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 JULY 22
What a looooong day – we’ve been been arriving throughout the day (and long into the night), feeling good, tired and excited for the adventure to come.
Early arrivers spent the day exploring nearby points of interest such as majestic lookouts, icecream stores and, local supermarkets with exotic fruits such as banana passionfruit (taxo), lulo (naranjilla), tree-tomatoes and plantains. We also played some cards and worked alongside our noble leaders in preparing some nice room-signs for ourselves and the later arrivals.
The later arrivers were met with hot empanadas at the airport before checking out the steep mountains and deep valleys of Quito by night on our way to the hotel. We got to our rooms, chatting with new roommates to finally get some rest for our 1st full day tomorrow exploring the city and getting to know each other.
BLOG POST FOR JULY 23
Written by Ella & Eva
Today was day one of our trip! After we got breakfast, our tour guide Oscar, took us to the breathtaking Church of La Compañía, where we learned a lot about the religious history of Quito. Although no photos were permitted it was such a great experience that we got to share together.
On our tour we experienced many new dishes, like empanadas and these new warm drinks made from various fruits native to the country.We also visited La Virgen de Panecillo where we climbed to the top and saw a beautiful panoramic view of Quito. After that, we visited a local family owned chocolate-making shop where we learned about the process of making chocolate.
Today we learned leadership through punctuality, respect, and companionship as we visited the sights in Quito. We are excited for all of the snorkeling, service, and wildlife to come!
BLOG POST FOR JULY 24
Written by Kiran and Aoibhe
Day 2! We all woke up extra early for breakfast before we headed off to the airport for our flight to the Galapagos!
We had an almost 4 hour plane ride to Baltra island. After, we went through security to make sure we weren’t bringing in any fruits or animals that may harm the precious ecosystem. We then had to take a quick bus ride to an even quicker ferry ride across the canal to Santa Cruz. Following that, we took a 45 min bus ride across the island observing the beautiful scenery we would be living in for the next few days. We arrived at the hotel for a quick late lunch of delicious local fish.
We then took a scenic walk to the Charles Darwin Research Center where we saw all ages of giant tortoises!! Our guide Fernando also taught us about the dangers the tortoises face in the Galapagos and encouraged us to think about how we can make a difference for our planet. We ended the day excited for our first service day tomorrow.
Kiran and Aoibhe
BLOG POST FOR JULY 25
Written by Maya and Ozlem
Today we woke up bright and early. After a delicious breakfast at our home base, we headed to Primicias for a long and exciting first day of service. We worked hard alongside a licensed guide of the Galapagos, removing invasive plants to make living space for endemic species – including the famous giant tortoises!
The chefs at Primicias cooked a delightful lunch which included fresh blackberry juice. Following our lunch we had an insightful debate about animal rights, and the issue of dogs hurting the Galapagos ecosystem. We then got back to work. After our empowering work, some of us rested in hammocks, while others had snacks and watched the tortoises graze.
Lastly, we ate dinner at the home base and walked around town where we grabbed some Gelato – what a day!
Maya and Ozlem
BLOG POST FOR JULY 26
Written by Joel and Caden
Great day in the Galápagos Islands. We started off the morning with an optional circuit workout with Ben on the roof of the hotel overlooking the beautiful island. After we had some delicious eggs with fried corn patties and then prepared for the eventful day that was to come.
In the morning we headed over to a local, family-owned bakery and picked up some delectable baked goods including chocolate bread, fluffy croissants, banana bread, and chocolate covered coffee beans. We then proceeded onward to the unique Galápagos lava tunnels and volcanic craters. Finally we ventured into an astounding natural lava made tube pictured below.
In the afternoon we took the bus over to the giant tortoise sanctuary for lunch and service. Lunch was exquisite and fueled us for a labor-intensive work day. We first split up into three different groups. One of the groups moved behemoth rocks around newly planted endemic trees to protect them from free ranging giant endemic wild tortoises. The other two groups leveled out steep hills to aid the tortoises in going to and from soaking pools. After service we returned to home base for a delicious dinner and group activities.
Joel and Caden
BLOG POST FOR JULY 27
Written by Clara and Drew
Many students had a bright and early start to the day with a 5:15 wakeup to go sunrise swimming in Las Grietas, a tucked away water-filled cavern. Other students followed suit swimming later in the morning. Students were particularly fond of jumping off the pier and diving down to see fish.
After drying off, students made the trek into a local town, stopping at multiple shops to purchase trinkets and souvenirs.
Students then returned home for a quick and hearty lunch consisting of both fish and chicken before hopping onto a bus to Rancho Primerias.
