GoAbroad Interview

Hope Pavich - High School Abroad Programs Director

Hope Pavich - High School Abroad Programs Director for Greenheart Travel

Hope earned her degree in international studies at St. Norbert College. Inspired by her own study abroad experience in Austria and teaching experience in China, she went on to her a master’s degree in intercultural service leadership and management at the School for International Training. Hope also spent time working with inner-city youth in the U.S. as well as survivors of human trafficking in Southeast Asia before joining the Greenheart Travel team. Her role at Greenheart Travel gives her the opportunity to combine her passions for travel and for helping youth.

How were you introduced to the job opportunity at Greenheart Travel?

I was looking for a way to combine my love of travel with my enthusiasm for working with teenagers. I saw the job opening on Idealist, applied, and the rest is history!

Greenheart Travel staff at their annual fundraiser
This is the Greenheart Travel work crew at our annual fundraiser.

You studied abroad in Austria, taught English in China, and spent time working abroad in Taiwan. How did these international experiences change your perspective of the world?

They showed me that there are many ways of looking at the same thing, which is very helpful when it comes to problem solving. If one solution doesn’t work, there a plenty of other potential solutions.

How do you help high school students understand the impact their international program will have on their lives?

By the time they decide to go abroad, they’re already fully aware that this program will change their lives. I just try to prepare them as much as possible, so that they are ready to handle the challenges when they do arise.

What types of support does Greenheart Travel provide participants before, during, and after their program?

It’s important that we allow our participants to have their own experience and not be too involved in their program once it has begun. Having said that, we provide steady and consistent support to not just our students, but to their parents as well. We connect them with student and parent alumni, conduct monthly webinars, provide visa application assistance, offer advice on language and cultural immersion preparation, 24-hour emergency support, offer counseling services when needed, distribute monthly updates, and provide alumni opportunities once they’ve returned. Each student and parent also receive an in-depth general and cultural pre-departure orientation, which covers the logistical and cultural aspects of their program.

Tourist having lunch in Guanajuato, Mexico
I had to take a mini break after a full morning of sightseeing in Guanajuato, Mexico.

What makes going abroad with Greenheart Travel unique?

See above! In all seriousness, it’s our consistent, personal support. I’m with the students and their parents for every step along the way. As soon as they apply, I’m here to answer any questions and concerns. This remains true until long after they return from their program abroad. They never have to wonder who to reach out to and for what, because the answer is always, “Hope!” We also encourage our students and alumni to join the vibrant Greenheart Travel community via our thriving social media presence and alumni offerings.

Describe what an average day of work is like for you.

I really never know what my day will look like until I’m in the middle of it. My days vary as much as my participants, which makes work a lot of fun. Regardless of what else is happening though, two things are always a part of my day; answering questions from parents and students and speaking with our partners from around the world are mainstays.

Selfie of a girl near a port in the UK
I was checking out the boats and enjoying the sea breeze air after my United Kingdom partner visit.

How have your own international experiences prepared you for and helped you in your job?

Empathy and understanding. In order to support my students in their international experiences, it’s important that I’ve been in their shoes before. My own experiences allow me to offer sound advice that works.

What is the most rewarding part about working for Greenheart Travel?

I am really happy that I can honestly say that I enjoy my work. I use both my undergraduate and graduate degrees on a daily basis, which is incredibly satisfying. When it comes down to it, it’s the people that make this job so rewarding. My co-workers, students, parents, partners, and alumni are all phenomenally interesting people and interacting with them is a joy.

If you could participate in one of Greenheart Travel’s high school programs, which one would you choose and why?

All of our programs are incredible, so this is hard! I would go to Austria for one year. I studied there for a semester in college and loved it, but it wasn’t enough time for me to gain full German fluency. The immersion component of our programs is crucial for language fluency-at least for me! It’s also a socially aware program that offers a plethora of ways for students to get involved with their host communities.