portuguese
University: Kazimierz Pulaski University of Technology and Humanities, Radom, Poland
Where I’ve Traveled: China, Japan, Thailand, Vietnam, South Korea, Philippines, Cyprus, France, Greece, Slovakia, Netherlands, Spain, Czech Republic, Moldova, Russia, Kazakhstan, Ukraine, Bulgaria, Germany, Poland, Ireland, Turkey, Argentina, Ecuador, Peru, Brazil, Chile
What I like to do: Play and watch tennis; learn Portuguese; hang out with my niece and nephew
Hometown: Sonoma, California
University: Utah State University/Major in Community Health Education, Minor in Nutrition
Where I’ve Traveled: Mexico, Canada, Jamaica, Turkey, Thailand and China, besides visiting almost all of the U.S. states.
What I like to do: I love traveling, baking, kayaking, enjoying the mountains and discovering new places as I move throughout the U.S.
Hometown: Royal Oak, MI
Languages: English, German
University: Bowling Green State University/ Bachelor of Science of Journalism
Where I’ve Traveled: Austria, Germany, Czech Republic, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, England, Canada
What I like to do: Write fiction, read, drive my car, travel
Hometown: Mankato, MN
Languages: Mandarin, Spanish
University: Northwestern University/BA in Anthropology and International Studies
Where I’ve Traveled: China, South Korea
What I like to do: Training for and racing triathlons, reading (especially narrative nonfiction and ethnographies), hiking, studying languages, playing soccer
Hometown: Kalamazoo, MI
University: Kalamazoo College/B.A. in English with an emphasis in Writing
Where I’ve Traveled: Ecuador on foreign exchange, Peru, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, Philippines, England, France, and Canada
What I like to do: Play and watch tennis, sing, shop for vinyl records, try new foods, and jump in Lake Michigan
Hometown: Nashville, TN
Languages: French, Arabic, Wolof
University: Northwestern University/B.A. in Political Science, Minor in Psychology
Where I’ve Traveled: Senegal, Jordan, Switzerland, France, Ireland, Greece, Italy, Spain, Egypt, Israel, Lebanon
What I like to do: Learn about different cultures, try new foods, talk about movies, Improv, and enjoy a good cup of coffee
Hometown: Nevada, Missouri
Languages: English, Mandarin and a little Spanish
University: University of Missouri, B.A. Communications, M.A. Anthropology (in progress)
Where I’ve Traveled: Taiwan, China, Canada, Mexico, Honduras, Jamaica, Panama
What I like to do: Learn about culture & language, travel, cook and explore
Hometown: Buffalo, NY
Languages: English, Spanish, basic Portuguese
University: Michigan State University
Where I’ve Traveled: Canada, Chile, Italy, Jamaica, Mexico, Spain, United Kingdom, United States
What I like to do: Traveling as much as possible, reading biographies, baking and eating sweets, studying maps, obsessing over my dog Palmer and whole heartedly advocating for all things Buffalo and Michigan State
Hometown: Chicago, Illinois
Languages: English and Spanish
University: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, BS in Molecular and Cellular Biology
Where I’ve Traveled: Mexico and throughout the United States
What I like to do: Spending time with family and friends, watching and playing sports – especially tennis – reading, attending concerts and watching movies
Hometown: Barrington, IL
Languages: German and a tiny bit of Spanish
University: DePaul University
Where I’ve Traveled: Germany, the Netherlands, France, Ireland, Austria, Czech Republic
What I like to do: I like to try to keep active and busy. I am a coach for DePaul’s Dodgeball club that meets twice a week. When the weather is nice out I like to play Wiffleball and Frisbee, or I go for a bike ride on the Lakefront Trail. I watch a lot of movies and read books whenever I find one that interests me
Hometown: Chicago, IL
Languages: Conversational Spanish
University: University of Wisconsin-Madison
Where I’ve Traveled: Thailand, South Korea, Zambia, South Africa, Colombia, Argentina, Uruguay, Chile, Peru, Panama, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Guatemala, Mexico, Canada and 18 European countries
What I Like to Do: Yoga, read, travel, photography and spend time outside, preferably, near any body of water
Hometown: Chicago, IL
Languages: English and Spanish
University: The University of Notre Dame: B.A. in Spanish Language and Literature, Minors in International Development Studies and Poverty Studies
Where I’ve traveled: Chile, Nicaragua, Spain, and the U.S.