While at the ranch, students assisted in cutting down invasive tree species and separating the trees into two piles: leaves and usable firewood for the locals.
After a long day of swimming and serivice, students returned home to Arena Negra for showers and dinner.
It’s safe to say these students are craving some serious beauty sleep!
Clara and Drew
BLOG POST FOR JULY 28
Written by Jack and Emily
We woke up at 6:30 and got ready for the day. Then we took a bus to the Tortuga Bay trail and walked to a beach by some mangroves. We snorkled and explored the beach and water area! Although the water was murky we made the best of our time in the beautiful bay! Later we buried Kiara and ended our fun time at the beach!
After, we walked back and had lunch before our last service at Rancho Primacias. Although we were tired after a long 3 days of work we pushed though and got it done. We ended the day exploring the downtown, Puerto Ayora!
BLOG POST FOR JULY 29
Written by Lukas & Jae
Today began with packing up our things to leave for the next island: San Cristobal, by a 2-hour boat ride that was fun for some and nauseating for others.
Once there, we got laundry started and headed down to the beach for a few hours, enjoying the company of sea lions. We did some snorkeling and laying in the sun. We watched a beautiful sunset on the beach then headed home.
After some time to settle down, we shared our fears and had a little taste of home for dinner: burgers and fries.
BLOG POST FOR JULY 30
Bienvenidos a San Cristobal!
We started off today by eating pancakes, with the vegan option being bread and fruit. We then hiked down to the info center to learn more about San Cristobal and the other Galápagos Islands.
From there, we went to a beautiful snorkeling area called Tijiretas where we swam with turtles, sea lions, and other colorful fish.
After a delicious lunch of rice, beans, chicken, and vegetable soup, we explored the downtown area where we were lucky enough to see a blue-footed booby. Then we went to Blue Kraft and learned about the importance of recycling. While we were there, we even got to make our own bags out of recycled t-shirts.
To finish off the day, we picked up our fresh laundry, made a stop for some souvenirs, and had a dinner of rice and spaghetti bolognese before finishing the night off with a leadership activity called “cool as a cucumber.”
BLOG POST FOR JULY 31
Written by Sophia, Luka and Kiara
We started the day by waking up at 7:30 am and we had omelets and bread for breakfast. After we took a bus to Loberia to do some snorkeling and enjoy the morning. We stayed for around one hour in the water and got to saw a lot of sea turtles and swim with sea lions.
After swimming we came back and had a break then had lunch. We had chicken and rice for lunch. We got ready and went to service, which was painting a school basketball court. We finished quick so we decided to play basketball.
When we finished we came back and went to the roof to watch the sunset and play a fun game. After the game we ate dinner which was meat and mushroom sauce.
To finish off the day we played some soccer with the locals in a nearby soccer field. After we went back and went to sleep.
BLOG POST FOR AUGUST 1
Written by Maya and Clara
Today the students were separated into two groups. Group 1 left for snorkeling Islas de lobos at 7:45 while group 2 explored the town in San Cristobal. Group 1 returned for lunch at 12:00 while group 2 was finishing lunch and heading to snorkeling. Group 1 explored town while group 2 snorkeled.
Both groups also went to a beautiful isolated beach. The groups then met up for chow circle: a time to highlight students who stood out during the day for their leadership or kindness. While some students opted for dinner at the home base, others ate out at local restaurants and later explored the town. Later on, students went to play volleyball while observing a local soccer match. Finally, we rested up for the travel day ahead!
BLOG POST FOR AUGUST 2
Today was our last travel day together 🙁 We got to say bye and thank our amazing guide Fernando for everything he did for us. He taught us lots of things about the island and helped us recognize how much we can help our planet. He is an amazing person who encouraged us to work diligently and make a difference in the world.
We arrived at our hotel in Quito at 6:40 and had a wonderful dinner of chicken lasagna and garlic bread. We did a very heartwarming anonymous appreciation activity that everybody loved. We also made our group goal to get out of our comfort zone.
Today we really got to see how much our bond has evolved over these past 2 weeks and we’re really excited for our last full day together.
BLOG POST FOR AUGUST 3
We all woke up early to soak up our last day together. We headed out to a local park for a salsa lesson. Then we took a 45 min bus ride to the Equator and learned about local tribes and polar forces. We then went out to a place for lunch, eating delicious crepes, waffles and other various dishes.
After lunch we headed to a local market were we bargained for souvenirs and gifts. We went back to our home base and had our last dinner, chow circle, and mentor groups together. We then all put on
face masks, placed our plane letters in bags for each other, and watched shows downstairs together in the collective room.
Today was an amazing way to end our wonderful trip!