Alain Alicia is currently a law student at St. John's University in Queens, New York. Aside from learning about the American legal system, Alain has a passion for helping others which the motivation behind his trip to Costa Rica.
Why did you choose this program?
I chose to teach English with Maximo Nivel because I wanted to work directly with students to make an impact on their daily lives. As a person that has traveled before, I understand that knowing English can improve job prospects drastically. My goal was not only to teach English but to help others improve their daily lives.
What did your program provider (or university) assist you with, and what did you have to organize on your own?
My program provider connected me with Maximo Nivel and handled all of the logistics with respect to payment, transportation from the airport and my homestay. In regards to my program, I was responsible for organizing my own lesson plans and activities for my students. Maximo Nivel's staff handled any other necessary logistics.
What is one piece of advice you'd give to someone going on your program?
The best advice that I can offer anyone is to have no expectations when you travel. The less expectations you have, the more enjoyable the experience will be. I had no idea what to expect when I stepped off the plane and I am so grateful for that because I had the time of my life. The people in Costa Rica are wonderful, welcoming and will always take time to talk to you. Be warm and return the same energy you are given.
What does an average day/week look like as a participant of this program?
My day was a bit longer than most volunteers because I really ingrained myself in the Costa Rican culture. I would wake up in the early morning to run around the city for exercise. Shower, then head to my work site around 8:00am to reach there at 9:00am. I would teach English from 9:00am to 11:00am generally. I would sometimes stay longer if my students were willing. After that time, I was free to explore Costa Rica or attend any of the events that Maximo would host.
Going into your experience abroad, what was your biggest fear, and how did you overcome it? How did your views on the issue change?
My biggest fear about traveling abroad was the fact that I thought I was going to be alone. I did not know anyone prior to leaving for Costa Rica but when I landed, I realized that I was far from alone. I met so many great people during my trip and since I was open to talking to others, I made so many great friends along the way.