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 5
The day has finally arrived. We are starting our Spanish Service Adventure program. After a full day of arrivals the whole group is now together at our homebase in Paraiso. While some of us waited patiently for others to arrive we played games and got to know each other a bit better.
We are very excited to start our activities tomorrow. Make sure to keep posted for more updates.
Katherine, GLA Mentor
BLOG POST FOR JULY 6
Written by Suzanna
Finally, the group has been fully united, and as such, universally introduced to the beautiful country, Costa Rica. Similarly alarmed, nervous, excited, and determined, this group has exceptionally committed themselves to their overall goal, desires, and motivations. Currently, as it has been the first full day that the group has been connected with one another; a clear insight of how all of this has all beautifully unfolded was through their communication.
Throughout many interviews with fellow people as a part of this program, many have stated that they’ve felt nervous, relieved, and incredibly excited when they’ve landed in Costa Rica. Even though our first feelings about this trip may have been different from our current feelings now, we have persevered and are determined to push forward and keep working hard to achieve our committed goals. Some participants of the program have been communicatively positive and interactive with the group, which has ultimately helped group members open up about themselves and expand their boundaries as a whole; and have undoubtedly even encouraged me to participate myself. Likewise, some other participants have been committed to try to push themselves out of their boundaries and open up with more individuals throughout the trip.
Something that was quite interesting that the group constructed was a newly invented way of the game Jenga. Throughout the game, individuals utilize both rock, paper, scissors, shoot, and the creativity of asking their peers questions. This helped everyone be able to understand one another, and most importantly, who they are as people. It’s quite mesmerizing how varied the communication is amongst the group, but that overall simplifies the uniqueness and beauty of GLA.
Another activity we did was dance class, and this class was most definitely a ride of an event; with deep exposure to culture and a very fun way to get active as well. It was really heartwarming to see how much everyone was excited to dance, and even if people weren’t as experienced in dancing, we’ve all, collectively, found a way to make this class enjoyable; and that truly makes my heart warm, and of course, makes me smile.
After the dance class, we were given a treat of local ice cream in the city. The ice cream was rico, I’d highly recommend that if anyone does come to visit the city, Paraiso, to come down and try that amazingly tasty ice cream; and of course, we can’t forget about the dog that we saw when we were eating ice cream on the bus. It was devastating to see a dog be locked behind the gates of its own home, but with such hardship, came triumph for that dog. It was quite funny, but also relieving to see the dog make its way through the bars of the gate; we all collectively cheered the dog on.
Overall, a popular goal amongst a multitude of people within this program is to further practice their Spanish and immerse in the Costa Rican culture. One individual, in particular, has been truly inspirational with their determination in learning Spanish, and they’ve strived to continue pushing themselves in the days ahead. Others have been very eager to expose themselves to a more authentic approach to community service, and as such, the experiences that come with it.
In reflection to the orientation that we had earlier today, a question that has stayed lingering in my mind has been, “How do you define leadership?”. As vague as this question may sound, it comes with a perplexion of answers and definitions, however, I have pondered on what the answer to this question could be. Thus, I believe that a leader can’t be born, but a leader can be built, a leader can be influenced, a leader can be inspired, and encouraged. Additionally, through the individualized experience, one may behold through the terms of leadership, comes the experience of leadership through a group; through a body and a system.
There’s no absolute, nor accurate way to “generalize” leadership, as it simply can not be construed as the commodification of a stereotype, however, it must be signified based on it’s initiative, niche, and goal overall. This has truly opened me up to something I’ve been perplexed by for a long time. I’ve always visualized leadership as a constructive way an individual leads another, but it can also be how a group, such as the one on this trip, is able to promote leadership as a whole. It’s both a universally and eventful experience, especially when you are able to come together and work with such unique and determined individuals.
Suzanna, the blogger of today!
BLOG POST FOR JULY 8
Hola Amigos y Amigas,
Today was our first adventure day! After a delicious breakfast, we traveled for a hike in a rainforest named Monte Sky just outside of Paraíso. The story of Monte Sky reflects the spiritual nature of the location. It is maintained by a former drug addict who found tranquility in this particular rainforest. He lives in and looks after an Eco-Lodge that we were able to spend some time at for a snack and a water break. It has a beautiful view of the town of Paraíso and the mountains. As we hiked we listened to the large and elegant leaves above us, as well as the birds and other animals that inhabit the rainforest. The final destination of the hike was a large magnificent waterfall. It was so large, that we stood a fair distance away from it and still felt the mist fall down on our faces.
After the hike, we continued to learn more about each other while writing a “Where I’m From” poem in our mentor groups. We continued the fun in our Spanish class where we had a walking tour of Paraíso and bought snacks at the local grocery store. We wrapped up another adventure-filled day in Costa Rica with some just dance! Tomorrow, we are excited to continue our service project in the Ujarras community!
