General Questions

How is GLA Different from other Programs? 

GLA is different for three reasons. First, GLA believes that leaders are made and not born. Leadership Development and Personal Transformation are at the core of every GLA program and interwoven in the service, workshops, and excursions. Second, GLA operates only in authentic, non-tourist communities that provide your teen volunteer the opportunity to have a life-changing experience. Third, GLA works only with high school students. Our safety standards (The 5-Point Safety System™) and curriculum (The Service Learning Adventure™) are tailored to the growth and development of teens.

Who joins Global Leadership Adventures?

Participants in GLA come from all over the world, including North America, South America, Asia, Middle East, Europe, and Africa. However, because high school students studying abroad are much more common in the US, Canada, and the UK, there are a greater percentage of students from these regions on the program. GLA is constantly looking for ways to extend our reach to other regions of the world, especially continental Europe, Asia, Africa, the Middle East and Latin America.

What kinds of students attend GLA programs?

We have students from all over the world, across more than 25 countries in North America, Europe, Latin America, Middle East, and Asia

Will attending a GLA program help me get into college?

GLA alumni have gone on to attend Harvard, Yale, Stanford, UC Berkeley, and other schools. But it's not simply attending a GLA program that will help you get into college.

Rather, it's what you learn at GLA that can make a difference. GLA opens your eyes to new possibilities and unlock your passions. You are doing community service in a foreign country and experiencing a culture and lifestyle very different from your own. The experience has been compared to joining a shorter version of the Peace Corps before college, and is only enhanced by the many Peace Corps alumni working for Global Leadership Adventures. And in that environment, GLA teaches you to reflect on your experience: How is this country different from yours? Who are you? Who do you want to be? What's your leadership role in the world?

Through introspection, you'll know yourself better and have lots to talk about in your college admissions essays. That's what colleges look for in a successful applicant.

Who should join The GLA Experience? Who is eligible for admissions?

GLA seeks curious and energetic students from around the world, who are eager to do community service, interact with people from different backgrounds, and learn about other cultures, histories and languages. Any student, 14-18 years old and currently enrolled in high school, including incoming freshman and graduating seniors, is eligible for admission.

Is this a "party trip"?

The GLA Experience is fun, meaningful and unforgettable, but it is not a party trip. Each GLA program has plenty of free time and recreational activities built in, but our focus is to develop leadership capabilities and values through an integrated cultural experience.

What language must a student know in order to participate in a program?

English is the primary language spoken on all GLA programs. However, we welcome any student with the ability to comprehend English articles and converse in basic English to join. In fact, many students worldwide use the experience as an opportunity to practice their language skills. Because we value and respect every culture, we encourage students to share their native language and culture with the GLA family throughout the program. For some destinations, learning the local language is an integral part The GLA Experience.

Will there be homework? If so, how much?

Our seminars have been designed with the understanding that even the most enthusiastic of students should enjoy their time off from school. Seminars are all discussion-based, therefore you do not necessarily have homework and there are definitely no exams. However, you will read country specific articles and excerpts from books in order to provide you with historical or cultural context and enable you to participate in thoughtful discussions. In essence, the readings are enjoyable because they help you better understand the country and make the exploration process more meaningful.

What if a student has never studied one of the seminar topics before?

It's not a problem - we do not expect students to have any prior knowledge on any of the subjects. This is why we provide the readings. These seminars are intended to be enjoyable educational experiences that contribute significantly to the students' personal enrichment. They are non-competitive, do not include grades, and designed to challenge students intellectually in nontraditional ways.

Will students get high school credit?

Students' ability to get academic credit varies from school to school. In instances where students can receive credit, GLA will attempt to work with the student in meeting his/her necessary requirements. However, due to the nature of GLA programming, it is not always possible. Since many schools require their students to complete a prescribed number of community service hours before graduating, GLA will provide documentation on all volunteer hours completed.

Will dietary restrictions be accommodated? Can students skip components of the program on the Sabbath or other religious holidays? Will services be available to students?

We try to accommodate our students' dietary needs, such as providing vegetarian, no pork, no fish options, and are sensitive to the importance of retaining a vegetarian, Kosher or Halal diets. However, some needs may be difficult to accommodate, particularly when traveling. We encourage you to contact us if you have questions about specific dietary concerns. While we strongly encourage students of all faiths to join Global Leadership Adventures and contribute to the diversity of the student body, students cannot skip any part of the program, except for medical reasons. Unfortunately, GLA programs provide secular mission trips, so we are unable to provide avenues for worship, though we can accommodate some personal time on-campus for spiritual reflection.

Will student-athletes be able to prepare for fall sports?

We recognize the importance of athletic training for many students, particularly for those who are preparing for fall sports and for those whose sports contribute to their college admission prospects. Although The GLA Experience will greatly contribute to students' development in many ways, it is not a sports program and does not allow for serious training. Our schedule includes a modest amount of free time most days and the option for group sports several times per week. We generally use this time to expose interested and previously uninitiated students to popular local sports ranging from soccer in Costa Rica to a sports camp in India.