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GLA Costa Rica - Volunteer Programs for Teens

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Experience

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Community Impact

    9

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

Protecting the Pacific

I never thought such a short trip could change my life so drastically and positively. The two weeks I spent in Costa Rica where the best of my life.

We hiked through biologically diverse parks, we surfed, we went zip lining, and kayaking as well as doing community service. Seeing the impact all our hard work had on the community and the ocean was truly gratifying. This trip allowed me to grow as a person, it made me aware of worldwide issues,it gave me a chance to meet new interesting people and forced me to get out of my comfort zone and I loved every second of it. The mentors were eager to teach us, they were friendly and always knew what to do.

Overall it was an amazing experience, safe, interesting and life changing.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Experience

    9

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Community Impact

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

My GLA at Costa Rica Spanish service program 2016

The GLA program I chose was Costa Rica Spanish Service Adventure, one of the flagship program featuring both language learning, local volunteering and exploration of the Costa Rican culture. The good-nature of the local people and welcoming atmosphere, along with the breathtaking nature views, struck me and remain unforgettable despite the distance of time and geography. The inspirations surrounding environmental concerns, nature and human, individuals and the community, tourists vs travelers... all in all, were just fascinating and eye-opening that refreshes my mind and opens up a new perspective for me to behold the beauty of life. Besides, working at a eco farm surely was a brand new start in my life, to pull away from the urban area, build and sow under the sunlight, breathe the nature and live by the heart of the earth on a pristine country. It tells me much more than what I could have learnt from plain words and figures. It was just beyond imagination that such stories narrated by the people from their acts, personalities and voices truly touched me and bestowed me the sense of appreciation towards life itself. Although we had to commit ourselves in some physical activities and reside in a country far from home, the experience eclipses the transient nervousness and get myself fully involved in the 21-day program, which I guess, should be attributed to GLA as the magic of volunteering abroad.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Experience

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Community Impact

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

Costa Rica: beachside service adventure

Never in my life did I think i would be able to experience an opportunity like this. Not only did I get to experience another culture and interact with the locals, but I also got to make an impact. Through the program, I got to help build a bridge for the community. Being able to impact a community like that was amazing; I was able to provide them with something that could change their whole lives. Service was not the only thing that made this trip memorable. We were constantly doing cultural activities that got us interacting with the locals. We traveled to an animal sanctuary, went snorkeling, hiked around a volcano, went zip lining, and lot of other fun and interactive activities. I most certainly made some friendships with people from all over the United States and the world that I will always remember and hold in my heart. The mentors I had for my trip were so friendly, and I really got to know everyone on the trip. This is definitely a summer I will never forget!

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Experience

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Community Impact

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

Protecting the Pacific

when i first started looking for opportunities to volunteer abroad i never thought i would find anything like Global Leadership Adventures, and when i did i couldn't wait to sing up. i decided to go to Costa Rica and volunteer a long side the beaching the Protecting the Pacific program and it was amazing. i met people from all around the world as well as the U.S. and in the corse of 2 week we became a team, we worked together to achieve what was expected of us while doing our community service and we made up games and lost at soccer as a team. we were exposed to world wide as well as local issues and were given the opportunity to think of solutions and to realize that theres time to make a change and that if we put our minds to it we can make a change. I got to meet and talk with the locals and bonded over rice reships and soccer games. we worked closely with the children as well as the adults in the community and were able to see who what we were doing was affecting them and how thankful they were. but it wasn't all heavy volunteer work we got to go kayaking though mangroves, zip lining, hiking and surfing as well as swimming by and climbing a waterfall. the 2 weeks went by so fast i wish i could have staid longer but I still keep in touch with the other volunteers and the people that supervised us while there. this past summer was one of the best summers of my life and i can't wait to volunteer abroad with Global Leadership adventures agin.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Experience

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Community Impact

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

Global Leadership Adventures Volunteer Experience: Protecting The Pacific

Going to Costa Rica through Global Leadership Adventures was both fun and educational and provided me with new world knowledge, travel confidence, reaffirmed passion for service, new friends, and insight into what I'd like to do in the future.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Experience

