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 22
We started early in the morning with airport pickups and they will continue until midnight, but we are very excited to finally have our new group of students who are ready for 14 days of fun, adventure and learning in beautiful Costa Rica.
Tomorrow when the group is complete, we will start with the orientation and a nice tour of town.
Stay tuned for more updates from the students about their adventures.
PS. Not pictured – Dylan Donner, Sienna Lipton, Eos Perez, Noah van Der Ven, and Callum Buchanan who came on later flights!
BLOG POST FOR JULY 23
The group is finally complete.
This morning we all had the opportunity to meet one another through our orientation activities. We began the day talking about the program and what we should expect for the next two weeks. We are a very big group, so we are making the effort to bond during the free time that we do have within this busy schedule. After a morning of orientation activities we headed to Cartago city and learned about Costa Rican history and culture. Our local leaders took the time to explain to us the treasures of Cartago city, including a visit to the Basilica and the local farmers market. Some of us got to purchase fruits we had never tried before, such as Rambutan!
We also got the chance to practice some Costa Rican phrases we learned this morning ( Pura Vida, and Vive Vive Cartago!) with the local community. It was great to actually get a response back with a simple gesture- we are feeling welcomed already. After a great walk around the city we headed back to the home base in Paraiso and finished up the day with our nightly meeting. We are very excited for the next couple of days. Tomorrow we will be heading to our first service site and can’t wait to meet the Ujarras community.
BLOG POST FOR JULY 24
Written by Uma and Sumner
With arrival and orientation complete, Day 3 gave our GLA group the chance to have a full day of activities. Busy might be an understatement. Whether it was waking up at 6 to get your body moving, or sleeping until 7:25 before a 7:30 breakfast, everyone was excited to experience a true GLA day! A breakfast of Gallo pinto, eggs, and fresh fruit quickly disappeared before we gathered in our mentor groups for our first day of service work. This morning’s goal was to put the finishing touches on an ongoing project for the Ujarras community. Meeting the local children (and kittens) made the time fly by, and it gave everyone a glimpse into the impacts of our service. The tasks included repainting tires in festive colors, clearing out space, mixing concrete, and putting down grass to finish a soccer field. Now that we have finished the project, the local government will provide a playground to make the new community space complete.
After lunch, we shifted our focus toward developing our leadership skills back at homebase.
In mentor groups, we received a prompt about the impact of English on Costa Rican schools. This provided us with the opportunity to meet new people and strengthen our debating skills. It also gave us a different viewpoint on teaching English to local children in our upcoming service days.
Next, we got to put the Spanish in Spanish Service Adventure on our first day of class! To assess our initial level of proficiency, we conversed with our teachers Jafed, Jessica, and Adriana. Their questions ranged from how old we are to how we would spend 1 million dollars, and the benefits of language and cultural immersion in Costa Rica became clear. We look forward to the future classes and know the experience will be like no other!
To finish off the day (and tire us out), we played soccer at nearby fields with local kids. It challenged our Spanish vocabulary and created another chance to interact with the community. This group might be big, but everyone is already getting to know each other over card games and shared excitement for this GLA trip!
BLOG POST FOR JULY 26
Written by Wilson, Lacy, Dylan
Now that four days of GLA have flown by, we were ready to truly immerse ourselves in Costa Rica. Starting off the day a little early, we woke up around 6:45 to enjoy a breakfast consisting of tortillas con queso, fruit, and delicious orange juice, we soon set off on a once-and-a-lifetime ziplining adventure.
Despite shrieks and freaks from numerous GLA students, we conquered the ropes. From sloths to ‘skeeters to soaring heights, the embarkment was something you have to do yourself to believe. Our hungry students arrived back at home-base to a delicious, homemade Costa Rican meal which included scrumdiddlyumptious pork, lentils, and rice. A well-deserved rest before beginning our first full Spanish lessons.
Taught by our team of fantastic teachers Jafed, Jessica, and Adriana, each and every one of us has already begun to improve our conversational and grammatical skills, which we are able to apply daily to talk to the locals here in Cartago! Making authentic tortillas, sharing family recipes, and playing ‘Charades en español,’ classes are never a bore. After Spanish we enjoyed our last meal of the day, a flaversome chicken soup filled with avocado, cheese, and pieces of chips. ¡Que Delicioso!
Sour weather forced the group indoors for our nightly meeting, but nothing could stop us from having fun! Finalmente, a surprise guest speaker, Jose, came to talk to us about the enriched history of Costa Rica. We were blessed by his presence as he was a very knowledgeable and kindhearted fellow, and all of us here at GLA appreciate his willingness to teach us. It was a fantastic day here in Cartago and we are ready for what tomorrow brings us!
