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 JULY 14
Welcome to the beautiful country of Costa Rica. It was arrival day, and students were greeted by the international directors, Dj and Lundon, and mentor Eli.
At the hotel, 15 of the 27 students had arrived for lunch, and enjoyed typical Costa Rican cuisine of “Casado” (rice, beans, plantains, and veggies) with chicken. After the meal, students had the opportunity to get some much needed rest; they read books, bonded with new peers, showered, and of course took naps!
Dinner was beef fajitas paired with the Casado, and more dynamic conversation amongst students.
The rest our friends landed and ate a late dinner, then heading off to bed to get some rest for a fun day tomorrow if bonding, orientation, travel, and more!
International Director DJ
BLOG POST FOR JULY 15
The rumble of chatter filled two vans carrying students through the lush scenery between Costa Rica’s capital of San Jose and our new GLA home base in the town of Liberia. It was the sound of bonds being formed that will set the foundation for this GLA team, and possibly even for life-long friendships. The group has students from at least 10 different states across America, and 4 countries, including Brazil, Canada, and the UK. While traffic turned our 4-hour drive into over 5, time passed quickly with the opportunity to socialize, making it clear that these students are excited to learn, not just from Costa Rica, but also from one another.
In the morning, students drew a tree to represent the values they hope to see embodied by their cohort. The roots held words to be the foundation for how they hope to treat one another; the trunk showed their needs for support from the GLA staff; and the leaves provided examples of how those words might materialize. While the day began with setting the group values, it ended with a discussion about how those very values will apply to working with veterinarians from our local host, Vida. Students are synthesizing the connection between the values they chose; respect, communication, and open-mindedness, and the culture in which they are immersing, one that is characterized by an indelible openness to a community that includes people, animals, and the environment – a concept fondly summarized by the Costa Rican mantra Pura Vida.
Elijah Monroe, Mentor
BLOG POST FOR JULY 16
Written by Evie and Olivia (Leaders of the day)
We started our day off bright and early at 6:30 for breakfast. breakfast of course included Gallo pinto along with eggs, toast, cereal, and some orange juice. The two leaders of the day, Olivia and Evie prepared our group for their first day of service on the bus with medical supplies. after the short journey to the local community center treat we converted it into our very own clinic. working alongside the group “Vida.” Everyone was eager to be in and start working with the patients of the day! beginning with our divided groups taking the vitals of their assigned animal, then we prepped for the surgery. we calculated the corrected the correct dosage of anesthesias and moved forward with the surgeries. each animal got spayed or neutered and each animal had a designated surgeon for that procedure. while other students were paying close attention, and checking the patient’s vitals every 5 minutes. Olivia got to help seutered the dog and Brody assisted a the spaying! Evie got to neuter the cat, Tom. lastly, Quinn spayed the cat, “Kitty.” Each student was guided and learned from a vet from Vida. After these procedures, medications are more calculated to take home. once each patient received nail clippings, and deworming medicine.
After ear cleanings they were returned to their owners. after the hard work, we arrived at home base. there was yet again, an amazing meal ready for us. it consisted of rice and beans, beef, pasta, and salad with guava juice (or water) to wash it down. after that, students went to showers or hang out by the pool. once everyone was ready we had a discussion about animal rights and were given assigned perspectives to debate for perspectives including the government, middle and low-income families, and Vida. We learned a lot about Costa Rica’s fight for animal rights and learned to understand our other perspectives. Another way the group bonded was with lounging and conversing in the area until dinner was ready. dinner consisted og the usual Galla pinto (of course) along with a variety of vegetables, fires, and fried chicken and salad. Lemonade and water were the drink of the night. we quickly moved to reflection time after dinner. Everyone reminisced on the day, shared our thoughts on what we learned from each other, and recognized the support communication, and respect we gave each other.
