Frequently Asked Questions

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Check our our frequently asked questions below

What forms are required to travel with GL?

GL requires submission of the following for students traveling on any international journey: GL Participant Agreement (SIGNED BY PARTICIPANT AND PARENTS) Authorization for Treatment of a Minor (SIGNED BY PARTICIPANT AND PARENTS) — this document is included in the participant agreement Photocopy of both sides of your family’s medical insurance card. Photocopy of your vaccination booklet showing proof that you have completed all GL-required inoculations. Photocopy of any prescription medicines you will take on the trip. 2 CLEAR Color photocopies of your passport. 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 parent meeting.

What inoculations are required?

Guatemala: There are no legally required inoculations 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.)

How do I get a passport?

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.

Who arranges airfare and accomodations?

Global Leaders books airfare, as we are able to secure the best rates for such a large group. The cost for airfare will be communicated to you 24 hours before we purchase, and will be added to your final payment. 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 $700-900 for Guatemala and around $150 for Girls' Rites. The cost for all accommodations are included in your program fee.

What is the gratuity for?

Gratuity is paid to host families, tour guides, language teachers, bus drivers, and exit tax from Guatemala and the US Southwest. This totals $140 per student. Please bring this money in cash at the time of departure. GL leaders will exchange and distribute it.

How do you select and screen host families?

The families are pre-selected by our full-time staff in Guatemala. 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.

What is your policy on safety?

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 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.

What is the policy on sending students home?

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.

Does GL carry medical or liability insurance? What happens if there is a medical problem on the trip?

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.

When and how can students be contacted in an emergency?

We have a full list of contacts for all GL Staff and Guatemala staff whcih we give to parents prior to departure. We ensure that parents know how to contact us in each location of our trip.

Can students contact their parents at home?

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.

What does your leadership curriculum look like?

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.

Is it safe?

We cannot guarantee safety in host countries (just like we can’t guarantee it walking in unsafe areas in the US!). With that said, we do not visit unsafe areas, take extra precautions when travelling between communities (including utilizing police escorts when necessary), and work very closely with our in-country or on-site local staff to monitor the safety of host countries and communities. We reserve the right to adjust itineraries and cancel any plans due to safety concerns. We have never had a safety issue in 28 trips.

What about allergies or food preferences?

All students include allergy information on the their application, and we double check this the month prior to departure. This information is private, but IS shared with host families/staff so they can prepare accordingly. Host families have significant experience with preparing food to respect food allergies. We also always check in with students in the first days to ensure they are receiving food that fits their diet. The only preference we DON’T accommodate is picky eaters. This is a great opportunity to step out of your culinary comfort zone!

Is the water safe to drink?

The water is not safe in Guatemala, but it is safe in the Southwest US. We provide safe, bottled drinking water for the duration of the trips, and also ensure that all meals are prepared with safe, bottled water. We ensure that students are staying hydrated throughout the trip, and monitor for dehydration related illness.

What if my child gets sick or injured?

We have access and connection to excellent local physicians, and regional hospitals if necessary. GL carries domestic and international medical insurance to guard against issues. Most illness that occurs in country is due to dehydration.

Can I speak to my child while they are in country?

Students will have 1 (Spring Break) or 2 (Summer) opportunities to call home. These are pre-scheduled so you can plan accordingly. You will also have the emergency contact information of staff members – we ask that you only call us in case of emergency. If your student falls ill or we otherwise need to contact you, we will do our best to notify you of issues and updates.

If my student exceeds their fundraising goal, does that count to their program fee?

No. What your family agrees to pay at the beginning of the year is what you will pay, regardless of fundraising. This also means that if your child DOES NOT reach their fundraising goal, we will not hold you financially accountable.

What happens if you have more students apply than you are able to accept?

We take many factors into account when accepting students, including: age (10-11 grade preference), balance of genders, essay response, reflection from references, grades and attendance history, school staff recommendations, group heterogeneity and more. We have utilized a waitlist for the previous 2 years.

What if something happens and my student cannot travel?

If you remove your child, or if GL deems it necessary to remove the participant from the program for any reason, more than 120 days prior to travel date, a refund minus $600 program fees and less cost of airfare will be made within 25 days. This is GL’s sole liability in the event that a trip is cancelled. If a trip is cancelled by GL, within 119 days prior up to and including the day of travel, the following refund will be made within 25 days: GL will refund the program fee less $1500 to cover program costs to date, less the cost of airfare. Separate travel insurance is highly recommended for full cost of program and air costs.

Can I participate in the Local program and not the International program?

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 Programs page for more information.