Thanks for the checking out the blog for this Global Leadership Adventures program!
Here are a few things you can expect:
- We typically receive 2-3 blog posts per week here at GLA Headquarters from our program staff and students, so please don’t be alarmed if you don’t see a blog post daily – that’s totally normal.
- Blog updates sent on weekends may not be posted until Monday.
- Due to many factors, including but not limited to internet accessibility, photos may not always be available to post onto the blog. Sometimes onsite program staff are only able to send text back to Headquarters, where our team updates the blog.
Cell Phone Policy: The GLA cell phone policy is currently in place this summer to help foster meaningful connections between students. This means your student’s phone will be collected every day and returned to them throughout the program during designated spaces of time we call ‘tech time’. Actual tech times and regularity will vary greatly by program location. During designated ‘tech time’, your student may use their phones as they wish. Please note that your student may not always choose to use this time to get a hold of their parents. If you are not hearing directly from your student each day, you can assume that no news is good news! We strongly recommend you follow the blog to follow your students’ experience without talking to them every day. If you are a parent and would like to get in touch with your student directly, you can call us at +1-619-758-3031 and we can set up a formal time for you to connect with your student.
Thank you for your patience and understanding, and we hope you enjoy following along on these unforgettable adventures.
For frequently asked questions about the blogs, please visit our Program Blog FAQ page.
-The Global Leadership Adventures HQ Team
BLOG POST FOR JUNE 21
Ciao da Roma!
Welcome to our blog for the 2022 Europe: Cities that Shaped Europe program! This will be our way to keep everyone up to date with our adventures, learnings, and daily experiences. We hope this blog will serve as a way to ensure everyone that we are having fun and staying safe, and maybe even make you feel like you are on this journey with us!
After a long day at the airport and a lot of delayed flights, all students and luggage have safely arrived at our in Rome and we are just now waiting for two more staff members to arrive: Kit (our very own photographer) and Steph (visiting from GLA headquarters).
Most of our group arrived at the hotel around 3:30 PM and had some time to settle into their hotel rooms before we started our program orientation where we learned all about GLA, had a chance to learn more about each other through games, and were assigned our first Leaders of the Day: Carmen and Lily. We were also able to have dinner at the hotel which was pasta al dente and practiced using some Italian by saying “grazie” (thank you) to our chef and server. We hope we can continue learning more Italian words so we can better show our thanks and appreciation to the locals!
Everyone is super excited to be here (although quite tired from the long travel day) and we hope to get a good nights rest tonight because we have a big adventure ahead of us tomorrow as we will be exploring Rome all day!
-Kaycie (GLA Mentor)
BLOG POST FOR JUNE 22
We are today’s leaders of the day, Lily and Carmen. Today we started the day off with hotel breakfast after a long day of travel for all. Then it was off to the metro where we found ourselves at the glorious Spanish steps. There, we met with our tour guide who began to explain the rich history of his city. We visited the Trevi fountain, where we made a wish by throwing a coin over our left shoulders, wishing to return to Rome. We then went and ate delicious gelato. After our tour was over, we found ourselves at a quaint pizzeria, where the food was as delicious as you think it was.
After we left with full stomachs, we walked to a park right outside the grand Roman Colosseum. We sat, relaxed and reflected and got to know one another. We then strolled to the Colosseum itself. Absolutely gorgeous it was and just as grand. We walked around and took in the beautiful scenery. Pretending we were old Romans, we looked down into the arena as if we were cheering for our favorite gladiators. After climbing many steep steps, we headed back home on the metro to where a nice hot meal was waiting for us.
After enjoying each other’s company over dinner, we were allowed free time before we finished the day off with some bonding within our mentor groups. We hope you enjoyed reading about our adventures for today, thank you and we will see you next time!
BLOG POST FOR JUNE 23
We were the group leaders today, Omer and Tal. After waking up, we went down to the lobby of our hotel for a fantastic breakfast. We then had to quickly take the bus to get to the metro to make it in time for our guided tour at the Vatican Museum. Once there, our guide taught us a lot of new information about the Vatican City and its history. Another important part of the tour was seeing all of the incredible art to behold at the museum as well as the beautiful architecture. Although some of us had grown tired and hot, we still enjoyed seeing all of the different parts of the museum, including the Sistine Chapel at the end.
