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 JULY 15
We’ve had a great first day in Guatemala! All the students arrived safe and sound and those who arrived early were amazing helpers when it came to waving down incoming students from behind the arrival window. The morning crew arrived to a quiet airport, but those who arrived later discovered that it is somewhat of a party for those who are flying into the city. Entire families gather with balloons and signs to welcome their loved ones home each day.
Our first morning and afternoon group of students ate a delicious breakfast and lunch, which included chicken, guacamole, and papas. We spent some time relaxing at the hotel in Guatemala City before heading to Antigua where we will spend the night before driving to our home base in Xela tomorrow.
The evening crew of students was also in high spirits. We grabbed dinner before making the drive to Antigua and then headed straight to bed. Its been a long day of travel for everyone, but we’re excited for all the upcoming adventures in the 2 weeks ahead!
Not pictured: Charlie, Layah, and Brianna (arrived very late last night); Elizabeth and Lillian (not arrived yet).
Stay tuned for more posts and pics!
BLOG POST FOR JULY 16
First full day in Guatemala! All the students got an early start with a typical Guatemalan breakfast (eggs, beans, y plátanos) on the balcony of our hotel in Antigua. We watched a volcano erupt in the distance while sharing our favorite/ spirit animals. After breakfast, we made our way to el Pueblo San Marcos where we learned about the Mayan customary dress and how the indigenous clothing here is made.
Some items take months to complete and typically women work in a seated position on their knees for 8 hours a days to complete their work.
Many students also volunteered to dress in the typical Mayan wedding garb and la mujeres de San Marcos shared what everyone would wear and what would happen on the day of the wedding. We all also had the chance to practice the typical dance one would expect to see at the ceremony. Everyone really got their Guatemala groove on!
Everyone was excited to do some shopping, practice their Spanish, and after drink some local coffee and bread. It was an amazing immersive experience for everyone.
The rest of the day was spent eating at a local restaurant for lunch, exploring ancient ruins, and finally making our way to Xela where we will be staying for the majority of our time in Guatemala.
Looking forward to another great day tomorrow in Xela! Everyone is looking forward to exploring the city and hiking tomorrow!
(Not pictured- Lilian who arrived this afternoon and joined us at dinner)
BLOG POST FOR JULY 18
Written by Marilyn
After a hectic start, the GLA students now full of camaraderie embarked on a journey to the children’s school where they would be performing service work. The children were on holiday, so instead the GLA students set up some games and repainted the steps.
Later in the day, a well deserved lunch, the GLA students went to Chocolatería Doña Pancha, a family owned chocolate business. There the students bought chocolate and tasted authentic homemade cocoa sweets.
On the way back to home base, GLA students stopped to learn how to dance salsa. Students spent an hour practicing and laughing until they were experts in the craft.
P.S. – the WiFi would only allow the photos to send in very small size. We will try to update with the full-size photos!
BLOG POST FOR JULY 19
Written by Charlie & Chub Chub
After the wonderful church bells woke us up this morning, we had a quick breakfast and headed to the school for our first day with the kids. Half of us went to paint and the other half went into classrooms. There was a lot of excitement from our group, as well as from the rest of the students. We had 30 minutes of recess and played soccer, duck duck goose, red light, and green light. After, we returned to our original jobs.
We left the school for lunch at home base and got ready for our trip to the hot springs, which was really fun! We got all wrinkly. On the bus ride, one of the buses listened to sad music, but hyped it up at the end. After, we got a surprise trip to Walmart (My/ aka Charlie’s first trip!) We got a diverse array of delicacies!
When we got back we had dinner, free time and then planned for our next day at the school. The day was SLAY!
BLOG POST FOR JULY 20
Written by Leo and Lily
Today we worked in the classrooms and continued painting the meeting steps. We worked on outlining core values that we can paint onto the steps that the kids will see everyday. We had a lot of meaningful experiences today. We all enjoyed getting to have more personal connections with all of the kids whether it was in the classroom or out on the courts. We made lots of memories such as teaching them the English words for farm animals and playing games were they got to count in English.
