Thanks for the checking out the blog for this Global Leadership Adventures program!
This blog is for the Spain split session starting July 17, 2023, which includes both the 14-day and the 21-day student group.
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 17
After a long day of airport pick up, delayed flights and long waits, we finally start the first oficial day of this program in Spain.
We had prepared different activities to help our students to learn and practice their Spanish, develop their own leadership style and have lots of fun. From visits to the historical site of Toledo to making paella with a Paella Master in Madrid we are sure the students will have the best time!
Enjoy the blogs that students will write to take you in this journey with them.
GLA Team for Spain
BLOG POST FOR JULY 18
Written by Jose. Mentor and Leader of the day.
Today was our first full day of being in Toledo.
Despute the long travels and some jetlag, the students as a group did a good job at waking up on time for breakfast, but you could still see that some needed more rest – including me. After breakfast we started orientation (not the most thrilling activity but it’s a very important part of the program in order to keep everyone safe).
After the first part of orientation the students had to take a Spanish Placement Test to see what group they will join. Some were nervous, but we assured them that it was just to see what group would suit them best.
We had a nice lunch at our home base and after we had a much needed siesta time. Some decided to hangout in a common area, but others took advantage and got some rest.
Later we continued with the second part of the orientation, ending with the Community Agreement that the students created.
After the orientation, we decided to surprise everyone with some pool time to get refresed in this very hot weather of Toledo. Everyone got to relax by the pool, some got ice cream, chips and even jamón. Some even surprised me and started to talk to me by using words in Spanish!
After walking back to home base from the pool, we got ready for dinner and right after we had the daily meeting.
Everyone seems to be excited for tomorrow because Spanish class will begin, as well as the Service Work and a city tour exploring Toledo by foot.
Espero que sigan nuestras aventuras…
BLOG POST FOR JULY 19
Written by leaders of the day Timi and Ronan:
Today was an exhilarating day as it marked the thrilling third day of our incredible journey. We eagerly embarked on a series of captivating activities that left us with lasting memories. Our day commenced with our very first Spanish class of the trip. we learned a few different things in our different groups from how to tell the time to how to general opinions and even to some difficult grammar such as reflexive verb tenses!
Following the invigorating language session, we were filled with joy as we spent time with the little children during their much-anticipated water day. It was love and war as an intense battle began between us (the mentors) and the children broke out as water balloons were emptied on heads and hoses were pointed at their next victims. It was incredibly enjoyable but safe to say everyone got a little wet.
As the day progressed, we ventured into the beautiful town of Toledo where we were guided by local toledo celebrity Ricardo as he gave us an in depth description of the background and history of the city (in Spanish of course). Every corner revealed architectural and historical marvels, showcasing a blend of Muslim, Jewish, and Christian influences that echoed the city’s diverse heritage.
BLOG POST FOR JULY 20
Written by leaders of the day Sierra, Arianna, and Ellie:
Hola! Today marks the fourth day of our GLA Program. We started the day with our second Spanish class, learning new vocabulary and more about the beautiful city of Toledo! We also spent lots of time playing with the kids at the school and practicing our Spanish! 🙂
After lunch and a good siesta, we took the bus into the city of Toledo once again and toured the Toledo Cathedral! We learned a lot about Toledo’s history and it’s religious aspects.
We then had some time to shop and get souveniers, snacks and even some clothes. After that we went zip-lining over the Tajo River!! It was exhilarating and the views were unforgettable. We then took the bus back home and had dinner while admiring our day. Unfortunately, after that, it was our time to pass the torch to the next leaders of the day.
BLOG POST FOR JULY 21
Written by Joseph and Theo
A new day, which means a new opportunity to connect with Spanish culture! We continued our journey by connecting with the local spanish children, playing games and helping them! Today they rode through an obstacle course on scooters and roller skates-“patines” in Spanish-and wrapped up their activities with a pool day!
After a quick lunch and a MUCH needed siesta (the group can attest to the way I was passed out on the couch -JA), we commenced with our preparations for our Madrid trip! Many deliberations were had, including laying out our itinerary for the days to come. After the ~45 minute session, we all decided it was high time for a trip to the pool! Quickly heading over, it was a field day as we all bought snacks and had a great time lounging by the pool, or in some cases jumping in en-mass.
