Volunteering in Ecuador with Greenheart Travel (September 2013)

| May 17, 2013 More

Announcing Jetting Around’s plans for volunteering in Ecuador with Chicago’s Greenheart Travel – and how the idea came to be.  

Greenheart TravelI am no stranger to volunteer work, having contributed to business and cultural organizations in the past. However, since starting Jetting Around I had considered volunteering abroad. As I wasn’t sure where I’d like to go or which organization to choose, the idea was on the back burner for a while.

Last year, my friend Lauren of Where in the World is Lola traveled to Cambodia to assist in buildings houses. Reading about her experience made me take another look at available options and choose the best fit for me. As luck had it, the right organization came along.

I met representatives from Greenheart Travel, a Chicago-based company providing cultural exchange programs, at a local travel and language event. As I learned about their work, focused on social transformation and cross-cultural understanding, I decided to apply for a scholarship. The good news came a few days later – I would be going to Ecuador!

I chose the South American opportunity because I speak Spanish, which should allow me to connect well with the local community and jump into my role right away. Plus, after visiting Uruguay and Argentina, I was eager to see another part of the continent.


For three weeks, I will be participating in Greenheart’s Education, Care for the Elderly, and Community Development program in Lumbisí near Quito. My work will include the following:

  • Assisting with daily tasks at a child learning center
  • Helping teachers with classes at a vocational high school
  • Harvesting food from an organic garden
  • Serving meals to the elderly.

As a former teacher, I look forward to going back to the classroom! I am also excited about staying with a local host family and immersing myself in the Ecuadorian culture.

Ecuador flagFOLLOW ALONG

Throughout the program, I will be sharing my experiences on Greenheart’s blog, Jetting Around, and JA’s social media channels.

I hope you will follow me on the journey – and perhaps get inspired to try your hand at volunteering too. Stay tuned for more information before September 2013!

Have you traveled to volunteer? What was your experience like? Let me know in the comments!

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Category: STORIES


About the Author (Author Profile)

Pola Henderson is a travel writer, city explorer, expat, and event host. Traveling has been a part of her life since she was three. Pola grew up in Krakow, lived in Chicago for many years and is currently based in Paris, where she teaches Business English.

Comments (39)

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  1. avatar Aggy says:

    How exciting Pola! I can’t wait to read about your experiences, it’s something that I’d like to give a go in the future too!

  2. Immersion is the best way to experience a culture. So glad you are doing this! Make sure you see Cuenca!

  3. That’s so awesome Pola! Volunteer work was something we wanted to do last year but we never stayed put to actually do one. Still on our list.

  4. This seems amazing, Pola! Very tempted to do something similar!

  5. avatar Anita Mac says:

    Love it! Sounds like it is going to be amazing. Loved reading about Lola’s experiences in Cambodia – can’t wait to read about your experience in Ecador. Voluntourism is on my radar!

  6. Great idea to work with a local awesome charitable organization like Greenheart and travel.

  7. avatar Leah Travels says:

    This is fantastic, Pola. Well done! I can’t wait to read about your experience.

  8. amazing!! congrats! volunteering abroad is definitely something we’d love to do. will be great to hear about your experience!!

  9. What a great opportunity! I didn’t even know they gave scholarships for these trips.

  10. avatar lola says:

    you know i’m super excited for you and so proud too. you are going to love this experience!!

  11. Congratulations! We are so stoked for you! You’re going to love it.

  12. What a great thing to do! And a great way to do it! I have never done volunteer travel but it’s on my bucket list. I actually want to do this as a family when my kids are older! I look forward to reading about your adventures!

  13. I’m currently living in Cuenca, Ecuador as a volunteer – let me know if you’d like any tips! I spent three weeks in Quito before I arrived here and have some friends volunteering there now as well :) Bienvenidos a Ecuador!

  14. avatar Jenna says:

    Somehow I missed this post before but am so glad I saw it now…this opportunity sounds AMAZING. I am looking forward to hearing about your experiences to see if something similar would be a good fit for me and my little family. I’m very interested in doing volunteer work abroad soon.

  15. avatar Cassie says:

    Great! Excited for you, I’ve also been interested in doing a project like this and would love to know what you think of the org.

  16. How had I not seen this post and not known about this plan of yours? You’ll have to tell me more about it when we meet for coffee NEXT WEEK!! :)

  17. avatar Alex says:

    Ill be following your journey! Hope you have a great time volunteering, make amazing memories and meet life long friends :)