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 25
Welcome to the Animal Rescue 21-Day Program blog!
We are looking forward to sharing our Costa Rica adventures with you. Join us for the next 21 days as we hike, cool off in the waterfall, zipline, go rafting, take a dip in the hot springs, and look for sea life on a catamaran. We will play soccer with local teens, learn how to make empanadas, go souvenirs shopping at a local market, and take Latin dance lessons.
Our group is looking forward to our service learning, especially assisting at the veterinary clinic.
Most of our group arrived by 6 pm today. We got acquainted at the airport waiting for our new friends to arrive by playing a competitive game of UNO and other card games. Our last group has arrived and is in transit to the home base. We look forward to meeting them in the morning. They all enjoyed their first meal together of traditional Costa Rican foods..
It’s already a pleasure to know our group. They were excited to make new friends and begin our Costa Rican journey.
We can’t wait for the service learning and activities to begin.
Carter, Leala, and Vanessa, will join us for our full group photo tomorrow. Can’t wait to meet you.
The GLA Team,
Gina, Tef, Sam, and JuanK
BLOG POST FOR JUNE 26
It was our first full day in Costa Rica. We welcomed Carter, Leala, and Vanessa during our morning introductions and fun ice breaker games. Everyone was very talkative and made new friends. We pulled our masks off for a group photo.
We learned about our Emergency Evacuation Plan and W.I.T.S. Our team will see to it that the students are staying hydrated, carrying or applying Insect Repellent, Toilet Paper and Sunscreen. With safety discussed, we enjoyed a delicious lunch.
Our leader Tef pulled out the yoga mats and led us in a reflective leadership meditation. It was nice to practice self-care together.
The students were given a generous tech time to charge phones after a long travel day yesterday. But we noticed they spent most of this free time talking with each other, playing pool and foosball in the reception area.
In the evening, the hotel manager, Alon, stopped by to share the 15 year history of Lands in Love with our students and tell them about the service options. Many were excited to learn that taking care of the property’s horses has been added to our service tomorrow.
After dinner we met in our mentor groups for reflection and to begin leadership discussions.
Chosen student leaders of the day will write tomorrow’s blog.
The group is off to a great start!
The GLA Team,
Gina, Tef, Sam, and JuanK
BLOG POST FOR JUNE 27
Hi, there! We are Kylie and Zoe and we’re the first leaders of GLA’s Costa Rica Animal Rescue Project for Monday, June 27th. We are so excited for the adventures and activities ahead of us for the next 3 weeks!
I (Kylie) started my day off with the stables! I got to work with three other girls in caring for both the horses and goats as well as their surrounding environment. We had the opportunity to wash multiple beautiful and friendly horses, scrub essential equipment, as well as organize and clean the rooms for the animals. It was very intriguing to grasp the daily lives of the hardworking caretakers of the stables and see how much they really care for these animals. We even got to watch as a horse was medically treated and cared for on his back.
I(Zoe) started my day off with cleaning the camp grounds. Among one of two hikes today I endured, we, as a small group, went through the steep and rocky jungle of the resort. Our leader, Julio, gave each of us a trash can and rake and we picked up large leaves, plastic bags, and branches. Also, on the cleanup we saw very cool trees, and we even climbed under. We also discovered different and unique plants, and we were even able to safely taste some sour leaves that grow in the forest!
We ended off our day with one of the most breathtaking hikes we’ve ever gone on! This was a steep and rocky hike, but at the same time, extraordinarily fun and enjoyable. Our first incredible sight was the monstrous waterfall that revealed beautiful mossy rocks, several different species of plants and animals, as well as a connecting stream!
After taking countless pictures and videos, we walked through the stream, continuing on our trail. We finally reached the gorgeous river flowing throughout the rainforest. There were huge boulders, refreshing waters, dark sand, and endless trees and waterfalls not far in the distance! A lot of us even went into the water which gave us plenty of time to relax and cool down after our long hike! Although the walk back was inevitably difficult after walking all uphill, we’d say it was totally worth it, and we would definitely go back!
After a delectable dinner, we had the pleasure of receiving a wonderful and creative presentation on the history of Costa Rica from a former Lands in Love worker and Tico! We learned about many traditional foods, the currency difference, holiday celebrations, and some interesting lingo commonly used in Costa Rica! It was a very fun night where we were engaged in an awesome conversation. We even got to try Mamoncillo which is the red fruit with a hairy exterior, but a clear, grape like fruit on the inside!
This day was a very activity-filled day, keeping us very occupied. Day 1 of service was a success, and we cannot wait for more to come!
