Thanks for the checking out the blog for this Global Leadership Adventures program!
This blog is for the Costa Rica Middle School session starting June 26, 2023, which includes both the Animal & Wildlife Track and the Community Development & Children Track.
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.
Thank you for your patience and understanding, and we hope you enjoy following along on these unforgettable adventures.
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 after activities are completed to have with them through the night. Actual tech times and regularity will vary greatly by program location and time zones. 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.
For frequently asked questions about the blogs, please visit our Program Blog FAQ page.
-The Global Leadership Adventures HQ Team
BLOG POST FOR JUNE 26
HOLA de Costa Rica!!
We are so pumped to be in this incredible tropical Central American nation with our amazing young leaders! As I write this, I sit with our fabulous Mentor & Local Director, Sam & Jose in the cool evening air on our home base porch listening to cicadas, frogs and crickets as the students drift off to sleep!
Five of our GLA students arrived this afternoon at Juan Santa Maria International Airport in San Jose. The Homebase at the Robledal Hotel is just a short drive away, but Mila, Noora, Bella, Zara and Naomi were able to see some of the local scene on the drive.
We spent the evening completing our health checks & swim tests, playing games and enjoying Tico cuisine.
Thasya joined us later in the evening, and at the time of writing this, we patiently await the arrival of Josephine, Max, and Maxwell to make our team complete. Looking forward to sharing our amazing adventures with you over these 10 days! Pura vida!
~(Rebecca) Lea Green, Directora Internacional
BLOG POST FOR JUNE 27
Written by Zara J.
We kicked our first day of Costa Rica off with a beautiful and delicious buffet consisting of eggs, beans/rice (gallo pinto), pancakes, fresh fruit, and juice. The pineapple, mangos, and watermelon tasted fresh and were full of flavor. After that, our group was taken to our volunteer work of the day which was working with kids at a school or assisting at the animal rescue. On our drive, we were able to appreciate the mountains and all the colors that flooded the streets of Costa Rica. There were many fruit stands and children walking around with their parents heading to school. The school was a bright blue and filled with bright and loving children. Bella, Mila, and I were immediately crushed with many hugs by the loving kids.
Our first stop was kindergarten. We were able to communicate with the children through the Spanish that we knew but we also found other ways to communicate with them like facial expressions and hand gestures. The two projects we did with them were coloring and making bracelets. Some of the students even gifted us with their drawing to keep. Then, we got to meet with a little bit older kids where we worked on their colors in English. All of them were very bright and knew the colors as soon as we showed them. Lastly, we got to visit their play area where we discussed what colors and new pictures we were going to add to their blacktop. At the end of the day, we learned so much not only about their school but of the beautiful culture that surrounds it.
While some of us were at the school others spent time at the animal rescue center. While they were there, they learned about animals and how they thrive in their natural habitats. There were a lot of animals that were at the centers; macaws, parrots, toucans, monkeys, sloths, peccaries, and more! Students were able to help out the center by raking up leaves and dumping them in the compost bucket to be reused for a better purpose. However, the highlight of the day was being able to witness a mama sloth holding her baby sloth. Noora, Naomi, and Thasya were able to feed the mama sloth carrots. It was really cute when the baby sloth tried to try some of the carrots.
After getting back from an exciting morning we indulged in pasta with meat or vegetables. Everyone was able to talk about what they learned and what they experienced in the day. Next, we got to swim in the pool and we played name games with two balls and volleyball. The volleyball game got really competitive towards the end and everyone had a great time and we were all happy to be spending time together.
We also had an orientation where we learned about Costa Rica’s history, safety rules, rules of conduct, and we ended the session by playing Quiero Conocer mi gente quien (I was to know my people who). This was stimulating our ability to think on our feet and also, we got to see similarities between one another. Finally, we ended dinner with another buffet! This time filled with salad, rice with vegetables, meat, and potato chips. We then had a fun night all together playing Taboo. Tomorrow we can’t wait to meet Josephine, Max and Maxwell. Our team will then be complete! I can’t wait to see what tomorrow brings! 🙂
BLOG POST FOR JUNE 28
Written by Noora F.
Today we learned so much and had so much fun while doing it. Our day started off bright and early at 6:30 when we had a classic Costa Rican breakfast. The breakfast consisted of fresh fruit, bread, rice, beans, and other breakfast foods. Then we were off to our service sites! At the animal rescue center (where I was) we got there in time to feed all the animals. Two of us, Thasya and I started cutting fruits and vegetables and distributed them equally through the tin boxes, as advised by the live-in volunteers. While we were cutting up fruit, Naomi was cleaning out the bird cage. Meanwhile at the school Bella, Mila, and Zara were getting ready to judge the science fair put together by the local children at the school. But before that they painted 9 tires, 2 benches, and 1 huge tire with bright and fun colors.
When we got back from service, we ate a lunch that consisted of fajitas, vegetables, and mashed potatoes. During lunch we had a new arrival, Jo, so then our group was almost complete! We chatted for a little bit around the table; and introduced ourselves. After lunch we had free time where we talked in each others rooms and some of us showered. We had a fun time by the pool dipping our feet in the water, read some books, and talked some more. At 3:30 we had a Spanish lesson where we learned basic Spanish words and phrases. Then we waited for the arrival of Max and Maxwell, and we had dinner with them. After dinner, we did a human knot activity and leadership time where we had a healthy debate. Today was very fun and enjoyable Cant wait for tomorrow!
