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 26
Buenos días from Paraiso!
All students expected to arrive yesterday for the 21-Day Spanish Service Adventure are here at home base. As we get to know each other and this new environment, we look forward to welcoming Esha on Tuesday.
Stay tuned for more from the SSA21 crew, from here on out from the perspective of our student Leaders of the Day.
BLOG POST FOR JUNE 26
Day 2 in Costa Rica, brought to you By Olivia Rhea. First things first, to start our day we enjoyed a very nice breakfast and a cool welcoming to those who joined. After breakfast, we all got ready and gathered together for a presentation that lead to our very well known swim test. We flew through our test like race horses.
We then all kicked back till lunch time. At lunch, we had some great chicken and rice that just set us up for the whole day up until dinner time!
Throughout our day up until dinner, we had some local speakers speak with us about this very beautiful country they are from! It was very interesting and amazing to get to know all the different things that go on here and get to know more of our surroundings.
As we were wrapping up our talk with the speakers, we got a break that got us rebooted for the rest of our presentation. After our presentation, we had free time up until dinner, we all came together as a group, played some games, and got to know each other a lot more.
As dinner was being prepped we had a little more free time and enjoyed ourselves. Dinner came, we grubbed our food, finished up & cleaned up! At last we all gathered as a group for a group meeting and shared our roses, buds, and thorns of the day and trip! At the end of our day on Day 2 we had a very chill time!
BLOG POST FOR JUNE 27
Day 3 in Costa Rica, narrated by Carter Donald. We had an amazing day, but as you know, all great days start with a great breakfast. Today we had cereal with milk, fresh fruit, and some toast. We all enjoyed breakfast and were prepared for the day ahead.
Following breakfast, we had some time to get ready. We then traveled to a nearby field that we will work on. When we arrived, we were greeted by some locals who were kind enough to share an indoor space to put our bags and rest if needed. We began working on the field by preparing the land to plant new grass. However, after we took our first break it began to rain and we had to end early.
To occupy the extra time, we decided to play soccer at a nearby indoor field. It was a fun and action packed game, and even our leaders decided to join in.
After the soccer game we headed back to base came where an amazing shower and lunch were awaiting us. For lunch we had chicken and rice, chips, beet salad, beans, and mango. It was just what we needed to power back up.
After lunch we had a break before a short activity. For this activity we worked in groups to engage in a discussion regarding the education system in Malaysia.
Soon after our discussion we began conducting our Spanish placement interviews, and we then played a few games and split off into our respective groups.
To transition into the end of the day we had a great dinner that consisted of fish, papaya, potatoes, and salad.
We ended the day with some shout-outs and Rose Bud Thorn.
BLOG POST FOR JUNE 28
Day 4 in Costa Rica, brought to you by Lily Knudsen. Today was another great day! For breakfast we had pancakes, fresh watermelon and pineapple, and orange juice. After, we went to be prepared for the service project.
During the project today, we leveled out the ground and started laying sod. Since we had gotten money exchanged last night, we all headed down to the market for some Costa Rican snacks to try.
After we came back to home base, we had some delicious lunch. We had pollo, or chicken, with rice and beans, watermelon, cabbage salad, and carambola juice (starfruit). We then had some free time. everyone got in the pool to cool off from the surprisingly hot weather, where we played frisbee.
To occupy the rest of our free time we played cards together.
For a few hours after, we worked on our Spanish with our adjusted groups. After Spanish Class, our delectable dinner was ready which was: beef, corn, potatoes, plátanos, with a sauce, and pineapple juice.
We ended the day with a special guest speaker to talk about the history and background of Costa Rica.
BLOG POST FOR JUNE 29
Day 5 in Costa Rica, recounted by Baron Boykin. We started off the day with another great breakfast consisting of tortillas de queso (a bit different than quesadillas) with some sour cream, fruits, and orange juice. After breakfast and once we were all ready, we headed out for another day at the service site.
Today at the service site we worked on repainting all the tires, continuing to level out the ground, and digging a trench for a fence that we will later place. During a break we walked down to the local convenience store with the money we had exchanged.
At around noon we headed back to home base where we were greeted with lunch. For lunch today we had rice, pork, salad, fresh mangos, a couple different salsas for the pork, and a drink called tamarindo.