Happy 16th Birthday Aidan!
BLOG POST FOR JUNE 29
Hello, I’m Catalina and I’m loving this experience so far. Costa Rica is a different experience because I am from California. I enjoy talking to the locals and relaxing in my room in my free time.
The food is good. My favorite meals are spaghetti and the “Israeli” (hummus, falafel, pita bread, and salads). The chef makes all the meals vegan, which is super crazy to me because I can’t tell the difference.
Today, we went to a big waterfall. It was very beautiful. I can’t wait for tomorrow’s adventure!
BLOG POST FOR JUNE 30
Hi! I’m Sydney and I was a leader for the Day on GLA’s Costa Rica Animal Rescue Project!
I started the morning off with my service activity. I was tasked with cleaning the campgrounds, so my group and I headed up the trail, where we got rid of broken wood pieces that were on a small ledge. On the way up to the trail, we got to say hi to some horses that were walking on the road! After we cleaned, we went back to put the buckets and rakes we used away, and we got to pet some dogs that were super friendly and adorable!
I ended my day off by driving on a bus to go cook! We made tortillas with cheese, and bean empanadas. We also got to try a drink made with sugarcane and water, which was really good! It was fun patting out the dough, but I struggled a bit while trying to make it flat, but also keep it from breaking after it stuck onto the leaf we were using for our meal prep.
I (Martha) had a very eventful day today. My service today was courtyard work. I had to help translate Spanish for the group and somehow it worked.
Then I had Shawarma for lunch, which was amazing. It kept me full until we went on our next adventure. We all packed ourselves into the bus and went to an outdoor cooking area where we kneaded our own tortilla and empanadas. After learning how to make our own Costa Rican snacks, we headed back to home base, and freetime, I took a fat nap.
I finally had the Israeli hummus dinner and then we all had our mentor groups, where I got to know everyone better.
My favorite part about today was eating amazing food and laughing with everyone.
We both agree today was awesome and we can’t wait to see what tomorrow brings!
Sydney and Martha
BLOG POST FOR JULY 1
Written by Chloe & Aidan
Hi, I’m Chloe!
Today I was assigned to do social media for my service. For this, we had to research influencers and reach out to them to have them get donations for the shelter. It was very interesting!
We were supposed to have a hurricane coming our way but luckily it has started to turn in the opposite direction. Anyway, the day ended with us jumping in the pool (fully clothed) and we had lots of fun!
Hi, I’m Aidan. I am the other leader for the day and I am here to tell you about the bonding we have here at GLA. After our afternoon Latin dance class, it was pouring rain. But instead of simply heading back to our cabins, we all jumped into the pool. Some of us, including me, were hesitant, but after some suggestion, we got in. We had fun at the pool, jumping in and splashing around. This is part of the daily bonding that happens in GLA programs.
BLOG POST FOR JULY 2
Written by Kayla and Sara,
Hey! I’m Kayla from Spanish Fork Utah. Today my service was with the dogs and it was so much fun getting to walk them around and just give them love! I really enjoy seeing all the dogs and I think everyone would agree with that!
Hi, I’m Sara. I’m from NYC. Today we got to sleep for an extra hour, which was nice. My service today was social media and promoting the shelter and hotel. It was an interesting experience and something I had never done before. I was lucky enough to head to the bridge and see some cool howler monkeys. I was so pumped. We even had our laundry done.In the afternoon after lunch, we got to play different competitive games. Including making funny skits and frisbee trick shots. Some people jumped into the pool. A great way to end the day.
BLOG POST FOR JULY 3
Written by Ana and Carter
Hello, we are Carter and Ana and are a part of the GLA team working for the Animal Rescue Program.
We started off the day with breakfast which was a buffet. It contained French toast and fresh fruit. After some good food we started on some community service, I (Carter) had campground which included picking up dead plants and cleaning up around the property. I (Ana) had social media for the service today.
We all went to the field to play some ultimate frisbee and soccer! Afterwards, we all had the choice to hike down to the river and swim. Carter chose to hike down to the river and found it was flooded and out of control from the previous storm.
We then had free time and mentor groups where we showed our group what reminds us of home until dinner! I (Carter) brought a note from my parents and I (Ana) brought two rings. One that used to be my mother’s and one that my father bought me. I (Ana) had Israeli for dinner and Carter had spaghetti. We are both alive and having fun😀👍.
BLOG POST FOR JULY 4 & 5
Written by Charlotte and Alex
Hey y’all! my name is Charlotte and I am having a great time here. My home town is in Maryland so this is a HUGE change for me. I had so much fun zip lining and going to the hot springs. I have made so many new friends that I hope to stay in touch with for a while. This place is so cool and I’m so excited to tell people about this amazing experience!!