Soon after we left the museum and headed to a nearby restaurant for lunch. The food was filling and we enjoyed the well-deserved time to rest. Then we walked around the city to look at souvenir stands and see St. Peter’s Basilica from the outside. Finally, we took the metro back to the hotel to enjoy a pasta making workshop with the hotel’s chef and had dinner. As a continuation of the pasta making workshop we also made some pizza that everyone enjoyed. We gave thanks to the chef Francesco for such an amazing cooking workshop and his welcoming spirit. After a fulfilling day, we were left tired but happy. Hopefully you enjoyed reading and our experiences will continue to be told in later blogs.
BLOG POST FOR JUNE 24
Written by Savannah and Xochyl
This morning, we started early by saying “arrivederci” (goodbye) to Rome and took the bus to the train station for a quick trip to Milan. We left our bags at a storage place so we could freely walk around the city with ease and took a break for lunch at a pizza and panini restaurant close by…it really is pizza and pasta every day in Italy. Afterward, we took the metro to central Milan. As we exited the metro station, we were immediately greeted with an incredible view of the Milan cathedral. While we were there, part of the group entered the cathedral, and the other part went shopping in the famous shopping street, Corso Vittorio Emanuele.
Afterward, we collected our bags and headed for the train station to catch our train to Paris and made it just in time before it started raining. Once we boarded the train, we enjoyed the beautiful views of the Italian and French countryside, lakes, and mountain ranges…the views here look like they belong in a movie. While on the train we practiced our French and played games to bond more. We have officially made it to Paris now and are settled in our rooms ready to start our first service project tomorrow. À bientot (see you soon) Paris and à la prochaine (see you next time).
BLOG POST FOR JUNE 25
Written by Owen, Devlin, and Clayton
Today was our first full day in Paris and we got to experience another side of France very few people get to see. We got to give back to the local community by helping those in need. After breakfast we took a bus to a park where we met the local coordinator from Serve the City Paris; Collette. She introduced us to the organization and to Safie who is an Afghan refugee who told us his story about his asylum process. After his speech we prepared sandwiches and wrote words of encouragement to give to the people we were serving. We packed these along with coffee, tea, toothpaste, toothbrushes, razors, eggs, croissants, and other hygiene products. We then split into groups and went to different areas around central Paris to offer these to our friends. After two hours we returned to the park with empty bags and high spirits due to the eye-opening experience and events of our service.
After thanking Colette and the Serve the city team for allowing us to join them, we boarded the bus to head to the Palace of Versailles. Every single one of the students took a 30-minute nap on the journey over. Once at the Gardens we got delicious baguette sandwiches that we ate as we explored them. The gardens were tranquil and we watched the fountains in the light rain. We then went in to the palace to explore the rooms and the beautiful hand painted artwork of Mary Antoinette and King Louis VIX. The palace was filled with gold linings and marble floors as well as painted ceilings. There were lots of marble statues which some of the students recreated in photos. We are so excited to see more of the architecture Paris has to offer after seeing the Palace of Versailles.
BLOG POST FOR JUNE 26
Hello! We are the leaders of the day, Jaidyn and Cedar. We began our day with a delicious breakfast at our hotel. Afterwards, we headed to the Seine River to get on a river boat that took us around Paris and we got to see a lot of impressive architecture, monuments, and took many amazing pictures! Our photographer Kit even let some of us use his professional camera and taught us photography skills. Some of the things that we saw were the Eiffel Tower, Le Grand Palais, and Assemblée Nationale. Today was our first up-close view of the Eiffel Tower and everyone was very impressed with how big it actually was up close, and we are looking forward to getting to climb it tomorrow!
For lunch time we headed to Montmartre, the famous art district in Paris where artist lined the streets drawing people’s portraits. After taking many flights of stairs to get to this part of Paris, we stopped for lunch and some of us tried escargot for the very first time! We really enjoyed getting to try this popular French dish. Following lunch, we met with a local artist named Maria who came to meet us at the restaurant where she taught us multiple new techniques to draw our own rendition of a famous French painting called ‘Liberty Leading the People’. After our lesson she brought us on a walking tour of Montmartre, where we saw Sacre Coeur, the highest natural point in Paris where we got to look out on the entire city which left us all astounded. Overall, our group had an amazing day that most of us described as “sunny” during our reflection activity when talking about how our day went for us overall.
BLOG POST FOR JUNE 27
Hello today’s group leaders were Payton and Ava. This morning we started by waking up at 7 am and eating our regular French breakfast which consisted of crepes and croissants. Then started walking to the metro to head to the famous landmark of France: the Eiffel Tower. Once there the group got some yummy french snacks from a local restaurant under the tower. After that we took an elevator up to the second floor and enjoyed the views for 30 minutes. We looked out upon the Seine River that we cruised down yesterday and to the lawn in front of the tower where we saw many people having picnics. Once finished we climbed down the stairs and sat in one of the parks to relax for a little while after all those stairs.
