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.
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 16
Hola, Welcome to Costa Rica!
Costa Rica-Spanish Service Adventure, session #1 has officially begun! 6 of our GLA students have flown and arrived in the country of Costa Rica safely this afternoon at the Juan Santamaría International Airport in San José. Luckily no rain today! No Friday traffic either. We saw the beautiful mountains, volcanos, and locals on our way to homebase in Paraíso, Cartago.
Barret, Charlie, and Kenna came a little late to Home Base today. The whole Costa Rica team will be reunited later tonight.
Parents, families, and friends, we kindly invite you to accompany us on this blog, where we will showcase the daily adventures of this remarkable cohort of leaders! Pura Vida!
-Nathaly – GLA Mentor
BLOG POST FOR JUNE 17
Hello families, finally we are all here together!
Today on our first day together in this cultural adventure, we woke up to have breakfast something very typical that the “Tico” (people from Costa Rica) families have for breakfast, they are called “Prensadas” and are two corn tortillas with cheese in the middle and then they fry them, we also had fresh fruits, clergy, that could not be missing we are in Costa Rica.
We started with the orientation to explain to the group a little about the program, safety rules, how is the local culture, we also talked about what we will do in the service project and met the home base staff that will be with us during this adventure.
Then it was time to explore outside! We went on a city tour of Cartago where we visited the emblematic places of the city, Juvel one of the local directors explained to us about the popular culture of the city, and its customs and told us about the history of the Cathedral of Cartago and the celebrations of the city. We were able to see a typical day in the life of the inhabitants of the city and we visited the local market, where people come to sell several fresh vegetables, fruits, and spices, it was very interesting to see the variety of products that can be found there. We finished our city tour with an ice cream made by a family that has been making these delicious ice creams since 1948.
We return to home base where we have lunch and continue with the second part of the orientation, we finish the day by announcing our first leader of the day for tomorrow and it will be Charlie! Tomorrow we will visit “La Carpintera” the place where we will zipline, so stay tuned.
Until next time!
-Jonathan Grande (GLA International Director)
BLOG POST FOR JUNE 18
Written by Charlie S. – Leader of the Day
Expectations for today were high already and it is safe to say that those expectations were far surpassed. The excursion of the day involved an activity that was first thought of here in Costa Rica – ziplining. Upon arrival at the base of the mountain the group would be hiking to reach the starting platform, it was made clear that this excursion was not one that we would be likely to forget. It was also made clear that there was more to ziplining than simply a cord, harness, and a mountain side of some sort. By the end of the adventure everyone was grinning and laughing and recounting their favorite lines they had ridden or the best conversations they had with the amazing people who were working to ensure our safety and enjoyment. Although no one wanted to leave, the day was not over yet.
After a longer-than-expected bus ride back to Home Base and lunch that many of us agreed was our favorite of the trip so far (and the trip isn’t even half-way over), we rested until the Spanish professors arrived. The collective feeling of both nerves and excitement at meeting the three professors was tangible among the group and as we waited for each person to talk with them, a lot of laughter and fun was had playing games on our international director’s phone. By the end of such a busy and fun-filled day, the most important thing that I learned was how important it is to be there to support each other so each of us has the best experience possible.
Every student is very excited to begin to make a difference in the lives of others by starting our service project tomorrow. We are excited to meet the children – play and get to know the kids for whom we will be working and spending time within the next week – and start on something that is truly greater than ourselves.
It is obvious that the next two weeks of our lives will be ones we never forget. The only thing left to say is que tuanis, and truly that is the best way to describe the pure joy of this day.
BLOG POST FOR JUNE 19
Written by Brody R. – Leader of the day.
Today the GLA group and I traveled to a local elementary school to begin our service project. Our main objective is to refinish playground equipment and make the play area more attractive to these little kids. It was up to our group to come up with ideas and be creative with how we attacked this task. As any good leader, I took all my peer’s Ideas and preferences into account before deciding which idea was best. I also had to double-check and gain approval for these Ideas through our Spanish-speaking construction leader, (Don Pablo). Today I was forced to practice my leadership and Spanish skills and I believe these skills will be very beneficial moving forward.
BLOG POST FOR JUNE 20
Written by Kenna L. – Leader of the Day
Day 5 of our Spanish Service Adventure in Costa Rica started off at the service site where we continued our work from the previous day. Our work came to a halt when we were invited to come and watch the kids costume contest at the service site. After the costume contest, a Zumba instructor came in and hosted a dance party. We were invited to join in, and although we were a bit shy at first, a couple of minutes in found ourselves dancing with the kids. It was a lot of fun and I’m glad to have had that moment with the kids and our GLA group.
