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.
For frequently asked questions about the blogs, please visit our Program Blog FAQ page.
-The Global Leadership Adventures HQ Team
BLOG POST FOR JULY 7
All students got to Costa Rica and the home base successfully on Tuesday! The students battled the long immigration lines and made it to the staff outside, who transported them along with our fabulous driver Marco to the home base in Paraiso. They ate a dinner of carne asada, arroz, frijoles, and ensalada. We are so excited to get started on the service project and Spanish classes this week!
*Azayli did not want to be photographed but is here on base!
BLOG POST FOR JULY 8
Today was the first day of community service. We drove 10 minutes to a nearby village where we met some of the children and parents of the community. To help, we painted murals, tires, and continued to level the rocky surface of an open area that we will soon turn into a
field. We also had our first Spanish class, where we met both of the lovely teachers and did a couple of introductory activities with the whole group.
Written by Ben Eber
BLOG POST FOR JULY 9
Today was a big day for the GLA community on many levels. After a breakfast of cereal and fruit, we had a guest speaker, Jose, come to speak to us about the history and culture of Costa Rica. Then, the squad traveled to get their COVID-19 tests where they were all negative! Soon after the trip to Walmart began where everyone bought food and other items they deemed necessities. After a lunch back at the hotel, the group discussed their definition of a comfort zone before having their first legitimate Spanish class. After a chill evening with the big news about all negative COVID tests, the night ended with Zoe clearing out a massive bug and saving the group.
BLOG POST FOR JULY 11
Hello GLA families,
On Sunday the 11th, we as a group explored the capital of Costa Rica, San Jose. We arrived in the city at 10:00am and were immediately greeted by our tour guide. The guide was an energetic man who new everything there was to know about the city. The tour lasted two hours and during that time, we visited multiple parks, and other famous locations within the city. After the tour, we got on the bus and took a short 10 minute drive to a nearby park.
Once we found an open spot with grass, we set up blankets and food in order to have a picnic lunch. We ate delicious vegetarian and meat burritos prepared by our fantastic chef Juan, as well as chips and other yummy foods. During this time, the important Italy vs Britain soccer game was going on and everyone was interested in what was happening. Seeing this, the mentors gave us the option of going to a diner in order to watch the last hour or so of the game. At the diner, we enjoyed milkshakes of all flavors as we watched the soccer game.
After the game ended, we took an hour bus ride back the hotel and once returned, enjoyed 2 hours of free time before heading down to dinner. We ate creamy pasta with salad and fruit and before we knew it, day 6 had come to an end.
-By Jonah Bakaler
BLOG POST FOR JULY 12
Today, we went on a zipline tour, where we were greeted by the nicest staff. Then we zip lined and repelled to see some amazing views. After going back to homebase and having lunch, we headed out again to learn the history behind the most important church in Costa Rica, La negrita, where the church offered amazing views of the architecture, and holy water. Then we walked to a church ruin, where the church was started in the 1700s but never finished. Afterwards, we were divided into groups of three for a scavenger hunt in one of nearby markets of Costa Rica. Once we arrived back home, it was time for dinner, and lights out.
By Lillian Lowe
BLOG POST FOR JULY 13
Today was the first full day after the news of everyones negative COVID tests! It started at 7:30 with a delicious breakfast. Then we headed on the bus to the park where we continued to paint the mural, clear the field, and paint tires. We returned to home base just in time for the afternoon rain. After lunch we participated in GLA activities and then went to spanish class. Dinner followed shortly after class where we enjoyed a tortilla soup while watching Brazil lose the Copa America Final to Argentina.
-by Sarah Colby
BLOG POST FOR JULY 14
The day started with a routine 7:15 breakfast of cheese empanadas. After breakfast we headed to service where the three groups worked on weeding, painting tires, and working on the mural. After roughly three and a half hours of service we headed back to the hotel for some lunch. Lunch consisted of some stewed beef, rice, white beans, salad, and some fruit. When lunch ended we had about an hour and a half of free time. Then at two we had a team building exercise.
After we completed that activity rooms four, five, and six got to do their laundry. Then everyone headed to Spanish class at three and finished at six. At 6:30 dinner started, and offered a selection of rice, beans, tortillas, beef, salad, and fruit. After a delicious dinner the group filled out surveys about how their time at GLA has been so far, and what they would keep or change to make the experience better. The day ended with an intense game of hide and seek.