After bread was broken and fun was had, our tired-yet intrepid-group returned, and exercised our minds. Forming into small “mentor groups”, we all debated a pressing issue that Spain faces today, about languages being taught in classrooms. After that, your dear writers were obliged to pass the torch to the next vanguard.
Hasta Luego, and on to Madrid!
BLOG POST FOR JULY 22
Written by the leaders of the day Jake and Zeid
Our first day in Madrid started off early with our bus ride from the Colegio Mayol in Toledo to our hostel in Madrid. We were eager to explore Madrid and visited many places including the Plaza Mayor where we were able to shop, the Almudena Cathedral with its stunning rose windows and lastly we visited the Royal Palace where we were lucky to catch the changing of the royal guards. After our walking tour we were all hungry and had a traditional Spanish lunch, indulging at a local tapas restaurant.
Lunch was a nice break but we went right back to it to visit some museums in Madrid. Some chose to visit the Prado art museum where they immersed themselves in the vibrant art scene of Madrid and saw artists like Vazquez and Goya. The masterpieces of renowned painters adorned the walls, evoking awe and admiration for the city’s rich cultural heritage. Others stoped at the iconic Santiago Bernabéu stadium, where Real Madrid plays. We embraced the electric atmosphere of Spanish football and learned about the history of the club.
As the sun set, we strolled through the enchanting streets of Madrid, witnessing the city’s architectural marvels illuminated in a golden glow. The night air was alive with laughter and chatter as we explored the lively plazas and bustling cafes, savoring the genuine warmth of Madrid’s welcoming spirit. Our first day in the capital was a captivating journey that etched lasting memories in our hearts.
BLOG POST FOR JULY 25
Written by the leaders of the day Julia and Erica
Hola a todos!
¿Cómo están? Nosotros estamos muy bien!
Today we got back into the swing of our daily schedule after a fun weekend in Madrid. We started the day with an early wake up call where Shake It Off by Taylor Swift (did we mention that we’re Swifies) got most people excited for the day. After that we ate breakfast and did our volunteer work where everyone got to participate in arts and crafts, show off their dance moves playing just dance, and remembering the favorite movie, Encanto, as we watched it in the cool indoors. In Spanish class we watched a music video filmed in the Toledo Cathedral which we visited last week along with reviewing Spanish vocabulary and grammar. Today’s Spanish class also consisted of a debate over the music video itself, and an introduction to tomorrow’s daily activity: Legends of Toledo!
After lunch and a very relaxing siesta, our dance moves were tested further in a Flamenco class taught by Toledo celebrity and also one of our Spanish teachers, Ricardo. We all had a great time combining delicate foot work with regal arms and working with our partners to coordinate our dance moves.
After a fun, but intense Flamenco class, we all split up into our mentor groups and talked about moments in our lives that shaped us into who we are. It was a very powerful, healing, and eye opening experience. We all opened up and shared emotions and situations that we have gone through. Everyone listened attentively and gave each other a lot of support. We hugged each other through tears and let ourselves feel the emotions shared. It made us all come together and through the challenges of being a teenager in this world, it made us have people that could help us through all of it.
The rest of the night was very relaxed and we all enjoyed an early bedtime to recharge after nearly 9 full days of fun. Good luck to the next leaders of the day!
Swifies signing off
BLOG POST FOR JULY 26
Written by the leaders of the day Marianna and Bella
Hola a todos!!
Today was a fantastic and fun-filled day!! We started off the day with a scrumptious breakfast at the comedor as we prepared for the packed day ahead. Then we continued the morning by attending our respective Spanish classes where we learned all about the different Legends of Toledo. We also enjoyed our time in the company of the children at the day camp. We showed off our dance moves in passionate rounds of Just Dance, spent endless hours braiding the kids hair, teaching them how to make friendship bracelets, and splashing around in the refreshing pool on a hot summer day. After a siesta (that passed by way too fast), we embarked on our journey to Toledo. Once there, we visited various key sites of where different Toledo legends occurred, groups from Spanish classes 2 & 3 took turns using their speaking skills to share the remarkable legends to their fellow peers. We learned so much about the rich history and culture of Toledo and it was life altering to see where these moving legends originated from. Upon returning to the Colegio Mayol we had a wonderful dinner of flavorful carbonara (and pears) while energetic stories and laughter ensued across the tables. Unfortunately, after this, sharing our roses and thorns, and many (a record breaking amount!) shoutouts we had to pass the torch to the next great Liders Del Día. This was a momentous day with memories and bonds made that will last forever!
