GLA students and parents have reported that our 21-day flagship programs offer the optimal amount of time to develop friendships with locals and their peers, to make a more significant impact on the community, and to fully immerse themselves in a new culture. Our flagship programs provide additional weekend excursions, volunteers service opportunities, and leadership training than are available on our 10 and 14-day programs. Students also have the option to complete a Capstone Project. This can take the form of developing a plan for when they return home, a final presentation of what their experience was like, or even a media project that highlights their flagship experience. With a variety of three-week sessions to choose from below, there is a flagship program available for every student and every interest.
→ To learn more about the benefits of a GLA Flagship Program, click here.
Africa Flagship Programs
Ghana is often called the heart and soul of Africa because of its welcoming, passionate, and peaceful people. It is a particularly meaningful nation to visit for many Americans, as it is where a significant number of African Americans can trace their roots. Besides volunteering to help local children, you’ll also immerse yourself in the vibrant African culture through traditional dance, language and cooking classes.
This program offers both a 21-day flagship experience and a 14-day option. Only students on the 21-day Flagship program will visit the Keta slave fort, and spend a weekend exploring the mountains, where we’ll hike to jaw-dropping waterfalls and feed monkeys swinging from the lush rain forest canopy. Teens on the three-week program will also earn an additional 20 service hours.
The problems of the world are immense, systemic and complex, but we believe with design thinking, the right partnerships and entrepreneurial leadership, even individuals can create change. On African Leadership Academy’s global campus in Johannesburg, surrounded by young leaders from every corner of the world, challenge yourself to push the edges of innovation. Together, you’ll develop solutions to issues you’re passionate about. What are the steps for securing clean water access for a remote village in the Congo? How do you mobilize an initiative to get more girls into math and science careers at home? Or sustain a community-owned business to replace a broken cycle of aid? This is your launchpad for becoming an entrepreneurial leader of social good, grounded in design thinking, adventure and a global perspective.
Go beyond the movies and discover the real Africa: welcoming people, zebras, giraffes, lions, percussion, Maasai warriors and the astounding Mount Kilimanjaro. Work side-by-side with local leaders in orphanages and village schools. On weekend excursions, you’ll experience the raw beauty of East Africa as you embark on a safari, take in waterfalls near Mt. Kilimanjaro, and spend a day among the Maasai people to learn first-hand about their unique culture.
This program offers both a 21-day flagship experience and a 14-day option. Only students on the 21-day Flagship program will visit a Maasai village, where we’ll be immersed in their incredible community and learn about their unique nomadic culture. Here, we’ll learn to throw spears, make bead jewelry and identify medicinal plants in the wild. Teens on the three-week program will also earn an additional 15 service hours.
Asia & the Pacific Flagship Programs
Journey to the island of Bali, where you'll influence the youth of an indigenous culture, explore the many wonders of the island, and go scuba diving. Bali, also known as the Island of the Gods, is one of the most picturesque destinations on earth. Despite its famed fusion of spirituality and ecology, Bali has significant educational gaps waiting to be filled. You’ll volunteer in a local school, teaching English and inspiring children in the community. In the afternoons, you might venture off to the waters of a sacred hot spring, hike to a waterfall, or hop on a spider boat to catch the sunset.
Welcome to China - one of the oldest, largest and most diverse nations on Earth. China's complex society and rich culture are a sight to behold, and this is your ticket to a comprehensive view. This is not the China you may have imagined in your mind-- but it is rich in history and tradition. You'll live in a rural community to get an authentic experience, see China's incredible countryside, and make an impact on those who live there through a meaningful service project. You'll spend the weekends exploring important cultural sites, including the Forbidden City, the Stone Forest and Tiananmen Square. And, of course, no trip to China would be complete without hiking the Great Wall!
This program offers both a 21-day flagship experience and a 14-day option. Only the 21-day Flagship program will feature Mandarin language learning, with inside and outside-the-classroom immersion in this widely spoken language. The flagship version of the program also has additional excursions to the world-famous Great Wall of China and a visit to the nation's capital, Beijing. Teens on the three-week program will also earn an additional 11 service hours.
These islands are some of the most remote places on Earth. Fiji is indeed a tropical paradise. It is also a country with tremendous need. Learn about the settlement of the Pacific – how great explorers crossed thousands of miles of ocean by canoe to settle here. Watch the vast Pacific Ocean devour the setting sun each night. Connect through Fijian music and dance with a culture unlike any other. Gain understanding of the many challenges facing this vibrant culture and unique environment through a variety of hands-on service projects while working alongside rural island community members.
