Program Themes

Programs to fuel your passion. Or help you discover a new one.


Program Themes & Focus Areas

GLA offers a variety of program themes and focus areas.

Program themes (for travel programs) and focus areas (for virtual programs) provide students an opportunity to deep-dive a topic of interest, which may relate to a future career path or area of study, or possibly just be a personal passion or curiosity.

For some students, theme is a clear indicator of program preference and guides their final enrollment selection. For others, it is simply a tool to help refine the kind of program experience they hope to have. Our program themes are a means for self-discovery and meeting core learning objectives. They may affect the kind of community service projects you participate in, immersive learning components you take part in, or the kinds of guided group discussions that are initiated by your Mentor.

Just remember, you do not have to have an existing interest or experience in the theme of your program though in order for it to be life-changing!

Animal & Wildlife Conservation
Observe and protect animals in their natural habitats, national parks or shelters. Take care of the environment that supports animals and native wildlife by working on projects that benefit native species or clears invasive ones. Collaborate with wildlife experts, learn about animal welfare and spend time up-close with animals.
Building From Start to Finish
Complete a meaningful building project from beginning to end, leaving behind your legacy for local families and the community to use or otherwise benefit from. Work alongside local organizations that promote sustainable building initiatives in the community and see you hard work through from start to finish.
Children & Education

Tutor or provide educational support to children in the surrounding community. This can take place at school or outside the classroom. Be a friend and role model to the youngest generation, and leave a lasting legacy in the community through service projects such as infrastructure improvements at local schools.

Community Development

Work on projects that have a direct positive impact on the surrounding community, particularly local children, from school infrastructure to playground restoration. You’ll help create a safe space for kids to play and learn, and for the community to thrive. Enjoy opportunities to play games and make new friends, too.

Environmental Stewardship

Support sustainable practices like reducing, reusing and recycling. Do hands-on work to preserve natural habitats and the communities that depend on them. You may focus on marine conservation to support ocean ecosystems, climate action to help negate the effects of global warming, or land-based conservation efforts.

Global Seminar

Facilitate discussions on relevant topics with your peers, and engage in friendly debates on critical issues of the day. Leadership and learning are cornerstones of the Global Seminar, whether you’re meeting with local leaders, collaborating on projects, taking part in workshops or traveling to institutions of social or cultural significance.

Language Immersion

Learn and be immersed in the language of your host country through local immersion and mentored study. Take classes that improve your Spanish or French language skills, no matter your current skill level. Use your new language skills to get to know locals and better connect with your host community.

Public Health & Medicine

Learn the difference between public health and medicine, and how both are critical for community wellness, particularly in underserved areas. Take part in preventative education or hygiene advocacy, shadow medical students, assist in pop- up clinics, collect diagnostic data or learn from medical professionals.

Social Justice

Advocate for equality, opportunity and equitable access for all. Learn how people who face systemic racism or economic oppression in the United States face these challenges, whether they’re refugees, living in poverty or part of a minority group. And meet with local leaders dedicated to improving the lives of those in underserved or marginalized communities.