What I like to do: Enjoy tapas, empanadas, arepas, tinto de verano, piscola, a good carménère, etc.; Maintain long-distance friendships through social media, but occasionally surprise and visit aforementioned friends; Analyze and discuss literature to see the world differently
Hometown: San Francisco, CA
Languages: Understands some Spanish and German
University, Major: San Francisco State University, B.A. International Affairs and Relations
Where I’ve Traveled: United States, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Chile, Argentina, Tonga, New Zealand, French Polynesia, Indonesia (Bali), Singapore, Philippines, Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, China, UAE, India, Greece, Turkey, Bulgaria, Macedonia, Montenegro, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Serbia, Croatia, Slovenia, Hungary, Austria, Czech Republic, Germany, Switzerland, Italy, France, Germany, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, UK, Ireland
What I Like to Do: Eat, Hike, Read, Netflix, Repeat
Hometown: Naperville, IL
Languages: English, Mandarin Chinese
University: Loyola University Chicago, BA in Political Science
Where I’ve Traveled: China, Costa Rica, Mexico, Belize, 18/50 states and Washington D.C.
What I like to do: Watch hockey, baseball, and rugby, take photographs at anime conventions, listen to podcasts, write, and read!
University: Northeastern Illinois University
Where I traveled: Colombia, Panama, Puerto Rico, Canada, Mexico and 18 states…trying to visit all 50.
Illinois, Idaho, Wisconsin, Iowa, Kentucky, Ohio, California, Florida, Tennessee, Louisiana, Colorado, Utah, Michigan, Georgia, Minnesota, New York, North and South Carolina.
What I like to do: Talk, read, travel, swim, cook, sing in the car, and spend time with my family.
Hometown: Palatine, IL
Languages: English, Spanish, and Galician
University: Northern Michigan University, BA in Biology-Physiology, Spanish
Where I’ve Traveled: Spain, Portugal, Ireland, Scotland, England, Italy, Bosnia- Herzgovina, Croatia, Morocco, Finland, Estonia, Belgium, The Netherlands, Poland, Ukraine, Austria, Switzerland
What I Like to Do: I love traveling and trying new cultural foods, finding a comfy corner to read a new book, admiring contrasting architecture, as well as hiking and cooking
Hometown: Oakland, CA
Languages: English, Mandarin, some Spanish, very basic Korean
University: Calvin College, Double BA in International Relations and Chinese, minor in geography
Traveled: China, South Korea, Uganda, Kenya, Mexico, Costa Rica, The Philippines
What I like to do: Bike, play volleyball, read, travel, cook, go to concerts, explore cities
Hometown: Rochester, NY
Languages: English, simple Mandarin
University: State University of New York at Brockport
Where I’ve traveled: China, Japan, Cambodia, Vietnam, Philippines, S. Korea, Australia, Germany
What I like to do: Bicycle, listen to music, play card and board games, watch baseball and travel
Hometown: Englewood, NJ
University: University of Wisconsin / BA in Sociology, Certificate In Global Health
Where I’ve Traveled: Costa Rica, Mexico, England, Norway, Finland, Sweden, Denmark, Spain, France, Italy, Germany, the Netherlands, Austria, Czech Republic, Israel, Tanzania, South Africa, China
What I like to do: yoga, listen to podcasts and recreate online cooking videos
Hometown: New Berlin, WI
Languages: English and basic Spanish
University: University of Wisconsin-Madison
Where I’ve Traveled: Uganda, Peru, Puerto Rico, Belize, Norway, Iceland, Sweden, Finland, Denmark, and Canada
What I Like To Do: I enjoy spending time outdoors (especially in the mountains or on the water), traveling to new places, playing and coaching volleyball, and trying out new recipes
Hometown: Marshall, MN
Languages: English and Spanish
University: Regis University – B.S. in Biochemistry, Minor in Spanish
Where I’ve Traveled: Japan, Mexico, Canada, Guatemala, Norway, Denmark, Germany, The Netherlands, and all over the U.S.