-by Nick Zeff
BLOG POST FOR JULY 15
Today we woke up to clear skies for the first time in several days. The sun was beaming and it was perfect weather for another day of service. After filling up on a hardy breakfast of French toast, we set out to the service site. Maggie’s group took on the task of deepening and digging trenches where the tires are eventually going to be placed. It was hard work that was alleviated in part by the help of Marco “El Maquina” who dug through the dirt and rocks like it was sand. With the mural almost fully painted, Zoe’s team was in charge of applying additional coats and repainting the mural as well as moving the piles of rocks we had dug up in previous days. Inside, Ryan’s group was washing, painting, an applying varnish to the tires.
Back at home base we were greeted with a great meal of rice and beans and chicken nuggets. We had a GLA activity about conflict resolution and then went right into Spanish. We learned about the various symbols of Costa Rican culture, learned the names for different body parts, and listened to some songs. For dinner we were treated to pasta, salad, garlic bread, and horchata. After a chill evening we went to sleep.
-by Shoh Nishino
BLOG POST FOR JULY 16
By Kate Wetherton
We got a bright and early start at 4:50 for student-led yoga and meditation. After an incredible breakfast, we headed out to the service site. We have made tons of progress in just 5 days; yesterday we filled trenches with tires, started the second coat on the mural, and washed and painted new tires. After working for 3 hours in the hot sun we’ve all quickly became big fans of téa tropical. Then we went back to GLA home-base, had a delicious lunch, and did the GLA banana split activity. This activity made us more aware of where our food comes from and how we can ensure we are purchasing from more ethical food producers. We then headed to our 3-hour Spanish class. The night concluded with a dinner of potatoes, fish, and rice from our chef Francisco who never disappoints.
BLOG POST FOR JULY 17
Written by Evan Caldwell
A few of us participated in student led yoga and meditation, and the 5am wake up call that came with it. Breakfast was bread rolls, fruit, yogurt and orange juice. The daily activities began with our 6th day of service digging trenches, clearing fields, washing and painting tires, making great progress on the mural, and chatting with the locals. We returned to the hotel for a quick and delightful lunch of beans, rice, pasta salad, and fruit. After lunch, we drove through the picturesque mountains of Costa Rica for our hike up the Turrialba Volcano. We had a wonderful guide and his two adorable dogs (Galleta and Boti) lead us up the volcano. The views were so amazing we stopped on our way back for another photo op. Dinner was rice, lentils, meatballs, cauliflower, and salad. After dinner we all hung out after the eventful day.
BLOG POST FOR JULY 19
Written by Millie Marsh
The early risers began the day with beach yoga, then joined the rest for a breakfast of rice, beans, and eggs. At 11, we headed to the beach for a surf lesson. The conditions were fantastic, and we soon rode the waves with ease. We traveled back to the hotel to enjoy lunch and relax before heading to two souvenir shops. After our shopping trip, we went to the beach to watch the sunset. We finished off our day with dinner out at a pizzeria.
BLOG POST FOR JULY 20
Written by Ava Valadi
We began the day today bright and early with yoga and meditation at sunrise. After breakfast, Marco, our amazing bus driver, drove us four hours all the way to the beach town of Uvita. Most of us took long, refreshing naps on the bus, making for funny pictures. Once we arrived in Uvita, we had a delicious lunch at the hotel before getting settled in and leaving to spend the afternoon at the beach. While there, we got snow cones, and even had the opportunity to drink coconut water directly from a coconut! We went back to the hotel for a relaxing evening spending time with friends.
BLOG POST FOR JULY 21
Written by William Resende
We started the morning with a nice breakfast of Bread Pudding and fruit. After breakfast we made our way to the service site where it was raining and windy. There we painted tires inside and placed the dry ones outside in the mud and rain. Because the conditions were not as pleasant as we hoped it to be, we had to cut the service short and make our way back to the hotel. To make up the time, we went at it in an intense soccer game.
After the game we went back to the hotel for a nice lunch of some pork mix with vegetables, tortillas, and fruit. After lunch we had our GLA activity where we discussed local, national, and international problems. Then right before Spanish we were caught by surprise from a 6.4 Magnitude Earthquake. Some of us felt it and others did not. Then during Spanish some of us made tortillas de queso or cheese tortillas and shared it with the rest of the group. And finally we all sat down for a wonderful dinner of fried rice of pork or chicken and coleslaw.