Hello! My name is Alex and I’m from Dallas, TX. Today we went zip lining and relaxed in the hot springs, which was super nice after all of our hard work. Although it’s nice to be finished with our service at this location, it’s a bit bittersweet because I’m going to miss the dogs here and the fulfilling service. I’m looking forward to what awaits us at the next location, and whatever else Costa Rica has in store for us!
BLOG POST FOR JULY 7
Written by Cleo and Vanessa
Hi everyone we’re Vanessa and Cleo,
Today we had a buffet breakfast at 8. The entire group went whitewater rafting on the River Balsa.
At first I (Cleo) was a little nervous, but once we got in the water, I had a lot of fun. It was a thrilling experience!
It was also a great bonding and leadership activity for the group because we needed to trust each other and work together to navigate the rapids successfully. The entire group enjoyed it.
My (Vanessa) favorite were the huge dips where the entire raft would get splashed. Also, swimming in the calmer parts of the river and racing to get back on the raft before the next set of rapids. Overall, it was a 10 out of 10 activity.
We returned to home base where we chillaxed for a bit and freshened up before coming back together to play some bonding games.
Dinner was great! We ended the night with free time. We talked with each other, played cards, and shared some laughs.
As one of our last days at Lands in Love, it was definitely memorable!
Today was a great day and we can’t wait to see what tomorrow will bring!
BLOG POST FOR JULY 8
Written by Jasmine, Serenity, and Atharv
Hi I am Atharv and I am from India.
Therefore GLA till now has been a thrilling experience for me. Yesterday, we had late wake up and breakfast immediately after which we went shopping in a nearby town. It was yet another opportunity to explore Costa Rica and its people. I tried different food items and met with locals of the town, which was an enriching experience. We returned to the hotel by 2 PM and had free time post lunch. Later, all of us had an amazing time at the pool as we had our last swim in Lands in Love. The day ended with packing all our stuff and playing games amongst ourselves.
Today breakfast was early and immediately after breakfast we left for Liberia, which was a four hour drive. On the way we got to see mind-boggling landscapes and beautiful volcanos, all of it felt so surreal. We arrived in Liberia by lunch time and later in the evening had our orientation, where we got to meet the doctors with whom we’ll be working with soon. Thereafter, we played outdoor games and explored the new place until dinner. Post dinner, we had our mentor group discussion which left me brooding. I am really excited for the services that are to commence from tomorrow.
Hello, I’m Jasmine, I’m 14 years old.
Yesterday was a relaxing and fun day. We got to sleep in until 8:30 and then went to breakfast. After, we went to a nearby town. There we ate some pizza, shopped for clothes, and bought dog food for the cute local dogs. When we came back to Lands in Love we had a nice swim and a water balloon fight. We then hung out in our rooms till dinner. After dinner, some of us went back to the rooms while others (like myself ) stayed at reception to play pool or try on some clothes in the hotel’s shop.
Hi I’m Serenity,
July 7th was definitely a good day. We didn’t have any volunteer work, but the camp director scheduled a trip to town. Me and the other volunteers did various shopping and such. I got an ice cream bar and pizza, then before leaving I got a gumball. When we got back we all went to the pool at our base for some fun. We got to swim, it was great.
Eventually we got dinner, played a game, and headed back to our rooms. I still needed to pack since we we’re going to the next location in the morning. Today was definitely great and I hope everyone else had a great day too.
BLOG POST FOR JULY 9
Written by Vanessa and Kylie:
Hi again! My name is Kylie, and I am one of the first leaders of our first day at our new location, The Wilson Hotel, where we have the incredible opportunity to volunteer with Vida. Our first day consisted of an early wake up with plenty of delicious buffet breakfast options to fill us up before our big day. Even with the early departure, the energy within the group was very lively!!!
Once we arrived at our volunteer location, we got to help the amazing staff of Vida set up for our four patients of the day. I helped set up the recovery station where the animals would be taken after their surgery to wake up from anesthesia. They also got their nails clipped if needed, checked for ticks, applied a cell gel to the animals’ gums, and cared for them as we brought them back to a well-treated conscious state.
We got to learn the proper way to put on sterile gloves in the operating room, how to properly use clamps, and were put in groups for the next few days of volunteering!
Our first patient was a quiet, relaxed, and gentle dog who loved being pet. I had the opportunity to assist Dr. Gabbi neuter him in the operating room! We took great care of him, and his pre-op was successful.