Today was also Moses’ birthday! We celebrated at lunch with surprise cakes and a piñata outside.
We had really interesting debate later where we got to impersonate different view points and got to have so many meaningful conversations that will allow us to better understand Guatemalan culture. Along with the debate we also had an amazing guest speaker come in and talk to us about the history of Guatemala and the civil war. As well as the effect that had on modern day Guatemala. Everybody was very moved by the sad history that we learned about. It had a real impact on us and is a memory that I think we will all carry with us for many years to come. It was amazing getting to know so much more about the place we have been getting to explore. Today was a great day.
BLOG POST FOR JULY 22
Written by Gaby and Brianna
Today we started the morning with a later start so everyone could sleep in for a little bit.
After eating, we headed to the school to start our service with painting and continuing to teach the children. We all started making a lot more connections with them in the classrooms and during recess. We began to paint out our values on the steps and by the school days end, most of us were very tired.
We came back to the hotel for it to be pouring which unfortunately cancelled all of our evening activities. Luckily, our Local Director, Nayo provided us with a projector to watch Mamma Mia all together. While some enjoyed the movie, others balled out on the basketball courts😎🏀⛹️ The movie ended with a big cozy party. We are creative enough to make the best out of a rainy day here in Guatemala.
BLOG POST FOR JULY 23
Written by Annabelle and Paula
Today we woke up at the hotel in Atilan and had a nice breakfast waiting for us (our favorite was the fresh sweet bread). After that we packed up and drove to a huge market in Chichicastenango. We had two hours to walk around the market and it was packed. The group’s bargaining skills were put to the test as we had to try and lower the prices. The market was filled with bright colors and delicious smelling food. Then, we went to a hotel near the market and had a delicious lunch with a beautiful view of the garden with parrots in it. After we finished eating, we drove back to home base in Xela. We stopped and picked up snacks for the remainder of the trip. Finally, we made it back to home base where Abby and Callie ran a talent show. It was so much fun! We had people singing, rapping, and dancing about GLA. Congratulations to Bianca and Brianna for taking first place with their ad on leadership! Then, we had TACOS for dinner which was a highlight because they were delicious. Finally, we did mentor groups where we had a chance to reflect on a TED Talk called the Danger of a Single Story.
Looking forward to zip line and service tomorrow!
BLOG POST FOR JULY 24
Written by Simone and Ellie
Hello from our last few days here in Guatemala,
Today we woke up a little earlier to start our drive to the rainforest for zip lining. We a took a strenuous but beautiful hike to the start of the course and clipped in to our harnesses. We glided over waterfalls and stunning greenery over seven different lines. Although some were scared at first we all agreed the long hike was worth the experience. As a rewarding end to the adventurous morning Nayo (our local director) treated us to drinks before our drive back to home base.
Full from lunch we returned to the school for service finishing up some painting since the kids were not in session. Some of us painted ourselves as well. 🙂
Next we explored the Xela City Center. And indulged in some long awaited ice cream and took a stroll through the main plaza.
After an exhausting day, we came home to delicious nachos and banana bread for dinner ending with some fun free time on the basketball court before going to bed. We are very excited for our last day teaching the kids tomorrow.
xoxo, Ellie & Simone
BLOG POST FOR JULY 26
Written by Milo, Bianca and Ruby
Today we sadly said goodbye to the kids at the school. They waved us goodbye with a short performance of some of their traditions. Their performance had all of us smiling. They also gifted us all with small pencil holders.
As part of our last day of service some of us continued spending time with the kids in the classroom while others wrapped up the painting. We left the school with freshly painted stairs and kids with new knowledge of English words.
When we arrived back at home base we all enjoyed some free time. Some played basketball while others relaxed in the grass.
We then heard from the insightful Don Jose and his side of the Guatemalan civil war. We all learned the importance of hearing multiple sides of a story.
We then had our last group activity where we reflected on our time here and talked about how we will keep the lessons we learned on this trip going on in our normal lives.
As our night came to an end we listened the pile of shoutouts and began to pack up preparing to go home.