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Global Works


For more than 31 years, Global Works has been an industry leader in community service-based adventure travel programs for high school students and custom group trips. Much more than a vacation, Global Works international trips are the bridge for meaningful cultural exchange with people around the world. In all of our locations, we partner with communities and organizations to select and implement grassroots service projects that make an impact. Your unforgettable journey of community service, language immersion, cultural exchange, and adventure starts HERE!


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Yes, I recommend this program

Once in a lifetime opportunity

This trip had an amazing itinerary and very supportive leaders! Adam and Sarah were fantastic and bent over backwards all the time to make sure we felt as safe and happy as possible. We saw some stunning sites on the trip too. One highlight was the three day kayak trip where we got to swim in the pacific ocean and see such cool wildlife. Every guide we met on our journey was very experienced and could answer any question you asked. The trip was packed of fun activities but still had time for sleeping in and spending time getting to know others. However, I noticed this trip had a very specific demographic of upper class kids from private schools who had no problem using slurs and derogatory terms in everyday conversations. If that isn’t you, I probably don’t recommend the trip!

What was the most surprising thing you saw or did?
One time we were kayaking slowly around an island, and saw a big mound of rock. As we paddled closer, we see a seal sleeping on the rock. Slowly it starts moving, and we notice that the rock had about 10 other seals all camouflaged on it and they started getting up and moving around!
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Yes, I recommend this program

A thousand times over

My Global Works trip was truly inspiring, the leaders were great, and I had an amazing time. When I think of my Global Works trip, it’s my home stay that comes to mind. It was really fun to go through your day with another family from another culture, eat food with them, play with their kids, even go to work with was awesome to be part of a Costa Rican household. I never thought I would learn to catch 20-pound tilapia or harvest star fruit, avocados and mangos on my host family's farm (and, I didn't know that limes could be green on the outside and orange on the inside!).

I thought the kids in my group were all really authentic, creative, and open-minded about trying new things and activities. I felt like we really built a community together. I would do this trip again...a thousand times over!

What was your funniest moment?
It was pouring rain, we were so close to finishing our service project in the community. For some reason one of our group members decided to tell us a story about her science teacher, named Mr. Coward. He told his class that he has thought about changing his name...and, well, I can't really say what he wished to change his name to on this review, but let's just say that we had the best group laugh ever.
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Yes, I recommend this program

Life-long Relationships

This trip to Costa Rica gave me so many things that I would’ve never had without taking the leap to go. I was scared and nervous, but the other kids on my trip were too. We all got along super well from the beginning, and I still talk to all of them almost every day. The people I met in Costa Rica as well changed my life. They gave me perspective and changed my point of view on a lot of things and I am forever grateful. Most importantly, I had boatloads of fun and would recommend for anyone possibly interested in a health care profession. The communities you visit are so welcoming and really want to build relationships with you. The leaders were great too. I still keep in contact with some of them as well. This program gave me so much and I will never forget it.

What was your funniest moment?
Staying in the hotels with all the girls and just laughing at everything.
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Yes, I recommend this program

Costa Rica: Language and Leadership

I found out about Global Works Travel through research about summer travel programs and I'm so glad I did! Global Works provided me with a trip that was challenging and fun, and where I learned through first-hand experience. Although the seven hour layover in Houston followed by the flight to Costa Rica then being delayed for two more hours wasn't much fun, it did provide me more time to learn about my group mates, and pales in comparison to all the fun I had and the experience I gained on the rest of the trip. The adventures like white water rafting, zip lining and surfing on Playa Uvita may have been the most thrill inducing, but they are not what I remember most about the trip. I remember sitting outside on the porch of Poco Sol Biological station looking over the canopies of the cloud forest. I remember how excited and anxious the group was to meet their host families in the mountainous, breathtaking town of Cedral. I remember struggling to communicate with my host mom and dad and my two little sisters, but laughing about it later with my roommate. I remember getting mud and paint and cement powder on my shirt, but admiring the immense progress we had made later. Most of all, I remember each and every one of my group members and how much I miss them. The people I was with and our dynamic was truly special. While I can't speak for other groups, I can imagine that many other Global Works groups have experienced similar connections. My perceptions of people and places changed drastically throughout the trip and the knowledge and connections I have gained are priceless. The Spanish immersion aspect of the program drastically improved everyone's Spanish and provided and authentic view of Costa Rica many of us would not have experienced otherwise. The only advice I give is to live your trip to the fullest, and take time to appreciate where you are; don't rush through an experience this unique and special.