Xoxo your Liders Del Dia,
Marianna y Bella
BLOG POST FOR JULY 27
Written by Sophie and Analily – Leaders of the day
Today we spent our morning volunteering with the kids and partaking in Spanish class as per usual. After a lunch of paella and a siesta, we spent the afternoon by the pool. At the pool we also had our daily meeting, and enjoyed ice cream and drinks. In our daily meeting the torch for leader of the day was passed to a new group who performed a card trick as their talent to earn the role.
During our volunteer time, we created an obstacle course that the kids loved. Latter, we danced with them which was fun for both the kids and us. It was bittersweet because it is one of our last days with the kids and we will miss out time with them.
During Spanish class we discussed the modern history of Spain, including Alfonzo the sixth and Rey Don Rodrigo. We also learned the Spanish viewpoint of Christopher Columbus. Tomorrow will be out last Spanish and service day, and we have greatly enjoyed both of these experiences.
BLOG POST FOR JULY 28
Written by Maggie, Semmi, Heather – Leaders of the day
Hola a todos!
Today was a fantastic but bittersweet day as it was out last day of service work with the children. Due to this we all tried our hardest to make this is memorable day for all the children. While some of us played soccer, others made bracelets and others ended up just caring around the younger ones. To end our service we had an hour filled with snacks, drinks and just dance videos for us and the children to enjoy. Unfortunately after this the moment it came time for us to say goodbye to the children we bonded to over the past two weeks. We said our goodbyes, hugged the children and left them with our best wishes before we had to leave to enjoy the rest of the day.
We later eat at a local restaurant in Toledo for lunch where we were served three different courses of our choosing to enjoy. We laugh and enjoyed our meals before heading out to Consuerga to explore the windmills and castles the town had to offer. We had an awesome tour guide that took us into the windmill and explained the functions of it before we headed out to the castle. The castle was massive and we got to explore almost every room and lookout spot there was. Many of us were fascinated by the history and the architecture this castle had to offer. The adventure wasn’t over yet as as we were leaving we saw two adorable little cats that stole all of our attention. Overall today was an amazing day and we all went to bed excited for what the next day had to offer.
BLOG POST FOR JULY 29
Written by Lexi, Maya & Leila – Leaders of the day
We started off the day a little later, the 8:30 wake up call gave us a chance to sleep in and prepare for the long day ahead. We had our breakfast per usual and then we had siesta, which was spent spent packing up our suitcases because today was the last day of the two-week program.
After our siesta time we participated in group closing activities and our final mentor group activities. We decided on some shared community goals and some more personal goals, made playlists for each other, and had an appreciation circle that gave us the chance to appreciate each other for things like “you inspire me” or “you make me smile.”
Then we headed to the medieval theme park where we had dinner and then got to see a show about the history of Spain, which included all of the events we have been learning about in Spanish class! Everything about the show from the dancers to the special effects was incredible and we were all in awe the entire time. Safe to say we had an amazing last day!
BLOG POST FOR JULY 31
Written by Joseph – Leader of the day.
Today was the second day of the extension week for us kids! Even though it was strange, waking up with so few other teens in the building, we held fast and went straight back into caring for the children! It was a new batch of kids, so we saw some old faces as well as new. With our smaller group came an intermixed Spanish class, which we discussed the final day!
Afterwards, the group split into two, with one group going to the Monasterio de San Juan de los Reyes, and the other the mall.
Both of us had plenty of fun respectively viewing the monastery and the mall. After doing some late-afternoon shopping, we returned to the Colegio. After dinner, we watched Knives Out, having a movie night with popcorn!
BLOG POST FOR AUGUST 1
Written by Maggie – Leader of the day
Hola a todos!
Today was a relaxing and energetic day. We started our day by doing a new volunteer project. We met up with the Red Cross of Toledo to help in a project of environmental restoration they have along the Tajo river. We collected garbage and tooke water samples. During this project we collected many plastic and glass bottles, plastic bags, paper and a few articles of clothing. While collecting and filtering the water we ran into many geese, so many to the point that we were constantly outnumbered. When we were done with this activity we were all exhausted but had the opportunity to relax in the Baños Árabes. The Baños Árabes were a great experience. We were able to chill in three different pools each of different temperatures and chill in the steam room while eating cookies and drinking tea. This experience went by quickly and before we knew it we were back out walking in the humid streets buying ice cream and going to shops. After we headed back to the Colegio where we had dinner and finished the movie we started the night before, before heading off to bed.