Visual imagery is a powerful tool for communication, with the ability to reach audiences far and wide, both emotionally and directly. In India, everyday life plays out in bright colors, a vivid juxtaposition of ancient and modern against a backdrop of intricate architecture. Full of diverse people, dramatic landscapes and spiritual energy, the village of Dharamsala— home to the Dalai Lama and today’s Tibetan refugee community—is the fascinating setting where you’ll learn everything you’ve ever wanted to know about journalistic media: the basics of documentation, what makes a good story, ethical practices and what it takes to get published.
This program offers both a 21-day flagship experience and a 14-day option. Only students on the 21-day Flagship program will travel to the rural village of Kareri for an overnight excursion, and get to know its semi-nomadic Gaddi people. Flagship program students also visit the town of Amritsar to view the Golden Temple. Teens on the three-week program will also earn an additional 20 service hours.
Journey to enchanting Thailand – a kingdom rich in culture, arts & tradition. On this program, we’ll volunteer at a local school and make important connections with the warm people and colorful culture of Thailand. Students who enroll on the 21-day Flagship program will also assist on projects that support organizations working with minority hill tribe youth and adults. on both programs, we’ll also spend a day interacting with elephants and learning about the complex factors affecting their existence in Thailand. In our off-time, we’ll go ziplining through the lush rainforest, visit beautiful temples, and even get a Thai massage. We’ll learn how to cook Thai food and explore the night markets and famous temples of Chiang Mai.
This program offers both a 21-day flagship experience and a 14-day option. Only students on the 21-day Flagship program will have an additional volunteer opportunity to contribute to various physical projects that support organizations dedicated to supporting minority Northern Hill Tribe communities. Also exclusive to the flagship version is a bicycling and kayaking adventure through the beautiful mountains outside of Chiang Mai. Teens on the three-week program will also earn an additional 15 service hours.
Take your compassion for animals to the next level and volunteer with organizations that support humane care of all elephants, whether healthy, rescued or retired. You’ll help care for elephants that have been relieved from working in the traditional tourist industry, as you learn about responsible alternatives that can replace unethical elephant tourism and trekking. Observe the inherent, wild behaviors of these gentle giants, stimulated by their improved living conditions in a natural habitat. Away from service, discover the fascinating culture and lush mountain forests of Thailand.
Central America & the Caribbean Flagship Programs
If you're an animal lover looking to make a difference, Costa Rica is an amazing place to volunteer! You'll have the chance to help rescue and rehabilitate abandoned and injured animals with a local organization dedicated to rescuing suffering domestic animals. Support efforts to provide better infrastructure and care for adorable creatures that have suffered abandonment. In your time off service, experience all the outdoor adventure Costa Rica has to offer—hike to impressive vistas throughout the rainforest, or see the coastline by surfboard or paddleboard.
This program offers both a 21-day flagship experience and a 14-day option. If you’re joining us for the 21-Day Flagship Program, you'll be immersed in the local community for longer and have a chance to create deeper connections with the people - and animals - living there. Students on the flagship program only will also have the chance to explore the famous Costa Rica coastline on horseback - a rare treat. Teens on the three-week program will also earn an additional 17 service hours.
This is the best way to learn Spanish – in a fun and meaningful way! Costa Rica is home to some of the world’s most beautiful beaches and a culture with warm and friendly people. Catapult your Spanish skills to the next level while volunteering in a rural mountain community, studying the language, and enjoying the breathtaking biodiversity and adventure of Costa Rica.
This program offers both a 21-day flagship experience and a 14-day option. Students on the 21-day Flagship program will connect to the local community in a unique way, thanks to their extended stay in the area. These students will even get 15 additional language learning hours during the course of their program. Teens on the three-week program will also earn an additional 19 service hours.
Through schoolyard and community-based service, you will help to create and provide resources for the local youth as you build connections with the community to inspire a brighter future for its children. Be a friend and a role model to the youngest Costa Ricans! During downtime, you'll get to experience everything Costa Rica has to offer, from lush landscapes and beaches to the friendly culture found in its towns. These three weeks will open your eyes to a new way of life as the "pura vida" spirit surrounds you.
