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 28
¡Saludos from Costa Rica!
The team for the 21 day session of Costa Rican Spanish Service Adventure is so excited to welcome everyone to Cartago for the next three weeks! 26 students arrived safe and sound to a beautiful day here at Hotel Rinconcito Verde (our home base). We can’t wait to welcome Lucia F., Jacob S, and Sophia G. tomorrow and Maverick D-W soon!
The day was filled with several airport pickups; walks around the property, and wrapping up with our first chow circle. Those who arrived early were able to enjoy the gorgeous, sunny weather, play games, and even help the mentors make signs for house rules and hang the GLA banner! Those who arrived late had a good trip back to homebase and went straight to bed to rest for the day ahead. We’re looking forward to another beautiful day tomorrow!
Parents, family, and friends, please stay tuned for daily updates on our Costa Rican adventures and rich language immersion! ¡Pura Vida!
BLOG POST FOR JUNE 30
Today our last student arrived and we are so excited to welcome Sophia! Our latest arrivals from the airport Jacob and Lucia are also doing wonderfully after some much needed rest. Today was the first day at the service site, and we started working on a mural, improving an unusable playground, and creating a garden. While working we got to use gloves, masks, pic axes, shovels, and steel brushes. Although it was hard work, Juan Carlos, a local director, told us how excited the children and staff are for us to complete our projects. We also started our first day of Spanish class; we have three local Spanish teachers.
There is a lot of hard work ahead of us, but there are fun trips/experiences to look forward to like ziplining which is on Sunday! Lastly we are super excited for the delicious food, served three times a day. Today we enjoyed French toast, rice with garbanzo beans, and fried fish. Every meal is always served with fresh fruit and/or vegetables. Also, there are refreshing fruit drinks, and so far no fruit has been used twice in a drink. Passion fruit has been a fan favorite among the students.
BLOG POST FOR JULY 1
Today we headed to the service site to continue the work we started yesterday. Some finished sanding the playground and started painting it while others were working either in the garden planting scallions and creating a fence or painting the windows and starting the mural. We had the most humid and rainy day, however, the cooking staff surprised us with a delicious cozy soup! We got to enjoy our first dessert, a lemon pudding, and new board games that the mentors surprised us with. Hopefully tomorrow we can reach new heights with ziplining!
BLOG POST FOR JULY 2
Our first group adventure was awesome! After the bus ride and a hike up many stairs, we finally reached the top of the mountain to go ziplining. We went down 11 ziplines and 2 freefalls, it started to rain a little, but thankfully the rainfall was short. Heading back to the hotel, we were hungry and tired but the kitchen staff had an amazing soup prepared! The soup included tortilla chips with cheese and avocado. Also we celebrated the afternoon by having flamenco and salsa dance lessons.
BLOG POST FOR JULY 3
Written by Brody & Lucy
The team’s hard work at service is finally paying off and the yard is now filled with colors and the start of a beautiful mural. Today we traveled to Cartago and started off our tour at the beautiful Basílica de Nuestra Señora de los Ángeles. We learned about the origins of the church and the annual celebration which brings in almost 3 million Costa Ricans who walk on foot from around the country.
Before we hopped back on the bus we stopped at a gift shop to pick up some souvenirs and then headed to a crowded market where we participated in a scavenger hunt, and picked up some delicious snacks. After a hectic hunt we walked to the town square with our snacks in hand to look at the garden. We ended the day with an amazing surprise of some paletas and headed back to the home base.
BLOG POST FOR JULY 4
Today began with a typical morning: we woke up, ate breakfast, and went to service. We worked hard on the garden, playground, and mural— the mural is almost finished. After service, we came back, had some time to shower, and ate lunch. We then played soccer for about two hours. The bus drivers Victor and Challo, and the local director Juan Carlos joined us, and we had a blast together. The game ended 4-3, but everyone was a winner since we all left happy. We returned and were given some free time to recover from the game.
We then had to exhibit leadership as we were assigned roles to have a mock debate. Everyone had a chance to speak, and we all grew as leaders in different ways as we were pushed out of our comfort zones. We then had dinner and saw a lot of new bugs! We then listened to an informative presentation by Jafeth Jimenez about the history, diversity, and culture of Costa Rica. Finally, after a long and productive day, we go to bed and prepare for the next adventure tomorrow: dance classes! 🙂
BLOG POST FOR JULY 5
Written by Fiona and Nick W
Today we got a little extra sleep (YAY!) and started with breakfast at 7:30 and then went to our service site. We finished painting the last of the playground and mural, and continued to work hard in the garden. Soon we will get started on the other two murals. We then came back for lunch which was delicious as always, and then we went to our latin dance class, we had a lot of fun, and some great dancers among us. We then enjoyed some free time in the pool to relax before our night time activities.
