Alumni Spotlight: Krizhalyn Velasquez


Krizhalyn Z. Velasquez is from San Pablo, California and is currently a senior in high school. She likes to play the guitar and do outdoor activities such as backpacking. She enjoys traveling to new places, experiencing different cultures, and meeting new people. She volunteered in Costa Rica from June 29, 2012 - July 26, 2012.

Why did you decide to volunteer with Global Works in Costa Rica?

Krizhalyn: I am in Summer Search which is a program for low-income high school students. They provide full scholarships for two trips in the summer; one after sophomore year and the other is the summer after junior year. Students usually choose to go abroad and go to high school for the summer or volunteer. I wanted to volunteer for my trip and I chose Costa Rica with Global Works. When I first visited GW's website, I was so fascinated by the stories and pictures of the many people who have volunteered in different countries, especially the ones in Costa Rica. To me, Costa Rica seemed very similar to the Philippines which is where I'm from, so I was even more excited about going to Costa Rica to experience their culture and to help the communities by volunteering.

Describe your day to day activities as a volunteer in Costa Rica.

Krizhalyn: As a volunteer, my group and I were separated in smaller groups and were sent to different work sites. We worked with the locals on different project. In the cloudforest, we hiked out to the work site every morning after breakfast. We worked on different projects such as building a bridge and clearing/leveling the trails. For lunch, we hiked back to the station, clean up, and have lunch. After lunch, we go back to the work site and continue working. