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 JUNE 14
Hi Everyone, sawatdee ka!
After a longggg few days of flying, all 16 students arrived safely at our home base, Chotana Villa!
We spent the morning getting acquainted with our new home and spent the day swimming in the pool, trying typical Thai fruits, and taking some time to connect with new friends.
After our first dinner, the group enjoyed a few iconic Thai dishes, including Pad Gapraw (basil stir fry) and Tom Kha (coconut soup). They also got the chance to try what spicy food REALLY tastes like! We’re all excited to explore more of the flavors of Thailand in our cooking class tomorrow!
We’re also looking forward to visiting some temples around the beautiful city of Chiang Mai!
That’s just the beginning of our adventure!
We will keep you updated,
Kobkunka (that means thank you in Thai <3)
BLOG POST FOR JUNE 15 & 16
Checking back in at the end of our second full day, and what a long and full two days it’s been already!
Yesterday morning, we dove right with our program orientation. After a tasty Thai lunch buffet, our afternoon and evening was filled to the brim with new sights, sounds, and tastes! We toured the city of Chiang Mai, seeing a few of the most significant temples and landmarks in Northern Thailand. We learned history and lore all along the way. We are quickly learning how to adjust to the hot and humid Thai weather, which includes drinking a LOT of water, and maybe a Thai tea or two! Our day ended with a real treat – a Thai cooking class! We learned how to cook our own four course, authentic Thai dinner, including hand rolled spring rolls and the signature dish of Northern Thailand called Khao Soi, which is a deliciously rich curry noodle soup. Needless to say, we slept well with happy, full stomachs.
Today, we got a jumpstart on our first service project which will be teaching English at a local elementary school next week. We had the pleasure of learning tips and tricks on teaching in Thailand from a local teacher this morning.
It wouldn’t be a trip to Thailand without eating Pad Thai, so we spent our lunch enjoying the national dish of Thailand at an authentic Pad Thai restaurant. Then we got our first look at the service site on a school tour, and we’re absolutely thrilled to return next week and get started teaching! We spent our afternoon cooling off in the pool and then enjoyed some Massaman Curry, fried chicken, and mushroom curry for dinner. Also, we completed our first leadership activity which was focused on elephants in Thailand. This got us excited for tomorrow which will be filled with elephant adventures, like visiting an elephant hospital!
This Thailand adventure is moving right along – much more to come!
Bye for now 🙏
BLOG POST FOR JUNE 15
Written by Josefa and Lizzie
Today we went to the FAE Elephant Hospital and met some of the resident elephant patients, including Mosha, who is known around the world as the first elephant to receive a prosthetic leg. We had the opportunity to learn about prosthetic legs for elephants. Then we visited an elephant museum at the Thai Elephant Conservation Center and saw the history of elephant and human interaction in Thai culture. Wow! It was super enriching!
After the museum visit, we had the privilege of feeding elephants sugar cane, corn, and bananas! Getting so close to the elephants was an amazing experience for all of the GLA members! We then had the pleasure of visiting the Elephant Parade, which is a global art project that directly supports the work of the Elephant Hospital. We got to flex our artistic skills and paint some ceramic elephants!
After making the long trip back to home base, we enjoyed a filling meal of Panang curry, shrimp stir fry, fried mushrooms, and jasmine rice. And as a special treat, we celebrated our new friend Kylie’s birthday with cake and ice cream! We finished the day with a presentation and discussion about the effects of good and bad posts on social media. It was an enjoyable day for all!
We are looking forward to visiting some more temples tomorrow, and we’ll even get to chat with a Thai Buddhist Monk! And also the night market, we can’t wait!
BLOG POST FOR JUNE 17
Hey GLA friends and family we are excited to fill you in on a jam packed day 4!
We started bright and early in the morning with a short trip and incredible opportunity to learn about Buddhism from a Buddisht monk himself. After some insightful wisdom we followed with a windy road up the mountains to the home of the Hmong tribe in Doi Pui. For lunch we had a delicious Thai meal called Kao Soi, there was no doubt everyone loved it. To work off these unregretted calories we trekked through the town along a beautiful trail. Between the botanical garden, coffee shop, and amazing views we were kept interested for hours.
After we had filled our cameras with exquisite photos we continued up the mountain to the base of the Doi Suthep temple. Three hundred and six steps later we made it to the most infamous temple in North Thailand. There we were fortunate enough to be blessed with holy water and had the opportunity to receive our individual fortune stick giving us insight to our future. Not to mention a breathtaking over look of the beautiful city.
After the trip back down the mountain and a much needed break at homebase, we ventured out again to explore the night bazaar. The market was filled with traditional Thai goods and foods,an hour and a half was most definitely not enough for our hearts but most definitely enough for our wallets. After we reconvened together back with the whole group we returned to the homebase for much needed rest with a big day of teaching early the following morning.
BLOG POST FOR JUNE 19
We started today bright and early in order to make it in time for the opening ceremony on our first day of teaching school. We had the amazing opportunity of getting a look into the school’s tradition and the Thai national anthem!
