Greenheart Travel Celebrates World Cup Around the Globe

Greenheart Travel Celebrates World Cup Around the Globe

The team at Greenheart Travel has caught World Cup fever and have had a great time living vicariously through our participants around the globe. Volunteers sent us video from our project in Costa Rica cheering with fellow Ticos on an exciting win, and our English teachers who have just arrived in Colombia were welcomed with the country’s victory to advance them to the round of 16. A bit envious of all our travelers having these epic experiences abroad, we decided to reminisce about our own World Cup travel memories in honor of throwback Thursday. While exploring a new country doesn’t need to revolve around some incredible event or festival, it sure does create some amazing memories and is one of the quickest ways to bond with the locals in your host community.

We’d love to hear about your World Cup experiences past and present during your adventures abroad! Comment below and tell us your favorite memories!

In the meantime, happy World Cup #throwbackthursday!


Jill Robinson: Marketing Manager

After graduating from college in 2002, I headed to Edinburgh, Scotland with my friend Brooke to work abroad. Having no inkling about the World Cup, or really the sport of soccer in general, I was overwhelmed by the passion and excitement the games created. Not having bartended before, and having no idea what most people were saying in their heavy Scottish accents, the one thing I could understand was the love of the sport and when a favored team was winning or losing.

Thanks to the World Cup excitement, I was able to bond with my co-workers over 6 a.m. breakfasts cooked by our crazy three-toothed chef, while watching the games in a locked pub all to ourselves, pints of beer lined up in front of us. I was also able to experience being ordered down into the basement as a fight broke out in the pub, pint glasses threatened to be thrown, for “my own protection.” I think our manager secretly hoped he could throw a few punches but everything was sorted out in the end. There’s nothing like getting the vantage point of the World Cup, in all its emotional moments, from behind the bar while working abroad.

The memories I made at the Kenilworth Pub in Edinburgh are some of my most cherished to date, and having the unexpected chance to celebrate the World Cup while living abroad is something I never take for granted.

World-Cup-in-Scotland World-Cup-in-Scotland-with-Brooke  World-Cup-in-Scotland-Pub


Lauren Bauer: Director, Teach and Work Programs

Whenever the World Cup rolls around, I’m instantly transported back to the summer of 2006, when I was living in Akatsi, Ghana as a volunteer English teacher. Before that summer, the World Cup was only a blip on my radar. With so many major popular sports in the US, true American soccer fans are few and far between.

With an ancient power grid and no sports bars to speak of (at least outside of Accra), typical viewing parties in Ghana consist of shop owners along the side of the road setting up a tiny TV. Small crowds gather in clusters around these shops, huddling around the teeny, static-ridden televisions, standing or sitting on plastic chairs. Every other commercial is the Black Star anthem.

This experience in 2006 particularly historic, as it was Ghana’s first appearance in the World Cup finals in its history. In order to advance, they had to beat…the USA. We walked to watch the game in our new friend’s living room, sipping on orange Fantas. The group was half Ghanaians, and half yavus (the Ewe word for “white person, or any foreigner”). I have to admit, with the amount my new friends had invested in the game, I was cheering for Ghana! After they won, on our walk home, we had many neighbors and villagers walking cautiously up to us, asking us with their eyes and body language if it was okay that they celebrate their win against us! When we said we were happy for Ghana, they’d erupt in dance and pure joy!

For Ghana, it’s so much more than soccer. The amount of passion and pride the Ghanaians have in their team was unlike anything I had ever experienced. A win for Ghana has a far bigger impact on the level of national happiness that comes along with a win on the worldwide stage than for many other countries.

The passion is all consuming. When the game is on, nothing else matters. When there is a win, with the whole world watching, the people of Ghana surge with pride. All eyes are on them, and for them, this was the world’s first opportunity to see how great Ghana is. Being approached by a Ghanaian with tears in his eyes, full of joy that the world will now know about the great country of Ghana is something I will never forget.

Go Black Stars! (And USA!)

World cup in Ghana World Cup in Ghana 2


Molly Fried: Outreach Coordinator

I was living in Berlin, Germany during the last World Cup in 2010. Because of the events of the 21st century, Germans rarely displayed the German flag or acted nationalistic in public while I was living there for two years. Really, the World Cup was the first time I saw German flags on buildings that were not government offices. It was also the first time I heard Germans proudly cheering for their country! People celebrated big wins in the old center of what was, at one time, West Berlin. They danced and cheered nearby a bombed-out church that still stands as a memorial from WWII.

These types of events are healing for the country and for the next generation that wants to be proud of their national identity again. On a lighter note, I was also able to visit friends in Amsterdam during the matches, where they sold special orange M&Ms (click here to learn why orange is the Dutch team color) and held large open air viewing parties during the day. That year, Spain took the title, the Netherlands came in second, and Germany in third. I was so fortunate to experience the games in the same time zone as they were happening and with countries with such strong teams. I am in awe of how a whole city can stop everything to watch the matches and come together to celebrate!

World Cup m&ms celebrating world cup in germany celebrating world cup


Sara Dorsey: Teach Abroad Program Manager

I spent the last World Cup in 2010 in Seoul, South Korea when I was living there teaching English. Korea is an extremely nationalistic country, and any world event like the World Cup, the Olympics, etc. is a very big deal to them. Each World Cup there is an official cheering song and the song in 2010 was sung by K-Pop boy band phenoms Big Bang and Olympic ice skater Yuna Kim. I learned the whole dance, of course (and you can too!).

The first game of the 2010 World Cup for Korea was against Greece at around 10 PM on a Friday night. My friends and I staked out a prime spot at Seoul City Hall near the front of the crowd and after Korea won we danced in conga lines with thousands of people throughout the large park everyone was congregated in, cloaked in Korean flags. A Korean news station filmed us, and many of my students came up to me on Monday at school and said “Teacher! I saw you on TV!” It was one of my favorite nights in Korea, out of the entire year I was there, and one of the nights I felt most included as part of a culture that can be very hard to not feel like an outsider in. 대한민국! 화이팅!

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Tell us your magical moments from your own travels abroad while experiencing the World Cup! Comment below or share with us on Facebook and Twitter!

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