First Year Program FAQs

How do I apply to the program?

The First Year Leadership Program application is now open. Apply here!

If you have any questions, email programs@global-visionaries.org

It will take you to an online application which students should complete with their parents. You will also need to complete a student interview, submit a deposit, and send in your tax information if you are applying for financial aid.

When is the application deadline?

Application due dates:
Early Bird deadline: October 9, 2017
Application deadline: October 23, 2017

If you apply for the early bird deadline you will receive $100 discount, applied to the program fee.

When we will find out if we were accepted into the program?

Acceptance decisions will be made by October 27, 2017. All students who are accepted will be notified at that time.

How do I get a student interview?

Please schedule an interview, at your school, with one of the teachers listed below as soon as possible. Waiting until the last minute will put your chance of getting an interview at risk as teachers have busy schedules.

If you do not attend one of these schools, please call Global Visionaries at (206) 322-9448 to schedule an interview at our office.

Ballard High School
Vanessa Lopez
Spanish Teacher, Room S201
(206) 252-1073
dvlopezmadri@seattleschools.org

Chief Sealth High School
Marlene Mersch
Spanish Teacher
(206)252-8656
mcmersch@seattleschools.org

Cleveland High School
Ms. Williams
Room 2212
rjwilliams1@seattleschools.org
Ms. Evans
Room 2214
raevans@seattleschools.org

Franklin High School
Michael Lawson
Wood Shop Teacher
(206) 252-6188 (Mr. Lawson's office) or (206) 322-9448 (GV office)

Garfield High School
Katie Hathaway
Spanish Teacher
kshathaway@seattleschools.org
Gretchen Sloan
gesloan@seattleschools.org

Ingraham High School
Sarah Kerr
skkerr@seattleschools.org
Noah Zeichner
nczeichner@seattleschools.org

John F. Kennedy Catholic High School
Jenny Farrell
Director of Campus Ministry
(206) 246-0500 x301
farrellj@kennedyhs.org

Kamiak High School
Mandy Bergan
Spanish Teacher, Room 222
BerganML@mukilteo.wednet.edu

Mercer Island High School
Chris Twombley
English Department, Room 205D
(206) 275-5026
Chris.Twombley@mercerislandschools.org

Nathan Hale High School
Marni Balint
Social Studies Teacher
mabalint@seattleschools.org

Northwest School
Michelle Kowals
Spanish Teacher
michelle.kowals@northwestschool.org

Rainier Beach High School
Katie Wallace
Spanish Teacher
(206) 252-6384
kjwallace@seattleschools.org

Roosevelt High School
Shelly Sutton
Spanish Teacher, Room 131
(206) 632-2098
svsutton@seattleschools.org

Shorewood High School
Brenda Gilman
Teacher-Librarian
brenda.gilman@shorelineschools.org

West Seattle High School
Anne Eades
Spanish Teacher, Room 233
aleades@seattleschools.org

How do I submit my letter of recommendation?

Letters of recommendation are not required except when requested by Global Visionaries.

If we do request a letter of recommendation, print the form here and have an adult (teacher, coach, community member or religious leader) fill it out. Once completed, please have them email it to programs@global-visionaries.org.

What is the program cost? Can I apply for financial aid?

Program Cost*

*The numbers listed below are before applicable scholarships. Program fees, including airfare, are typically lower for most of our participants. Please refer to the chart below with estimated scholarship ranges.

Spring and Summer Program Cost:

Program Fees: $3,775
Estimated Airfare: $950
TOTAL: $4,725

Intensive Program Cost:

Program Fees: $3,290
Estimated Airfare: $950
TOTAL: $4,240

The table below will help you estimate your scholarship amount.

Scholarship Information

Scholarships range from $50 to $4,335 depending on family income, number of dependents, and other factors. If parents are separated/divorced, please provide financial information for the person who claims the child on their tax forms.

Below is a table which provides an estimate of possible financial aid awards and program costs based on our past financial aid awards. Global Visionaries has a limited amount of financial aid available and while we will do everything we can to meet the needs of our applicants, we cannot guarantee a specific amount of financial aid.

Global Visionaries is committed to working with every family to make this program affordable, regardless of financial background or difficulties, so contact our program staff to discuss your situation even if you feel that you do not qualify for financial aid.

 Family Income Estimated Scholarship Package Estimated Program Cost + Airfare
​$0-$15,000 $4,335-$4,185 $390-$540
$15,001-$20,000 ​$4,185-$3,985 $540-$740
​$20,001-$30,000 ​$3,985-$3,785 $740-$940
​$30,001-$40,000 ​$3,785-$3,385 $940-$1,340
​$40,001-$50,000 ​$3,385-$2,685 $​1,340-$2,040
​$50,001-$60,000 ​$2,685-$2,285 $2,040-$2,440
$60,001-$70,000 ​$2,285-$1,785 ​$2,440-$2,940
​$70,001-$80,000 $1,785-$1,185 ​$2,940-$3,540
$80,001-$90,000 ​$1,185-$805 $3,540-$3,920
​$90,001-$100,000 $805-$600 $3,920-$4,125
​$100,001-$110,000 $600-$450 $4,125-$4,275
​$110,001-$150,000 $450-$250 ​$4,275-$4,475
​$150,001-$200,000 $250-$0 ​$4,475-$4,725
​$200,001-$250,000 $50-$0 ​$4,675-$4,725
​$250,001+ $0 ​$4,725
What are the travel dates to Guatemala?

Current scheduled dates for the Guatemala trips are:

Please note the dates for the Guatemala Immersion trip when considering which of our three programs to apply for:
Spring: April 6-20, 2018
Summer: June 29-July 13, 2018
Intensive: July 20-August 3, 2018
A calendar of program dates is included in the "Important Program Dates" tab below.

