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Why Global Leadership Adventures

What Makes GLA Different?

GLA isn't just another summer program it's a life-changing experience.

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97% of GLA alumni agree

When I look back on my GLA experience, I consider it to have been life changing.

Based on a survey of alumni 3 years post program.

A Life-Changing Experience

On Opening My Eyes to New Possibilities

Evert D.
Evert D.

GLA has inspired me to see the world in a more loving and open way. It introduced me to new cultures and people that have impressed me in the most wonderful ways. I experienced the r...

On Opening My Eyes to New Possibilities

Evert D.
Evert D.

Willem de Zwijger High School
Hometown: Bussum, The Netherlands

GLA has inspired me to see the world in a more loving and open way. It introduced me to new cultures and people that have impressed me in the most wonderful ways. I experienced the raw soul and the real people of Tanzania, not the tourist or city life. I learned to appreciate the details in life more and to really pursue the things I want in life.
...     

On Developing Leadership Skills

Mackenzie K.
Mackenzie K.

The most striking thing I learned was how to lead effectively. On my program, each GLA student was required to lead the entire group for one whole day. During the program, I realized...

On Developing Leadership Skills

Mackenzie K.
Mackenzie K.

Highland Hall High School
Hometown: Los Angeles, CA

The most striking thing I learned was how to lead effectively. On my program, each GLA student was required to lead the entire group for one whole day. During the program, I realized that a leader must have deep convictions of his goals, be clear about what needs to be achieved, find the strength of each individual, and capitalize on that strength.
...     

On Unlocking My Passions

Elyssa-June S.
Elyssa-June S.

My GLA experience in Ghana was the most memorable three weeks of my life so far, and I continue to tell my friends and family that I wish I could have remained there for the entire s...

On Unlocking My Passions

Elyssa-June S.
Elyssa-June S.

Bermuda High School for Girls
Hometown: Bermuda

My GLA experience in Ghana was the most memorable three weeks of my life so far, and I continue to tell my friends and family that I wish I could have remained there for the entire summer. Volunteering at the Keta hospital allowed me to learn hands-on about healthcare management. I was able to see how healthcare was provided to patients in a rural context. The few hours I spent at the hospital reconfirmed my interest in healthcare, and I’ve decided to study international health, humanitarian relief and development in university.
...     

On Learning About My Role in the World

Kelly V.
Kelly V.

GLA was an eye-opening experience, both in seeing a new part of the world and gaining perspective on issues that cross societal boundaries. The people I met at GLA – the children, th...

On Learning About My Role in the World

Kelly V.
Kelly V.

Currently Attending: Stanford University
Lewis Palmer High School
Hometown: Monument, CO

GLA was an eye-opening experience, both in seeing a new part of the world and gaining perspective on issues that cross societal boundaries. The people I met at GLA – the children, the grassroots leaders, and our fantastic program director and mentors – have hugely inspired me to continue to act as a global citizen throughout college and my future career.
...     

On Improving the Lives of Those Less Fortunate

Kevin and Sara V.
Kevin and Sara V.

Each summer that we did GLA, our experiences were some of the most memorable times in our lives. Guatemala, the Dominican Republic and Costa Rica were all awesome. We did not know an...

On Improving the Lives of Those Less Fortunate

Kevin and Sara V.
Kevin and Sara V.

Ocean City High School
Hometown: Ocean City, NJ
GLA Repeat Alumni

Each summer that we did GLA, our experiences were some of the most memorable times in our lives. Guatemala, the Dominican Republic and Costa Rica were all awesome. We did not know anyone else going into the programs, but we ended up making so many great friendships. The trips themselves are great, but it is so gratifying to be able to give back to countries in need throughout all of our volunteer work.
...     

On Influencing College Applications

Shaomin C.
Shaomin C.

What GLA did for me is show me the world in its most raw form and at the very same time, give me hope that I might play a role in giving these communities a brighter future. In the f...

On Influencing College Applications

Shaomin C.
Shaomin C.

Currently Attending: Harvard University
Choate Rosemary Hall High School
Hometown: Singapore

What GLA did for me is show me the world in its most raw form and at the very same time, give me hope that I might play a role in giving these communities a brighter future. In the face of despair, I saw the smiles of children. It showed me poverty at a level that was very extreme and I had not seen that before. My reflections on what I experienced and learned during GLA played a key part in two of my college essays and I talked about it extensively in the interviews.
...     

