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 JUNE 19
Our Thailand Elephant adventure has finally started and all of our students have arrived in Bangkok – yay!
We started the morning by picking up Adelena, Alyssa, and Gabrielle pretty early, 5am! We got back to the hotel, they ate their first Thai breakfast and then rested after being on a plane for so many hours. We then picked up Alex and Ronit in the afternoon, who joined the group at the hotel for some time at the swimming pool and an early dinner followed by a well deserved rest.
Nani, Ella, and Walker arrived late at night and went straight to bed to regain energy for tomorrow.
We’re glad that everyone (and their luggage) has made it to Thailand safely and we look forward to getting started with our orientation tomorrow morning.
Stay tuned for more updates!
Photo of the whole group will come tomorrow!
Written by Luismi (GLA Staff)
BLOG POST FOR JUNE 20
Our second day started with the whole team sharing our first breakfast together. Those who arrived late last night got to meet everyone else and we all started to get to know each other better.
The morning was spent learning about Thai culture and language, discussing program policies and expectations, talking about safety, and getting excited for the itinerary ahead of us.
In the afternoon we spent some time at the pool and then headed out to explore a very cool and artsy part of Bangkok. We then ended the day with a very yummy dinner at a local restaurant.
Written by Luismi
BLOG POST FOR JUNE 21
Written by Margarida
Today we had a cultural day ahead of us. We started by visiting the temple Wat Traimit with the Golden Buddah, and some of us had the chance to ring the hanging bells at the temple to wish for good luck. Then we headed to the temple that is the home for Thailand’s largest reclining Buddah and where the best masseuses in the world have lessons. We learned about Thai massages, its healing techniques with a very strong spiritual component, and just let ourselves get immersed in the whole atmosphere. The architecture and the details in every structure were impressive. Lastly, we visited the Grand Palace, a complex of buildings that is one of the residences of the Royal family, and where you can also find the Emerald Buddha. Here we had the chance to sit inside one of temples – while buddhists were praying and placing offers to Buddha – to fully observe and have our own discussion about the different aspects of Buddhism. It was a very special opportunity to visit these beautiful temples, learn about Buddhism and its strong influence on Thai culture.
BLOG POST FOR JUNE 22
Written by Luismi
Today we left Bangkok. After 3 hours in the van we arrived in the city of Kanchanaburi. We checked out the Bridge of the River Kwai – a historical site of a bridge that was bombed during WW2. We then went for lunch at an all-vegetarian restaurant that also had very good smoothies. In the afternoon we visited the Death Railway Museum to continue learning about the historical importance of Kanchanaburi area. We then checked in at our new hotel and had some time to enjoy the pool. Vijo, our Local Director, led a very insightful discussion about Captive Elephant Welfare and prepared us for the next three days of service work at elephant sanctuaries.
Get excited as tomorrow’s blog will be written by the first pair of Leaders of the Day! Who is it going to be? Sign in tomorrow to find out …
BLOG POST FOR JUNE 23
Written by Alyssa and Ella
Today we woke up and had our first breakfast at our new hotel. We then headed out to the first elephant sanctuary. First we fed the elephants squash and then watermelon, then we walked and cooked rice balls, that we would feed the elephants later in the day. We ate lunch at Elephant World before we all packed into the back of a truck. The ride was long and when we got there we found out we were going to cut down banana trees for the elephants to eat. We walked through lots of mud before being taught how to cut the trees using cone-shaped cuts. After cutting the trees we would carry them all the way back to the truck.
If they were too big we would use teamwork to help carry it or we would cut it in half. After many trips back and forth, muddy falls, cuts and bruises, we were finished. We, and our favorite dog, Happy, rode back to the sanctuary on top of all the trees, there we fed the elephants all of our hard work. Our last stop at the elephant sanctuary was feeding the rice balls that we preciously made to the elephants. We packed up and went back to the hotel for some much needed showers and down time. For dinner, the vegetarians and meat eaters were united for a family style dinner. Post dinner, a diplomatic but passionate debate about elephant conservation took place. After a weak compromise that no party was truly happy with, we all headed to bed for some much needed sleep.