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Community Impact

    9

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

GLA Costa Rica 2015

I went on a trip with Global Leadership Adventures this past summer called the Initiative for Children, in Nosara, Costa Rica. It was an experience of a life time. The people I met were so nice and welcoming and I really created a bond with the other students on my trip. We help better a community in Nosara and we could really see the impact on the people. They were so happy with what we did for them. It really deepened my love for service. The adventures with GLA include surfing, zip lining, and hiking through breath taking forests. These adventures pushed me out of my shell and I have gone back. Since I've returned home from GLA I'm more confident, adventurous , and wanting to give back. GLA was a life changing expreince that I would encourage people to go on

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Experience

    9

  • Program Administration

    9

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Community Impact

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

Spanish Service Adventure Mountains

So, what is Global Leadership Adventures? When looking around for programs, I was completely skeptical of all facets of all programs, especially considering that I wanted to absolute best experience possible for my summer. Well, as I am sure you've heard from countless others (because that is truly how great Global Leadership Adventures is...everyone simply loves it) Global Leadership Adventures is literally the amalgamation of all one could possibly hope for. I'll start off by talking about the home life. You come into the program with 20 other strangers and a few mentors and you walk out of Global Leadership Adventures a cohesive family that has bonded over a variety of activities, conversations, and excursions. To this day, I still talk and interact with my fellow Global Leadership Adventure brothers and sisters and that relationship, I believe, is priceless. That, in itself, was one of my favorite parts of the adventure. The mentors truly facilitate conversation to ease the transition and are so supportive of everyone. There was never a moment I did not feel safe and at home with my mentors -- they were truly amazing and I admire and look up to them in so many ways.

Next, I'll talk a little about a typical day in the Spanish Service Adventure. You spend about 4 hours each day doing volunteer work (painting, making cement, planting/farming) and then you spend the second half of the day in Spanish class to hone your vocabulary, speaking skills, and writing. You are able to fit so many things into your day and it ends up being a really active, exciting experience every day; each day brings a pleasant surprise and new lesson that you will cherish.

Excursions. These were just a great way to bond with your peers and mentors and were SO much fun. In my adventure, we went to the beach and learned how to surf (I had my first surf lesson!), went whitewater rafting, went to a Costa Rican adventure park (repelling from trees, zip line, swinging across the jungle on a rope), went to have some of the BEST coffee ever (I usually am not a fan, but I made an exception for this!), and even learned some history about the culture that surrounded us.

Overall, there are so many more things to this program than I can even express in words, but please do not hesitate to contact someone from Global Leadership Adventures because they are so welcoming and willing to help. I hope that you truly consider this wonderful opportunity because this was an irreplaceable adventure that I encourage anyone to embark on.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Experience

    9

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Community Impact

    8

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

GLA: Empowering Rainforest Communities - Best experience of my life!

I had the incredibly amazing experience of attending the Costa Rica: Empowering Rainforest Communities program in July. It was completely eye-opening and life-changing. I made friends and experiences that I will never forget, and still reflect on each day (no, I'm not exaggerating, and yes, we still have a group chat on Facebook so we can talk to each other almost daily).
In Costa Rica, not only did I do amazing volunteer work in the dryforest, rainforest, and local elementary school, I also participated in exhilirating excursions such as hiking through a rainforest and up a volcano or camping on a remote beach. I've seen amazing, beautiful sights and for that I feel extremely fortunate. The excursions provide an excellent view into the country's environment and culture, as you learn a lot about the place from the hike leader who sometimes accompanies you through the forests.
The food was something I'll never forget, either - prepared fresh every day and including freshly squeezed juices from native fruits, each meal was constantly looked forward to by everyone. I miss it every day because I know I will never be able to eat the same things ever again! The kitchen staff and program leaders have you health and happiness at the forefront of your mind and it is truly reflected in the food we were served.
The program leaders were also inspiring, kind, funny, and energetic. They seemed to be so passionate about what they were doing and reached out to everybody. I developed such great relationships with all of them and miss them so much.
All the teens I met were fantastic people and we bonded so quickly. We became so close and it is almost guaranteed that no matter who you are or how different you think you may be, when you are thrown in another country knowing absolutely nobody, you will make some of the greatest friendships of you life.
All in all, GLA is a fantastic program and the 2 weeks I spent in Costa Rica are 2 weeks that I'll never forget and always miss.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Experience