And this is how we do it

Service Learning Adventure™

Prepare yourself for the richest cross-cultural experience of your life. GLA crafts each program to be immersive and multidimensional by combining three key components: Community Service, Hands-On Learning, and Adventure. Experiencing a country through all three lenses invites students to have heightened opportunities for getting to know local residents and lends a strong sense of purpose to their travel.

Community Service

Community Service

At the heart of our programs is community service, and it's our imperative to ensure that the projects are community-led initiatives. When GLA students arrive to volunteer, they become part of the greater plan for change. Global issues that were once remote become tangible in welcoming communities. Working side by side with our partners, our students become engaged in understanding how the efforts they make accelerate steps toward sustainable change. Many of our alumni leave our programs valuing most of the time they spent on service sites.

Hands-On Learning

Hands-On Learning

GLA celebrates learning through immersion and cross-cultural exchange. Our students participate in interactive experiences that expose them to diverse arts, cultures, value systems and histories in ways that no textbook could convey. These experiences welcome high engagement, critical thinking and a willingness to see the world through many different perspectives. Designed around a combination of immersion activities, small group discussion, formal learning objectives and spontaneous opportunities for leadership and education, our programs cultivate more confident communicators and independents agents of change.

Adventure

Adventure

No GLA program would be complete without adventure! Each host community is set in a unique landscape and contains its own historical and natural treasures, which are exceptional opportunities for students to challenge themselves in unexpected, memorable ways. Imagine camping along the Inca Trail on a two-day trek to Machu Picchu in Peru, zip lining through the lush rainforests of Costa Rica, photographing lions and zebras on a safari in Tanzania, or simply trying a new cultural dish surrounded by friends a world away.

Your Adventure is Just Around the Corner!

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5 Point Safety System™

Safety is our #1 priority. While we believe in the transformative power of stepping outside comfort zones, we remain invested in managing the risks of doing so. We created and heavily enforce our 5-Point Safety System™, a set of rigorous standards, to ensure students' safety and health, and parents' peace of mind.

GLA Home Base: Safe and secure lodging

GLA Home Base: Safe and secure lodging

Each program is centered around a GLA Home Base, which is housing reserved for GLA students only. It's their home away from home, a place to relax, the gathering place for meals, and a sanctuary for reflection after busy days. Home Bases may take the form of travel lodges dedicated to our student groups, or sectioned-off hotel blocks. Students room together in gender-segregated group lodging.

Caring supervision

Caring supervision

GLA policy is for no student to ever be by themselves at any point in time. Students should either be with staff members, in groups, or assigned to a buddy. Our student-staff ration is 6:1.

Healthy meals and pure water

Healthy meals and pure water

Meals are prepared fresh daily, with a healthy mix of fruits, vegetables, meat, dairy, and bread. Students may sample local cuisine, but Western-style and vegetarian options are also available. Students also have access to unlimited safe drinking water.

Expert local knowledge

Expert local knowledge

Our in-country staff members have intimate knowledge of the host community. They have established relationships with medical professionals in the area, as well as local organizations where students do community service.

Safe and comfortable transportation

Safe and comfortable transportation

Students are transported in GLA-approved vehicles by experienced, licensed drivers. At time of arrival, GLA staff will be at the airport to meet and greet students. If the plane is delayed, they will wait until students arrive. At airport drop-off, GLA staff will help direct students on how to check in and find their flight.

Home Base

Home away from home

While safety is our top priority, we provide lodging that's out of the ordinary. On a GLA adventure, you might stay in a zen-like ecolodge tucked away in the lush Caribbean jungle, a raised Inca "tambo," or traditional huts at a Thail elephant home.

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Your Adventure is Just Around the Corner!

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Full-Service Parent Support

At GLA, we are your tireless mission control. In other words, we're with you every step of the way. We understand it can be challenging to leave your teen to the care of others, so we take equal care in providing superior support for every parent, before, during, and post-program:

Full Pre-Departure Support

Once you've enrolled in one of our programs, the GLA team is at your disposal to provide full support for all your preparations:

  • Where and how to book a flight
  • Recommended routes so that GLA students can travel together
  • Understanding the passport and visa application process, step-by-step
  • Full access to the online GLA Travel Portal. Network with other parents and students on your program and have all pre-departure info at your fingertips

In-Country Support and Updates

During the program, we are your direct link, 24 hours a day:

  • Offering a 24-hour Emergency Hotline
  • Requiring all students to call home upon arrival in the country
  • Making you aware of any emergencies, changes, or updates
  • Relaying urgent parental messages to students and student messages to parents, via in-country staff
  • Providing evacuation and secondary medical insurance for all students
  • Linking you to periodically updated student blogs, with pictures and accounts of students' experiences, so parents can share in the journey (available for most programs)

Post-Program Follow-Up

After the program, our staff follows up with every parent to:

  • Get your feedback on the program
  • Get your feedback on the level of parent support
  • Ensure we've provided the best possible service to you and your family

Your Adventure is Just Around the Corner!