BLOG POST FOR JULY 9
Hola friends and family! My name is Riley and I am the Lider del dia. Today was another day of hardwork, fun, bonding, and as always, delicious food! After breakfast and a music filled bus ride, we began our work in the community park. While the work is challenging, this group has a really impressionable way of making it something to look forward to every time. Even though the weather brought rain, mud, and wet gloves, there were smiles across every girls face. One of my favorite parts of the day was an incredible visit to Ujarrás national park for our daily Spanish lessons. The view was a breathtaking sight of mountains, rivers, and towns I will never forget. Once back at the homebase the rest of the girls and I got to reflect and recap the days events and prepare ourselves for the opportunities tomorrow will bring. Everyday brings a new inspirational experience, here in Costa Rica, that I am beyond fortunate to be a part of.
BLOG POST FOR JULY 10
Written by Clara y Felicity
Today was our sixth day in Costa Rica. After a delicious breakfast, we left to do some community service in the park for the morning. As a team, we started our service work by moving pieces of grass to build a soccer field. The pile of grass never ever ever seemed to end, but we moved the entire truckload with smiles. We all got to do something a little different, some sanding and painting here, some concrete mixing there, and a lot of ants everywhere! After a 2010’s “throwbacks” bus ride, we came back and had yet another amazing lunch. In the afternoon we all learned a little about ourselves. We used the metaphor of a window to represent the way we view ourselves and how others view us; an open window, a hidden window, a blind window, and an unknown window. Spanish class today was filled with empanada making, a couple of games, and of course trying to hold conversations in Spanish. We wrapped up our day with some more food to top us off!
Now we are on to play charades!
BLOG POST FOR JULY 11
¡Hola! Today was a fun and adventurous day in Paraíso. We started the day by driving to the rainforest and ziplining through the beautiful canopy with an amazing view of the forest. The guides were very experienced and helped us all feel comfortable up in the air. After a delicious lunch, we took a pulse check, which gave us a chance to provide feedback to GLA Staff on the program. After that, we had Spanish class, complete with baking tortillas con queso, playing Spanish games and dancing, learning, and having discussions. Finally, after dinner, we had Nightly Meeting, where we passed the torch to tomorrow’s leaders. We’re all excited for the next few days at the beach!
Elyse y Sara
BLOG POST FOR JULY 12
Hello, Esha and Adelaide here, today’s leaders del día!!!
Today we had a great wonderful day in Costa Rica however today we did not say in our homebase town of Cartago, we ventured out to Uvita in Punta Arenas and had a great day at the beach.
We started the morning with breakfast and then had a 4 hr drive to Uvita. The first of our many activities for the day was a visit to a special waterfall after lunch! It wasn’t much of a hike but at the waterfall we got to not only swim but also got to jump in the pools! We then went straight to the beach and played in the water, some frisbee, and enjoyed the sunset.
After the sunset we got to go and travel to a souvenir shop for a bit and everyone was able to find some goodies for those special at home. Which you will all se when we return 🙂
We ended the night with coming back to the hotel having dinner and getting ready for our day tomorrow. We are now all going to hang out at the pool for a bit and going to have a good night sleep for our second beach day.
BLOG POST FOR JULY 13
Written by Leah and Olivia
Today was so much fun— the last day at the beach! We started the day with a delicious breakfast at the hotel, and then we left to go surfing. We had so much fun learning the sport together, and some of us became pretty skilled at it. Next, we had plenty of time to relax as we left the beach and swam in the pool at the hotel, followed by a early lunch and tech time. Afterwards, we took a short trip to another shore and had some more beach time. Today the waves were very large , so while several individuals enjoyed time in the water, many people played soccer, and others listened to music. Today was quite the reading day; five people finished their books! We went back to the hotel to get ready for dinner and hung out in our rooms. Finally, we went and had amazing pizza, iced tea, and salad at a very pretty restaurant. It was a long but fun and beautiful day in Uvita!
BLOG POST FOR JULY 16
Suzanna here. Líder del día.
Today underlies the 12th day of our GLA Experience trip, which is somewhat both an upsetting realization, and yet, an overall outlook of all of our individual triumphs. We concluded our Spanish classes and community project. Throughout the emotions that all of us experienced, thus ranging from tears flowing down, smiles shining, eyes glimmering with inspiration, and alas, the laughter we’ve all endeavored from our Spanish party today. There’s no simplistic way to generalize the overall experience, however, there’s definitely an exception to describe the pure care, appreciation, and joy this group beholds. To this day, it still perplexes me how I’ve been granted the opportunity to participate with such an exceptional and amazing group. It’s truly saddening knowing that the days are quickly nearing.
In addition, with the unfortunate circumstances of our nearing time, comes the unfortunate goodbyes of our greatly loved Spanish teachers. We also had to say goodbye to our project leaders Pablo and Cristian. They’ve been incredibly supportive and encouraging. We are all incredibly happy knowing the fact that all of our hard work has amounted to the result of a nicely finished playground for the children in the neighborhood, especially for the children who helped us, such as Josue, Derek and Kaled. We ended the day with a dinner where we got to eat with our Spanish teachers- in community. We are extremely grateful to everyone who has made this experience memorable. You will be missed.