After our lunch, we had a mentor group activity. Everyone was split into two groups and in each group everyone presented an object that was valuable to them.
Following our mentor group activity we had an hour of free time. For some people this hour was spent in the pool or playing cards. For others it was just simply relaxing in or outside their rooms.
After our free time, the remaining hours before dinner was spent in our Spanish classes. For dinner we had tomato soup with chicken, chips and avocados, watermelon, and cold tea.
To end out the day we had evening meeting where we had some shout-outs and we shared highlights and lowlights for the day.
BLOG POST FOR JUNE 30
Day 6 in Costa Rica, recounted by Ian Ferman. While today may have started off on the wrong foot when we had to cancel both our visit to a nearby high school, as well as a hike due to an impending storm, we took advantage of our newly-found free time.
For breakfast, we ate gallo pinto – a classic Costa Rican dish – along with toast, scrambled eggs, and cas juice. Shortly thereafter, we left for the service site where we continued to build a fence around the soccer field and re-paint the tires that divided the area.
During break, while it coincidentally began to rain, Calef – a local kid – challenged all of us to a game of ajedrez, or chess. While Calef took us down one by one, the rain cleared up and we got back to work. After more work leveling out the ground for the fence and coating the tires in a 3rd layer of paint, the rain came back – but this time, it was here to stay.
We swiftly cleaned up and made our way back to homebase, where we played cards to pass the time until lunch. For lunch, we had chicken florentino, tuna-banana salad, and a creamy dressing. After this, we left for the indoor soccer fields.
There, we played a round robin with teams of 5. Despite being exhausted after our games, our Spanish teachers met us at the fields for a review of vocab regarding the parts of the body, along with partner massages and yoga. On our way home from this, we stopped at a panadería, or bakery, where we got all types of sweet and savory baked goods.
Upon our arrival at homebase, we engaged in a culminating Spanish group activity where we labeled the parts of the body. Following this, we sat down for a dinner consisting of white beans, string beans, steamed veggies, and rice. Our day ended with some shout-outs and more card games.
BLOG POST FOR JULY 1
Day 7 retold by Bastian Boykin. We started off the day with news that zip lining was postponed for a few days due to the risk that came with the rain we had the previous night. To help us out, for breakfast, we had empanadas, cut up papayas, and a sweet juice.
With an activity needed to replace zip lining, it was decided that we would go to a museum that was about an hour drive away in San José. We toured the museum learning about the history, important stories, the wars, and founders that shaped Costa Rica. Immediately after the museum, we walked to a nearby market and were given half an hour to buy whatever “souvenirs” we desired.There were many stalls filled with items, packed together tightly. At around noon we headed back to home base to have a lunch that consisted of rice, beans, meat, avocado, and salsa along with some fruit and juice to wash it all down.
After lunch, we were given some time to rest, before we would head back into the city where Spanish class would be hosted. For Spanish, we toured the city while learning vocabulary that could help in such an environment. We also visited an important Church in the city, and learned why is was respected and important. The end of Spanish class had us at Juan Carlos’s house (also where the 14-day Spanish and adventure people stayed) to watch and learn more about Spanish, and Costa Rica as well, alongside smoothies.
We ended the night with dinner at home base that consisted of, burritos filled with meat and cheese, as well as salsa and lettuce for an add on to the burrito. We had strawberry pastry for dessert and concluded the night with a meeting.
BLOG POST FOR JULY 2
Today our group had a day full of activities. First, we all headed down for breakfast which consisted of delicious french toast, pineapple, and our normal beverages: coffee, orange juice, and a new kiwi yogurt drink. After eating we all went back to our rooms to get ready for our trip to the Sanatorio. We arrived at the abandoned hospital then started exploring. This hospital was built around the 1800s by a man with a daughter suffering from tuberculosis. Some parts of the hospital were damaged from a volcano eruption nearby, so some parts we could not wander inside of. But all the parts that were open were very interesting to see knowing the history of this place. On our way back from the hospital we stopped at a local ice cream parlor and enjoyed delicious flavors including oreo, mango, dulce de leche, chocolate, strawberry, and more.