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Our Expert Staff

Our program staff are not chaperones; they are experts and mentors. As part of the GLA experience, students are connected with accomplished program leaders who have in-depth professional experience working with you. All of them hold college degrees - most with graduate degrees - and many return year after year to work with GLA.

Ryan Feinstein

Ryan Feinstein

International Director, Bali
Seasons with GLA: 6

Ryan graduated from the University of California, San Diego, with a B.A. in International Studies before deciding to reside full-time in Bali, Indonesia. For the past eight years, Ryan has been running service learning and leadership programs in Bali, serving as the Director of the Bali Institute for Global Renewal. He has extensive experience designing and facilitating workshops, seminars and conferences focused on equipping young people with the skills, tools and resources for moving from vision to action on social and environmental issues. Ryan has been an International Director for GLA Bali programs since 2011.

Suzannah Crandall

Suzannah Crandall

International Director, Costa Rica and Peru
Seasons with GLA: 2

Suzannah was born and raised in northern Wisconsin, and developed a lifelong love for exploring nature and traveling during family camping trips to Europe and Latin America. Suzannah pursued her love for the environment and travel by studying abroad in Costa Rica while obtaining her B.S. in Environmental Biology. After college, she spent two years in Paraguay with the Peace Corps, working with schools and her community on environmental education projects. Suzannah has spent two summers with GLA in Costa Rica and Peru.

Joseph Castano

Joseph Castano

International Director, Guatemala
Seasons with GLA: 2

Joe studied abraod in France and Ireland as a high school student, and graudated from the University of Vermont in 2009 with a B.A. in English Literature. He has led high school students to Belize and Guatemala on summer abroad programs, and taught English in Costa Rica, Chile, Argentina and Guatemala. Joe has also taught environmental science and volunteered for the Student Conservation Association and Americorps. He splits his time between working in Xela, Guatemala, and working at a nonprofit mental health and addictions hospital in his hometown.

 

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Our Service Partners

Partnerships pave the path to sustainable development. Our role as volunteers is to support the community's vision, not to impose our own. When we partner with local leadership, we are learning how to create scalable, sustainable solutions to address problems in a way that makes the most sense for community residents.

As local leaders who live and work in the community, our partners are able to conduct community assessments, prioritize needs, and execute projects on the ground with the public's involvement and support. GLA believes working with local partners is a fundamental part of sustainable development, effective service and responsible travel, while at the same time bringing our wealth of experience to the table.

Dr. Dave Addison

Dr. Dave Addison

Founded/Executive Director, 7 Elements
Dominican Republic/GLA Partner Since 2009

Dave Addison holds a PhD in Global Sustainability from Argosy University. He has lived in the Dominican Republic for over a decade, and passionately directs 7 Elements, a local non-profit focused on delivering sustainable solutions to humanitarian needs. The impact of 7 Elements on communities has included construction of a large-scale aquaponic food production system, safer homes and community centers, reforestation efforts and improved community health

Esther Simba

Esther Simba

Director, Experience Tanzania
Tanzania/GLA Partner Since 2009

"Mama Simba," as she has been called by generations of GLA students and community members, obtained her Bachelor of Education with Languages (Swahili and English) at the Tumaini University Makumira in Tanzania. She has a wealth of experience in education and volunteer programming, and has consulted for the US Peace Corps. Mama Simba has been the GLA Tanzania Director since 2009. She continues to be known for being more than a director or leader, but also "a dear mother" and passionate teacher.

Dougal Croudace

Dougal Croudace

Director, Dream Big Ghana
Ghana/GLA Partner Since 2012

Dougal is originally from the U.K., but has been living and working in Ghana for over six years, and established the NGO Dream Big Ghana in partnership with local village communities. Dougal focuses on giving support in three areas: sanitation, education and youth sports development. One of the foundation's major projects, building eco compost toilets, has benefited the health of hundreds of local people.

Your Adventure is Just Around the Corner!

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