Before dinner we always have a chow circle which is used to reflect on the day and give shoutouts to people who did a good job that day whether it was during service or during a GLA activity. It is also a great moment to bond as a group and to understand the impact on the community we are having. After dinner we had the amazing opportunity to get together in mentor groups which are each led by an assigned counselor with there being three mentor groups in total. In yesterday’s mentor group we discussed our inner critic and how it can impact us, but also the hidden benefits of that inner critic. Overall, yesterday we took the opportunity to step outside of our comfort zone and to understand the importance of being reflective.
BLOG POST FOR JULY 6
Written by Cyrus and Miraya
Today we started the day at 7:30am with breakfast. After that, we drove about an hour to our excursion activity, which was a hike. The hike was originally planned to take around 2 hours, but it ended up only being about an hour and a half. The beginning of the hike was very steep, but got gradually easier as it went on. The way back down was much quicker than the way up, with it only taking around 20 minutes, and most of it being downhill.
After a delicious lunch, we had our Spanish classes in an out of the ordinary spot- the soccer fields. We had a group lesson and once we finished we just hung out and played soccer! The soccer was an awesome and bonding experience where almost all of the students got to have fun together. Everyone is very excited to go to the local mall tomorrow for more Spanish immersion activities.
BLOG POST FOR JULY 7
Written by Boat and Sophia G
Today we went to community service and worked hard in the garden, touched up painting and started our second and final mural! We went back to the home base and had a home-cooked meal. Afterwards we enjoyed some free time, then headed to the mall for Spanish class to practice what we have learned in the real world. We had a little taste of home, eating Mcdonalds. Afterwards, we split into three groups and went to different stores to buy clothes, shoes, and food in Spanish. Once we got back to home base, we had meatball soup and rice, another delicious meal, for dinner. After dinner, we went over the five leadership pillars for GLA and explored our own values. Afterwards, we all put our sore bodies to sleep.
BLOG POST FOR JULY 8
Written by Emma and Sean
We started the 7th day of service out of 10 and the entire group started to get to work on their sections. Ben’s group was in the garden while the rest of the group painted with some putting some premier on a wall while the others started to paint the second mural. Overall the groups were able to make good progress over the course of the 2 and a half hours of service.
After the service, the entire group went over to Pali in order to get stuff they wanted like snacks, drinks, etc. Then Spanish classes arrived and one group made cheese tortillas, 2 groups made dulces. Some students shared some of their favorite family recipes in Spanish. After Spanish was over, chow circle commenced and with it the mentors announced the roommates people would have during the beach trip in a couple of days. To end the night, mentor groups were split up and were introduced to the circle of consent and also explained what each sector of the circle means while providing examples.
BLOG POST FOR JULY 9
Written by Stella and Evan
Today, we took a long drive to Turrialba volcano. We hiked for an hour in the blistering heat to see a beautiful view waiting for us. We hiked through treacherous creeks and high grasslands infested with spiders. We had a companion in the form of a dog, Galleta. We went to a local park which showed us a hawks eye view of the luscious mountains. Many of us took part in the game called tag. Which is an ancient game in which one frolics through the grass attempting to catch their fellow companions. Afterwards, we ventured to a coffee farm filled with the secrecy and delicacy of the beans. Later on we were offered to purchase the beans. We traveled back to homebase where we had a delicious dinner awaiting us, thinking about the great times we will have at the beach the next day.
BLOG POST FOR JULY 10
Written by Dylan and Daphne
Today, our group left the home base for a two day adventure in Uvita. We woke up early for our four hour bus ride. On our way to the coast, we stopped at a quaint restaurant for empanadas and tamales. At noon, we arrived at a local restaurant, where we ate a full Costa Rican lunch of rice and beans, chicken, plantains, and a salad. The restaurant, Pizza Time, is where we will be eating all of our meals on this trip. Once at Yuli Hotel, we all checked into our rooms. Some took a dip in the large, warm pool before getting ready to take off once more. At 3, we took a short bus ride into the forest.
After a short, slippery hike, we arrived at the falls. A wooden walkway connected several, deep pools supplied by a cascade. We swam in the water and took in the beautiful forest scenery before packing up for the beach. We played volleyball, soccer, and played in the waves. As the sun set, we left for the hotel. We ended the day with pasta and garlic bread. A perfect way to end the eventful day!