What are financial information mettings? What do I do if I missed one?

Financial information meetings are events held in the evening at the Global Visionaries office where we invite prospective students and their families to come and learn more about the program costs, available financial aid, and fundraising options.

If you cannot attend either of our scheduled financial information meeting, please contact programs@global-visionaries.org to discuss any questions you may have.

Financial Information Meetings:
Thursday, October 5, 2017 from 6:00-7:30 PM
Wednesday, October 11, 2017 from 6:00-7:30 PM

How will I find out about my financial aid application?

If you applied for financial aid, you will be notified of your financial aid package at the time of acceptance. If you have any questions or concerns please contact a member of our program staff at programs@global-visionaries.org and we would be happy to discuss the process with you.

What is the deposit, and how can I pay?

The deposit for applying to the program is $50 for participants requesting financial aid and $250 for participants not requesting financial aid.

If you are accepted into the program, the deposit amount will be applied to your program fees. If you are not accepted we will return deposits or destroy any checks sent. You can send your deposit as a check or money order to Global Visionaries, with the applicant's name is the memo line. Or you can click here to pay by credit card or bank withdrawal.

What is your refund policy?

GV recognizes that some students may leave the program prior to completion and has established a refund policy to apply to these circumstances. It should be understood that expenses we incur for items such as training, airfare, culture nights, homestays and retreats, are in most cases, not recoupable and therefore we have a limited ability to provide refunds to departing students. For this reason, we encourage students to obtain trip cancellation/interruption insurance. Our refund policies are the following:

Early Departure. Students leaving the program prior to December 1, are entitled to a refund, minus a $125 program administration fee. Students leaving the program between December 2 and January 31 are responsible for 10% of their tuition, plus any investment by GV in their airfare. Students leaving the program between February 1 and 60 days prior to departure are responsible for 50% of their tuition, plus any investment by GV in their airfare. Students leaving the program between 61 days and 30 days prior to departure are responsible for 75% of their tuition, plus any investment by GV in their airfare.

Late Departure. Other than as described for Personal Departures, students leaving the program within 30 days prior to trip departure are not entitled to a refund.

Personal/Illness Departure. Students who depart the program after February 1, but prior to travel to Guatemala for serious personal reasons (e.g. sickness or family emergencies) should meet with GV leadership and if appropriate, request a deferral of their participation to a program in a subsequent year. Deferral is an option for students who are not graduating seniors. There is a $350 nonrefundable administrative fee required to defer. Any remaining balance above that $350 fee can be applied toward next year’s tuition. If the decision is made not to travel in the following program year after monies have been deferred, funds will be refunded according to the early departure policies above based on the date of the participant’s communication of their decision to not participate that year or the previous year, whichever date was latest in the program sequence. For students departing the program prior to February 1, see refund policies outlined in “Early Departure” apply.

Violation Departures. Regardless of their departure date, students who are removed from the program for violations of GV rules or program requirements are not entitled to any refunds. If the infractions occur while traveling to, from or within Guatemala, the student will be required to pay all costs, including room, board and travel relating to the return to their home state. See section 5, Misconduct and Expulsion, for other consequences in the event of a Violation Departure.

Nonrefundable Items. In no case will GV refund scholarship funds awarded to students, money raised through fund raising (in GV-sponsored events, such as wreaths or coffee sales) or costs incurred by students or families in preparation for the program.

How safe is Guatemala?

The safety of our youth participants is our top priority in every activity we plan, whether here in Seattle or in Guatemala. To date, GV has had zero serious incidents with any of our youth. We attribute this, in part, to the close community we have established in Guatemala and the pre-departure safety training we conduct for all participants. Please refer to the US Department of State website, here, for more information on traveling conditions in Guatemala.

What vaccinations are required?

Vaccinations for Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, and tetanus are required for travel to Guatemala.

What about the Zika Virus? How does it affect travel to Guatemala?

Short Answer:
Currently, it does not affect Global Visionaries' travel plans, nor based on our research do we foresee it affecting our travel plans. We continue to monitor the situation on a daily basis, and will notify all participants, families, and trip leaders of any changes.

Long Answer:
The Zika Virus has become a rising concern in recent months after thousands of cases in Brazil associated with birth defects in late 2015 and early 2016. Cases of the virus have been identified throughout Latin America, and it is expected that the disease will spread throughout all countries in the Americas with the exception of Canada and Chile. The mosquitoes that spread the virus already live in the United States, but are mainly confined to the Southern region of the country. The symptoms of Zika Virus include conjunctivitis (pink eye), rash, and achy bones. The main risk associated with Zika virus is for pregnant women due to the association with birth defects. Pregnant women may wish to reconsider travel plans to Latin America.

The CDC recommends that travelers to Latin America protect themselves by taking measures to prevent mosquito bites: using insect repellent and wearing long-sleeved shirts and long pants. Travelers may also wish to purchase permethrin-treated clothing available at travel stores to further reduce risk of mosquito bites.

Regarding Guatemala specifically, the mosquitoes that spread Zika virus are in the country. However, in the region that GV operates - at higher altitude and with a drier climate - they are less common. Our Guatemala staff is not aware of any cases in the area at this time and they will keep us abreast of any changes. We continue to monitor the situation on an ongoing basis to evaluate and determine methods of reducing risk and update any protocols necessary.

For more information on the Zika Virus and travel in Latin America, consult the following sources:
The CDC: Zika Virus in Central America
NPR for the latest news on Zika Virus

Do I need a US passport?

Participants who do not have a US passport can still go to Guatemala as long as they have a valid US residency card and a valid passport from the country in which they were born. Guatemala requires visas for some non-US countries.

Do you have a social media policy for staff and students?

Yes, you can learn more about our social media policy here.