BLOG POST FOR JULY 17
Written by Emma & Isabel
Sunday morning we all woke up ready to head back to the clinic and to double the amount of patients we had yesterday. We all ate our delicious breakfast while checking on each other to make sure everyone was eating at least a banana to head into the clinic for a, hopefully, faint-free service day. On the way to the buses it was common to hear everyone inquiring each other if we had our “WITS” with us before departing: Water, Insect repellent, Tissues and Sunscreen, of course. On our way to the clinic our lovely Mentor Sophia set the morning vibes high with Reggaeton filling the bus. Many people took sacrifices in the Clinic today. One of the groups who was taking care of the sweetest dog named, Camila, had to pick at least 100 ticks off of her fur. This job was something none of us had seen before but we all supported each other while navigating the new challenge. As Henry and Spencer pointed the flashlight, Quinn and Ginger held back Camilas fur while Emma and Manu picked out the ticks. The job wouldn’t have been done without the help and support of everyone. Another sacrifice that was made today was when Henry didn’t know that Ticks explode when you kill them… making his forehead a great landing spot for the remains. He handled the tick guts with extreme class might we say. Another honorable mention is when Connor got peed on by a dog he was working with and once again took it like a champ with no complaints except asking his roommates for dibs on first shower. By the end of the day we got 7 patients out of surgery, almost double yesterday which was so awesome. Everyone was focused and very in tune with the vets as well as each other. -(Emma)
After another incredible day of service, the team made our way back to home base. We took time to shower and clean off before enjoying a beautifully prepared lunch by our amazing hosts. Once fed, we relaxed by the pool, made friendship bracelets, and played cards. Over the past few days, we have seen bonds start to form between students. Everyone is very sweet, and has shown all already commendable leadership in a variety of ways. Overall, friendship has no doubt come naturally.
It was this bonding that created the perfect environment to start our next activity for the afternoon; mentor groups (A group for students to hone in on their skills and create tighter bonds with a particular mentor). We played an initial game to get fully introduced, then moved into a reflective journaling activity with our groups.
Finally we ended the day with another outstanding meal. Pasta, rice, beans and lots of fresh vegetables, prepared by our hosts.
So far, the trip has far surpassed our expectations and we are having the time of our lives. -(Isabel)
BLOG POST FOR JULY 19
Written by Kim Matalon and Henry Brown (leaders of the day)
After waking up around 6am, students prepared themselves for an intense day by having a strong tasty breakfast, lots of water, and sunscreen. We went toward service right away at 7am, where students were able to deal with 9 different patients, both dogs and cats.
With detailed examination and precise diagnosis, students were able to assist, watch, and help the vets during surgeries and animal recovery. Even though it was hard to take care of the patients while taking care of themselves, the students created a system where they all helped each other to take care of their own health before anything else. Because the days here are really hot, water is essential to maintain our own health and the group’s wellness, so by always reminding others to drink water or take a break whenever it was needed, the group started to create even stronger connections.
Then, around 1pm, when all of the patients were already with their families, the group returned to the home base and we were surprised with some traditional live music during lunch. With some help from the hotel owners, students learned some traditional dance moves, so everyone got together, danced, laughed and had fun.
After an amazing lunch experience, students had some time to shower, rest or hang out with each other, enjoying the free time to get to know each other and create deeper connections and memorable moments. Then, students were introduced to a new group activity full of laughs and excitement.
After enjoying a beautiful sunny day with lots of new knowledge and skills, students had homemade burgers, pasta, etc, for dinner, bringing part of our culture back home to the trip. Then, by around 7:30pm, the group got together for a chow circle and enjoyed that time to reach deeper connection levels. Also, by remembering the highlights of the day, we get to enjoy the small things and praise others for small but significant memories.
Finally, because the day was full of unexpected situations, students were “pushed” to go beyond their limitations, developing skills that will be used their entire life. And because we are all so focused on helping others, sometimes we forget to check on ourselves, so all the students have been putting a lot of effort into sticking together and taking care of everyone, physically, mentally and emotionally.
As the days go by, students are not only showing a lot of personal growth, but also a group evolution, like a big diverse family. We are all super grateful for this experience, and we can not wait for the next few days of the trip. PURA VIDA!
BLOG POST FOR JULY 20
Written by Bryana and Maddie
!Hola! Today we woke up bright and early, ready for our last day of service. After eating breakfast made by our lovely hosts Sharon and Jose, we made our way to the clinic to help the community.
Some highlights of today would be watching one of our mentors, DJ, assist in surgery and operating on a total of 7 patients. Since it was our last day of service, we packed up the clinic and said goodbye to the community. We were served lunch at our homebase where our wonderful vets shared a few words about how wonderful and positive their experience was with us. They wished us the best and we shared lots of hugs before they left.
