GLA

Flagship Programs

Students give GLA flagship programs the highest ratings

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: Children of Africa™

Ghana: Children of Africa™

Step onto the flat, sandy land of Ghana, and you’ll immediately hear the laughter of children everywhere. This laughter will be the constant of your trip, and a steady source of energy while you volunteer among one of Africa’s most passionate and kind communities. Ghanaians are known for their smiles, vibrancy and welcoming nature—you’ll see bright colors everywhere: in the land, stitched into traditional clothing, adorning the decor of your Home Base. Your arrival will bring excitement to classrooms as you work to inspire students toward success in school.

Flagship Exclusives:

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.


South Africa: Social Change Project™

South Africa: Social Change Project™

Indisputably one of the most beautiful cities in the world, Cape Town, South Africa, is a tapestry of wild mountain landscapes and rugged coastlines. Nearly two decades after the fall of Apartheid, the incredible cultural mix of this modern “rainbow nation” can still be a source of tension; but more and more often, it results in energetic collaborations between locals and foreigners alike, from truly all walks of life. Volunteer on ongoing projects in Cape Town and see the innovation in Johannesburg that continues to uplift the community and help achieve social change.

"The symbiotic relationship between the African Leadership Academy and Global Leadership Adventures is a perfect example of how an American organization can support and catalyze the work of a cutting-edge African non-profit.  This cross-cultural collaboration and innovation for social change is exactly what we hope to instill in students on this program."

-Andrew Motiwalla, GLA Co-Founder


Tanzania: Children's Education Adventure

Tanzania: Children's Education Adventure

At dawn, the rising sun floods Tanzania’s cool grasslands with gold, school children walk along the roadsides and vendors set out their wares. Nature surrounds Tanzania, where the largest of animals mingle with the most minute, and landscapes are colorful and diverse. But more than anything else, it is the Tanzanian people who will make your visit memorable. Whether you’re teaching a class full of laughing, energetic children, embarking on a wild safari guided by locals or chatting with community members, you’ll constantly be greeted with the characteristic warmth and dignity of Tanzanians, and the raw beauty of East Africa.

Flagship Exclusives:

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

Bali: Children's Education in Action™

Bali: Children's Education in Action™

Journey to the island of Bali, where you'll influence the youth of an indigenous culture and explore the many wonders of the “Island of the Gods.” Even more than its picturesque scenery, the Balinese people are what make this region truly beautiful. Charming and generous, local residents warmly welcome volunteers who can help fill educational gaps for their children. You’ll volunteer at a local school, teaching English and bonding with the community. In the afternoons and evenings, you might hike to a waterfall, hop on a spider boat to catch the sunset, or gather around a bonfire on the beach.


Bali: Global Health Initiative™

Bali: Global Health Initiative™

East meets West in this unique program, where you’ll study public health through two different perspectives: Western convention and the indigenous wisdom of the East. You'll significantly deepen your understanding of the many pieces that make up the global health puzzle, especially in the developing world, where cultural competence is just as important for achieving wellness as medical ability and technology. During your time off service, enjoy Bali’s uplifting culture through live music and dance performances, memorable meals and high adventure on the coast.


China: Mandarin Service Adventure

China: Mandarin Service Adventure

Welcome to China, one of the oldest, largest and most diverse nations on Earth. China’s rich culture is most authentically preserved in its beautiful countryside, and this is your ticket to the full experience. From the moment you step into the Home Base in Shaxi (pronounced “sha-shee”), you’ll be swept into the magic of living in a village out of time. Based in the Himalayan foothills that border Tibet, Shaxi offers the opportunity to live in a locally-owned guesthouse built of intricate woodwork, and interact with the indigenous community through language exchange, cultural workshops and impactful projects. Icons of ancient Chinese culture beckon your exploration: towering Buddha statues, colorful temples and the Great Wall.

The 21-Day Flagship program also features the GLA Experiential Language Curriculum™, a unique curriculum for learning and improving Mandarin skills. It combines classroom time with immersion through community service, excursions and cultural activities.


Fiji: Children of the South Pacific™

Fiji: Children of the South Pacific™

“Bula!” This is the enthusiastic greeting you’ll hear again and again from native Fijians. Even on the extremely remote Yasawa Islands, where many villages are extremely poor, you’d be hard-pressed to find a more warm and welcoming people. Life revolves around the ocean and community—old and young live together, and large gatherings and ceremonies are a constant occurrence. Where you’ll live and volunteer, there are no roads, cars, banks or shops. Become part of this simple village life and experience Fiji’s fascinating culture as you work on projects aimed at improving opportunities for children and achieving sustainability for this remote community.


India: Service Through the Lens™

India: Service Through the Lens™

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 how to use modern technologies such as social media and blogging to reach a wider audience.

Flagship Exclusives:

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.


