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™

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.

"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 complex society and rich culture are most authentically preserved in its beautiful countryside, and this is your ticket to the full experience. You’ll be based in Shaxi, an ancient town in the rural Southwest, where temples built of intricate woodwork and a pervasive sense of history are elements of daily life. Interact with the local community through language exchange and impactful temple restoration projects, and explore famous cultural icons on the weekends: Beijing and the Great Wall of China, towering Buddha statues in the mountains and a UNESCO World Heritage Site (21-Day Flagship Program only).

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.

Flagship Exclusives:

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.


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 regions 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 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 what it takes to get published.

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™

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.


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, Chiang Mai, where you’ll be based, manages to preserve the atmosphere of an ancient village and is still known for its beautiful temples and rugged natural landscape. Make unforgettable connections with Thailand’s rural youth through community service at a primary school and cultural exchange at a local high school. You’re sure to be transformed by the nation’s culture of warmth and reverence, experiencing off-the-beaten-path interaction with the hospitable local residents, temple visits, authentic cuisine, bustling markets, an elephant home visit and outdoor adventure through 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™

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, paddleboard, or if you’re joining us for the 21-Day Flagship Program, on horseback.

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 Spanish like a local, through real-life immersion in a welcoming community and conversation practice with native families.

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™

This program takes place in a pocket of secluded communities reachable only by rutted dirt roads. Far from the developed tourism hotspots of Costa Rica, you’ll be helping a more remote Tico village with improving resources for its youth. Through service projects, help speed development of community resources towards a brighter future for this community’s children. Bond with the children and community through impromptu soccer matches, learning how to cook arroz con pollo, dancing cumbia and practicing conversational Spanish. During downtime, experience everything Costa Rica has to offer: lush landscapes, diverse wildlife and plenty 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, you’ll 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™

Led by Dr. David Addison, Ph.D Global Sustainability, this program will immerse you in humanitarian work 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. Complete a Capstone project guided by your program staff, where you’ll design an action plan to empower change in underserved Dominican communities.


Guadeloupe: French Caribbean Adventure

Guadeloupe: French Caribbean Adventure

An island oasis of French language speakers in a sea of English and Spanish, Guadeloupe is a hidden gem in the Caribbean just waiting to be explored by Francophile high school students. From the vibrant and colorful markets you'll experience to your home visits with local families, you'll be immersed in island life from the moment you arrive to the moment you depart. Come to Guadeloupe with GLA and discover how its European roots and Caribbean flair combine to make a one-of-a-kind destination.

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: 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, 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.

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.

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

Peru: Service in the Sacred Valley™

Peru: Service in the Sacred Valley™

High in the Andes, the Peruvian city of Cuzco is a living monument to Inca history. Once the heart of the Inca Empire, Cuzco is home to incredible archaeological relics, colorful fiestas and the finest weavings and arts—all things that have been passed down from a sophisticated, ancient civilization. Traverse this thriving city, explore its markets and go on an epic trek to Machu Picchu. Look around more, though, and you’ll learn Peru has areas of need—poverty and malnutrition are common in rural areas. As you work to combat these issues, you’ll see that Peru is more than its wild landscapes and ancient arts: The sweet generosity and spirited culture of its people are what have truly endured the last several centuries.

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 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.


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, cobblestone streets—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.