And of course, we finished our night with a game of Taboo.
BLOG POST FOR JUNE 29
Written by Naomi
We started the day off with a morning wake up at 6:00am. We hopped on the bus and ate our breakfast. After a 3 hour car ride, we stretched our legs with a 30 min walk through Manuel Antonio National Park. Multiple iguanas showed interest in our group. We witnessed monkeys relaxing in the high treetops and hermit crabs scurried across the walkway.
We then proceeded down the path to a picturesque Costa Rican beach. We swam in the ocean, played games, and got into a competitive game of sloth in the middle. After the beach we hiked back through the National park. For lunch we went to a beach front restaurant with traditional Costa Rican cuisine along with pasta and various other delicious dishes. We also all enjoyed a mango smoothie! After our meal we walked back over to a market for some souvenir shopping. We went from shop to shop and after a tiring day we walked back to the bus and drove 3 hours home.
We saw the beautiful sunset, played games, and slept on the bus. We ate dinner and then had some down time to rest after a long day. Overall the day was a great start to all of the adventure days and has me looking forward for what’s to come.
BLOG POST FOR JUNE 30
Written by Jo C.
We started off the day with a delicious buffet breakfast, followed by a bus ride to our service projects. The animal rescue service group made toys and games for the parrots and monkeys, with recycled bottles and coconuts. While that was happening the school group was busy at the fiesta de la alegria (happiness party) helping to run relay games and serve ice cream and burgers to the school kids.
When we got back, we had lunch then played a few rounds of competitive UNO. After that we made signs with encouraging messages on them for the children at the school. After dinner we had birthday dessert then destroyed a baby Yoda piñata for our mentor, Sam’s birthday. We are now half way through our trip and have many exciting things planned for the next several days!
BLOG POST FOR JULY 1
Written by Max L.
We started off the day very early today at 5:45. With a long 3 hour drive playing games such like uno and mafia. After the drive, we arrived at our destination and we went on a chocolate tour learning all about the history of chocolate. We got to go through how chocolate was made throughout the years and experienced the steps ourselves like pounding and grinding the cacao beans. We also made some hot chocolate drinks including one called “The Drink of The Gods” that was first made by the Aztecs.
After the 1.5 hour tour we had a quick 10 minute drive to a resort with hot springs. Before we went to the hot springs we ate at the buffet in the resort restaurant. Then we spent 2-3 hours at the hot springs going on water slides, relaxing in the hot springs and more. Even though the weather wasn’t perfect, it was still a great day!!!
BLOG POST FOR JULY 2
Written by Bella C.
Today was a simple and fun day. We started the day off waking up at 6:30 and driving to complete 4 hours of service. The students volunteering at the school jumped on vigorous painting projects. We painted tires as well as the blacktop/ basketball court. We had multiple ideas and incorporated them into a painted obstacle course. The animal center students joined us for an hour and we were able to get a lot done. Before they came, the animal center volunteers cleaned cages and fed animals.
Later in the afternoon, we took a quick dance class with Lea and Jose learning the basics of dances such as salsa, bachata, and merengue. After the class we were able to order ice cream in Spanish. Moving on, we ended up writing a letter to our future self to send 6 months to 5 years later. Lastly, we did simple team building involving blind folds and stacking cups.
Finally, we enjoyed a surprise with the high schoolers watching a traditional Costa Rica dance. The dancers came in bright dresses and at the end they showed us some cumbia and salsa steps.
BLOG POST FOR JULY 3
Written by Max M.
We started off our day at 6:15 to get ready and eat breakfast. Once we finished eating we got on the bus for 2 hours to go zip lining at rainforest adventures. We stopped for a bit to do some souvenir and snack shopping. We went on a 8 zip line course, and then on a high rope course. We stopped at this outdoor shopping mall and played mini golf and ate froyo. Then we went to the beach and sat there for a bit until we went back onto the bus, which leads to now where we’re going back to the hotel and I’m writing the blog.
BLOG POST FOR JULY 3
Written by Thasya M.
As the program came to an end, we started off the last day with community service! We woke up, got dressed, ate breakfast, and hopped on the bus.
First, Bella, Mila, Zara, Jo, and I were dropped off at the school to finish painting the basketball court. Fun fact: Jo and I were recruited to help with the painting so that we could finish faster. At the school, we added in some shapes, figures, and also put the final touches on the games. Zara also came up with the idea to draw a maze on the ground and it turned out amazing! While the girls at the school were painting away, Naomi, Noora, Max, and Maxwell went to the animal rescue center, got to feed the animals one last time and also got a surprise visit from 2 sloths Buddha and Zen. They got to feed those sloths and after that, they came back to the home base and had some fun in the pool!
After community service, everyone had lunch and then headed to restaurant to sample traditional Costa Rican food made with corn along with lemonade or blackberry juice. We sampled Chorreada, Tortillas con Queso, and Plátanos con Queso. After that, we toured the markets that were around there. We saw stores that sold spices for medicinal purposes and we stopped by a big shop to buy some special gifts:)
And to make the last day dinner special, everyone dressed up and had a ton of fun!
Summing this adventure up, this program was filled with dedicated community service, thrilling adventures, and the best bus rides. Whether it was the fun homebase balcony chaos or the leadership activities, every moment spent in Costa Rica made an impact on us.
Tomorrow we board our flights and go home with memories of a one of a kind experience! Until then, adios!!