BLOG POST FOR JULY 11-12
Written by Tristan and Nico
We started off our morning with breakfast at a local restaurant. We then went out to playa Chaman to take surf lessons. We were divided into three groups and most people were able to stand up at least once. After surfing lessons and lunch we went out to the whale’s tail, which is a specific beach that resembles the shape of a whale’s tail (hence the name). We went swimming and tide pooling at the beach. Afterwards we went back to the restaurant for dinner, which was pizza. We ended our night with many kids hanging out at the pool. The following morning, we had an early start in order to get ready for the bus ride back to Cartago. After the long bus ride, most of the GLA students spent their free time at the pool or taking a well deserved nap. During mentor groups we wrote “I’m from” poems and some of us even gotta share it. We then concluded the day with dinner and chow cirlce.
BLOG POST FOR JULY 13
Written by Soraya
Today we went white water rafting. We left home base at around 7:50 and arrived at the river at around 9. We split into groups of 5-6 people on each raft. We spent around 3 hours on the river. It started off raining a bit but after a while the sun finally came out. Everyone had a lot of fun cruising down the river. Later in the day we had our Spanish classes but unfortunately they got cut short due to a crazy amount of bugs flying around. At the end of this very fun day we had chow circle and a delicious dinner. We are all looking forward to the San Jose tour and being able to buy more souvenirs!
BLOG POST FOR JULY 14
Written by Lucia
Today began with a typical morning, waking up and eating breakfast and starting the 8th out of 10th day of service. We worked hard on the garden, and painted our last mural- which we hope to have completed by Sunday. After service we headed back to base to spend our free time and ate a very filling lunch. We then had two hours of free time before Spanish Class. Each class was filled with laughter as our groups put on puppet shows. The plots ranged from a knock of cinderella story to animals eating people on beaches. Everyone had a part in their play and had fun. As the program comes closer to an end everyone is getting ready to go home. We are all sentimental to leave our friends but happy to see our families. Parents, families, and friends please stay updated as we head into our last days.
BLOG POST FOR JULY 15
Written by Phill
Today we began our journey with fresh rolls of bread. They were delicious as per-usual as the kitchen staff here is amazing. With hot fresh bread in our bodies we went to service where we got even closer to completing our project. The garden looks incredible! After we got back to base and ate our lunch, we had our GLA activity. As a group we worked on an activity called One Meaningful Goal (O.M.G) and talked about changes we want to make in the future that will impact our lives in big and small ways. Then, we went to Spanish class where we did Karaoke! It was lots of fun with everyone going crazy for Gasolina. Then after a much needed dinner, we went to our mentor groups where we played a variety of games. Ultimately, today was another fun and action packed day in Costa Rica.
BLOG POST FOR JULY 16
Written by Sydney
After waking up wayyyy too early, we embarked on a long, treacherous, and difficult journey (a one hour bus ride) to San Jose. There we went on a very informative walking tour throughout Costa Rica’s beautiful capital with our infamous movie producer/tour guide, Ama. We loved the opportunity to order the American treasure, Starbucks. This was something many of us had longed for. After purchasing some souvenirs and gifts for family and friends, we headed back to home base. There we had an amazing lunch followed by our final Spanish class. The three groups presented life-changing performances such as an enlightening song about flags, an inspiring performance on hope, and the best of all an acapella Despacito performance complete with backflips. We then shed many tears and said goodbye to our Spanish teachers. Next was everyone’s favorite part of the day, chow circle, and then everyone’s real favorite part of the day, dinner. Next was mentor groups, where we wrote notes to one another and reflected on some of the best parts of the trip. We are all excited to return home to luxuries such as seeing our pets (and parents).
BLOG POST FOR JULY 17
Written by Sophia, Sara, and Lulu
Today was our last day of service, and it was so exciting to see the finished project. After we returned to home base, we had a special fruit tasting and tried granadilla. We enjoyed fish after the fruit tasting, and then at 5 o’clock we had a talent show! Featuring karaoke, dance routines, and some double joint demonstrations. First place at the talent show was Aiden and Niko for their dancing and singing, and Sophia (the mentor) for singing. Dinner was a very American cheeseburger and soda, plus we got some tres leches for dessert. The final activity we did on the trip was an Appreciation Circle; then we said goodbye to our first group as they headed to LAX. To celebrate our last night we had a dance party in the comedor!