When we came back from the service site, we had lunch and our Spanish class. For our Spanish class today, we went out to a football field where our professors taught us the names of all the different body parts. After that, we split up into two teams and played some football. It brought us a lot closer as a group since football requires a lot of teamwork.
After our football game, we came back and had one of my favorite dinners so far, tortilla soup with rice pudding for dessert. After, I led a group activity of Zip, Zap, Zop, which was a lot of fun. We are all very excited to get back to continuing our work at the service site tomorrow and I can’t wait to see what we’re going to complete.
BLOG POST FOR JUNE 21
Written by Barrett P. – Leader of the Day
Today started out like most others with our Spanish Service team working hard at our service site, where we worked diligently under the beating sun. Not only did we all paint nearly every tire surrounding the soccer field, but we also made great progress on digging the trenches that line our path. After coming back to Homebase and eating a delicious home-cooked lunch, we sat down together and had a very enticing activity where we all asked each other questions and got to know one another a bit better.
Eventually nearing the end, we could be seen going back and forth talking about some controversial topics, like global warming, overpopulation, and even what each of us would wish for given the chance. Having to cut that short though, we found ourselves salsa dancing, and cooking delicious plantain empanadas for Spanish class, both activities being our group’s favorite class activity so far. Following another deliciously prepared dinner, we ended our nights like we usually do: playing a fun activity chosen by yours truly, which today was two truths and a lie, and recapping all our special moments of the day. Every one of us is ecstatic to be back on our service site, and we hope to finish up with a lot of our goals by tomorrow.
BLOG POST FOR JUNE 22
Written by Alex M.
In today’s service session, we completed most of the trench digging. On arrival at the worksite, the children greeted us at the front gate with smiles and enthusiasm, and during their school break, we played games such as tag and soccer. During these interactions, we were given many opportunities to practice our Spanish.
Once the work was done, we cleaned up and traveled to a viewpoint that showed a great view of mountains, buildings, and other things. After taking in the view and playing a game of “group rock paper scissors”, we returned to home base. At home base, we did an activity that involved sharing our thoughts on a few topics.
Our next excursion was to a mall. This trip was part of our Spanish lessons so during the trip we were taught the names of objects found in it by our teachers. When we returned from the mall, we played a game of Pictionary which can be a good way of exercising creative thinking. Throughout the day we ate delicious home-cooked meals.
BLOG POST FOR JUNE 23
Written by Clarke C.
For today’s last and final service session, we completed painting the tires for the soccer field and painted a chameleon slide together. Everyone worked hard all throughout the service days and accomplished a lot more than expected. Seeing the hard work, we accomplished definitely showed the team the importance of leadership and collaborative skills.
During Spanish class, we went on an excursion to a view site nearby a town. We walked through the town and visited different places like a church and a museum learning new words in Spanish and gaining more information on the history of Costa Rica. All of us are more than excited about the hiking trip we will be doing tomorrow morning!
BLOG POST FOR JUNE 24
Written by Ben Thompson – Leader of the Day
Today we went to the Prussia national park. Did a short hike up to the haunted tree. And a little further past the cool pine trees was the lookout point which was beautiful. Full of clouds, mountains, fields, and houses. We watched the lizards sun themselves and the birds fly around as we enjoyed our break. Enjoyed the hike back down in the cool weather. This was our warmup for tomorrow’s hike to the volcano which I’m Shure so going to be as good if not better as this one. Today was also our last day of Spanish class. We all acted out some Costa Rican legends, danced, and had dinner with the teacher which was a fun way to end Spanish class.
BLOG POST FOR JUNE 25
Written by Owen Smith
Today we went on a hike at the Turrialba Volcano. There were clear skies so we saw some amazing views of the countryside and the volcano landscape. The tour guide who came with us brought his dog who was darting all around the trail and making everyone laugh. On our drive back, we came across a parade where people were walking their cows down the street and blasting music. We’re not quite sure what the occasion was but we think it was some kind of religious cow festival or maybe a cow competition.
In the afternoon we had a dance class where we learned different dances important in Costa Rican culture such as Merengue, Bachata, Cumbia, Salsa, and Reggeton. Everyone got really into it and had a good time. Most of us even worked up a sweat. Afterwards we rewarded ourselves with some delicious ice cream.