What I like to do: I enjoy biking and hiking, playing music, drawing and painting, doing pottery, and baking bread
Hometown: Tabriz, Iran
Languages: Persian, Turkish, Azerbaijani, Russian, Ukrainian (intermediate), Arabic (beginner)
University: Ivano-Frankivsk National Medical University, Northeastern Illinois University
Where I’ve traveled: North America, Europe, Middle East, Southeast Asia
What I like to do: Reading, cooking, watching movies, and seeing art.
Hometown: Novosibirsk, Russia
Languages: English, Russian
University: Master of Arts in International Relations and Comparative Politics
Where I’ve Traveled: Hungary, Italy, Japan, New Orleans, California, Russia, Mexico
What I like to do: Explore Chicago
Hometown: Chicago, IL
Languages: English, some Italian and Spanish
University: Loyola University Chicago
Where I’ve Traveled: South Korea, Singapore, Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, China, Japan, Thailand, Hong Kong, Vietnam, Taiwan, Belgium, Italy, France, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Hungary, Germany, Poland, Spain, UK, Croatia, Greece, Ireland, Malta, Portugal, Serbia, Mexico and Canada
Hometown: Libertyville, IL
Languages: English, Spanish
University: DePaul University, BA in Communication Studies, minor in Psychology
Where I’ve Traveled: Italy, France, Switzerland, Greece, Tunisia, Thailand, Malaysia, South Korea
What I like to do: Explore new places, hike and go on bike rides, read, take photos, try new recipes
Hometown: Neodesha, Kansas
Languages: English and conversational Spanish
University: The University of Kansas/Sociology and Journalism
Where I’ve Traveled: Belize, Mexico, The Bahamas, and more to come! What I like to do: Read, cook, dance, explore Chicago and spend time with my niece, Lily.
Hometown: Zion, IL
Languages: English, basic Spanish
University: DePaul University, B.A. in Journalism and a minor in Radio
Where I’ve Traveled: would like to go to Thailand, Italy, England, France, Jamaica, Africa, and Japan
What I like to do: obsess over pop culture (TV, music, movies), watch wrestling, try healthy recipes, go to restaurants and wineries, enjoy nature, workout in the gym.
Hometown: Tempe, Arizona
Languages: English and some Spanish
University: Arizona State University, BA in History and MA in Social Justice and Human Rights
Where I’ve Traveled: Canada, Mexico, UK, France, Italy, Germany, Greece, Turkey
What I like to do: play ukulele, score keep for pub quiz, laugh, love on my pets, read!
Hometown: Glenview, IL
Languages: English, Spanish (basic)
University: Michigan State University, B.A. in International Relations
Where I’ve Traveled: Ireland (Dual-Citizen), Scotland, England, Spain, Poland, Canada
What I like to do: Travel, explore the Chicago restaurant/bar scene, attend sporting events (particularly Cubs games), read the news, sing karaoke, watch Netflix, meet new people
Hometown: Wheaton, IL
Languages: English and just a bit of Thai
University: Strategic Communications BA – Calvin College (Grand Rapids MI)
Where I’ve Traveled: Canada, Thailand, Laos, Myanmar, many more soon to come
What I like to Do: Play rugby & Aussie rules football, read, do yoga, and meditate
Hometown: Wheaton, IL
Languages: Spanish, some Portuguese
University: University of Iowa, DePaul University
Where I’ve Traveled: Belgium, Australia, Costa Rica, Trinidad & Tobago
What I like to Do: Run, Box, Cook, Bartend, and Read Non-Fiction
Hometown: Wheaton, IL
Languages: English and Spanish
University: Indiana University – Bloomington, B.S. Ed.; University of Pennsylvania, M.S. Ed. International Educational Development
Where I’ve Traveled: Mexico, Colombia, Chile, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Malaysia, Vietnam, England, Italy, Northern Ireland
What I like to do: Read, write, fly fish, sail, run, camp, skip stones, and travel
Hometown: Chicago, IL
University: Western IL University – B.A. in Political Science, Minor in Women’s Studies
Where I’ve Traveled: Mexico
What I like to do: I enjoy reading, writing, and crafting.