BLOG POST FOR JULY 22
Written by Nehru Madan
Today was our last day staying at the beach. We woke up to a breakfast of eggs and toast, packed our stuff, and left the hotel at 8:00. On the way we stopped at the beach for about an hour for some light swimming and last minute souvenir shopping.
We arrived back to Rinconcito Verde around 2:30 and ate an awesome homemade lunch by our amazing chef Fransisco. After lunch some of us went to play soccer at the park while others stayed behind to relax at the hotel. On the bus ride back from the soccer field we had a dance party to 2010 top hits.
For dinner we were treated to chicken soup and had a relaxing evening before returning to service and the normal schedule tomorrow.
BLOG POST FOR JULY 23
Written by Azayli Arona
Today we had a late start of our rainy day. For breakfast we had french toast, fruits, and orange juice. 10 minutes away was our service site where we focused mainly on painting/sanding tires, aligning tires, and outlining the mural. It had rained for a while which set back our progress on the mural but it did not stop us from working towards our goal. It was the second laundry day for rooms 4, 5, and 6 as rooms 1, 2, and 3 had received theirs during lunch. The rain had increasingly grown throughout our spanish classes and dinner throughout the entire night.
BLOG POST FOR JULY 24
Written by Cole Miller
After being unsure whether we were going to be able to go to the service site one last time because of the rainstorm that hit Costa Rica, we were excited to see that in the morning there was little rain. We ate a quick breakfast and headed out for our final few hours of community service.
Fully painted tires were placed into trenches and final layers were painted on additional tires that the next GLA group will use. In addition, to leave our mark on the village forever, everyone put their handprint above the tree on the mural, something that felt important to all. Shortly after, it started to rain and we were forced to say goodbye to not only the hard and amazing work we have done over the past 3 weeks, but also the incredible children we met along the way. Working in the village with everyone felt really special and rewarding, and we are all happy that the children will be able to enjoy the recreational space we helped create.
After getting back from service we immediately began one of the most important GLA activities of the trip, “OMG”.
In this activity, titled One Meaningful Goal (or OMG for short), we were tasked with creating a concrete and reachable goal that we will be able to bring into our lives as well as the lives of others in our communities. Goals ranged from taking larger leadership roles at home, participating in more community service, and improving conflict resolution.
After discussing our OMGs, we were all hungry and ready for lunch. During our lunch of chicken, salad, fruit, and more, two artisan craftswoman traveling across Central America sold unique and beautiful jewelry to many students.
After lunch and shopping, we had about 20 minutes to relax before we all headed off to our favorite activity, COVID tests! That took about two hours and arrived back at the hotel just in time for our final Spanish classes where we finished up and performed our skits that we had been working on for the past few days.
The Avanzado group opened up with a scary tale involving a murderous ghost in a haunted house and the ghostbusters saving the day in the end. The Intermedio group then performed their take on the reality tv show, Survivor. Lastly, the Basico group ended with a traditional Costa Rican tale that involved lots of drama and finished with Kate falling in the pool, something that caught everyone off guard.
The class ended with a sweet parting gift from Jess and the rest of the Spanish teachers to all the students with orejas de elefante, a traditional Costa Rican dessert. After goodbyes were said with the lovely Spanish staff, everyone was ready for a big dinner of lasagna and plantains. After an extremely busy day, most of the group hung out together and told some stories as well as reflected on their experiences.
It is crazy how 3 weeks ago we all came here as complete strangers, but are now leaving as such great friends. We bonded over community service, Spanish class, zip-lining, white water rafting, hiking, the beach trip and so much more in such a short period of time, and all the connections everyone has made feel very special. We learned so much about Costa Rica, about each other and about ourselves and our impact on the world. I truly believe that this incredible GLA trip affected everyone in a positive way and it is sad that it is coming to an end. On the schedule, there is a new quote written every day and today it was: “Every end is a new beginning”. Even though this amazing trip is coming to an end, it marks the beginning of new friendships at home, new ideas and values, and new ways we can use what we’ve all experienced together to positively impact our communities and the world.