Global Glimpse: FHS serving communities


Alex Luong

From Reality Challenge Day to community action projects, Global Glimpse offers a one of a kind study abroad program.

FHS juniors received nominations to travel with Global Glimpse Friday, October 14. Global Glimpse is a nonprofit organization providing international travel and leadership opportunities to high school students. Students are sent on 16 day service trips during the summer to different underdeveloped countries, including the Dominican Republic, Ecuador and Costa Rica, in order to work closely with the local community, and learn about the cultures and people of the place they are visiting. 

“It’s such a huge opportunity to open your eyes and to get out there and to be independent and develop your leadership,” Colleen Carey, who leads the program at FHS, said. “I’m really trying to make sure that we have a strong program here because I think it’s such a good opportunity for any student.”

Students get an opportunity to have a transformative experience through the structured curriculum. There is Living Like a Local day, where students get to experience firsthand living in a rural community, Working Like a Local day, where students work in different local businesses, and they also get the opportunity to shadow a local high school student, to understand what education looks like in a developing country.

“Going [on a Global Glimpse trip] is a great way to deconstruct some of the ways that society shapes what hunger and poverty looks like in homelessness, because you get to see these communities firsthand,” Alumni ambassador Naomi Nishawaka said. “You really get to be a part of the community and learn so much about these groups that don’t get representation in the US where we’re from.”

Global Glimpse partners with high schools throughout the SF bay, providing opportunities to students from all sorts of backgrounds. The program is built around active community service, cultural exchanges, and leadership development. Over the course of the trip, students explore the complexities of a developing country, through several academic themes: culture, history, education, deconstructing poverty, politics, global business and aid and development. 

“Everybody comes back with such a great appreciation of the education system that we have here in the US,” said Carey. “They talk to people in other communities who have to fight so hard just to make it to high school.”

Students are nominated for the program by educators and administrators, who select students based on their potential in leadership. During the Community Action Project, students interview a local organization and find out how to serve their partner community. 

“For my Community Action Project, we rebuilt a basketball court, cleaned up the area around it and planted some trees,” Alumni ambassador Selena Yac Rojas said. “It was very, very fun and very new to me, because I never go out and push myself out of my comfort zone in front of people to talk to them.”

Students who are accepted through a partner school like FHS are automatically granted a $1,000 scholarship, and there are other need-based scholarships that they offer. According to their website, Global Glimpse provided $3.2M in scholarships in 2019, in order to make their program more accessible to high schoolers from all sorts of socioeconomic backgrounds. 

“Since we have such a diverse group of students on our campus, we’re really good for building the community that gets to go on those trips,” Carey said.

According to their website, Global Glimpse has had a positive effect on students’ educational goals and community awareness, with 99% of alumni agreeing that Global Glimpse was one of the most powerful experiences they had in high school, and with 97% of alumni believing that they have more of a responsibility to make the world a better place.

“It really did change my life, it changed my perspective,” Nishikawa said. “I met so many people I will never forget, and the experiences that you have on this trip, you cannot get anywhere else.”