Soon after that we left the park and headed to the Louvre. There we enjoyed sandwiches for lunch from the cafe and split into groups to explore the Louvre at our own pace for 2 hours. We were all most excited to see the famous painting Mona Lisa (called la Jaconde in French). Finally, we joined together again as a big group and eat dinner at restaurant located in the Louvre and went shopping. We’ve been doing a lot of exploring and learning these past few days so we hope to get some extra rest tonight for our day tomorrow which we will spend traveling to London!
BLOG POST FOR JUNE 28
Hi parents and friends, it’s Ben and Hudson, leaders for day 8. Today the group had the opportunity to wake up later due to our train to London departing at 5:00 pm. We took a private bus to the popular Champs-Élysées where we had over an hour to shop at stores at the Galeries Lafayette mall with a wide variety of different shops. Many of us got stuff during this time because the prices were much cheaper than in the US. Before going to lunch we stopped to look at the Arc de Triomphe for a little while.
After lunch we got back on the bus to the train station for our journey to London. We had to go through immigration and security since the UK is no longer a part of the EU. Then the group had the opportunity to pick out some snacks for the train ride to London at a shop in the station. After we rushed onto the Eurostar which a train that travels under water to London. We have a had a very casual day today and are going to get lots of rest for our very busy day tomorrow. See you in London!
BLOG POST FOR JUNE 29
Hi everyone, today William and Spenser were the group leaders. The morning started off great we had a nice buffet with ham eggs juice and cereal. Then during the pouring rain, we had taken an hour bus ride to our service work project. During this project we were helping out an organization that takes in kids with parent troubles and gives them a loving and safe environment during tough times. We mowed their lawns pulled weeds and fixed up the place to make it more enjoyable for the children. This took about 2 hours and the group was really thankful to have the chance to help out and experience a part of the community that is not often seen. Once we said our goodbyes, we took the metro downtown to a nice spot for lunch. The meal consisted of French fries, green beans and grilled chicken. Some kids even went and bought mock tails if they felt the need.
In the Afternoon we went to the Tower of London where we learned about its history from our tour guide, some of us got to see the crown jewels inside. That same night we went to the Theater to watch the play The Wicked. It was so much fun! We had a great time. Definitely the play has been one of the highlights of the entire trip.
BLOG POST FOR JUNE 30
Hello! This is Sophia and Abby, the leaders of the day today. This marks the second to last day of our GLA Cities that Shaped Europe experience! Everyone is so sad to be going home soon, this trip has been such an amazing opportunity to learn and grow closer as a group. We learned about new cultures, learned new languages, met new people, and lived within the busy city life of Rome, Paris, and London. This is a trip unlike any other.
Today we began the day with breakfast before heading to meet a former Member of Parliament. He spoke to us about the history of Britain and it’s constitutional monarchy, the political differences between the US and the UK, and answered questions asked by students and staff. Then we walked to the London Eye, stopping briefly to see Big Ben and look at souvenirs. We all got on the same cabin (they can fit up to 25 people each!) on the London Eye and saw the city skyline from above.
After lunch we went to Buckingham palace which we saw while we were on the London Eye. Unfortunately we didn’t see queen Elizabeth herself, but we did catch a glimpse of the royal guards stationed inside the gates. We broke off into groups and walked around the city; some heading to a cafe, some going shopping, and some relaxing around the palace. Once we all regrouped we head to dinner for some famous fish and chips at a historical building that was used as a bunker during WWII. Then to finish the day we went back to the hotel, hung out together in the lobby, and then went to sleep.
BLOG POST FOR JULY 1
Today was our last day of the program. We started our day by going to the Thames Barrier dam where we had an expert from the Environment Agency give us a lesson on the importance of this dam and its role in preventing London from flooding. After this lesson which left us with new knowledge, we headed to lunch where we watched some Wimbledon tennis matches on the TV. We then walked around the area and found a vintage street market that we decided to stop at and found some neat items such as crystals, jewelry, paintings, and clothes. We took the Underground back to our hotel and then we celebrated our friend Hudson’s birthday with cake and singing. After cake, we had an appreciation circle where we celebrated each other’s strengths by complimenting each other on things such as leadership skills, humor, kindness, personal growth, and creativity. We also had our last mentor groups where we reflected on our experience throughout the trip and came up with personal goals as well as a collective group goal that we acted out for the other mentor groups. We ended our night with a big group hug and said our final goodbyes. Overall today was all about celebrating each other and reflecting on the ways we have grown as individuals and as a group.