After this we all headed back to the hotel for lunch. Today we had fried chicken, rice and beans, ranch, and coleslaw. After eating lunch we had our mentor groups then headed back to our rooms to prepare for our latin dance class. The class was very intense and we learned some basic salsa, merengue, reggaetón, cumbia, bachata, zumba, reggae, and samba. After this we were all very tired but still we headed over to the soccer field to play one game. Finally, we went back to the hotel for a dinner consisting of spaghetti and a meat sauce, garlic bread, salad, and watermelon. We had our evening meeting then ended the night with card games.
BLOG POST FOR JULY 3
Day 9 in Costa Rica brought to you by Eliza Grimnes. Today we went back to more of a normal schedule beginning with a 7:30 am breakfast of cereal, mango, pineapple, kiwi smoothie, and orange juice. After eating we promptly got ready and transferred to the work site to continue our service project. Today at the service project we cleared out more grass and moved in more sod. Some people worked a little bit on the fence.
After about 3 hours of work we transferred back to our quaint hotel for lunch. Our lunch consisted of fish, mashed potatoes, salad, and strawberries. After finishing lunch a group of a few people went out to go to the park and the everyone else stayed at the hotel and had pool time. We tested out the jacuzzi for the first time!
Once everyone was back from free time we began our Spanish classes from 3:30-7. Everyone broke into their 3 groups of basic, intermediate, and advanced Spanish classes for about 2 hours. For the end of our Spanish class all the groups joined back together for some Spanish videos. For dinner we had pozole soup, rice, chips, and cas juice. To finish off the night we played a few rounds of cards and some truth or dare before heading back to our rooms and going to sleep.
BLOG POST FOR JULY 4
Written by Isabella Wheat
Today is the Fourth of July. For our breakfast we had tortillas de queso with strawberries and orange juice. After that we went to do service for the soccer field and all helped plant grass and the boys worked on the fence. The local kids helped us with planting the grass. We also had a delicious and nutritious jugo de mango. Then we came back to the hotel after a long day of service . We had a cultural banquet where we all shared cultural greetings that represented our groups that we were in. Then we gathered to get into groups for our Spanish classes. That consisted of a really funny puppet show. For dinner we had chicken tacos and a juice that tasted like cough syrup. We finished our night with some Karaoke songs for the Fourth of July. My favorite song that we sang was Dancing Queen by Abba.
BLOG POST FOR JULY 5
Written by Samara O’Neil
Today was a very exciting day as we finally got to go zip-lining. To kick off our adventure we had avocado toast and huevos de jamón along with some apples and orange juice. Then we set off on an hour long drive to the zip-lines which were a little past the city of Cartago.
Once we got there we had a 20 minute hike up a whole bunch of stairs. It was rough but worth it for the amazing time we all had zip-lining. There were thirteen zip lines in total and two of them went straight down!
After all the excitement, we headed back to home base for lunch which consisted of delicious spaghetti alfredo, garlic bread, and lemon tea. We made a quick run to Maxi Palí, the local grocery store, to stock up on snacks and other goodies.
Then we had our Spanish class and got to tour around a new city, Orosi. We saw one of the oldest churches and got a chance to shop around. Once we were back at home base, we had a dinner of rice, beef stew, pineapple, and watermelon juice. We finished out the day with shoutouts.
BLOG POST FOR JULY 6
Written by Jack Shapiro
Day 12 in Costa Rica, recounted by Jack Shapiro. We began our morning with a new meal for many: Chorreades (corn pancakes). These were topped with our choice of sour cream or syrup and accompanied by OJ and papaya.
We then headed off to our first adventure of the day, hiking to the top of Monte Sky to see the breathtaking view of one of Costa Rica’s natural waterfalls. Accompanied by Omar, our driver, we traversed through streams and steep inclines to marvel in the beauty of what we accomplished.
After taking photos and refreshing ourselves with the mist of the waterfall, we made our way down the mountain and swiftly headed to home base for lunch. This consisted of chicharrón, yuka, coleslaw salad, and cas juice. After a short break, we boarded the bus for an hour long drive to San José city, though due to traffic we changed routes and headed to Cartago for a tour of the city.
Ahead of Cartago’s final soccer match playing at 8, we wandered through the buzzing city with the streets filled with cheering and celebrating people. We first visited La Basilica de Los Angeles, the main church of Cartago, and later visited a crowded market where some were left gagging on the fumes from the fish market. After watching locals dance and cheer to music on one of the city’s busy streets in preparation for the game, we took a stop at McDonalds for a quick snack and headed back to home base.
