GLA's Flagship Programs are our longest at 21 days (three weeks), allowing students more time to adjust to life in a different country, and additional days dedicated to community service projects. Flagship programs also allow for more space in the itinerary to visit neighboring cities or go on overnight excursions. Students have consistently given them the highest ratings, and alumni of our 3-week programs insist that having a third week changes everything.
Here are a few reasons GLA Ambassador students have given for choosing a 3-week program over any other length:
1) Having more time allows you to deepen your cultural understanding.
"I have done two GLA trips, both 21 days (Bali: Children's Education in Action™ and Belize: The Initiative for Children™) and I found it gave me more time to immerse myself in the culture and truly open my eyes to issues that are so easily forgotten in daily life, even as a visiting tourist. 21 days allows you to really feel like you're a resident. Our group was more effective with service in the communities, learned more plus went on more excursions. My friends who have gone on 14-day trips agree that a longer program length would have allowed for that deeper experience. So if you're comfortable with the longer length, go for it, without a doubt! By the way, Bali is such an incredible place with a captivatingly gorgeous culture, I hope it steals your heart like it did mine."
- Maggie R., GLA alum
2) Longer service projects allow for greater impact.
"I did the three-week Costa Rica: The Initiative for Children™ program and loved it! I formed much deeper relationships than I think I could have without the extra week. We still have a group chat with everyone from the trip. I also got to work on five different tasks at our community service site, as opposed to doing much less in 14 days. With the extra time, I felt extremely connected to the community where I lived!"
- Alyssa I., GLA alum
"I was a little on the fence about going on a third week at first, but I convinced myself to do it and I’m so incredibly happy I did! I went to Fiji: Children of the South Pacific™ last summer and got to spend a week on each community service project, which was great. We became very close with all the local community members working with us and got so much work done each week, as well as learning so much about what we were doing and the impact it would have! Also, the friends I made on that trip are some of my closest friends even though they live across the country, and having that extra week to spend with them was such a blessing. One day in Fiji is enough to make you fall in love but the three weeks we all spent there together truly made it home to all of us."
- Isabel N., GLA alum
3) More time with peers and staff creates deeper friendships.
"Being on program for three weeks was amazing! I went to Thailand: In & Beyond the Classroom™, and having the third week definitely made a difference. We had so much more time at our community service projects, but we also had way more time to sightsee, do fun activities and hang out. My group was so close-knit even before the third week, but having that final week to have more fun together made it even better. To students holding back due to concerns about being homesick, I was actually crying because I didn’t want to leave! You’ll love it so much you will probably think you’re already home. Nothing to worry about!"
- Jared C., GLA alum
4) Additional time for excursions supports the most diverse experience.
"On the last day of the three-week Tanzania: Children's Education Adventure program, I was definitely not ready to go home. I could live there forever, in all honesty! Our GLA group truly became a family. Beside the family, friends and second home I gained, we hiked to some gorgeous waterfalls, spent a day with some incredible Maasai in their boma and got to see elephants, lions and other safari animals in their beautiful homes, which we call Tarangire National Park and Ngorogoro Crater. It really was an unforgettable trip. The truth is, I can't explain these three weeks. I can't explain my love for the people, school and even the town itself. I can try my best, but the only way anyone could understand is by experiencing it for themselves."
- Michelle Z., GLA alum
5) The experience doesn't feel rushed.
"I mentored both the 14- and 21-day China: Mandarin Service Adventure programs, and while both are amazing for the students, I definitely feel that three weeks allows for a better-paced experience. GLA's program development team puts together really rich, full itineraries so that students can see and absorb as much as possible during their time in-country. But that means if you only have two weeks, you might travel around a lot and don't get to settle down as much into a community. I've noticed that on the three-week program, students are more relaxed and go home being very comfortable with being outside their comfort zone."
- Samara P., GLA Mentor
"I went to Bali on the 21-day Bali: Children's Education in Action program and it was AMAZING. I had been to the 14-day Galápagos: Preserving Nature's Wonders program the year before for 2-weeks and wished for more time!! Having three weeks in Bali was absolutely crucial to my friendships and the impactful service. It didn't feel rushed, and I was so upset to leave! 100% recommend 3-weeks to anyone interested!"
- Kate G., GLA alum
And advice from our Ambassadors for how to overcome some of the common fears of being away from home for three weeks:
Concerns of homesickness, shaking off FOMO
"My advice for prospective students considering a 3-week trip? When you're on program, live in the present. You won’t even think of home! Also, in most places you won't have phone service, which encourages you to stay away from your phone and think only about who you're with. When you do miss friends and family back home, you can talk to them on a wi-fi day."
- Alyssa I., GLA alum
No matter the length of your program, you'll have tons of fun!
"By the end of our second week on Bali: Children's Education in Action™, my group had all gotten to know each other pretty well and we had become really close. I would have hated to go home right after starting to make close connections with the other students on the program! However, to students weighing two weeks versus three weeks, I would say to consider your comfort level. Even though I had never left home like this before, I am fairly independent, so I knew I could handle three weeks without my family. If you're worried about that, the two-week program will be just as rewarding. No matter which length of time, you'll have tons of fun!"
- Madison R., GLA alum