This program offers both a 21-day flagship experience and a 14-day option. Only students on the 21-day Flagship program will hike to Rio Celeste and its famous blue waterfalls, and go whitewater rafting down a 12-foot rapid, passing everything from smooth lagoons to white-faced monkeys and other exotic wildlife. Flagship program students will also get to be immersed in the local community for longer, allowing for deeper connections to locals and their children. Teens on the three-week program will also earn an additional 17 service hours.
Belize is known not only for its abundant biodiversity, but also for bringing together a seamless mix of cultures: Belizean, Creole, Mestizo, Garifuna, Maya. With one foot in the Central American jungles and the other in the Caribbean Sea, Belize may be small but it's packed with adventure and culture—you’ll be snorkeling on the reef one day and hiking the tropical savannah the next. In contrast to its vast natural resources, the country’s economic and public resources are limited. As a volunteer, you’ll help design and run an educational summer camp for local children, creating an effective, nurturing environment for children to continue their education.
This program offers both a 21-day flagship experience and a 14-day option. Only students on the 21-day Flagship program will follow in the footsteps of the ancient Mayans, exploring an intricate cave system with historical artifacts. Flagship program students will also be immersed in the community for longer, allowing them to form deeper connections with local kids & families. Teens on the three-week program will also earn an additional 20 service hours.
Led by Dr. Dave Addison, our International Director who has his PhD in Global Sustainability, the group will meet local leaders who are making great progress on sustainability in the Caribbean. You will be given the tools and support to design your own project as you collaborate with your peers to determine ways to empower change in a Dominican community, as well as in your home communities. You will evaluate the role of natural resources in your life and determine the vital purpose they play in the future of the world.
Europe Flagship Programs
The passions of Spain's people are the fabric of daily life; this is a country with music in its soul, a love of fine food and wild landscapes, and a special talent for celebrating all things in life. Based in the city of Valencia, you’ll experience a sophisticated cultural scene, great food, diverse people and stunning contemporary architecture. Sharpen your Spanish skills through a mix of language immersion and formal instruction, and practice with passionate native Spanish speakers as you volunteer alongside local organizations. Experience two of Spain’s sun-bathed coastal jewels—Valencia and Barcelona on this life-changing Spanish experience.
This program offers both a 21-day flagship experience and a 14-day option. Only students on the 21-day Flagship program will have the incredible opportunity to have an overnight stay in Barcelona, one of the cultural capitals of Spain. Flagship program students will get to take advantage of extra language-learning hours in the birthplace of the Spanish language. Teens on the three-week program will also earn an additional 15 service hours.
South America Flagship Programs
Experience the wonder of Argentina's political and cultural capital, Buenos Aires, on an adventure that you'll never forget. Your community service will make a difference in the lives of local families as you work together to build structurally sound family homes for those living in communities on the outskirts of Buenos Aires. You'll also have no shortage of adventure, from riding through expansive grasslands with native gauchos on horseback to trying your hand (and feet) at Argentina's famed music and dance, tango.
This program offers both a 21-day flagship experience and a 14-day option. Only students on the 21-day Flagship program will take an excursion to Iguazu Falls, where they'll experience one of the most impressive waterfalls on Earth. Get as close as you can by speedboat and walk through lush viewpoints in the surrounding national park. Teens on the three-week program will also earn an additional 10 service hours.
Discover Cusco, the heart of the ancient Inca Empire, an old civilization shrouded in mystery and tradition. Volunteer on projects that improve the health and well-being of indigenous children. On the weekends, explore the Sacred Valley, go whitewater rafting and even hike through the Andes mountains to visit Machu Picchu.
This program offers both a 21-day flagship experience and a 14-day option. Only students on the 21-day Flagship program will get to whitewater raft down rivers winding through the Andes Mountains - an incredible experience. We'll also visit Pisac, one of Peru's largest artisanal markets, and spend an extra day hiking on our way to Machu Picchu. Teens on the three-week program will also earn an additional 15 service hours.
Catapult your Spanish skills to the next level while discovering Cusco, the cultural heart of the Inca Empire. Immerse yourself in the sights and sounds of ancient flutes, colorful clothes and cobblestone streets. Volunteer to improve the education and well-being of indigenous children. On the weekends, explore the Sacred Valley and hike through the Andes mountains to visit Machu Picchu.