Global Leadership Adventures (GLA)

Program Reviews

Default avatar
karen
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

My daughter returned from Costa Rica saying it was the best experience ever. She had to travel out of the country on her own and handled flight delays coming back. She built strong friendships with all the other attendees and they are already planning reunions. They helped out with children in the community but also learned many new activities including surfing, zip lining, white water rafting. They did cooking lessons, dancing lessons. The facilities were also reported to me as being very nice and there was a special cook who offered a wide range of food. We ran into no problems except the reto4 hour flight delay but that worked out fine in the end. I would highly recommend this program and we already told our younger son that he can go somewhere through GLA when he is the same age.

Default avatar
Amanda
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

I loved GLA program and I loved Thailand. I went two years ago and on another program now because I’m not in high school anymore and I wish GLA wasn’t only to high schoolers because it was the best two weeks. They had a schedule and followed it, you were never bored although there was designated down time to relax and chat. It is expensive yes, but 100% worth it for what it provides. I liked how it was both touristy but we did volunteering like it wasn’t just one or another. If you went on this trip, you will be able to explore Thailand. They make sure you can. With volunteering, it was fun and educating and hard but worth the trouble. I made friends for life that I still speak to today, two years later. I wish I did the three weeks but I got so much out even just two weeks.

What was the most unfamiliar thing you ate?
The fruits they have in Thailand, they were spikey on the outside and looked like a clear egg.
Default avatar
Isabela
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Since I was young, I've always loved to travel and do volunteer work. When I found GLA online I was ecstatic to complete both of the things I love to do at once, the only problem was picking a country (because of the variety of countries they offer, which I LOVED) and the price. The great thing was GLA offered grants and scholarships that enabled me to travel to Ghana, so don't let the price stop you from enrolling all you have to do is talk to a GLA representative. I picked Ghana the 21 day Children of Africa trip because of the motive of education and cultural immersion. Once I enrolled GLA had helpful tips on packing and what to expect which really prepared me for my journey, even a webinar to further prepare the students and parents. Throughout the whole process GLA was available to answer questions and keep both me and my mother informed. Once we arrived in Ghana the staff was outside the airport waiting for our arrival to welcome us to the country, all the students checked in with the staff and were given a way to communicate with there parents that they made it safely. From that point till the very last day the staff was hands down AMAZING. The trip was everything I ever hoped for: culturally immersing, exploring the sites, interacting with the locals, playing and teaching kids, etc. The trip exceeded my expectations, it was truly life changing being able to share a passion of travel and service with people from all over the world your age. I will never forget this experience.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
I would advice travelers to follow GLA updates and travel portal online to be the best prepared for the trip. I would also advice to soak the trip in its entirety, no regrets. Have an open mind about everything: the culture, people, FOOD, etc. Also don't forget your camera, its beautiful in the Volta region. Be open to the students on the trip as well, you can also learn from them and their lives; I would contact them before the trip to introduce yourself through whatsapps or facebook (one of my peers created a group chat). Lastly, just treasure every single moment of this trip and that the smallest of change can be the biggest to someone else.
Default avatar
Natalie
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

I had the best 10 days of my life on this trip! It was not nearly long enough and I'm going back with GLA for 21 days this year. Costa Rica is a beautiful country that GLA does an amazing job of showing to it's students. We learned so much about the culture and how to respect the way of life while there. One of my favorite lessons learned was responsible voluntourism. My service project was to help a local elementary school with a garden and murals. We cleaned out a patch in their back yard area then built garden beds. We also talked to the students about what they wanted on their walls then painted sustainability themed murals. My personal favorite activity was playing soccer with the most beautiful backdrop with local kids. Back at home base after long service days we learned lessons about leadership and service. Meals were eaten outside under the stars or on the balcony overlooking the beach. The nightly "taste of Costa Rica" dish allowed us to sample the local cuisine. Though I was there for just 10 days I made amazing friends and memories to last a lifetime.

What was your funniest moment?
One day at my service site while painting we heard a swell of noise from the tree behind the school. The child next to me said "monos". I was on my feet running for the tree before I could think. Within the limited Spanish I could remember from school the word for monkey was still in my vocabulary. My friends rushed around me and we stared at about 15 monkeys in the tree. There was even a baby clinging to its mother. I was speechless. Though the moment was more amazing than funny to us GLA students the students at escuela paraiso though it was funny. The monkeys was a weekly occurrence for them whereas all i get to see at school is birds and the occasional squirrel. With the children laughing around me and the monkeys screeching above me I realized how amazing it was that I was able to experience this different life in another country.
Default avatar
Claire
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

I had an incredible experience serving at a local school, bonding with my fellow participants, taking the opportunity to practice my Spanish, as well as learning about the history and culture of Guatemala. This program has helped to shape the person I am. It was the perfect balance between service, cultural activities, and forming what have become lasting friendships with my peers and mentors. I would highly recommend entering the program with an open mind. It may seem overwhelming at first but that will quickly grow into excitement. GLA does an amazing job of reminding you to take a breath then giving you nudge outside of your comfort level to the place where you will grow, learn, and enjoy yourself the most.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Keep a journal! You will definetly want to be able to look back on your trip once you return home and it’s a great way to reflect on your experience as you go.
Default avatar
Sophia "Sophie"
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