This service is great exposure to an occupation that requires meticulous care. I am having an amazing experience with an extraordinarily skilled and professional veterinarian.
Although it was really hot out, this day was a success at the clinic, and we sent our furry friend home happy and healthy!
Later in the day we got to shower, relax, and work with our mentor groups to watch a great Ted Talk about one-story stereotypes that don’t expose us to diversity around the world and why it’s important to keep an open mind! After that, we all relaxed, and went off to bed to get ready for our next day as Vida Volunteers! I’m very excited for the upcoming days!!!
Hey everyone! It’s Vanessa!
Today was so awesome. It was our first day with Vida, and a busy one, to say the least. We helped set up the clinic with tables, supplies, and everything the animals might need. We then went through all the protocols of intake, surgery, and recovery. Today we had one cat and three dogs who all successfully made it through surgery. We ended at around 2 pm and came back for lunch before doing a super fun scavenger hunt in Walmart (with some personal shopping, of course). The day was super great and everyone can’t wait to go back tomorrow!
BLOG POST FOR JULY 11
Written by Charlotte and Becca
Hey again!! It’s your favorite Marylander, Charlotte!! Today was a chill but exciting day. I woke up at the crisp time of 5:30 am and got ready for veterinary service. Even though we start very early in the morning and the heat is killer, the service is the best hands on experience I have ever done.
Personally, I don’t want to be a vet but helping animals in any way I can makes me feel like I’m making the world a better place.
After the service, we chilled and went into town to do some shopping. I had so much fun seeing all the different shops and getting some cute clothes. The culture here is so strong and it’s so cool that I am getting so much Spanish exposure just by shopping.
Anyways, today was a slay day and i am getting sad that this trip is coming to a close. Its been rad. Peace out! 🙂
Hi my name is Rebecca and I am one of the leaders of the day for Monday July 11th!
Prior to heading to the clinic, we started the day with a breakfast of eggs, toast,
fruit, and a variety of other healthy options.
Upon our arrival we were greeted by so many cute animals ready for surgery. Today, I was spaying a female dog and got to handle the part of anesthesiologist. Taking charge of the medications and monitoring her temperature.
My vet was so patient and answered all of me and my peers questions of how the surgery would go in detail. I find it so fascinating how the surgery works and was beyond exited to work beside someone so experienced in veterinary medicine as one day I hope to do the same.
After surgery, we did the charts and took care of the dog for post op/recovery. Handling the take home medications and helping in any way we can.
Following a long day of operating, we went back to shower and have a quick lunch. We hopped back on the bus for an afternoon in the town. We split up into groups to shop and have some free time outside of the hotel. My group shopped for clothes and we even got some delicious ice cream.
We returned to the hotel, ate dinner, and did some leadership activities in our mentor groups. Then back to our rooms for a good nights sleep.
BLOG POST FOR JULY 13-14
Written by Chloe and Martha
Hi, I’m Chloe from New York City! Today (July 13) was an exciting day as we left our hotel at 6:15am. Although that was early, we all slept on the 90 minute bus ride to a beach where we got on a catamaran. It was so nice as we haven’t seen sun at all since we’ve been here. We were able to lie on the boat’s netted hammock and get a tan.
The waves were too big to snorkel since there had been a lot of rain, but the water was so warm and some of us even did flips off the boat to go swimming.
The food brought out by the catamaran staff was delicious, and we rode back to shore as it started to rain again.
Afterwards, we went to a super cool souvenir shop and even got ice cream. Once we got back to the hotel, we hung out in our rooms. and relaxed before dinner, played a game and then it was lights out. All in all, this was one of the best days yet! Only a few more to come :l.
Hi it’s Martha,
Today was a super relaxing and calming day. We drove to the beach and went on a catamaran where we were able to tan in the sun and swim in the warm water.
My friends and I also swam to the beach and found some crabs, hermit crabs, and other cool animals. We were told that we couldn’t touch the poisonous trees though, which made us take every step on the beach with caution. After holding some hermit crabs and running around with some pool noodles, we headed back to the boat.
When we came back to base camp, we all enjoyed taking showers, talking to one another, and just relaxing in our rooms. Then, Chloe and I did an altered version of charades were we had to imitate people within our group. It was very interesting to see each other’s impressions of one another, and the night continued to be interesting when we all wrote more letters to one another to open on the last day.
We can’t believe our time is almost over.
A note from the program staff: The students fly out tomorrow. Our last few days together were filled with veterinary service, a fun talent show, and lots of laughter. They were an amazing group and we enjoyed growing with them. Enjoy the rest of your summer!
-The GLA Team