Hometown: Oak Park, IL
University: St. Lawrence University – BA in Performing & Communication Arts, DePaul – MA in Organizational & Multicultural Communication
Where I’ve Traveled: Across the U.S, Mexico, Canada, Spain, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Colombia, Brazil, Argentina, Ukraine, Poland, Kazakhstan, Georgia, China, Japan, and Thailand.
What I like to do: travel, explore the outdoors, try new restaurants, cuddle with my fur baby Mila, attempt to bake like I’m on the Great British cooking show, watch documentaries especially crime ones, and pretty much anything that involves eating.
Hometown: Chicago, IL
Languages: English, Spanish
University: DePaul University, BA in Anthropology
Where I’ve Traveled: Chile, Argentina, Peru, Costa Rica, Honduras, Cuba, Spain, and Mexico
What I like to do: Travel, try new recipes, dance, and organize Lunch and Learns!
Lauren has had an interest in international cultures and affairs for as long as she can remember. While earning her degree in International Studies, Lauren completed her minor in French in an intensive summer program in Dijon, France. She then spent a semester on a ship circumnavigating the globe with Semester at Sea, visiting 10 countries around the world. Inspired to spend more time immersed in another culture, she spent the summer of 2006 volunteering as a teacher in Ghana. Lauren loves to encourage and excite people about cultural exchange and traveling abroad! She also loves photography, hiking in the great outdoors, running, biking, and exploring all of the wonderful food, culture and events that Chicago has to offer.
Sara comes from a background of extensive travel, including a semester onboard the MV Explorer with Semester at Sea in which she circumnavigated the world, visiting 13 countries. She also spent a summer abroad in Costa Rica studying ecotourism in Carrera National Park. Sara received a Bachelor’s in Geography from The University of Wisconsin–Madison and is a die-hard Badger football fan. After graduating, Sara spent a year living and teaching middle school English in Seoul, South Korea where she learned to love kimchi and K-pop. Upon returning from Korea, she decided she wanted to help people move abroad and have the same amazing cultural exchange experience she did by working at Greenheart Travel!
Allison was 16 year-old when she took her first trip abroad, where she participated in a mini-exchange with a high school in Billericay, England. She graduated from Indiana University with degrees in International Studies, Spanish and Near Eastern Languages and Cultures. She studied for a year in Buenos Aires, Argentina; taught English and was an au pair in Ibiza, Spain; and worked in Melbourne and Darwin, Australia, which explains why she has the habit of drinking mate, eating dinner late and signing off emails with “cheers.” She’s traveled to over 30 countries and hopes to soon visit Brazil, India and South Africa. She also writes freelance about travel, women and society and in her free time loves listening to podcasts, belting her favorite reggaeton songs, reading anything fascinating, and trying to learn social Latin dances.
Kara’s first trip abroad was a 10-day trip to France with her high school French class, and ever since then has had an insatiable desire to see the world. Kara graduated from the University of Illinois at Chicago in 2011 with a Bachelor’s in English non-fiction writing and a minor in French. In November of 2013, Kara got on a plane bound for Thailand to teach English on Greenheart’s Teach in Thailand program. There, she taught at an all-boys boarding school in the Nakhon Pathom province, learned how to ride side-saddle on a motorbike, and discovered the ever delicious khao mun gai. When Kara is not daydreaming about Thailand, she enjoys cooking, binge-watching Netflix, rock climbing and dabbling in photography.
