Welcome to part one of our photo journal!
Every GLA program is built around three areas of focus: Community Service, Hands-On Learning, and Adventure. These are the fundamental building blocks that allow us to provide life-changing journeys to teens just like you! Each focal area provides its own unique opportunities for personal growth, learning, friendship, excitement, leadership, and all-out FUN.
For part one of this 3-part photo journal, we’re focusing on what truly makes GLA programs so much fun—the adventure. We dove into our photo archives from this past summer and pulled some of our favorite adventure photos from each country—19 countries to be exact! So sit back, relax, and join us on this epic photo tour around the world!
First stop: Ghana!
Heading South….to South Africa!
Surf and sun awaits. We’re off to Bali!
The islands are calling…follow us to Fiji!
India, here we come!
Off we go to Thailand where majestic elephants and beautiful temples await us.
Time to practice our Spanish…in Spain!
Buckle up, we’re heading to South America. First stop Brazil!
Time to hop over to Peru!
Off to Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands!
Next stop, Haiti!
Off to Cuba!
Off to practice our French in Guadeloupe, also known as “the pearl of the Caribbean.”
Three countries left on our journey. Off to Belize!
Two more stops. Dominican Republic, here we come!
We made it to our final destination, which is also the country with the most GLA programs…Hola Costa Rica!
Thank you for joining us on this photo tour around the world! To all our alumni readers, we hope you enjoyed reliving these moments from your GLA adventure. And to all our readers who may be considering joining a GLA program, we can’t wait to meet you in one of these amazing GLA destinations!
Keep an eye out for part two of our photo journal, where we’ll showcase our favorite community service photos from each country — coming soon!
*Note: Activities may vary on programs within the same country. To confirm if an activity pictured above is part of your program, please refer to our 2019 infosheets or call to speak to a GLA Enrollment Specialist.
“It’s about looking around, seeing a need, and thinking creatively about how to address it.”
GLA teens have the benefit of getting to work alongside our local partners on meaningful projects that bring change to communities and inspire us all to be better global citizens. Bodhi Surf & Yoga, in the Bahia Ballena area of Costa Rica, is one of those partners.
Our partnership with Bodhi brings two GLA program offerings to our students: Costa Rica Protecting the Pacific and Costa Rica Surf & Sustainable Service. Both programs offer students the opportunity to become “ocean guardians,” and stewards of environmental action to protect our oceans and natural habitat through various volunteer projects and initiatives.
Bodhi Surf & Yoga has teamed up with local community leaders and organizations to create Bahia Ballena Libre de Plastico (Bahia Ballena Free of Plastic initiative). One of the problems that the initiative is addressing is the environmental issues that are caused by single-use plastics and what solutions can be created in order to mitigate the environmental damage that convenience plastics create.
Since 2016, several companies in the area have made operational changes to start refusing and reducing single use plastics. GLA students had a unique opportunity to assist in creating a stunning visual reminder of the immense waste caused by single use plastics when they assisted in repurposing 3,494 single use plastic water bottles into 9 x 5 meter (approx 30 feet x 16 feet) humpback whale sculpture.
While the project was completed back in 2017, it still serves as a profound statement of the peril that faces our environment due to waste and reminds us all to do our part to reduce plastic waste across the globe.
The bottle whale has even been on tour all over Costa Rica to raise awareness about single-use plastics and their detrimental effect on the ocean and environment. The photos below were taken while the sculpture was on display at a local mall in Costa Rica’s capital city of San José.
There are many resources out there to learn about things you can do to reduce your plastic use at home and within your community. Reusable water bottles, using metal or bamboo straws, and bringing your own reusable shopping totes are all great and easy ways to start making a difference!