Global Leadership Adventures (GLA)


With a history and heritage in global education, Global Leadership Adventures packs our itineraries with leadership development, volunteering 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.

GLA provides high school students the opportunity to authentically discover another culture, safely engage in high adventure and above all, participate in grassroots service projects that directly impact the families and communities they become close with while abroad.

The long-term partnerships our global staff have developed with local individuals, community leadership and action-oriented organizations around the world continue to be the backbone of our programs. Helping them deliver sustainable impact while transforming the way we look at the world and ourselves is what gets us fired up every day at GLA.


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Yes, I recommend this program

Sun, sand, and Independence

My son went to Costa Rica. He is 16 and had never left the country on his own before. COVID has made traveling difficult with testing and additional documents which made me more nervous about sending a minor child to Central America alone.
Everything went very well! GLA was very clear about exactly what kids needed to spring in terms of paperwork and clothing. They were there to meet my son at the airport.
My son had a most excellent time, possibly the best week of his life and made many friends. He loved the food, the kids, and the staff!

  • Individual attention
  • Friendly staff
  • Complete information
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Yes, I recommend this program

Costa Rica Spring Break

This is what I sent to GLA after my kids trip.

I can’t even begin to articulate how wonderful this whole experience has been. 2019 I discovered you after Emma expressed interest in a peace Corp experience. To send my kids on a trip like this gave me a panic attack AND pure excitement.

I did an optometry mission trip to Honduras as a student. The joy, good hard work, bonding, experiencing and appreciating a different culture, the beauty, the non tourist life changing experiences, I wanted this for Ben and emma. And they got it!

I saw it in the blog pictures, in all the kids. And heard it in the many accounts of the trip. They cried in the last night. Likely a release of such an emotional trip. But also they will miss all their new friends in the hosts, mentors, and peers.

Thank you to all that made this happen. Your passion, dedication, time, personal communication, foresight, planning, April Fools joke! All of it. Thank you so very much.

I cried reading the last blog. Tears of so many positive emotions.

And Delta unaccompanied minor program ended up being a God send.

Bless you all.

Wendy and Josh Arrington

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Yes, I recommend this program

Fantastic genuine service trip

Dominican Republic Caribbean Service Adventure: An absolutely fantastic and genuine experience! This is real community service, working alongside locals and learning about the country. The education component and communal labor made it truly hands-on learning. It is NOT a glorified teen tour but the real deal, with fun activities and sights woven in very well. The group atmosphere was cohesive and warm, so many close and lasting friendships made. Absolute gold standard for true and meaningful community service and a super fun time.

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Yes, I recommend this program


My daughter went to the Dominican Republic for 10 days and absolutely loved it! She worked hard to help communities, had an eye opening experience, but also had fun and met many new friends. I definitley would recommend such a program. This type of experience broadens a students horizons and exposes them to environments and/or situations they might not noramlly experience. So happy I was able to send her on this trrip!

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Yes, I recommend this program

2020 Global Leadership Adventures Virtual Internship Review

I had the most meaningful experience participating in the Fall 2020 Global Impact Virtual Internship. The extraordinary relationships I formed, the unbelievably rich and personal conversations I endured, and the charitable service work we as a whole completed made me look forward to the three times a week I got to participate (even in a zoom setting). I truly believe being part of the GLA community was a gift that not only helped me grow as a person, but formed lifelong connections with people I would not have met otherwise. I will always cherish the meaningful opportunities and worthwhile conversations that brought me and my peers joy and knowledge during a time of uncertainty and dismay.

What was your funniest moment?
Each week, in every core session, our supervisor would ask us one fun question to “break the ice”. These questions were so funny and lighthearted and allowed me to see my peers’ true colors and share laughs with likeminded, passionate students.


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Alumni Interviews

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

Kylie Nuccitelli


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.