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 2
It’s been a packed full first day for us! We started this morning with a delicious breakfast followed by a name game where we learned more about where everyone is from and why they chose this program. Afterwards, we had a program orientation to review the rules, schedule, and learned more about the local Thai culture. Mentor Taylor led us in an evolutionary rock paper scissors tournament as well! And this was just the beginning of the day!
For lunch, we ate a hearty meal of Tom Ka soup, fried shrimp, rice, fruit, and stir fried vegetables.
Next, we went on a walking tour around Chiang Mai where we learned about the history and visited a variety of temples. Of course, we made a stop for Thai tea along the way.
For dinner, we got to cook our own food at a local cooking school! Each one of us got to make our own stir fry, spring roll, curry, and soup! It was a delicious way to learn about the culture and experience the local ingredients.
We ended our day with some in the pool together! Looking forward to tomorrow and the rest of the program!
BLOG POST FOR JULY 3
Today, July 3, we had our first connection with elephants. We started our day by going to the first elephant hospital in the world. We .etc some patients including Mosha, she had the first prosthetic leg on an elephant. Then we had a delicious lunch at a local Thai restaurant. Later we stopped to feed some elephants. We also went to see the elephant parade, which is a project that helps the elephants by raising money through elephant art. This led us to painting our own elephant statues.
Tomorrow, we are touring the elephant jungle sanctuary and we spent the rest of the afternoon packing. We are very excited and greatly looking forward to it. Furthermore, today was our first leadership activity, where we were put into groups to discuss the values that make each of us unique, something that was truly enriching.
We’ll keep you all posted, and stay ready for the next edition of our blog.
BLOG POST FOR JULY 4
The day began with a 7.30 wake-up call. International Director Isadora lead a few students through a breathing exercise and a peaceful meditation. Breakfast was at 8.00 and by 9.00 we were packed and on our way to the elephant sanctuary. The ride was 1.30 long with a pit stop at 7/11. Students bought traditional Thai junk food and scrounged for any traces of American cuisine. Thai clothing was also purchased. The arrival to the home base was surprising to many. Everyone unloaded their luggage except for one unfortunate student that left his suitcase behind.
The home base is beautifully decorated, filled with tropical vegetation. The students enjoyed ping pong and archery. The only possible issue might be the lack of air conditioning in the bedroom, the impact of this will surely be expressed in the morning. At 12.00 we left for lunch and then proceeded to feed the elephants. This was our first interaction with the elephants we’ll be working around for the next few days.
After this was a lecture from the local vet. He taught the group about elephant eating habits, social habits, biological features and a variety of other aspects that may or may not have gotten through to the students. This was followed by the first hours of service which involved shoveling elephant manure and brushing up the elephant’s leaves. Clearly some had it better than others. The students returned to base for a GLA activity.
Today groups of 3 students explored a certain perspective on the theme of elephant conservation and argued the case of their respective organizations to the mentors (playing the role of a royal Family). Dinner was at 18.00 and afterwards students took the liberty to explore the home base. The day ended with the introduction of mentor groups where students are split into three groups to spend quality time with each other and the mentors.
We ended the day with fun game “who am I?” And a lot of laughs. We are ready for new adventure and to contribute more for this sanctuary!
BLOG POST FOR JULY 5
Today, Wednesday, July 5 was our first full day here at the Karen eco lodge. We got first hand experience walking some of the most beautiful thai elephants in a lush jungle. We began the experience by feeding these gentle giants, we then continued on a trail.
After our trail, we contributed to the feedings of these elephants by cutting the grass which happens to be their food. Overall, today really gave us an insight into the hard work it takes to take care of these beautiful elephants.
We are eager to bathe the elephants in the upcoming day. As well as seeing more of the picturesque scenery we continue to view here in Chiang Mai.
BLOG POST FOR JULY 6
Written by Zoe and Tomi
After a morning run, and meditation session, we ate a delicious breakfast, and eagerly set off on the minibuses to the elephant sanctuary. While there, we fed the elephants, and then at 11:00 we walked to a nearby reservoir. We bathed the elephants by pouring water all over both them and each other. All of us were drenched. We thought it was over, but we were then led to a mud pond. We messaged mud onto the elephants skin (fun fact!! it helps keep the elephants cool in the hot Thailand climate and it protect from mosquitos!!). We rinsed the mud of our now permanently stained shirts and trousers (pants).
At exactly 12:00 we ate a lunch that consisted of pasta, salad, and fruits. then our group started on a hike. No one except the mentors and team leaders (us;) knew what the next activity was. We ended up swimming in a beautiful river for about 2.5 hours.
We were then told about another surprise, that even the team leaders weren’t aware of. We ended up driving to a local cafe, where we enjoyed different desserts and drinks. Finally after arduous day we all returned to the camp and had a long deserved shower!! After being fed with a dinner of fried chicken and fried bananas we played volleyball, had a ping pong tournament and unfortunately we both lost :(. Anyway goodnight and stay tuned for the next one!!!!
BLOG POST FOR JULY 8
Today we were introduced to teaching by todd, who gave us a great lesson on trying to teach in a language the students don’t understand. After our lesson with todd, we went to a local pad Thai restaurant to try the food (it was very tasty). After lunch, we went to the two schools we are teaching at to see the campus a little bit.