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Community Impact

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

Enrichment Through Volunteering

I participated in the Costa Rica Protecting the Pacific program in August of 2014. This experience not only allowed me to participate in meaningful humanitarian work, but also allowed me to immerse myself in the unique atmosphere of Costa Rica. The program was the correct combination of enriching volunteer work and exciting immersions into the Costa Rican community. We stayed at an eco-hotel (Canto de Ballenas) that was more than sufficient in meeting our needs. Although initial difficulties arose in adjusting to the absence of technology, we quickly embraced the idea of opening ourselves up to our surroundings.

The days consisted of 3-4 hours of volunteer work and 2-3 hours of activities. Our volunteer work consisted of building 2 filtration systems for for the Bahia Ballena National Park. We were assisted by dedicated community members who work tirelessly in order to improve the sustainability of their town. The work was physically demanding, but we were extremely satisfied when we saw the final product. While we weren't volunteering, we engaged in numerous activities that highlighted the beauty of the region. We went on a zip-lining tour through the canopies of the Osa peninsula, played soccer with the local school children, participated in a boat tour in which we saw animals such as turtles and dolphins, creatures that make up the backbone of Costa Rica's marine ecosystem.

The program coordinators were exceptional in dealing with any difficulties that arose during the program. They were understanding of difficulties and were effective in dissolving any issues that arose.

My experience with Global Leadership Adventures was nothing short of amazing, and I would not hesitate to recommend the program to anybody willing to participate in an enriching, worldly experience.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    9

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Social Life

    10

GLA changed my life!

When I first started looking into what program I wanted to volunteer abroad through, I came across Global Leadership Adventures and thought it looked amazing! I questioned how this program had so many positive reviews all over the internet and no negative reviews or complaints anywhere! Turns out this program is absolutely amazing and that's why there's no bad reviews... because there is nothing bad to say about it. My parents of course questioned the safety and were a little concerned that it could possibly be a scam. Global Leadership Adventures is not a scam at all! I felt 100% safe the whole two weeks I was in Costa Rica. I recommend this program to anyone because:

Global Leadership Adventures is a great way for you to gain communication skills. I was not necessarily shy before this program but I did not like talking in front of groups of people. This program gave me the chance to practice that. Everyone gets the chance to practice their communication skills in many unique ways. On my trip, Protecting the Pacific, we had group studies where you got selected to be in a group based off your interests (from a survey you took). In those groups, you studied the topic given to you and with your group you all presented what you had researched. You also get the chance to share your opinions during group mentor sessions every night. Every time you go into the community, the community members are open to speaking Spanish with you even if your Spanish is not very good. Lastly, you get to practice communication skills every day for however long you are on your trip with a group of strangers!! It is so fun to get to learn about everyone!

This program is a great opportunity to earn volunteer hours. Not only does it look great on a college application or a resume, but its fun and means a lot to the people you help! Volunteering as a group is so much fun! When I was in Costa Rica, I volunteered in many ways. My group and I made two bio-gardens, painted in the community as well as painted a building in a national park, picked up trash along the beach and tracked trash throughout the via a GPS system, created rugs with fabric scraps with children and more! Volunteering abroad is such an amazing opportunity.

Global Leadership Adventures gave me the opportunity to push myself to do what was scary at the time by doing super fun adventures! The adventures that I got to participate in were ziplining, snorkeling, surfing, visiting a waterfall and swimming in it, kayaking through a mangrove and hiking through a rainforest. Previous to this trip, I had ziplined but the ziplines that I went on in Costa Rica were so high and more of an adventure! Snorkeling was amazing because it was my first time and I never saw fish so up close. Surfing was an unexplainable feeling. Surfing is hard, and it took awhile for some people to get up and "ride that wave!" Everyone supported eachother in this activity and when you got up on the wave, everyone was cheering you on! The waterfall was beautiful! I loved that our mentors gave us time to experience it rather than just look at it! We got to swim in it, and jump off the rocks into the waterfall (of course at a safe height). Everyone in my group jumped off the rocks into the waterfall even though some were scared of heights! It was amazing all of the encouraging words that were spoken that day. Kayaking through the mangrove was a cool experience because we had the chance to see many animals if we were quiet (which it's hard to keep 21 kids quiet let me tell you). Lastly, the rainforest was amazing because our tour guides gave us the opportunity to gain so much knowledge about the life within the rainforest and why they are important. I gained something out of each excursion I went on in Costa Rica from facts to lessons and even learning more about myself!