BLOG POST FOR JULY 27
Written by Leaders of the day: Eva, Townsend, and Eos
Hola a todos!
French toast was gobbled as everyone prepared for a long day’s work. Our first day’s work at the school consisted of starting the soccer field and playground. All the children were super friendly and had fun playing and talking with us on their lunch break. After we returned to home base and had a large lunch, we took a Walmart run to restock on snacks and go shopping. It was a great immersion experience since none of the workers understood english. We then returned to town to have Spanish class where we went around Paraiso learning new vocabulary talking with locals. After coming back to home base we finished our spanish lesson by deciphering traditional Costa Rica legends told to us in spanish. We finished off the day with our nightly meetings, tech time, and surprise karaoke. Closing off another great day in Paraiso, Costa Rica.
BLOG POST FOR JULY 28
Written by Leaders of the Day Katherine, Jack, and Lulwa
Today is the day we’ve all been waiting for: Laundry day! After working hard and wearing clothes a few times too many, we were glad it finally came.
Our day started with a nice, traditional American breakfast of cocoa krispies, cornflakes, and milk, and headed off to the school, where half the group worked in the classrooms and the others worked on building the soccer field and playground. Some of us assisted kindergarteners while others worked with the elementary school grades. The children were ecstatic to spend time with their new friends, and sad to see them leave. As each GLA students Spanish was improving by the second, the view of such progress in the construction work only motivated us further to accomplish our goals within this community. With much to get done we worked tirelessly. Luckily, the Costa Rican weather was in our favor today, and sunny skies only appeared after the work was done.
Lunch was spectacular. The fresh chicharrones helped us all summon our forces for today’s intensive Spanish class: reenacting the legends of Costa Rica. Each performance was phenomenal in its own way. It really helped us put our newly acquired Spanish skills into practice. After watching a few short films in Spanish, accompanied by laughs and tears, we had a delicious chop suey dinner.
It is now time for bed, and it won’t be easy finding sleep knowing there will be a dance class tomorrow!
We are all looking forward to it.
BLOG POST FOR JULY 29
Written by Leaders of the day Lacey, Lauren, and Sienna
We are now over halfway through our program! This experience has been the truest example of time flies by when you are having fun. For our service work in the morning, we continued working on the soccer field and playground. However, during our time at the school, we also get to spend time helping and connecting with the kids there. Whether it’s singing with kindergarteners, teaching English, or listening about their daily lives, talking with the students motivates us to continue our hard work.
We then came back to the home base to refuel and get our bodies ready for dance class! We got the privilege to learn Samba, Reguetón, Cumbia, and many more types of Latin dances. Even though not everyone considers themselves a dancer, each person was more than excited to immerse themselves in the movements. Art is an integral part of culture, so dance class brought us more appreciation for the latin culture we are learning about. The experience was also incredibly fun and I counted plenty of smiling faces.
After the workout of the century, we made our way to a couple shops to buy souvenirs. For many of us, this trip has been our first time dealing with currency, so buying things has been an interesting learning experience. Being able to practice Spanish and sharpen our skills, especially when it comes to talking about money, has definitely been a favorite part of the shopping process.
In the evening, we showered off our hard work of the day and ate another great meal. With no Spanish class today, we used the extra time to bond and enjoy each other’s company. In our nightly meeting, people shared their favorite parts of the day and like always, there was an abundance of excitement for the days to come!
BLOG POST FOR JULY 31
Written by Leaders of the Day: Kilian, Enzo, Emmett
Today we hiked the Turrialba volcano, the 2nd-tallest of over 200 volcanic formations in Costa Rica. Its impressive 3,300 meter height is dwarfed only by the neighboring Irazú Volcano. Our guide, César, provided us backstory on the Turrialba Volcano: located within its own national park (also the site of one of Costa Rica’s páramos — forests 3,000 meters or higher), the volcano last had activity in 2016 and last exploded in 1866. The volcano is also proximate to an indigenous town, where its residents still speak their native language to this day.
We later spent our last day of Spanish class in the park! During that time, all three of the groups worked on different projects for a final presentation. Maestra Jessica’s group and Maestro Jafeth’s group worked separately on two productions, both entirely in Spanish. Maestra Adriana’s group held the Pura Vida Awards, given to notable people or moments from the trip so far. While we were sad to see it end, we enjoyed Spanish class and the opportunities we were afforded to immerse ourselves in the lenguaje y cultura of Costa Rica.