Thailand: Elephant Health & Welfare Project™

Thailand: Elephant Health & Welfare Project™

Embark on a life-changing experience taking your compassion for animals to the next level while you volunteer with organizations that support humane care for all elephants, whether healthy, injured, rescued or retired. Learn about responsible alternatives that can replace unethical elephant tourism while maintaining the health and welfare of the elephants. Experience firsthand how traditional mahouts and handlers bond with their elephants and manage them ethically. Observe the inherent, wild behaviours 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.


Thailand: In and Beyond the Classroom™

Thailand: In and Beyond the Classroom™

Journey to enchanting Thailand, a kingdom rich in culture, arts and tradition. In spite of rapid economic progress in recent years, the northern capital of Chiang Mai manages to preserve the atmosphere of an ancient city and is still known for its beautiful temples and rugged natural landscape. Make unforgettable connections with Thailand’s youth through community service at a rural primary school. Experience the nation’s culture of warmth and reverence through interaction with the hospitable local residents and visits to unique northern temples. Sample fabulous cuisine, shop at bustling markets, and pay a visit to an ethical elephant home in the lush, green mountains surrounding Chiang Mai.

Flagship Exclusives:

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.


Central America & The Caribbean Flagship Programs

Costa Rica: Animal Rescue Project™

Costa Rica: Animal Rescue Project™

Animal lovers looking to make a difference are needed around the world to care for creatures in wildlife sanctuaries and rehabilitation centers, promote animal rights and help educate communities. On this program, gain pre-veterinary experience working alongside certified veterinarians and animal rescue experts. Not only will you do compassionate, hands-on work with lovable, furry friends at a dog rescue center, you’ll also get to study Costa Rica’s exotic species at a local wildlife rescue. In your time off service, experience all the outdoor adventure and natural beauty Costa Rica has to offer.

Flagship Exclusives:

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.


Costa Rica: Spanish Service Adventure

Costa Rica: Spanish Service Adventure

Forget learning Spanish in a classroom—on this program you’ll live in the breathtaking cloud forest and learn to speak the language from locals. In the face of increased tourism and development, Costa Ricans, or Ticos as they prefer to call themselves, continue to work toward high sustainability goals and protect their biodiverse home. Alongside passionate conservationists, you’ll volunteer on projects in eco-friendly building and agriculture, and interview community members—in their native language, of course! These experiences enhance your language immersion, making sure you get plenty of practice and return home a more confident Spanish speaker.

The GLA Experiential Language Curriculum™ integrates Spanish language learning into all aspects of the experience, allowing students to take away more of the culture, and also leave more behind. From community service to excursions and cultural events, language is given a new context. Spanish class will never be the same.

GLA now offers an optional homestay extension, exclusively to students on our Costa Rica: Spanish Service Adventure program. Extend your stay in Costa Rica an extra week after the completion of our program, and live with and volunteer alongside community members who are excited to host you. Immersion at this level is a great way to build your Spanish skills through conversation. For more information on the homestay, talk to an enrollment advisor or learn more here

Flagship Exclusives:

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.


Costa Rica: The Initiative for Children™

Costa Rica: The Initiative for Children™

Development issues in rural Costa Rica—from education access to sustainable land use—are all directly related to the wellness and futures of youth. On this program, you’ll be based in small towns far from the developed tourism hotspots of Costa Rica. Bond with the children and families of your neighborhood as you volunteer in their schools, help lead environmental education projects, and spend time working with local grassroots organizations passionate about engaging the community in more sustainable practices. After service, experience Costa Rica’s lush landscapes and its natural playground of outdoor adventure.

Flagship Exclusives:

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: The Initiative for Children™

Belize: The Initiative for Children™

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, help design and run an educational summer camp for local children, creating an effective, nurturing environment for children to continue their education.

Flagship Exclusives:

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.


Dominican Republic: Building a Sustainable World™

Dominican Republic: Building a Sustainable World™

Pull on your work gloves—this program will immerse you in hands-on, humanitarian projects for underserved communities. Beyond its resorts, endless beaches and reputation as a Caribbean vacation island, the Dominican Republic is truly complex. Living on the country’s southern coast, a pristine and untouched region far off the tourist track, you’ll be introduced to grassroots leaders who are making great progress on sustainable solutions to combat social and environmental issues.


Dominican Republic: International Development Initiative™

Dominican Republic: International Development Initiative™

Designed for students who have an interest in global development and human rights, this program gives a behind-the-scenes look at organizations working to solve the world’s most complex issues. Examine the systems in place, and ask yourself: Whom do they actually serve? Through shadowing local NGOs, you’ll gain a toolkit for addressing these social issues while developing lifelong skills for leadership and community development. Meet inspiring leaders and peers, and challenge yourself to convert your passion into sustainable action.


Guadeloupe: French Caribbean Adventure

Guadeloupe: French Caribbean Adventure

Part of the charm of Guadeloupe is that hardly anybody knows about it. Without a large international tourist presence, this French overseas territory sits pristinely in the Caribbean as home to diverse communities of European, Asian, African and indigenous descent. The atmosphere is heartfelt and colorful, with a French passion for cuisine and a Caribbean reverence for the surrounding natural environment. You’ll become a more confident French speaker—the official language here—through language courses and interaction with locals. Be prepared to dance to drum beats and enjoy Creole cooking, yet visit many a local pâtisserie. You are in France, after all!