On our break, we started a new GLA tradition of painting everyone’s nails to the color of their choice on our free time followed by watching Zootopia. For dinner, we had pollo asada with rice, salad, and iced tea. After a relaxing break, we packed for the long road trip tomorrow to end the day.
BLOG POST FOR JULY 7
Day 13 here in Costa Rica from your favorite people!
Written by Olivia Rhea, back at it again. To start our day, we had a very decent breakfast to get us going for our 5 hour drive to Uvita, Costa Rica! During the drive we all napped, made a pit stop for bathroom breaks and snacks! We hit the road again for a few more hours after the break. We then arrived at home base #2 & had a great fast lunch before we had to head to our surf lessons! Surf lessons were such an exciting experience! We had two separate groups. While one group got to learn the basics of surf, the other group played on the beach. It was a blast to finish our day off with an amazing sunset at the playa, & our very flavorful hamburgers for dinner!
BLOG POST FOR JULY 8
Day 14 in Costa Rica written by Eli Cutler. To start off day two in Uvita we had gallo pinto, eggs, and plantains for breakfast. We then went for a quick bus ride to a river. The river had a deep spot that we jumped into off of a high platform. There was also a waterfall that some less sensible people from another group were jumping off of. We then went back to our hotel for some pool time and lunch. For lunch we had chicken, beans, rice, fried yucca, and salad.
After lunch, we went to Marino Ballena National Park where we learned about the history of how it became a national park and the whales that migrate there every year to give birth. We then got to swim around and we played catch in the ocean. We then went back to the hotel for showers before going souvenir shopping. Afterwards we went back to the beach at Marino Ballena for the sunset. Then we went out for pizza at a restaurant. It was really good. Finally, we went to the supermarket.
BLOG POST FOR JULY 9
Day 15 retold by Zachary Koterwas. Starting our day off late at 9am we had fluffy pancakes and fresh fruit for breakfast with orange juice. Thereafter we packed to leave to travel back to home based in Cartago.
During the long road trip through the mountains, we stopped at a store to grab snacks and drinks. Many of us had empanadas, pollo (chicken) or queso (cheese), then continued on our trip.
Shortly after arriving, we put our bags away and sat down for lunch. We had rice, beans, chicken, homemade barbecue sauce, and salad with a mango juice.
Juan Carlos offered to anyone that wanted to, to play soccer at one of his indoor fields. Many tired, decided to relax and stay back. While others went to play.
When we arrived we warmed up with short game. If you scored you would become goalie. Afterwards, Bastian and Baron being team captains, choose the teams and we began to play. Everyone played well and had fun. Once the game ended we took a quick break and decided to play a quick game of world cup.
Later at home base, dinner was ready. We had tortillas, a chicken and potato filling, salad, mango with a peach tea. Afterwards many went to the pool for night swimming where they played taps and keep away.
BLOG POST FOR JULY 10
Day 16 in Costa Rica, written by Eva Vannier. We woke up today for our first day back at Rinconcito Verde since the beach. For breakfast, we had cereal with strawberries and bananas, with a choice of coffee, orange juice or smoothie to drink.After finishing the delicious breakfast we transferred to a hike called Hacienda Central. The drive up was a little sketchy because we were inches away from a cliff and it was VERY bumpy. It was such a tight fit that the bus ended up getting dented. After the drive up, there was a guide waiting for us when we arrived. The hike up the volcano was up a steady incline and was quite tiring. We couldn’t hike too far up the volcano due to the fact that it is still considered active.
After finishing the hike we went into the restaurant at the bottom. Some people got pollo en salsa there for lunch and others waited till we got back to the hotel to eat chicken con queso with some rice and vegetables mixed in. There was a choice of a salad on the side.After finishing lunch we had some free time for about two hours until our Spanish class at 3:30.
During Spanish class we all joined together and we made some cookies or galletas.
For dinner we had chopsuey with a side of bread. There was a choice of having salad.After a long day everyone went to their separate rooms and went to sleep early!
BLOG POST FOR JULY 11
Written by Currie Wakefield
Today we went back to a more normal schedule beginning the day at 7:30 with a breakfast of gallo pinto, eggs, water melon, orange juice, smoothie and toast. After finishing breakfast, we transferred over to the service site where we continued placing grass and painting the fence. A young local boy named Dereck had three adorable kittens and he let some of us hold them.
