Global Leadership Adventures (GLA)

Why choose Global Leadership Adventures (GLA)?

With a history and heritage in global education, Global Leadership Adventures packs our itineraries with leadership development, meaningful service projects and the delight of taking learning off the beaten path. Our unique program design produces what many students call a life-changing experience, not just a spring break or summer program.

Through our Service Learning Adventure or Internship Programs, GLA provides high school students the opportunity to authentically discover another culture, safely engage in adventure, learn about global issues in a field of interest, and above all, participate in grassroots service projects that directly impact communities they become close with while abroad. The long-term partnerships our staff have developed with local individuals, community leadership and action-oriented organizations around the world continue to be the backbone of our programs.


GLA IDEA (Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Access) Scholarship

The goal of our scholarship is to provide inclusion, diversity, equity and access to GLA programs.


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Yes, I recommend this program

Peru: Foundations of Global Health

In the summer of 2023, I went on a two-week trip to Peru with 9 other students: all 15-17 year olds. And while it may sound cliché, this trip was life-changing. We spent time in pop-up clinics around Cusco, where residents would come to get medicine and treatment from the doctors there. We spent five days at these clinics, and I wish we had done more over those 14 days! It was such an eye-opening experience that has completely changed my career path to be medical. We also visited Machu Picchu (literally the coolest thing I have ever seen), Rainbow Mountain (an hour-long hike to 17,000 ft above sea level), and whitewater rafting. On top of that, I met some of my favorite people ever; we all became great friends instantly. Overall, I would recommend this program to anyone who is looking at a medical career, wanting to make a difference in another community, or just wanting to see another country with friends!

What was the most unfamiliar thing you ate?
Cuy, known in English as Guinea pig! We ate it in the back of a farmer’s house, where we also learned about the textiles his family made. While a little scary, the guinea pig wasn’t bad - tasted somewhat like chicken!
  • Made a real difference
  • Amazing food, with both traditional Peruvian options and more familiar options
  • Great friends
  • I wish we had done more volunteer work
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Yes, I recommend this program

Dominican Republic Adventure

This was a unique experience both both kids. They navigated the airline industry on their own to and from as teenagers. They dealt with all manner of challenges and learned they "Can Do It" - whatever it might have been. Both kids came home more mature and aware of the environment while getting some exposure to a very different culture. Upon arrival at the Airport in DR until departure from the same airport days later the kids both reported the trip as fun, informative, challenging, safe, and did I mention FUN?
Cheers from a happy parent.

What was your funniest moment?
Zip lines and snorkeling
  • Learning about mangroves and the ecology the groves help protect
  • Meals
  • Sight seeing
  • Rained a lot some days
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Yes, I recommend this program

GLA: Bali Island Health Expedition

Really enjoyed this program!! Staff helped make the program turn into an immersion of both public health community service and having fun around Indonesia. Daily activities were held for the group which helped us make connections together as a group, and food was also good as well! Fit the program well as we normally ate Indonesian cuisine with occasional outside food. Other activities such as scuba diving and surfing were also very fun, and it was a wonderful experience that I would definitely recommend!

What was the most surprising thing you saw or did?
Visiting a coffee plantation which was most famous for making coffee out of animal feces (sounds weird, but the feces were converted into coffee beans, somehow) Definitely the most surprising thing I saw.
  • Safe and fun atmosphere
  • Good food!
  • Visiting the both local and city side of Bali
  • Homesickness definitely comes through towards the end of the program
  • Food is not for picky people, but there are many options available
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Yes, I recommend this program

Great Experience for our Teen!

GLA was an amazing experience for my daughter. It was her first time away from home and she was a bit nervous to go to another country. Once she arrived, she immediately made friends and was immersed in the experience. When we heard from her on the trip, she sounded confident, excited and busy! In addition to improving her Spanish and learning about the culture of Guatemala, she matured and grew as a person. This year, she is very focused in school, articulate with her teachers, and very involved in the family. I would recommend GLA to every teenager, as it has made a world of difference in our child.

  • Meeting new people.
  • Going outside your comfort zone.
  • Learning about other cultures.
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Yes, I recommend this program

Amazing experience!!

There were so many things I was looking forward to with this trip: new friends, new adventure experience, and meaningful volunteer work and relationships. All of those I can say with 100% certainty that I got on this trip. There was no stress on this trip, you are able to relax as you walk around the beautiful home-base with mangos and star fruits growing around you. There are so many fun people to talk to, whether they are on your trip, or just people that live in the country. I am so appreciative that I was able to go on this trip, and would do it again any day!!

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Have no fear, and make relationships with anyone and everyone you see. I was able to create really meaningful relationships with the bus drivers, conversing with them in Spanish and helping them out a bit with English.
  • Food was incredible, and made fresh at home base every meal.
  • Great surfing instructors
  • Beautiful home base and country


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Alumni Interviews

These are in-depth Q&A sessions with verified alumni.

