Thanks for the checking out the blog for this Global Leadership Adventures Custom Group 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 AUGUST 6
Written by Eli Monroe
Hopkins School has officially arrived in Ecuador! Based on the energy level of the students, you’d never guess they had an overnight flight. As our bus climbed up to an elevation of 9,350 feet above sea level where the capital, Quito, sits among mountains and stunning views, chatter filled the bus. Students began asking questions and expressing their excitement for the journey ahead.
Once settled in, we enjoyed our first traditional Ecuadorian meal: potato soup and fish fried in cornmeal. We then walked through town to a lookout point and soaked in the mountain vista. What a great day to start this adventure!
BLOG POST FOR AUGUST 8
From Kian: Had a fun day touring the inner city of Quito. Bus ride (which was filled with steep hills and sharp turns) to Panecillo gave the group a good idea of how traveling in Quito is really like. Views at Panecillo were beautiful, got to see the great vastness and organized layout of the city. My favorite part of today was visiting the chocolate factory, where we got to learn first hand how authentic Ecuadorian chocolate is produced and the different stages the cocoa undergoes. Overall a very educational and fun day.
The group started off the day with breakfast and then gathered for an orientation of the program. Though we were just going through the program history and rules, a few discussions of language and culture really stuck with me: “You have to be really bad at a language before you’re good at it. There’s going to be a lot of talk about the weather, and only being able to say the food is good before you can really start communicating without the disability of the language barrier.” Hearing this helped my confidence, and especially reminded me that mistakes are inevitable when you first start speaking a new language. Coming off of a slightly embarrassing situation with a cashier the previous day (when I didn’t understand change was hard to come by in Ecuador), this piece of advice greatly helped me later in the day. When we finished with orientation we headed downstairs for another delicious lunch and icebreaker activity. Kian and I (the group leaders of the day) had everyone write down ten facts about themselves; We read the facts aloud to the group and had everyone guess who the facts were describing. It was a super fun activity and I learned something new about each person in the process! Afterward we hopped on the bus for a tour of Quito’s inner city. We visited the statue of the Virgin Mary that overlooks all of Quito. The view was INCREDIBLE. You could see the mountains and city for miles all around.
After that we had a tour of La Iglesia De La Compañía de Jesús. It was genuinely one of the most beautiful buildings I have ever seen in my life. The entire inside was coated in gold flakes, with gorgeous paintings and sculptures surrounding the entire room. Once we finished our tour there, we walked to an ice cream cart for a quick treat! We ended the day with a visit to an Ecuadorian chocolate factory where we learned how cocoa beans are processed to make different types of chocolate. Our tour guide, Alex, was super funny and it was so interesting learning more about Quito and Ecuador as a whole. And a huge shoutout to our bus driver who navigated the tight, traffic-jammed streets with ease to get us everywhere we needed to go—it was insanely impressive. Overall, it was a great first full day in Quito and I had a lot of fun being group leader! I’m excited to travel to the Galapagos tomorrow!