After finishing about 3 hours of work we went back to the hotel for a lunch of pastel de poyo y tortillas, salad and a juice with pineapple, watermelon, and mango in it.
After finishing lunch we jumped right into an activity called the OMG activity or One Main Goal activity where we split into two groups otherwise known as mentor groups. In these groups we talked and brainstormed about goals and things we can take away from this program. We are going to create videos showing our goals and we will submit them.
Then we had our last Spanish classes where we worked on our final project. The basic Spanish group wrote a play about the legend La Llarona, intermediate group wrote about their experiences in Costa Rica and traditional music and dance, and the advanced group wrote poems.
Dinner was albondigas en salsa, piccadillo de plátano, salad and pineapple, and the juice was passion fruit.
Finally, we had an evening meeting and ended the night by watching the movie, Knives Out.
BLOG POST FOR JULY 12
Written by Christopher Ting
To start the day, we all woke up to the most important meal of the day. For breakfast we had tortillas de queso with the option of lemon tea for a beverage. Strawberries and papaya were also served.
After a hearty breakfast, we boarded the bus at around 8:15 to tour the city of San José. During the tour we walked down the streets with our tour guides. We learned about facts and the history of the monuments. Our tour groups saw the San José legislative building, the town, murals (many art had propaganda relating to the government), art tiles, a boarding school, and the Plaza de Cultura. Some of us bought snacks to enjoy from Starbucks or McDonald’s before heading back.
For lunch, we were served beef tacos, rice, pineapple, and salad. To flavor the meal, we were able to add beef broth.
When we finished lunch we went back to working at the community service site. Everyone had a job to do. We placed down grass, mixed/installed concrete, and painted the fence. At the end of the three hours, a lot of progress was made.
As soon as we returned back to the residence, we took a short break from the compact schedule. At around 6 pm we worked on the OMG module which stands for “one meaningful goal.” We set goals influenced by this camp that we plan to accomplish by next year. We wrote about the process and things we would have to change to accomplish our goals.
Next was dinner. For the last meal of the day we had chicken broth soup with chips and avocado. At the end of the day, everyone went back to their beds for the next GLA adventure.
BLOG POST FOR JULY 13
Written by Nate Dates
Today we woke up to powdered-sugar-covered French toast and orange juice for breakfast.
After breakfast, we went hiking at Prusia national park. Longest of all of our hikes but the most calm. Starting at a steady incline, we entered a trail that led to a haunted tree. As we were walking we found a large dark tree different from the rest. But then soon realized that it wasn’t the tree we were looking for. After taking pictures at the actual haunted tree we continued our hike and stopped at a beautiful view, overlooking all of Cartago. Shortly after we make our way back to the bus.
Once we arrived, we put our bags away and sat down for lunch. We had rice and chicken, salad, a spicy yet sour chile, and guava juice. After lunch we drove to the work site. We had high hopes it wasn’t going to rain or the storm would shortly pass. Unfortunately, it continued to rain so we played with a soccer ball inside. We awaited the ok to head to Juan Carlos’s indoor soccer field. Once we got it, we drove to the field to finish our OMG activity, which is ten minutes a day on Duolingo, and played a game of soccer.
After soccer we had free time until dinner. For dinner we had fish, fried plantains, and beet salad.
BLOG POST FOR JULY 14
Day 20 in Costa Rica, written by Alex Dates
For our final day we started breakfast later than usual before our rafting trip. For breakfast we had empanadas with meat and cheese and some watermelon on the side.
After a bit of free time we went rafting, it was split up into three groups of people. Rafting was almost cancelled because of the rain making it more dangerous and we ended up needing to take a shorter route than planned. That didn’t stop it from being a very exhilarating adventure though!
After we got back, we went for a final shopping session in Cartago. We went to a souvenir shop and many people bought various items for the memories or to give to family members. We then went to an ice cream place and a grocery store for any extra snacks. It was an overall great time!
Finally, we had a heartwarming appreciation circle session right before our special fiesta dinner. The fiesta dinner was special burgers and handmade cake pieces for all of us. After which we had a nice party of appreciation and goodbye to Juan Carlos, our driver Omar, and our cooks.
That concludes the 21-day Costa Rica Spanish Service Adventure. Thanks for following the blog and our adventures with us! Tomorrow we return to the States!