At night we celebrated Alex’s birthday with a surprise party and tres leches cake, a Costa Rican speciality. We also packed for our three day trip to the beach. Everyone has been very excited for the vacation within a vacation for the past few days and packing made us even more so.
BLOG POST FOR JUNE 26
Written by Luca B. – Leader of the Day
Today we took a road trip to the beach, Uvita. Halfway there we stopped at a rest stop, had some snacks, and enjoyed the view. After the break, we continued our journey to Uvita. Once we arrived in the town of Uvita, we had lunch. Later we settled in the hotel and we had to take a swim test. Before we could go into the water at all. All of us were standing around the pool in the humid heat, having the urge to jump in and cool off. As each of us finished our test, we all just chilled out in the pool, until we had to leave for our surfing lessons. Once we got to the beach you could see many empty coconuts, many rocks, and shells.
Then we were taught how to control our surfboard, chest down. As we tried this on waves, it took a while, but we all eventually got the hang of it. After a little bit, we got back on shore and were taught how to surf standing up from the chest position. Then from using what we learned we all were able to surf standing up for at least 5 seconds. As the day went on it started to rain, sprinkling which gradually turned into a pore down of rain, so much that we had to yell to communicate. So we grabbed our stuff and left standing up in the bus, soaking wet. Definitely, an adventure to remember.
BLOG POST FOR JUNE 27
Written by Charlie S, Clarke C, and Kenna L
The day saw us starting later than usual, with breakfast at 8 am and departure for Uvita Catarata at 9 am. With towels slung over shoulders, sunblock generously applied, eager smiles, and a bounce in all of our steps, we greeted our bus driver with an “hola” and drove to Uvita Catarata. Upon arrival, we all caught sight of a sloth chilling among the branches of the tall trees surrounding the entrance to Uvita waterfall. However, we had to move quickly as the day had only just begun and there were many more things to do and see.
After a brief hike to the waterfall itself – which included a lot of ducking under caution tape and passing peligro signs (we followed Juanca the wrong way and the worker at the waterfall wasn’t as amused as the rest of us) – all of us deposited our stuff, shed our coverups and sandals, and jumped (not actually – that’s against GLA guidelines) into the natural pool at the base of the waterfall. The water was cold but the experience was unlike anything any of us had ever done. We swam in both the larger spring and the smaller spring a little further down from the main waterfall. Laughter could be heard bouncing off the walls of slippery rock and pictures were taken to commemorate the adventure.
Alas, we couldn’t stay there forever and eventually we made our way back to the bus, all of us expectedly hungry. But before we could break for lunch, we stopped at a local family-run souvenir shop to buy some souvenirs of our own. After a long morning and predictive shopping stop, we headed to our lunch spot for some well-earned food.
After we had chicken tacos for lunch, we traveled down to the beach passing through a trail encountering many of the common species found here in Costa Rica. We spent a relaxing three hours at the beach. We swam in the whale tail at Uvita’s Marino Ballena National Park enjoying the views and the relaxing warm water. Lots of us found wildlife creatures there as well including live sand dollars and a star fish. It was a nice full day together as a group.
as the sun set at the whale tail, we gathered our things and headed back to our bus to eat our last dinner in uvita. when we arrived, we were happily suprised when we saw that we’d be eating spaghetti and garlic bread. after the delicious meal, we headed back to our hotel and finished our night off with our traditional chow circle where we shared all of our favorite memories that we’ve had together in Costa Rica.
BLOG POST FOR JUNE 28
Written by Mentor- Nathaly Muñoz.
As our adventures in Costa Rica have rapidly came to an end, we would like to highlight the last couple of moments we all shared with each other. Today we woke up early for breakfast and traveled from Uvita back home to Cartago. We arrived at around 1:30pm and had lunch! We then gave students time to gather up their belongings to prepare for take off in the next 24 hours. After our students finished packing we gathered up one last time to complete our OMG Activity (One Meaningful Goal) and lastly, Appreciation Circle activity.
Once we finished up our activities it was time for dinner. We had burgers and fries, and they were scrumptious! Dinner was different this time, we moved out into the outdoor patio. Thankfully, no rain! We also had a in ground fire-pit and cooked up some marshmallows. We listened to music, laughed, and took some last minute pictures together.
We said an early goodbye to our good friends Charlie and Kenna! They were scheduled for early flights. We will miss you dearly!