Global Leadership Adventures gave me the opportunity to become a better leader. Every day there was a new pair of leaders. Their jobs were to keep an eye on everyone by doing count offs before leaving every place and writing the schedule on the board, blogging at the end of the day, getting everyone's attention when someone needed to talk, getting everyone awake and to breakfast, lunch and dinner on-time as well as making sure they are ready when the taxis arrive to get us where we needed to be on time. It was a great opportunity to gain my leadership skills.

Safety during this program is very good. On walks, there is a mentor in front of the group, middle and end. During activities the mentors are always watching and even participating. At the eco lodge that we stayed in, there was nightly security guards that who walked around. The mentors did room checks before bed as well. The bathrooms are nice-- cold water but when you're in Costa Rica it's not a big deal. The food was well prepared as well. I didn't worry about anything while I was on this trip and my parents were relieved too because I got to call them when I arrived and once or twice during the trip. When someone got a cut or injury, the mentors were 100% helpful and made sure it was clean and okay. There is nothing to worry about when traveling with Global Leadership Adventures.

This program is amazing and life changing. I want to share my experience with everyone and encourage them to go on this amazing journey. I went abroad for two weeks and I wish I could have stayed longer. A lot of the people I met wanted to stay longer too! I didn't want to leave because I didn't want to say goodbye to the amazing, life long friends I made and be in different states (and countries). I didn't want to say goodbye to my mentors. I didn't want to say goodbye to the beautiful, breathtaking place I fell in love with!!!

I would go on this experience again in a heartbeat! I hope you take on this experience too :)

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Experience

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Community Impact

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

Summer to Remember

Global Leadership Adventures provided me with some of the best 2 weeks of my life and experiences that I will always remember. It also provided me with a chance to make relationships and friendships that will last a lifetime. What is unique about the service programs of GLA is that they do not go in with the mindset that we are these great people helping out the unfortunate people of Costa Rica, or whatever destination you choose. Global Leadership Adventures is unique in the fact that they encourage cultural exchange. They want their students to benefit as much from the local people as the local people benefit from the students. The service program truly opens your eyes to the world outside of your little bubble. Students will leave the program with a greater understanding of people and their role in the world. I would definitely recommend Global Leadership Adventures to any teenager looking to volunteer abroad.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Experience

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Community Impact

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

Summer to Remember

When I first signed up for Global Leadership Adventures I was curious to see wether all the reviews I had read, like the one you are reading right now, were really true. After my two weeks in Costa Rica it is safe to say that Global Leadership Adventures met and surpassed all of my expectations. The staff is incredible! They are all very personal and outgoing which is important because at the beginning of the trip many of the students, including myself, are timid being in a foreign countries with 20+ strangers. The staff makes sure everyone feels comfortable at all times and was very supportive in kick starting the student to student interaction. As far as the service goes, it might have been my favorite part of the trip. Of course I loved all of the amazing adventures I got to experience like, hiking to the crater of a volcano, relaxing in the Costa Rican Hot Springs, or camping on the beach. But the service really allows you to immerse yourself in a completely different culture and provides you with time to develop relationships with your fellow service members as well as the local community members. It truly opened my eyes to how other parts of the world live and even though they might not be as financially fortunate as we were, it did not mean they had to compromise happiness. If you have read more than one review you probably have heard people say something along the lines of, "they changed my life as much as I changed theirs." But it honestly can not be expressed enough how much of an impact the local people make on your own life and mindset. What I think is unique about Global Leadership Adventures is that they don't build the service up to be as this grand gesture we are doing for the poor locals. They emphasize a cultural exchange, we are going into these communities to help them out with their daily struggles, but in return they provide us with a greater knowledge of people and of the world. I would highly recommend Global Leadership Adventures to any teenager looking for an opportunity to volunteer abroad, it is truly a life changing experience.