• There is no major difference in the philosophy of the California and Colorado programs, although the local service opportunities are different. Both programs still pursue partnerships in environmental, educational and social justice, and students from both states became part of one cohesive group during the Colorado Leadership Retreat, and while working together in Guatemala or Ghana. Because GL encourages students to develop and implement their own service projects, both groups may have different priorities from year to year, but they have the same tools and guidance available to them.
  • GL requires submission of the following for students traveling on any international journey:

    1. GL Participant Agreement (SIGNED BY PARTICIPANT AND PARENTS)
    2. Authorization for Treatment of a Minor (SIGNED BY PARTICIPANT AND PARENTS) — this document is included in the participant agreement
    3. Photocopy of both sides of your family’s medical insurance card.
    4. Photocopy of your vaccination booklet showing proof that you have completed all GL-required inoculations.
    5. Photocopy of any prescription medicines you will take on the trip.
    6. 2 CLEAR photocopies of your passport.
    7. One color, clear, passport or wallet sized photo

    GL will collect your participant agreement during the fall Commitment Meeting, and the remaining documents during the final spring parent meeting.

  • Guatemala: There are none legally required to enter the country, however GL requires:

    1. Tetanus
    2. Hepatitis A
    3. Hepatitis B
    4. Typhoid
    5. Optional: precautionary malaria pills. (Very few students will take the anti-malaria pills. It is a very low-risk area, and we are only at potential risk during dusk hours. By covering up with clothes and applying repellent, travelers reduce any potential risk significantly. Visit the United States’ Center for Disease Control website for more information.)



    1. Yellow Fever: an “International Prophylaxis Card” containing proof of the yellow fever vaccine is required to enter Ghana, and to enter the US after travel to Ghana)
    2. Polio
    3. Tetanus
    4. Hepatitis A
    5. Hepatitis B
    6. Typhoid
    7. Malaria pills: malaria pills are not optional, as Ghana is a much higher risk area for malaria than Guatemala
    8. Some doctors additionally recommend Rabies and Meningitis vaccines, but these are not required by GL
  • Requirements include: application and fee, proof of citizenship, and proof of identity. Applicants must apply in person at a Passport Agency with their parent or guardian. For instructions, visit the US State Department’s website.
  • GL staff will arrange all airfare and accommodations. We work hard to find the lowest group rates to keep airfare low. Cost of airfare on top of the program fee typically ranges between $650 – $850 for Guatemala and $1350-$1650 for Ghana.  The cost for all accommodations are included in your program fee.
  • Gratuity is paid to host families, tour guides, language teachers, bus drivers, and exit tax from Guatemala or Ghana. This totals $100 per student. Please bring this money in cash at the time of departure. GL leaders will exchange and distribute it.
  • Students stay only with host families while in their host city.  During any excursion (Mayan ruins, monkey sanctuary, Cape Coast Castle) students stay in vetted, reputable hotels.  You will receive a detailed itinerary during the final parent meeting with information on any location where your student will be staying. 
  • The families are pre-selected by our full-time staff in Guatemala or Ghana. They are then screened and their homes are visited prior to students’ arrival. All families have training and experience with hosting foreign students, and are prepared by GL staff to be aware of rules, requirements, and needs of GL students. They are our partners in the Global Leaders program – not only are they aware of rules and policies, but they help us reach our program goals and provide invaluable cultural insight to our students. They treat all food and serve only purified, safe water. Many families have been working with GL for years, and we have formed close friendships with them. Students often keep in touch with their host families after returning home.
  • Safety is our first priority; we are extremely cautious during international travel. We ensure that all students are safe the entire trip and actively take steps to avoid any potential danger.

    If the decision is between safety and fun, safety always wins.  If the decision is between safety and an experience, safety always wins.

    All GL journey leaders make this their number one priority. We never travel at night and take all State Department recommended precautions to travelers abroad to ensure a safe trip. Our safety record is perfect thus far. Says a former GL parent: “I had not a shadow of a doubt about your commitment to our kids’ health and safety. I felt the messages that you conveyed throughout the process were always clear and consistent. I felt that the long-standing relationships that GL has with the host families assured me that my daughter would be in good hands at night when you delivered her to her host family after a long day of working hard. And, when she returned and I saw the pictures and heard the stories, I could see for myself that her host family was a wonderful, caring and generous one, with whom she remains in contact. As for the travels, your years of traveling…gave me complete confidence that everything would run smoothly and any glitches would be handled professionally. I had greater trust in you than I would have in myself in the same situation.”

    Students are never unaccompanied by a GL journey leader. The only exception is during the home stay, when students are with their host families. This is family time. Students are not allowed to even step out of their host homes unless they are accompanied by a GL leader.

  • There are three ways to get sent home at your parents’ expense (plus any additional cancellation costs):

    • Attempted use or use of illegal drugs, alcohol or tobacco.
    • Leaving the group or your homestay at any time.
    • Engaging in actions that are detrimental to the group process, including blatant disrespect to anyone in the group or with whom the group interacts, or disrespect of the rules and requirements of the program.
  • GL carries basic travel medical insurance for all participants, as well as liability coverage. Each student needs to make sure that their family policy covers them abroad, as that will be their primary insurance. If students do not have coverage, we buy them additional travel insurance. In the case that they are scholarship students, it is at no extra cost. While we have never had a major emergency situation, we have the Common Hope Clinic at our disposal, and several private hospitals with physicians on duty in our host communities, and surrounding areas. We take every step to contact and update parents in the case of emergency or illness.
  • We have a full list of contacts, both CO and CA GL staff and Guatemala staff, that we give to parents prior to departure. We ensure that parents know how to contact us in each location of our trip.
  • Yes. We use a phone tree upon our arrival in our host countries to notify parents. Then, we allow students to call at least once, but sometimes twice or three times during the trip. These call times are included in the itinerary so parents can plan for them. We maintain a GL blog and post to our Facebook page to help parents keep track of our activities.
  • Our curriculum is an intentional combination of democratic classroom principles; leadership content including privilege & oppression, cultural competency, leader case studies and current events; and group dynamic exercises meant to enhance trust and engagement within the group. The curriculum includes anything from videos and readings on cultural differences, to guest speakers from the community, to group projects developing service opportunities, to team building activities on social issues. Above all, the curriculum is responsive, taking into account the insight of the Executive Boards and the feedback of students themselves.

    GL staff always takes time to check-in with each student, at home and in our host countries, to reflect, discuss, and work to understand the impact of their activities. We provide guidance and support for both beautiful moments of connection and empowerment, and for challenges such as witnessing extreme poverty or working with those with different physical or mental abilities. While we encourage students to stretch from their comfort zones, our trained and experienced staff works hard to ensure that they have the support they need while in unfamiliar territory.

  • Yes! Global Leaders welcomes any student who is unwilling or unable to travel abroad to join the Local Leadership Program, and have access to the same meaningful service learning opportunities and leadership development. Check out the Local page for more information.
  • No. GL believes that it is equally as important to be engaged in your local community as it is to be engaged in your global community. Further, because local and international service offer different needs and contexts of service, students become even more empowered to participate, whether they are serving abroad or in their own neighborhood. Students who are not dedicated to reaching the goal of 50 hours of local service may be removed from the international program.