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 18
After a long day of airport pick-ups the (almost) whole group has finally arrive to our wondeful homebase in Paraiso. We are still waiting for Silas Powers who’s flight was delayed but he will join us shortly.
We are all excited to start our Spanish Service Adventure in beautiful Costa Rica.
Stay tuned to more blog posts about our journey.
BLOG POST FOR JUNE 19
Hey friends and family,
Silas arrived! Yay! Now, the group is complete.
Today we began the day getting to know the local staff and each other. We met Marcos and Michelle (the cooks). We learnt that Marcos loves anything that has to do with driving and transport and that Michelle does folklore dancing. We can’t wait to try all of their nutritious Costa Rican meals. After some orientation activities to get us situated and ready for our community projects and adventure excursions, we went on a city tour to Cartago (former capital of Costa Rica). We saw the beautiful Basilica de ¨Nuestra Señora de los Angeles¨ and went to the local farmers market.
We learnt that Cartago is known for it´s bike trails and volcanoes (we´ll be doing a hike around one of them, so keep posted for beautiful pictures!). After a long walk ,our local director, Juvel, surprised us with a visit to a family owned ice-cream shop- they´ve been making ice cream since the 1940´s. Not to get you jealous but flavours varied from dulce de leche to passion fruit and mango. To finish off the day, some students took the initiative to organise a chess tournament- and crafts corner. We closed with our nightly meeting and passing on the torch to our ¨Lider del Dia¨ (Leader of the Day) for tomorrow, Rory.
Hasta Luego and good night,
Katherine, Mentor and today´s Leader of the Day
BLOG POST FOR JUNE 20
Hi friends and family, this is Rory, today´s Lider del Dia!
Today marked our introduction to the service project; working at a local elementary school. As a result of the recent economic crisis in Costa Rica, the government had to cut funding to education, because of this, this school lacked the necessary funding for developments. Specifically, this was the construction of a concrete patio underneath the playground. Whenever it rained, the grass in the playground would become super muddy, and the children would not be allowed to play in this area, especially during the Wet Season in Costa Rica; it makes up about two thirds of the year during which it rains almost every day.
For today´s service and subsequent service projects here, we split into two groups. Most of the members were assigned to work on levelling a flat area for the playground with pickaxes and shovels, whilst the remainder would work with the students in the elementary school itself. This was a great opportunity going both ways; giving our group the space to practice Spanish with native speakers, and the students the ability to meet foreigners. Personally, I worked as part of the group that went into the classrooms, and I really valued my interactions with the members of this community. I connected with one student who had a minor speech impediment (according to their teacher), who put me to work helping out with coloring in a drawing of theirs. The kids were incredibly enthusiastic about our company, and it seemed like they genuinely valued our contributions.
After our eventful work on the service project, we returned to home-base, where we would soon begin with our first Spanish Classes. We were called up in pairs to do “entrevistas” (interviews) in order to gauge our Spanish level. There were three local Costa Ricans who led these, and who would lead our classes, at beginner, intermediate, and advanced levels. These teachers knew little English, so naturally presented a great environment for improving our Spanish speaking skills. Being native to this region, they were able to provide a great degree of insight on the “tico” (Costa Rican) dialect and all of its unique mannerisms. I look forward to the next week of lessons with them.
That´s all for today, now I will be passing the responsibility of group leader on to Riley.
BLOG POST FOR JUNE 21
Hi, Friends and Family,
Riley here as the Lider del Dia!
First of all, I am sorry about the late blog, but there was so much going on yesterday that there was not enough time to create the blog along with everyone being tired from a hard day at work.
Even though the project was talked about in the previous blog that was only one step in the final plan of creating a soccer field for the children, the first project was almost done with leveling out the ground so the second project took over priority for the second half of the renovations for the school. To me, it was shocking to see that even though we are the first to start on this project we can still have a big impact on the overall development. Though the project is exhausting it still provides not just me but everyone involved in the project joy seeing the smile of children thank you as you work.