In our teaching groups we taught English to two classes of 3rd to 6th graders. While challenging, teaching was super fun and the kids were so excited to see us!
After boosting our energy with some Thai tea, we headed to a Muay Thai boxing ring. There they taught us some common Muay Thai moves and we had a great workout practicing them!
We returned back to our home base early today and enjoyed some refreshing pool time after our tiring boxing workout. After this we did a few group challenges that required teamwork to complete.
All of us are so excited to go back to the school and teach again tomorrow! We will begin our preparation for a culture exchange at another school. Woohoo!
Fan dii na! (That means boa noite)
BLOG POST FOR JUNE 20
Hello everyone, sawatdee ka!
With an early start, we had our second day of working with the kids at the local elementary school. We continued to teach english, play fun games, and overall bond with the kids. Everyone was able to overcome challenges and learn new things.
After lunch we prepared for a cultural exchange with a high school that will take place on Thursday. We choreographed dance pieces and taught them while others made posters and props to add to the show. We are excited to share our cultures and backgrounds and learn more about Thai culture!
We closed the day with some pool time, teaching reflections, a delicious Thai dinner, and we’re getting ready for our third day of teaching.
Look out for more adventures to come!
BLOG POST FOR JUNE 21
Today was our third day of teaching 3-6 graders. We had so much fun teaching and playing many games with the kids. It has been very interesting connecting with the children through teaching a new language to them.
Later we went to the Ton lam yai and Warorot market to learn about and buy Thai fruits and clothing. After the market we all got Thai tea and coffee at a local shop.
We went back to home base and continued practicing our dance for the cultural exchange tomorrow. We had the fruit party where we learned the Thai names for many local fruits and enjoyed eating them. Many of us enjoyed fruits such as the mangosteen, longgong , and many more. We had another delicious meal including Pad Thai, sarim, etc. We ended the night with one final performance of our dance for the cultural exchange with the beautiful sunset in the background and everyone is very excited! Goodbye!
BLOG POST FOR JUNE 22
Hello family and friends!!
Today we started our day bright and early at 7 am, it was our last day teaching at school. We started our lessons like always but ended early to have a goodbye celebration with the kids. We danced, laughed and said our goodbyes.
We came back to home base to have a delicious Thai meal. Then we were off to our next adventure, the international cultural exchange. We made friends and learned to play chairball, a common Thai “basketball” game. We performed a mashup of several songs to the students, it was really fun.
After the cultural exchange, the stafff surprised us with pizza and karaoke night. We sang songs from the greatest showman and Hamilton, we even got a private concert from our local staff Ta. We ended the day with a night time swim and lots of laughter.
Tomorrow we head to the elephant sanctuary, be on the lookout for more fun filled days.
BLOG POST FOR JUNE 23
Today we made the journey to the elephant sanctuary! On the way we stopped at 7-11 to buy some snacks and drinks, because the ride was long. Once we go to the place we are staying, we checked into our rooms and got ready to start our elephant adventures!!
The students took an open air truck to the 1st elephant camp of the day, where the students fed four adults and one baby elephant bananas! Then we had lunch, which was very delicious!! The next camp host almost 11 elephants! The students fed the elephants bananas, and bathed them with first muddy water and then cleaned them off in the river, which led to a big splash fight! Super fun!
When we returned back, the students had an one hour break to freshen up after bathing with the elephants. Then the students were led on a tour of the new home base and had a scrumptious dinner followed by 2 hours of ping pong and card games.
What a great day!
BLOG POST FOR JUNE 24
Written by Amanda <3 Hello blog and sawatdeeka !! Today we started off our day at Elephant Jungle Sanctuary and fed elephants their favorite breakfast, bananas! We got the chance to learn their names and build an ever deeper connection with them. After their breakfast, we endured a hike through Mae Wang’s greenery alongside four other gentle giants. We watched them explore and thrive in their own environments and it was truly such a treat. After our trek, we enjoyed a delicious lunch, our favorite food being the spring rolls!! We then got ready and out of our food comas and prepared to visit a nearby waterfall. Once we got to the site, we swam and sight saw as we watched from the waterfall’s rocky shore. We made our way back to camp and prepared for our service project of shoveling elephant dootie. Although it doesn’t sound entirely glamorous, we all learned how to better cooperate with one another and further understood the responsibilities of a true adventurer and leader. We made our way back to home base where we were greeted with a much needed rainstorm. We enjoyed a delicious dinner and ended the evening with a stroll through our home base’s beautiful outdoors. We are looking forward to tomorrow’s adventures and can’t wait for what’s to come!!
BLOG POST FOR JUNE 26
Today was the officially last day 🙁
After our goodnight fancy dinner last night on a beautiful boat ride, and our last THAI meal together we started understand that this was the end of this unforgettable experience!
We had the chance to feel deeply appreciated by the letters of affirmation and appreciation circle, and felt in our hearts how we touched each others lives.
We leave Thailand with our souls full of love, and our luggage packed with amazing memories, friendships and adventure we won’t ever forget!
We definitely connected as group and it wasn’t easy to tell our goodbye!
Our huge KOBKUNKA! And see you soon Thailand!