As a fun surprise we were able to get McDonald’s and Taco Bell for dinner. Since it was our last day with our hosts, Sharon and Jose, we took the time to make a card and bracelet for each of them. We will be traveling to our next home base tomorrow to continue our journey. Pura Vida!
BLOG POST FOR JULY 21
Written by Quinn and Lily
Our day began with a delicious farewell breakfast at Hotel Wilson. Here, we said goodbye to our amazing hosts/temporary parents, Sharon and José, from the past week. This was extremely bittersweet for many of us. Although we were all excited for our next adventures at our new home base, we are going to miss Sharon and José’s comfort and warmth that made Hotel Wilson home.
Soon after our emotional depart, we loaded onto the buses and began our journey to our new home base, Lands in Love. The four hour bus ride began with a much appreciated Walmart stop where we got hold of snacks and other necessities for the road ahead.
We were lucky enough to drive through lush tropical valleys and cliffs overlooking a glorious ocean-like lake. The bus stopped once for a bathroom break and souvenirs before arriving at our new home. Lands and Love greeted us mid-afternoon with a scrumptious vegan lunch before we were given a tour of the jungle hotel.
Our group was given the afternoon off and was full of chillaxing and working out together in the gym area. Prior to dinner, we met one of the sixteen founders of this unique resort. He educated us on the history and main purpose of Lands in Love.
We then made our way to the final meal of the day. Although we love beans and rice, it was fun to switch it up to one of the four options of Israelí food, shawarmas, spaghetti or pizza. It was very yummy!
The night was wrapped up by discussing Vida versus Lands in Love’s methods of helping and caring for animals. We then had a chow circle full of shoutouts before heading to bed.
BLOG POST FOR JULY 22
Written by Grady and Sophia
Today we woke up so excited for day 1 at Lands in Love!! Our mornings differed based on our assigned groups, dog walkers woke up earlier than agriculture, chickens, and social media. We were served a delicious breakfast of all vegan pancakes, omelette, fruit and hashbrowns. Then, everyone split into their assigned service groups and worked until until lunch. A few hours after lunch we had our community soccer game, but unfortunately the local team was unable to make it 🙁 but we had a great time anyway! It had rain just before, so the field was drenched and muddy. The slipping and slide in the mud made for many messy and energetic games. It was amazing to see everyone’s competitive side as they support of their teams/teammates and warm portly, scored goals! At the end, everyone on the field had smiling and muddy faces. It was A truly memorable time. After dinner the whole group got together and learned many different dances. These included Salsa, Bachata, Costa Rica Cumbia. At the end Manu wowed the group by dancing spectacularly with the dance instructor.
It was a great first day at Lands in Love.
BLOG POST FOR JULY 23
Written by Brody, Maya and Mason
Today we had our last day of service. We all worked hard to get in our last minutes with the animals and people of Lands in Love hotel rescue. Some of us walked dogs, cleaned kennels, cleared trails, and helped with the farm animals. While we will miss our full service dogs, we are excited for zoo day tomorrow. The rest of the day was filled with fun. After service we ate lunch and hiked to a beautiful waterfall. An easy walk down to an amazing view of a clear waterfall in the middle of the jungle and cliff. We all went under the waterfall. The hike back up was hard but after that we had some free time.
We started our talent show which went amazing. Our talent show, composed of rap battles, singing, burrito eating, national anthems, and burping. It went very well and we all had fun. We ended the day off with a guest speaker telling us more about Costa Rica. After this day, we are excited for zoo day and upcoming activities.
BLOG POST FOR JULY 26
Written by Ginger, Sophie, and Brooke
Hola! Today was an exorcising day starting with breakfast before our adventures. After breakfast we took a scenic drive to the zip lines course. There we journeyed down a mountain via the zip lines and even spotted a sloth hanging in a tree. Once at the bottom we circled together in a typical tribal Costa rican house from the Maleku tribe where we learned about the history of Costa Rica’s tribes.
Next, we had a relaxing afternoon in natural hot springs. Some even ventured down the water slide at the resort we temporarily enjoyed.
Our last activity of the day was visiting the souvenir shop where many of us spent money. Finally we drove back to Lands in Love enjoyed dinner together and gathered around for our usual chow circle.