Spanish classes are also fun for the first half of the four hours, but it eventually becomes more challenging, but I also believe that it will bring fruitful results in the future.
After Spanish classes today we had an interesting surprise, an insightful guest speaker. We enjoyed learning about the history and cultural development of Costa Rica as a whole.
BLOG POST FOR JUNE 22
Hi friends and family! This is Ella and Anna, today’s Leaders del dia!
Our day began with a wonderful adventure in the jungle, ziplining! Here in Costa Rica, we call it canopy. All 14 of us made it up the challenging but beautiful hike. We started in a car driving up some of the bumpiest roads we have ever experienced. But our drive was only a short distance, as we began to climb up the mountain. The hike was steep and difficult but with perseverance, we pushed through. We then arrived at the starting point, putting on safety gear while taking in the breathtaking views. As adrenaline rushed through our bodies, we zipped down the mountain supported by our fellow explorers, guides, and mentors.
After a delicious, homecooked lunch, we began our mentor group activity. For this activity, we were assigned roles in important departments pertaining to the issue of English language teaching and the ethics and effectiveness of teaching English in countries where English is not the primary language. We debated our assigned roles in a group discussion learning the importance of listening to others and collaboration.
As the day continued we headed off to Spanish class where we took learning outside of the classroom! We explored the beautiful town we are staying in while practicing our Spanish skills with locals. One group met the mayor of Paraiso, while another group ordered food using their Spanish knowledge. We spent many hours immersed in the culture and learned a lot about the heart and soul of Costa Rica!
As the day came to a close, we reflected on the day’s experiences as a group. In our nightly meeting, we then passed the leader of the day’s responsibility to Max and Aly, who will be continuing the blog. Hasta mañana!
BLOG POST FOR JUNE 23
Hello to all our daily readers, this is Max and Aly, today’s Leaders of the Day!
After a nutritious Costa Rican breakfast, we left for the service site: the elementary school. We made a ton of progress on the amphitheater/soccer field in the back: pulling weeds, and clearing out the land. We almost finished leveling out the land for the playground on the side of the school, and hope that concrete will be poured later this week.
While half of the group was clearing the land, the other half was assisting the teachers in the kindergarten classes. Helping the kids with their English is beneficial for the kids as well as us since the kids are currently learning basic English, and speak almost completely in Spanish. They have the experience of learning English through a more fun source, and we get to experience learning Spanish in a no-judgment way. This was our last day working at the school while the kids were there, and at the end of the day, saying bye to the kids was hard, but very rewarding.
We came home for a delicious lunch and then headed to Spanish class, where we got to visit a beautiful national park with a beautiful view of the mountains and scenery of Cartago. After that, we got into our mentor groups and reflected on what makes up our identity.
Pura Vida! We’ll see you tomorrow!
BLOG POST FOR JUNE 24
¡Hola amigos! This is Shaina A. and Lou, today’s leaders del dia.
This morning began with a later start than usual to prepare for the adventures awaiting today. After our delicious breakfast we headed for the mountains. On the way there our international director pointed out a coffee plantation. It was really interesting to see where coffee comes from in Costa Rica!
Once we arrived we made sure we were protected from the sun and the bugs. Then we began the first half of our hike. This path was very similar to the hike up to the canopy because of the many stairs and beautiful surroundings. The first half ended with a quick break at a house on the top of the mountain. There we could see all of Cartago and Paraiso, so in order to capture the memories we took pictures. After we were rested we began the next part of our hike to the cascade. Our final destination was an enormous waterfall that misted water on us from the rocks we were standing on. A few of us even went in to cool off!
We then headed back down the path, so that our bus could take us back to homebase. Once we got back, we enjoyed an amazing lunch of rice, beans, and pork. After some free time we prepared for Spanish class. Today’s class was different than usual because we got to go play fútbol! Before we played, we presented the plays that we created prior with puppets. We played an intense game of fútbol with some of the people who work with us and a few of the locals. Tired from the close game, we headed home. We finished the day with a wonderful dinner and we began watching The Incredibles en Espanol!
