From EARTH University to UWC

Buenos dias!

Today, we travel from EARTH University back to United World College for our final full day. We have had an amazing time! Students returned from homestays with so many exciting stories and new Spanish skills. We went white water rafting and enjoyed a multicultural celebration last night. It was a busy but exciting day. Please check out the pictures below. Thank you for following the blog this year and hasta luego!

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Homestays Continue!

Students are enjoying their homestay experiences and have almost completed their short time in the nearby community. They will be returning to the EARTH University campus tomorrow after white water rafting in the morning. We are looking forward to hearing their great stories and enjoying our last few days here!

EARTH UniversityManantiales

Argentina y Laureles

Homestays have begun!

Students were placed in their homestays yesterday and will be staying until Wednesday. They were all smiles as they greeted their host families and received a tour of the local farms. Some projects that the students are engaged in include gardening, milking cows, painting garden signs, playing soccer with friends and family, and generally participating in any daily farm activities. They are having a great time and we put a few pictures below. We will be posting a few more pictures of their adventures over the course of the next few days! Hasta luego!

Bella Vista Laureles


Day 4 Costa Rica!

Bugs and Bananas! Walking through the rain-forest getting bitten, seeing wildlife, and meeting new people.  Today we visited a banana facility that supplies organic bananas to Whole Foods grocery stores in the US. Seeing the banana packing facility and learning the process was interesting but it is obviously hard work!  This experience made us feel very lucky for the situations we are in at home but also left us wanting to know more about agriculture. Next we went into the Rain Forest and saw the most amazing bugs, snakes, and best of all a monkey!

We also went to a dairy farm. We saw pigs and cows and got to learn the process of creating sustainable fuel. We also learned the process of milking cows. I got a bug in my hair!


Written by…North Watch!

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Day 3 in Costa Rica

Hey guys! West Watch here.

This morning, some of us woke up very early to go play futbol. At around 8 in the morning, we all met in the cafeteria to have some breakfast which included pancakes, rice, salsa, fruit, and eggs. After breakfast, we packed our bags, and prepared to leave for EARTH University. We drove to EARTH University by bus. While driving, we crossed the Continental Divide, we went from the Pacific Coast to the Caribbean Coast, and even went under the only tunnel in Costa Rica. After arriving, our first activity was viewing a ten minute video about EARTH and its students. After that, we ate lunch on campus. For lunch, we had rice and beans, choice of chicken or fish, yucca, and a salad grown right here on campus! Following lunch, we took a tour around campus. We saw many different plants, bugs, and coconuts. After our tour, we met with our school groups to discuss our Leader Learning Plans (LLP’s). This activity was followed by an in-depth discussion about the 5 C’s with our watch groups. After this, we ate dinner and had a little bit of down time. Our last activity for the night was talking with four students who attend EARTH University. To close out the night, we made a circle and discussed our individual ‘glums and glows’ for the day. After a long day, we’re all looking forward to a good night’s rest. Hasta manana!



~West Watch (Maya, Eli, Ashley, Walter, Quashiana, Carlos)



Day 2 in Costa Rica

Today was GREAT!!!  We started the day at 8:45 with a delicious pinto, and then played some fun games such as “Sister, Sister,” and “Mafia.”  Then we learned about Costa Rican culture and dance, and had lunch.  Then we took a trip to Santa Ana, the local town, and ate lots of food, gained a better understanding of their currency, and practiced Spanish. The mosquitoes so far aren’t bad at all and we have yet to see any rain. We had an informative session from representatives at UWC and they led a discussion on how to adapt to conflicts that may occur with people who share different beliefs. Youth led sessions were an important part of the day, and each group took turns facilitating discussions, games, and activities on various topics such as Costa Rican culture, racism, discrimination, sports, feminism, and stereotypes. It was a fun and educational day!

Written by:

South Watch!

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Year 3 in Costa Rica Has Begun!

We have started the Year 3 Institute in Costa Rica! Students arrived today at United World College in Santa Ana, which is a suburb of San Jose. After dinner and introductions, students started planning the sessions that they will lead in the days to come. Although a bit tired from travel, everyone was excited to start the institute! Please stay tuned in the coming days to see more details about our journey.

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New for 2016: Year 1 Tall Ship in L.A. California

In 2016 GYLI will partner with L.A. Maritime Institute to add a Year 1 tall-ship session in L.A., California July 17-21, 2016

As GYLI continues to grow and expand, we are excited to launch our first west coast program in Southern California.  We have established excellent partnerships and this program will help advance GYLI’s mission of inspired global citizenship, leadership, identity and care of for the environment.

Day 1–July 17.  Arrival at Youth Hostel San Pedro  and Friendship Bell Park.  Here GYLI participants will experience a beautiful view of the Pacific as they learn about Collaborative Leadership and the basics of the GYLI 4 Pillars.  IMG_2952

Day 2- July 18

Participants will participate in three workshops:  5C’s of awareness, intro to religious pluralism, and Youth voice in schools in communities

Days 3-4: Full day sails aboard the Exy Johnson tall ship


Day 5–Presentations of Leader Learning Plans (LLPs) and transfer of the deep GYLI learning back to home schools and communities

To learn more abotu the Los Angeles Maritime Institute please visit


2015 Workshops & Retreats

In addition to our summer programs, GYLI is fortunate to work with a number of schools and organizations on 1 and 2 day retreats, workshops and leadership programs.  We love this chance to extend our work from the summer and interact with students and teachers closer to home. If  you are interested in a workshop for 1 school or many schools in the same community, contact the GYLI office to start the process.

Some recent retreats and workshops we have planned and facilitated.

Episcopal School of Dallas (TX) Middle School Teachers Workshop: August 17, 2015.  Matt Nink led a 1 day workshop focused on Leadership Styles and Multi-cultural identity for MS teachers and administrators.

North Shore Country Day (IL) Senior Leadership Day: August 25, 2015.  Matt Nink led a 1 day workshop for 12th graders focused on helping them assume positive leadership roles in their school  and community.  Student facilitators led small group discussion and a mix-it-up lunch.

University School of Milwaukee (WI) 9th Grade Retreat and 10th Grade Environmental Service Days: October 4-5, 2015.
IMG_2919 These full class programs focused on leadership, community and the environment. GYLI staff worked for 5 months with USM staff to plan and execute both events.  GYLI director, Matt Nink led the 9th grade program, and director of education, Megan Bollen, led the 10th grade program.


Messmer High School Milwaukee (WI) 9th Grade Retreat: October 29-30, 2015.  Matt Nink and Megan Bollen led this 2 day retreat for 240 9th graders at Messmer High School.  We focused on community building, leadership and identity.  We had great student facilitators from University School and Messmer lead small group sessions and activities.  Both students and faculty had great feedback about this program.


Students Participating in a Leadership Activity called “Subway”


Students participating a problem solving activity called “Ancestor Grid” facilitated by a USM student.