BLOG POST FOR AUGUST 2
Written by Landen Wang
Not only was today an amazing day packed with adventure and fun, but it was also one of our campers birthdays! Happy Birthday 18th Theo! Today we spent our last day in the colegio de mayol before going to Barcelona saying goodbye to the kids, saying bye to them was hard but having spending the last 2 weeks with them was great!
In Todays Spanish class we got to show off what our Spanish teachers Lucia and Ricardo taught us by telling our counselors Sofia and Fernanda about our trip so far, but in Spanish. Everyone did amazing in their presentation and we had another very fun class
Siesta was special as we spent it by the pool and had great talks and played with the water.
Today being our last day in Toledo we had a special dinner while we celebrated Theos birthday, the food which was excellent made us all have a very good time and laughed and had fun with each other. Goodbye Toledo, and Hello Barcelona!!
BLOG POST FOR AUGUST 3
Written by Julia
Wow. What a crazy day!
Today we said goodbye to the Colegio Mayol which we have been living in the past two and a half weeks. Our Directors Fernanda and Sofia have spent the past six weeks there so they also took part in the emotional fair wells. After a bus ride, we arrived at our train station to catch our train. On the train, some of us took a much needed nap while others admired the beautiful scenery of Spain. Once we arrived in Barcelona, everyone was so excited. We quickly dropped our bags off at the hostel and took the metro to a Pompeii exhibit. With the help of virtual reality, we were able to fully immerse ourselves in the city as if we were gladiators. It was so cool to see the detail in the virtually reconstructed city.
After our great time at the museum, we walked along Las Ramblas and went to a bustling market where people got fresh juices, empanadas, ice cream, fried crab, potato chips on a stick, and candy. Although it was a bit overwhelming, we enjoyed immersing ourselves in this lively market. Finally, we headed back to the hostel, had a delicious dinner, and went to sleep for an exciting day ahead.
BLOG POST FOR AUGUST 4
Written by Sierra
¡Hola from Barcelona!
Today is our first full day here and it has definitely lived up to our expectations so far. We spent the day visiting sites built by Antonio Gaudí. We started our day visiting Park Guell, with its intricate combination of ceramic and nature. We walked through the beautiful park, taking photos and learning about its rich history from our favorite tour guide and teacher, Ricardo!
From there, we walked to a local restaurant, Cal Boter, for a yummy lunch and a break from the sun 🙂
After lunch, we took a tour around the Sagrada Familia, a cathedral designed by Gaudí; however, unfortunately, he passed away during the making of this cathedral with all of its design plans in his mind, so now the cathedral remains under construction as others attempt to mimic his style in order to complete the cathedral. Nonetheless, it was stunning and incredible to see.
Then, we walked around the gothic neighborhood of Barcelona, and enjoyed a quick treat! After a jam packed day, we finally returned to the hostel for dinner and to rest for the night.
BLOG POST FOR AUGUST 5
Written by Cooper
¡Hola a todos!
Our program ended on a high note. We enjoyed our morning at Mar Bella Beach, which was much-needed. There was a great view of the ocean coupled with amazing weather which created a fun and relaxing experience.
Afterwards, we stopped back at the hostel to prepare for our last evening out together in Barcelona. Our first stop was the National Art Museum of Catalonia where we browsed plenty of murals and sculptures. Our amazing tour guide, Spanish teacher, and wedding singer on the side, Ricardo, told us about the history of all the art as well.
Once we finished at the art museum, we split into two groups: one went to the aquarium, the other revisited the Gothic Quarter for some final shopping. It was a fun time for those who went to the aquarium to see various marine life, and for those who went shopping it was great to soak in the last of what they saw of the Barcelona city life.
Our last activity to finish the night was a nice dinner where we had plenty of laughs and delicious Barcelona cuisine!
Back at the hostel, we had our final daily meeting where we expressed our gratitude and appreciation for everything this trip has been.
Thank you to everyone who made this trip special. We all appreciated it!