That´s all for today! Lou and Shaina signing off, adios amigos!
BLOG POST FOR JUNE 25
Hola, this is Silas P. today’s leader del dia.
Today was back to normal with our 6:30 wake-up, we ate a quick breakfast (pancakes) then we were off to the school! Today was the first day we didn’t have any kids at the school, some of us were sad, while the others were silently relieved. Today was mostly cloudy which was a welcomed change to us and allowed us to work a lot harder than normal. Today was mostly set up for tomorrow as we made the mold for the concrete and moved the required materials to the work site.
After a long morning’s work we came home to a delicious lunch then went to our rooms to get ready for our upcoming outing to Walmart. Walmart in Costa Rica was a bit of a shock but we managed to get in and out without any problems and with plenty of snacks in hand. After that we enjoyed a brief taste of free time before returning to group, this time for Spanish class! Today was especially fun as we had the amazing opportunity to cook one of Costa Rica’s specialty’s; Empanadas! We decided to go for a sweet empanada as the Spanish teachers tried desperately to teach us cooking based vocab. After that, we went straight into our next Spanish activity where we recreated famous Costa Rican legends. Everybody did great with some wardrobe creativity thrown in there. Tired from brilliant acting everybody enjoyed some well-earned free time before the nightly meeting. We’re now finishing the day with some precious snacks and leftover empanadas.
BLOG POST FOR JUNE 26
Hi, this is Brooke and Clara, today´s leaders del dia.
We started off the morning with 6:30 wakeup followed by breakfast. We then headed to the school for our last day of service work. We learned how to make and mix cement, and started pouring it in the mold. We also continued our work on the soccer field behind the school by weeding and clearing grass and roots.
We then returned to the house for lunch and mentor groups where we discussed the characteristics of a good leader in student led groups. We then headed into our last spanish class of the trip where we continued vocab lessons, and created a final project. The projects were skits that we performed for the group, and then we said our farewells to the teachers. We then ended the day with a burrito dinner and our nightly meeting!
BLOG POST FOR JUNE 27
Hola Madres, Padres, familia, and amigos, Lauren and Shaina K here to tell you about our amazing, wonderful day.
Our day was put into action with a delightful breakfast of French Toast and gourmet fruit. Thankfully everyone properly fuelled up because we had a big day. After breakfast the crew took a beautiful drive through the mountains. Shoutout to Don Marcos for driving in the cloudy, rainy mountain conditions. Once we arrived at the base of the volcano we met our lovely guide Alfonso and his even lovelier dog Galleta. Speaking of galletas, also known as cookies, these tasty treats helped us get through some tough, rainy conditions as we walked through the burnt forest of Turrialba Volcano. The trees were dead but still standing due to the ash from an eruption in 2004. While our ascent to the top was serene, the descent was not victimless as a few of our group members tumbled down the slippery slopes. Don’t worry though we all eventually made it safely to the bus where our favorite driver was there to take us back to homebase. After a big lunch at home we headed back out on the town where we attended a spicy Latin American dance class. Following this intense dance workout, the group did a bit of shopping at a local souvenir shop. We then headed home with full bags and full hearts. At home base we concluded the day with our nightly activities and an amazing dinner of fish, lentils, potatoes, salad, and mangos. Currently, everyone is in a frenzy packing their bags for tomorrow’s beach excursion. We miss all of you dearly and can´t wait to see you soon.
Until next time,
Lauren and Shay
BLOG POST FOR JUNE 29
Hola, amigos y familia de GLA,
I’m Diego, the final lider del dia in our initial rotation. After having breakfast in Paraiso, we embarked on a four-hour road trip to Uvita Beach. It took us through the highest mountains in Costa Rica and required much skill from our driver, Don Marcos, but we eventually arrived at our hotel around noon. Our first activity at the beach was a hike through thick rainforest, featuring beautiful waterfalls and butterflies alike. We then went to the beach to admire the sunset, but unfortunately found that the view was entirely obscured by clouds. We drove back to our hotel before heading to a local shop to look for souvenirs. Following shopping, we concluded our day by hurrying through the rain to a pizza place that every Costa Rican confidently assured us was the best in the country. On the 29th, our only full day in Uvita Beach, we finally had our long awaited surfing lesson.