This past summer I was lucky enough to go on a summer program to Bali. I did the Bali Global Health Initiative, which was where I was able to dive into the health care system in Bali, have hands on learning where we got to go into local people's homes and take their basic health information, and teach children in local schools about hygiene, eating healthy, and exercising. Not only was it incredible to meet the locals and also learn more about health, but also all the people on the trip were so amazing, thoughtful, and engaged. The friends and connections I have made on my trip will continue to last with me for a long time. Lastly, I was able to become more independent and learn more about myself and who I am as a person. GLA creates such an amazing opportunity for students to not only find their passions, but also learn more about themselves, how they can become better people, and what they can contribute to the world. This trip has changed me for the better in so many ways, and I recommend this trip to anyone who wants to learn more about a very different culture, handle medical gear, and make life-long friendships.

What would you improve about this program?
The only thing that I would change about this trip is to give kids who are planning to go on the trip a heads up about the language. In Bali it was hard to communicate with the locals because we did not understand Balinese well and they did not understand English well, so at times it was difficult. With that, I would give a little handbook that includes more of the language so that kids can learn a little more of the language before they come.
Default avatar
Lillian
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Hi! My name is Lillian and I am a GLA alumni. My trip through Global Leadership Adventures was one of the most incredible experiences I have had in my entire life. I went to the Dominican Republic for two weeks on a trip focusing on health. I went into the trip with little expectation, but fearful to travel to an unfamiliar country without my family and surrounded by new faces. The trip was everything and more that I hoped it would be and I am so thankful that I was given the opportunity to embark on this adventure. I had life-changing experiences working with the locals, learning about other cultures, and getting to understand the reality of life in a third world country. Not only was the work we did so valuable and unforgettable, but I made friends that I know I will have for a lifetime. Overall, the trip was the best two weeks of my life, where I learned so much and had so much fun!

What was the most surprising thing you saw or did?
One day, we went to the most beautiful lagoon and got to zip-line over it. But there is a twist, you had to let go of the zip-line and plunge 30 feet down into the water. It is one of the best memories from my trip and I would do it all over again if i could! It definitely tested by fear of heights and spontaneous attitude, but I am so proud of myself for doing it and having an awesome time cheering on everyone else who was just as afraid as I was!
Default avatar
Cara
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Hi! I am a Global Leadership Adventures Alumni and I had an amazing trip with GLA. I choose Ghana: children of Africa and this was the best experience of my life. In Ghana, we lived in a house that was in the village I volunteered in. There wasn't ever any moment that I felt unsafe. At the age of 15, this was not only my first time traveling into Africa but my first time traveling alone. I feel that I have grown a lot, everything from no longer having a single story of Africa to knowing how to check in my bags. I didn't know much about the culture. shortly after arriving we got a little history and visited a host family to learn how to speak some Krobo. The program staff were very supportive and were always there to talk if you needed anything. a million words can't begin to explain the love, joy, and so many more emotions from this trip.

What was the most nerve-racking moment and how did you overcome it?
The most nerve-racking moment wouldn't be during the trip but rather flying alone without my parents for the first time. I am glad that I now know I am confident to fly by my self.
Default avatar
Peyton
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Wow! GLA Peru was the best experience of my life. It was filled with growth, learning, service, friends, and fun. Every day of the program was well thought out and planned. I would definitely recommend! It was an amazing experience that allowed me to meet other students who love to travel and help other people! I would a 100% recommend GLA Peru! It was such a life changing experience. We did so many fun activity’s from hiking the Andes to zip lining! This trip was filled with so much servic too! We would do service in the morning and then have an adventure in the afternoon! For example if we did service in the morning somethimes in the afternoon we would go out in the town or have a music lesson! The lodging is very nice, it is a hostel that is just for GLA use! The owners are so nice and the hostel is gorgeous!

What was the most nerve-racking moment and how did you overcome it?
The scariest moment of the whole trip woudl have to be getting on a plane by myself, that was very frightening! But I got through it and had no problem! I wasn’t even nervous flying home!
Default avatar
Cara
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Hi! I am a Global Leadership Adventures Alumni and I had an amazing trip with GLA. I choose Ghana: children of Africa and this was the best experience of my life. In Ghana, we lived in a house that was in the village I volunteered in. There wasn't ever any moment that I felt unsafe. At the age of 15, this was not only my first time traveling into Africa but my first time traveling alone. I feel that I have grown a lot, everything from no longer having a single story of Africa to knowing how to check in my bags. I didn't know much about the culture. shortly after arriving we got a little history and visited a host family to learn how to speak some Krobo. The program staff were very supportive and were always there to talk if you needed anything. a million words can't begin to explain the love, joy, and so many more emotions from this trip.

What was the most nerve-racking moment and how did you overcome it?
The most nerve-racking moment for me would not be during the trip but, rather learning to fly without my parents for the first time. I'm glad I have learned this life long skill.