While at home base, we got a nice surprise, a local ice cream truck came by! Refreshed from the ice cream, we started on our teaching prep, which was a lot harded then most of us thought it would be. After the teaching prep, we did a fun activity where we learned out leadership styles. A great activity to get to know ourselves better!
For dinner we got pizza! Yay!
Everyone was very excited. After dinner we had a fun karaoke night where everyone showed off their singing skills with songs like California girls, rolling in the deep, let it grow, and many more. We then ended our night with some mentor groups.
Tomorrow is a very busy day, because we’re going to two temples and another market. It’s also Josh’s birthday! We are all going to celebrate and make sure it’s super fun.
BLOG POST FOR JULY 9
We started the day eating our breakfast and singing happy birthday to our fellow student Josh. After breakfast we took a 20 minute ride to Wat Suan Dok and had a 30 minute talk with Phra K-K, a monk of 20 years. He told us lots about the lifestyle of being a monk, such as forgiving ourselves and living in the moment rather than the past or future. After learning about the life of a monk, we went to lunch and had a delicious bowl of Khao Soi.
After lunch we walked through the village Doi Poi, that rested on the side of a mountain. While walking through we stopped at many side shops and once at the top we had coffee along with a great view of the neighboring mountains. After exploring Doi Poi, we went over to Doi Suthep. We climbed over 300 stairs until we reached a beautiful temple. There we got our fortune told, took in the amazing view of all of Chiang Mai, and took lots of photos.
After being out all day, we went back to home base and celebrated Josh’s birthday with cake and ice cream. Then, we went to the Sunday market for a few hours, a huge night market with nearly everything you can imagine. When we got back from the market, we exchanged our secret Santa gifts that we got for each other, then went to bed after a very eventful day.
BLOG POST FOR JULY 10
After an early breakfast, everyone headed to their school’s for our first day of teaching! Everyone taught 2 lessons to their class’s. After 2 hard hours of teaching, everyone enjoyed a delicious pre-made lunch and spent the rest of the break playing games and talking with kids.
Next, everyone headed back to the home base where they prepared dances and songs for a cultural exchange we’ll be doing on the 12th. A few hours later, everyone cooled down in the pool and got soda’s.
For dinner, we had a delicious assortment of curry, rice, and chicken. After dinner, we met with our teaching groups to prepare our lessons for tomorrow.
We ended our day with mentor groups, can’t wait for Mai Thai boxing tomorrow and getting to see our classes again tomorrow. Looking forward to another great day!
A special thanks to one of our mentors, Megan, who has to leave our program early. You brightened this experience for everyone and helped to create an inclusive and friendly environment that GlA strives for. You will be missed.
BLOG POST FOR JULY 11
We started the morning bright and early with a delicious breakfast. At 8am, we split into our teaching teams and headed off to school. We were greeted by adorable Thai students who were very eager to learn. After teaching our lessons, we ate lunch and played with the children outside.
After teaching and playing with the kids, we headed off to our mauy Thai boxing lesson where we were taught by professional Thai boxers. Many students embraced the activity and wore their Thai boxing shorts they bought at the market. Though we all sweat heavily, it was a very fun way to spend our afternoon. On our way back to home base, we were surprised with a stop at a boba tea shop and waffle stand.
After we all enjoyed our drinks and waffles, we went back to home base and were surprised with a fruit party set up by the local staff. Many delicious native fruits like durian, mangosteen, rambutan and lychee were available for us to snack on. After the surprises, we enjoyed a delicious dinner. Chicken feet, which are popular in Thailand, were served. Some students tasted them while others refrained from going anywhere near them.
We are excited for another fun-filled day tomorrow!
BLOG POST FOR JULY 12
Everyone in GLA started off with an early breakfast at 7:00, to which we were mostly all late too. Promptly after breakfast we headed to two schools for the second to last day teaching. At school one Diego and Anina entertained their kids with duck duck goose. Danny, Clem and Zoe taught the kids modern day American dances, lightly inspired by tiktok. Simon, Eve, and Nina taught their 4th graders about family members and emotions. And finally, Sasha, Talar and Rebecca got a surprise visit from government officials eager to see the lesson plans quickly made the night prior.
At school two, Scarlet and Gavin taught their students how to say their name and what they want to do in the future. Sam and Amanda taught their class professions. Moreover, Naomi, Federico and Tommaso kept teaching their students the alphabet along with numbers and have started to teach them a few short words such as cat or dog. To finish of, Josh, Jazzy and Michaela taught their students the names of vegetables.
After lunch we made our way to a Thai highschool for a cultural exchange event. We expected to see a couple dozen students perform casual Thai dance, but we were met with 100+ students skillfully perform Muay Thai, play multiple traditional and intricate Thai song and dance. In return, we danced to Boogie Wonderland and YMCA. Clem and Tomi blessed the audience with their take of “Just the Two of Us,” and Micheala, Federico, Diego, and Sam sang “Sofia.” But despite our lack of preparation and nerves our energy and attitude blew everyone away. We were taught more Muay Thai by the students, and got the full celebrity treatment. We were bombarded with students eager to learn about us!
After the event, we drove home for dinner and enjoyed our last GLA activity followed by our very last mentor groups. After hanging out and eating delicious pineapples, the July 1-14 Thailand GLA group said goodnight for one of the last times.