The first and best leaders of the day,
Alyssa and Ella
BLOG POST FOR JUNE 24
Written by Gabi and Adelena
Elephants and Mud fights!
After breakfast this morning we headed out to Elephant Heaven. We learned about the sanctuary and made rice balls (with bugs) and cut up watermelon to feed to the elephants.We got to join the elephants on a jungle walk and learned a ton of new information about elephants while reviewing what we already learned.
We had a yummy lunch at Elephant Heaven. We were told we would have the opportunity to swim with and help bathe the elephants. While some of us were hesitant, Vijo (our Local Director) soon convinced us with the encouragement of a mud fight. After slight fun chaos ensued, we quickly jumped into the river to help bathe the elephants. We got to continue our fun & play, doing tricks on the rope swing and having chicken fights. Following tons of memories, we cleaned up and changed out of our wet clothes. Our next stop was the mall where we were able to get some essentials and delicious drinks. We got to have some pizza for dinner, which was quickly devoured by all of us. After returning to the hotel, we played a competitive game of who knows who best. That about wraps it up!
BLOG POST FOR JUNE 25
Title: The Truth Behind Elephants
We started off the day with breakfast as usual at our hotel. Our third sanctuary of our trip is Samboon Legacy where we learned a lot about the hard truth with what happens with elephants in the tourism business. We quickly started the service part of our visit where we planted bamboo trees for the elephants to eat from and we made food for the old elephants to eat. We soon wrapped that up and moved on to a nice lunch with the river view next to us. Samboon Legacy has a very pretty handmade museum where we did an educational survey with a DIY elephant poop paper. To cool off the day we watched elephants bathe in the river and we swam in a pool at the resort. Of course to end the day we had dinner at a very pretty veggie place with very nice people. We would definitely rate this day a 10/10.
Written by Nani and Walker
BLOG POST FOR JUNE 26
Title: River Float and OurLand
Today we divided into two groups to create our own elephant sanctuary. We used what we learned over the past 3 days to create a sanctuary that we believed was ethical and profitable. After, we floated down the Kwai river. We saw lots of pretty wildlife. It was so fun! We got out of the river at OurLand and hiked to the centre for lunch. On the walk we learned about the jungle.
After lunch we presented our elephant sanctuary ideas. One idea (Together Land) was based upon the idea of having a ropes course and zipline in coexistence with elephants. The other sanctuary was based on the idea of a luxury hotel having elephants be part of the amenities that the hotel offers and using profits to increase living conditions of elephants. After, we learned about Ourland – an organization that protects a wildlife corridor and educates people on human-wildlife coexistence. Finally, we wrapped up our day with dinner and Uno Flip.
Written by Ronit and Alex
BLOG POST FOR JUNE 27
Title: Fish Nibbles
Today we got to sleep in and choose when we went to breakfast. After we ate, we packed up and headed to the waterfall. We were reunited in one van instead of two. Our amazing bus driver let us connect our music and he turned on the disco lights. We then made a pit stop for snacks and then drove to the waterfall. We grabbed all our stuff, packed our lunch, and after a quick history lesson we started our trekk. At level 2, while we waited out the downpour, some of us decided to take a swim. After a few nibbles for some fish, we started our hike to the top of the waterfall, which was a total of seven levels. After a long and steep climb we reached the top. We swam under the waterfall and with the fishies. Those who didn’t like the fish nibbles sat on the rocks. After some time there we went down a couple of levels and spent some time there. We then went to our meeting spot for lunch. We walked down to the vans and went back to Ourland for free time, a tour, and dinner. There we played with the dog, got massages, and met a snake. Nani (sort of) conquered her fear of snakes. Then we headed back to the hotel and got some rest.
Still the best leaders,
Ella and Alyssa