Why did you choose this program?

After I was doing some research on primarily the safety aspect, GLA caught my eye and became one of my first choices. The safety was clearly demonstrated on their website and after being easily given contact information and talking with some very helpful staff. After looking at the destinations and what the different programs offered between my top choices, it was clear the Fiji at GLA was the perfect mix of volunteering and adventure.

What did your program provider assist you with, and what did you have to organize on your own?

The GLA programs organizes everything that is involved in-country, leaving you to only have to organize the plane ride there. The program did give us a travel agency that they use to help set up your flights if you wanted to, which I did and had a great experience with them. GLA had transportation from the airport to the destinations for everything and there was always a leader from the program with us as well.

What is one piece of advice you'd give to someone going on your program?

Be open-minded during this trip. It will bring you out of your comfort zone but you just got to go with the flow and be open to try anything that gets thrown your way. Understand that you are in a foreign country and things may be a little different but learn to be able to adapt. Also know that you will meet people from all over as well its different views, so be able to accept and understand your differences.

What does an average day/week look like as a participant of this program?

While you are on the island, Monday through Fridays from 8-2 are spent at the village. The group was divided into three different groups that rotate throughout the length of the program. There was construction which build rainwater tanks, teaching in the school, and marine conservation. When in the village we would also have lunch everyday with the women who made us wonderful food while we were able to play with the little children who were too young to attend school.

After spending your days in the village you take a boat back to the home base and have until dinner to do as you please. You could swim, play volleyball with the staff, or enjoy tea time everyday at 4. On the weekends we would do different fun activities such as hiking or visiting a beautiful beach to have a cookout and snorkel with the locals.

Going into your experience abroad, what was your biggest fear, and how did you overcome it?

My biggest fear was making friends. Not that I am bad at making friends at home but I was still worried that maybe I would fluke and not be able to make any friends. Before I met all my soon to be friends, I gave myself a little pep talk to try and give myself some confidence and be myself.

Once I got to meet all the people I quickly released that all of my worries were wrong and that everyone was in the same boat as me, trying desperately to make friends out of strangers. In the end my fears were overcome by simply being myself and adapting to the new circumstance of meeting strangers who would soon be my family.

What is your favorite memory on this program?

One of my favorite memories would be the sunset hike that my group all took together one day after a hard day of work. The hike wasn't something that was very hard but just being able to enjoy the beautiful scenery around you while you spend time with your friends was so incredible. At the top of the hike was the best part though because after we all finished talking and taking picture, we were told to all sit in silence for a few minutes.

This gave myself and everyone I was with a time to think back to our first week of working in the villages and how truly inspiring and rewarding it is. There was something extraordinary about all sitting in silence and contemplating the same thing. After the brief moment, our mentors talked to us about some points of how important this is and to get the most out of it, and how we must transfer these good deeds to our own community. It was such a tender moment that made you really think deep about yourself that I feel most people don't experience enough.

Staff Interviews

These are in-depth Q&A sessions with program leaders.

Tell us a little about GLA and your role at the company.

Bridget volunteering in Guatemala

Bridget: As a Sr. Enrollment Advisor for the organization, my primary responsibility is advising families around the world who are seeking the right volunteer abroad opportunity for their teen. I am also responsible for custom groups and assist with training new Enrollment Advisors who join the team every year. I love visiting a new GLA program each Summer so I can experience it first-hand with our students and be able to offer the best support for our families.

How did you get involved in the volunteer industry?

Bridget: After returning home from my semester abroad in Australia, I was excited to stumble across a job posting for part time work as an Enrollment Advisor. I had a great experience traveling to another country and experiencing another culture and thought the idea of passing on this amazing gift would be very rewarding. Impressed by everything I read, I contacted the office in hopes of pursuing this position. After the first interview and learning more about the mission of GLA, I knew this is where I wanted to be. During the past three years, I've had the privilege of working with an amazing team of staff around the world and advising hundreds through their students life-changing experience.

What makes GLA unique?

Bridget: GLA is unique for three main reasons:

  1. 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.
  2. GLA operates only in developing countries in cultures significantly different from the West in authentic, non-tourist communities so that students will have a life-changing experience
  3. GLA works only with high school students. Our safety standards (The Five Point Safety System) and curriculum (The Service Learning Adventure) are tailored to the growth and development of teens.

How do you ensure your programs are sustainable and mutually beneficial for you, the community, and the volunteers?

Bridget: GLA works directly with the community within the country we are volunteering in. Each program is managed by a local and international director, who have intimate knowledge of the host community and culture and the current and future impact of the volunteer work we will do there. Terra Education is also a Certified B Corportation, a company that uses the power of business to solve social and environmental problems.

What does the future hold for GLA?

Bridget: Each year GLA sends hundreds of students on life-changing volunteer abroad programs. GLA will continue to be the leader in service-learning abroad education programs.