For teens who are looking to make the most of their time spent abroad, GLA Flagship programs are ideal. On these highly rated three-week programs, you will:
- engage in longer service projects that allow students to make the greatest impact on local communities
- develop lifelong friendships with fellow GLA students and locals in the community, thanks to the amount of time you spend together and the experiences you'll share
- participate in additional activities beyond what we can fit into our 10 and 14-day programs, giving students a deeper understanding and appreciation of the local culture
Here's how one student felt her Flagship experience affected her friendships, and her perspective:
"For the ephemeral time I was in Costa Rica, I had an experience that would be unforgettable! I was able to immerse myself into their culture, make an impact, and create twenty-one close-knit friendships with strangers whom I have never met before. I was surprised by how quickly my peers and I bonded, the freedom that the GLA staff provided, and my recognition to call Costa Rica my second home. This program has provided me with a new prospective, life-long friends, and the continuous desire to make a difference."
-Denise C, Costa Rica: The Initiative for Children™ Flagship Program
This GLA alum explains how three weeks was ideal for exploring her interests and finding her passion:
"I made life long friends in 3 weeks who share my same interests, and made me laugh and challenge myself, while doing anything from hiking, to cliff jumping, to swimming in the ocean, to playing cards. My GLA staff were extremely insightful with their knowledge of service and sustainability, while entertaining us constantly with their stories from Peace Corps and other service trips they had been on. However, the people we met in the communities we worked in were the most life-changing... I can truly say that the people I met on this trip have helped me find my passion, which has changed my life forever."
-Jordyn A, Dominican Republic: Building a Sustainable World™ Flagship Program
Another student alumn reflects on how 21 days is ideal for language learning and immersion:
"During my three-week trip to Peru I did not feel like a tourist (which was very important for me)-- we lived in a house in a small mountain village, we ate Peruvian style food, and walked to our service site every morning with the local people. Because we did not have internet connection or television, I was able to really connect with the other students and make new friends who I am still in contact with. The informal Spanish classes and chances to talk to local people at the service site and in markets greatly improved my Spanish skills and opened my eyes to new ways of thinking and living."
-Emily S, Peru: Spanish Service Adventure Flagship Program
Our Flagship experiences also help to support our leadership curriculum, which is reflected in our belief that 'leaders are made, not born.' To grow as a leader, it takes time, focus, and plenty of engagement with staff leaders, community leaders and fellow students alike.
Students on flagship programs also have the unique opportunity to complete a Capstone Project. This can take the form of developing a plan of action for when they go back home, a final presentation of what their experience was like, or even a media project that highlights their flagship experience.
If you're interested in exploring our flagship youth leadership development programs, you can find them marked throughout our website and catalog with the following tags:
Although many of the same objectives can be achieved on shorter programs, students and parents report that three weeks is the optimal time to develop friendships with local people and fellow students, to make a greater impact on the community, to fully immerse themselves in a culture, and to explore different facets of the host country.