The GLA Experiential Language Curriculum™ integrates French language learning into all aspects of the experience, allowing students to take away more of the culture, and also leave more behind. From community service to excursions and cultural events, language is given a new context. French class will never be the same.


Europe Flagship Programs

Spain: Cultural Odyssey™

Spain: Cultural Odyssey™

On this Cultural Odyssey, travel to five different cities in Spain and experience the unique character of each: Exuberant Barcelona, cosmopolitan Madrid, peaceful Toledo, mystical Segovia and Arab-influenced Granada. The sights you’ll see—Roman ruins, Gothic cathedrals and jewels of Jewish and Islamic architecture—speak of a country where history’s great civilizations have risen, fallen and left behind their indelible mark. The Spaniards have long celebrated rebellious and relentlessly creative spirits such as Salvador Dalí, Pablo Picasso and Antoni Gaudí, placing their work front and center in public life. Soak it all in, plus other details of Spain’s addicting culture: legendary tapas, otherworldly architecture, paella, flamenco and fiesta!


Spain: Spanish Service Adventure

Spain: Spanish Service Adventure

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, renowned cuisine, 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.

The GLA Experiential Language Curriculum™ combines language learning in the classroom with immersion through community service, excursions and cultural activities.

Flagship Exclusives:

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

Brazil: Preserving the Amazon™

Brazil: Preserving the Amazon™

Named after female warriors of Greek mythology, the Amazon is indeed a place of mythical status. What traveler hasn't imagined a trip to the Amazon, to admire the towering canopy teeming with wildlife and the incredible river itself? Surprisingly, on a waterway whose size is legendary, it’s actually the little things that make it special: Canoeing through a flooded forest, cooking food over a bonfire, taking a dip behind Home Base, waking to the sounds of howler monkeys and squawking parrots. You’ll learn about Brazil’s contentious logging issues and how they’ve challenged life on the Amazon. On the 21-day Flagship Program, experience spectacular Rio de Janeiro as well, nicknamed Cidade Marvilhosa by its citizens—”the marvelous city.”


Peru: Children of the Andes™

Peru: Children of the Andes™

Thousands of visitors find their way to the Sacred Valley in Peru each year, most headed straight toward the ruins of Machu Picchu. Yet at over 60 miles long, the valley is so much more: Volunteering in Peru on this program is an opportunity to go beyond the tourist mindset and learn the nuances of life in this beautiful, yet remote and challenging area, all while providing critical service to children and schools in the rural community. Gain hands-on experience teaching in a classroom, and after service, take in the Sacred Valley’s magnificence: Andean peaks to orchid-rich cloud forests, wild rivers and a thriving mecca of colorful markets and ancient history.


Peru: Foundations of Global Health™

Peru: Foundations of Global Health™

Limited physical access to primary health care is a major factor contributing to the poor health of populations in developing countries, particularly in mountain areas with rugged topography, harsh climates and extensive socioeconomic barriers. Assessing physical access to primary health care is an important exercise for healthcare planners and policy makers. Come to Peru and do hands-on work on campaigns that address this very need: Assess malnutrition in rural areas, work on an ongoing research project in the high Andes, and learn from community health workers operating traveling clinics. This program is a real opportunity to learn about public health as a basic human need, while helping carry out important health campaigns. 


Peru: Service Through the Lens™

Peru: Service Through the Lens™

Peru deserves its reputation as a mystical travel destination. Astonishing beauty abounds in its most iconic sites: The colonial gem of Cuzco, the incredible Inca citadel at Machu Picchu, the Sacred Valley surrounded by snow-capped peaks. However, as a storyteller you might discover that tucked in between these wild landscapes is another world of photo opportunities: Colorful weaving villages, market days, the hardy mountain lifestyle of families living in the Andes. Truly, the people are Peru’s real treasure and most dynamic force: Warm in spirit, resourceful and resilient, Peruvians are generous about sharing their lives and their country with visitors. With your eyes and heart open, take your camera off the tourist path to capture their rich and surprising stories through direct exchanges.


Peru: Spanish Service Adventure

Peru: Spanish Service Adventure

Spanish class will never be the same! Discover Cuzco, the cultural heart of the Inca Empire, as you immerse yourself in its sights and sounds—ancient flutes, traditional clothes, surrounding Andean peaks—and absorb the language. While you volunteer on various projects to improve the lives of indigenous residents in the regions surrounding Cuzco, practice your Spanish with patient and friendly native speakers. On the weekends, explore the Sacred Valley and hike through the Andes mountains to visit Machu Picchu.

The GLA Experiential Language Curriculum™ integrates Spanish language learning into all aspects of the experience, allowing students to take away more of the culture, and also leave more behind. From community service to excursions and cultural events, language is given a new context. Spanish class will never be the same.