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Education Moves with Inclusiveness for Global Learners

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Both historically and non-business, travel has its roots in vacations and excursions, with leisure often at the forefront of travel. The pursuit of leisure has always been part of the appeal of the travel experience, but new dynamics are emerging and the answer to an industry recently affected by the slowdown of the pandemic is global understanding, learning and taking control. It suggests that there is a possibility of recovery in

In 2020, the tourism and travel industry found the sector lost $4.5 trillion and 62 million jobs, prompting many to consider long-term recovery techniques. The World Economic Forum’s 2021 Travel & Tourism Development Index highlights the need to build long-term inclusiveness, sustainability and resilience into the sector. Part of our commitment is to be the engine of global connectivity that fosters the economic and social progress of related cultures.

Language learning is part of the process. Not only does it enrich the traveler experience, it can bring real benefits to everyone entering the travel industry. Language learning provides true respect for the cultures visited while adding nuances of understanding and connection.

Modeled on inclusivity, the travel industry has the potential to move beyond the superficial into immersion and understanding with global connectivity and awareness at the forefront. As a result, travel is uniquely positioned to redefine its economic role in a more responsible way in relation to the cultures and peoples visited.

Chelsea Glass, founder of Heart of Travel, is ahead of the game in understanding the dynamics, connections, language, cultural awareness and inclusivity of travel. She was raised in California and based in Guatemala, Glass offers travelers a bridge between cultures. Glass first launched her Heart of Travel in America in 2016 and officially registered the company in Guatemala in 2018.

The organization is proud to have a large, female-led full-time staff working in its main office in Guatemala. A small core team works with many freelance her guides, drivers, artists and artisans. At any given time, over 100 people take tours in different parts of Latin America and beyond. The tour will take place in Guatemala, Mexico City, Huajaca, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Peru, Spain, Cuba, and Colombia and Argentina in 2023.

language as connection

Language knowledge is at the core of the team’s tour principles. “Our tour her leader is usually a fully bilingual woman,” she says Glass. “It’s important to understand and bridge multiple cultures, not just speak two different languages.” Well-researched and takes participants on an immersive travel experience.

Glass focuses on providing realism to the travel experience that sets it apart from traditional models. “Sometimes in the travel industry, we glorify or over-glamourize indigenous cultures and become too folklore,” adds Glass. “Unfortunately, I don’t observe reality these days. I believe in human connection. [in the community] That’s the number one thing that sets us apart. ”

The story of Don Jose

A prime example is Heart of Travel’s relationship with a local coffee farmer named Don José in Guatemala. The story of how Glass and her team meet and ultimately work together is an amazing and heartfelt journey that demonstrates the power of relationship building and compassion.

In 2018, after one of the largest Fuego volcano eruptions impacted Costa Antigua, costing lives, farmland and infrastructure, Glass and her team launched a GoFundeMe to support the effort. After raising her unexpected $30,000, they turned their attention to the area.

During their work, they met Gloria, the pregnant widow of a firefighter named San Antonia, who lost her life fighting a fire after an eruption. They got to know her over a long period of time while helping Gloria rescue and recover. Don Jose is a dynamic person who happens to be a small coffee farmer in the area.

Soon our relationship with Don Jose went from strength to strength, and Heart of Travel added the tour as a staple of their offering. “When we get in the back of the truck, he takes us to his land,” says Glass. “Don Jose shares his experience as a coffee farmer and talks about all the challenges he faces as a small grower. It offers a real experience, not a deal or a tourist feeling.”

Cultural learning and support

From this shared experience, Glass and her team bring a more robust and fulfilling lift to the travel experience with cultural learning and awareness. Her efforts provide tourists with experiences that also directly affect the lives of many individuals who intersect with the tour experience. Rather than offering linked tours to participants, Heart of Travel’s small, independent model provides direct financial impact to participants.

Another tour initiative is for the Garifuna people of Guatemala, raising awareness of the complexities of remote indigenous groups. The Garifuna are an Afro-Guatemalan group that have maintained their West African and Caribbean-Arawak traditions despite years of adversity.

Heart of Travel tours the region with preliminary teachings to deepen your understanding of the Garifuna. As part of the effort, the Spanish course explores culturally relevant linguistic differences, accents and vocabulary.

language immersion

Language learning is as important as Glass’s travel philosophy. After earning her master’s degree at her Sacramento State University, she is leveraging her own knowledge base to delve even deeper into the diversity of Latin and Spanish that exists across her America.

Unlike some of the structured curricula found in schools, Glass has created a Spanish learning course as part of the Heart of Travel experience, using online materials that integrate cultures. “The course consists primarily of prerecorded videos and his PDFs, but there are also live calls with myself and other instructors,” he says Glass. “Pre-recorded videos are not boring classroom videos. We enable people to travel virtually. is able to visit providers of

Amazingly, Glass and her team combine cultural learning, experience and language development as a comprehensive package into the world of travel. Heart of Travel strives to add depth to travel experiences that have a far-reaching impact on the lives of travelers and the people they visit.


Organizations like Heart of Travel recognize that travel can bridge cultures in a two-way exchange that benefits travelers and the communities they visit. Glass’s efforts focus on making the tours educational and challenging for visitors, but for her, the focus is on the culture and lives of the people who call each region home. is very important.

In a global economy where communication transcends borders, it is no surprise that travel can function as an enjoyable experience while setting the stage for enriching lifelong learning pursuits.

Interviews have been edited and condensed for clarity.

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