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, as 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.
Jessica’s first experience abroad was a trip to France with her high school French class. She proudly paid for the whole trip herself through her job at a grocery story! She has been an avid traveler ever since. She went on a study abroad program in college to the Netherlands and France. Upon graduation, she joined the Peace Corps and spent two transformative years in Cote d’Ivoire as a community health volunteer. She’s visited so many countries, she’s losing count! She loves biking, cooking, gardening, and spending time with her wonderful friends, husband and two children.
Kate’s first experience leaving the comforts of home for an extended period of time was when her parents pulled her siblings and her out of school for a year to travel around the United States in a bus. She’s been on the lookout to book her next exciting trip ever since. While attending a wedding in Greece, paragliding in Ecuador, becoming scuba certified in Thailand, cliff diving the cenotes of Mexico, and skiing the Pyrenees in Andorra, Kate immersed herself in the culture of each new country by staying with locals, learning the customs, and of course, eating everything there was to offer. She likes to spend her time at home meeting up with friends, exploring her new city of Chicago, and reading a good book in a cozy spot.
Upon obtaining her first pen-pal from Germany at age 12, Zoe instantly fell in love with learning about diverse cultures. From that moment on, Zoe began searching for any opportunity to visit distant countries.
She attended North Central College solely to enroll in their great study abroad programs. As a sophomore in college, she spent a term living with a host family in Costa Rica where she took four hours of intensive Spanish every day and interned for a tourism company. During her last year of college, Zoe spent a transformative term in Spain studying Spanish translation and phonetics. While completing her B.A. in Spanish and International Business, Zoe explored Panama, Italy, Portugal, and the Netherlands.
High on her must-see destination list are Colombia, Mexico, and Ireland. When she isn’t planning her next getaway, Zoe enjoys singing to her favorite Spanish songs, practicing Latin social dances, watching dramatic novelas, disappearing into a good book, and making new friends.
Amanda thrilled to be a part of Greenheart Travel, where she gets to empower others to pursue diverse experiences. By the time she was twenty, Amanda had traveled to four countries including England where she studied content during college. Amanda graduated from Denison University in 2016 with Bachelor degrees in Cinema and Communication. In her free time, she enjoys learning new recipes, watching documentaries, and gardening. She has visited dozens of cities but is happy to call Chicago home.
What inspires me about working at Greenheart is knowing that my work is helping others. When I’m not working, I enjoy cooking – I am a member of a gourmet dinner group where we share a meal we’ve cooked every six weeks or so. My specialty is baking. I’m also a member of two book clubs and will read about anything except science fiction.
An enthusiasm for culture, art and business led me to work at Greenheart International. Studying Environmental Economics at Kalamazoo College and Photography at the School of the Art Institute Chicago, I strive to combine left and right brain in my career path. Drawn to different cultures, I studied abroad in Spain and took a photography hiatus in India for six months. Giving me a personal connection to the work of GHI, in high school I had the amazing experience of hosting a German exchange student, who I still visit.
Working for the Greenheart Shop and Sobremesa division, I am inspired by the artisans we represent. Our carved wooden bowls from PATs provide income for indigenous families in the Amazon Rain forest. Locally, we support young moms in Chicago who learn job skills and gain confidence by pouring candles for Bright Endeavors. Each product in the store and wholesale line represents Greenheart’s commitment to fair trade and strengthening of our global community.
Outside of work, I enjoy coffee, craft beer and traveling with my husband, Joe. I have lived in Chicago for over 10 year, so I have been re-conditioned to not put ketchup on my hotdogs. (Versus my home state of Michigan where chili dogs are more the style) We live in Rogers Park neighborhood with our two photogenic cats and daughter Emma.