If you did this all over again, what's one thing you would change?
If I could go back and spend 3 weeks all over again in Costa Rica with my amazing leaders and group members, I would try to slow down my experience and focus more on the moments instead of working through them. I would want to pause and actively appreciate where I am and who I am with because I know I will never be in the same place with the same people ever again. Finally, I would want to speak more Spanish and get more involved with the locals. There is no need to be shy about how good your Spanish is because the more you immerse yourself the better you'll become. In the end, it is up to your how much you learn and takeaway from this trip, and I wish I had focused even more on the parts of the trip that were the most special to me. I have already taken away so much from this trip; imagine what more I could have taken away had I just slowed down and paused a bit more to reflect and appreciate the trip.
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Yes, I recommend this program

Lily's Amazing Trip to Costa Rica

I had such an amazing time in Costa Rica, and I'm so glad that I chose Global Works as my travel buddy! For starters, I was pretty nervous leading up to the trip. I was worried about my how my language skills would fare in a community full of native speakers, I was anxious about all the new people I would be meeting, and I was hesitant about being away from home. However, the moment that I started talking with everyone at the airport, my fears and anxieties melted away. The next 15 days were the most fun I've had in possibly my whole life. It was amazing to get to know people from all different parts of the world and make connections with them while helping out a community in need. The relationships I made on the trip are ones that I will never forget. Also, the food was incredible!!! I would most definitely recommend a Global Works trip to anyone who wants to travel, experience a new culture, and have a ton of fun doing it!

What was your funniest moment?
The funniest moment was when we named our host family's cat. In Costa Rica they keep most of their pets outside, but we had a cat that lived with us in the house. The family didn't have a name for the cat, so we tried to come up with one for him. After some serious consideration, we decided to name the cat Felipe after a boy in the neighborhood who we all joked about coming back to Costa Rica to marry. Our host mom thought it was hilarious, and it was an inside joke with our family for the rest of the homestay. It was a super funny and perfect way to connect with the family.


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Alumni Interviews

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

Annika Thiim

Annika Thiim

Why did you choose this program?

I chose the Global Works program based on the high ratings I had seen on the Internet. Many of these teen travel review sites included the experiences written by alumni my age, which was amazing and reassuring. The website is also very professional-looking and easy to navigate because it included all the important details and had updated information.

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

The program assisted with all the details regarding the itinerary and where we would be staying during the trip. However, for the flights, I had the option to either book my own direct flight to Panama or take the group flight from Houston to Panama, which was led by Global Works. I ended up taking a direct round-trip flight from my home to Panama instead of the group flight, and everything worked out perfectly.

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

Make sure to keep an open mind. You will constantly be pushed out of your comfort zone, which is why it is so important to be open to new experiences. The most rewarding part about this trip for me was coming out of it with a new outlook on the world, and the feeling of awareness that came with this.

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

The average day consists of breakfast, work, lunch, work, leisure time, and then dinner. However, every day was scheduled differently. Our work was never too demanding as we took frequent breaks to eat and play games. Some of the work we did included: the painting of a church, tending to a garden, cleaning a library, and helping in a non-profit restaurant kitchen.

Going into your experience abroad, what was your biggest fear, and how did you overcome it? How did your views on the issue change?

My biggest fear going into this experience was being alone in a foreign country, away from my family. This turned out to not be a problem once I was there because I felt so comforted by my group members and trip leaders. It was exhilarating to experience a completely different environment with people from all of the US. At the end of the trip, I was left with a feeling that the world was more interesting than ever and I am looking forward to many more adventures in the future.

Staff Interviews

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

Fritz Moriarty

Job Title
In 2004, Fritz became co-owner and director of Global Works. Fritz is committed to running high-quality, meaningful international programs with Global Works. Come wintertime, you’ll find Fritz ripping it up on his tele-skis in the Colorado back country. Fritz knows how to find the perfect balance of valuable work and fun in his life, just like a GW program!

What is your favorite travel memory?

It's hard to pick just one. My first experience living with a host family was in Costa Rica as a volunteer for WorldTeach. I was extremely nervous about my ability to communicate in Spanish and with the concept of living with people I'd never met for the next 11 months. My thoughts were racing as I followed directions and took a bus far up to the mountains in rural Costa Rica. After a 1/2 mile walk a located the house and knocked on the front tour. A little girl opened the door and gave me a big hug. Within minutes I was enjoying a plate of arroz con pollo (rice and chicken) followed by a dance party in the living room with all the kids in the family. I learned a lot about hospitality that day.

What do you believe to be the biggest factor in being a successful company?

In my experience the most important factor in success for a company is in the quality of the services they offer. It's easy to tell when something has been rushed or when there is little care or intention. If you put passion and care behind what you do then others will notice and even feel the same way you do about your business.

We are fortunate at Global Works to be surrounded by passionate people committed to global education and student travel.

How have you changed/grown since working for your current company?

A few more gray hairs for one! On a more serious note, the most important thing I've learned is how to listen first and to better avoid judging a situation or people. There isn't necessarily one way to get something done, and it's more fulfilling to accomplish something as a team than to make your point or always be right.

What unique qualities does your company possess?

I don't know enough about other companies and their culture, but I can say for sure that was have the most wonderful community of staff who love what they do and consistently put the needs of others before there own. I think we have a strong ethical foundation and are always looking to make decisions that benefit as many people and things as possible.

What is the best story you've heard from a return student?

We constantly here from students and parents about how this experience has positively impacted them and their communities back home. One of the most amazing stories involved a student from the US who had been adopted form Panama. Coincidentally our trip in Panama had a project planned at the same orphanage this student had come from. She joined our program and was able to return there during the trip and provide a truly breathtaking perspective to her group.

Even more amazing was that following the trip she had inquired with our Panamanian guide about the possibility of tracking down her birth family. Somehow he was able to track them down in a village located in the Darien Gap, one of the most remote areas in Central America. She was later able to connect with her birth parents directly.

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