Most of us managed to get to our feet quickly, but staying upright consistently proved a more difficult task. After the lesson, we drove to a different beach, where we swam, took photos, and listened to music until the afternoon. Once we had returned for lunch, we immediately left to see the sunset we had missed the previous day. After staying at the beach for another hour, we returned to the hotel for a dinner of hamburgers and iced tea, reminding us of the home to which we will soon be returning.
BLOG POST FOR JUNE 30
Written by Lauren and Shay
Hola once again madres, padres, amigos, and familia once again. It’s your girlies Shay and Lauren to wrap up the blog for this Spanish Service gla program. It’s been a wild ride and here’s our short and sweet recap.
Week one started off with a bang as the group jumped into a series of jeopardy inspired orientation games. Once we were all well informed on the rules we were ready to begin a jam packed couple of weeks.
On day three the group broke out the pickaxes and shovels as we got to work building a playground and soccer field for the local elementary school. The following 6 days were spent both in the classroom and out in the sun hammering and digging away.
At the same time, the crew began taking Spanish classes that continued from day 4 to day 9. Yet, these were no ordinary classes. The stupendous teachers lead us through a variety of activities, somehow holding our attention for up to 4 hours a day.
If service and Spanish class wasn’t enough to keep us busy, our daily activities also consisted of enlightening mentor groups and leadership activities. In these settings we not only learned about ourselves, but also both the people and culture around us.
But the fun didn’t stop there. We really put the adventure in spanish service adventure by starting day 5 off with a canopy zip lining trip. Although this may not seem too tiring, the group was wiped after slowly ascending the never ending staircase leading to the first zipline. Luckily, after 3 more hikes nearly everyone has become accustomed to the Costa Rican fitness grind. However, nothing could prepare us for the endurance and strength necessary for the Latin dance class that took place on day 10.
Thankfully, we all had time to rest our minds and bodies on the lovely 4 hour drive to Uvita beach. Except for Don Marcos, our tireless driver who safely took us through rocky conditions on our longest drive yet.
The group then had the pleasure of staying at a local motel only 5 minutes from the beach for the next two days. Although this may seem like a perfect opportunity for relaxation, our schedules seemed to only become busier. As soon as our feet hit the sand we were thrown into the water and put through a rigorous swim test consisting of swimming from one end of the pool to the other. Luckily everyone passed with flying colors and the group was ready to take on the waterfall hike. Although the hike was beautiful, the sunset beach excursion was quickly ended due to rain. Yet, do not fret all was saved by a well earned pizza dinner.
That night, sleep was a necessity as the whole crew was up bright and early shredding the waves during a thrilling surf class. Despite the lessons being short lived, the beach day had only just begun. Everyone was pleasantly surprised by a trip to Ballena National Park where under the safe watch of a local life guard the group spent the afternoon swimming, tanning, and instagraming. We would like to personally thank Juan Carlos for ordering a sunny day after so much rain.
Nevertheless, eventually the group had to pack up their bags and begin the journey back to homebase. At homebase the group found closure in a series of mentor activities and reflections. After taking an extensive amount of time to appreciate everyone and all that we learned, the fiesta began. Singing, dancing, and packing concluded both the night and the trip as a whole. Excluding of course those of us leaving at 3 am this morning to head back home, we will not be sleeping. Moreover, we do hope both our mentors and all of the staff enjoy a well deserved night of rest. We are so thankful for everything they have done to make this trip truly special. Additionally, we would also like to thank all you madres, padres, and everyone in between who gave us the opportunity to be here today at 12 am writing this blog with our new friends and even newer mindsets.
Pura Vida Y’all,
Lauren and Shay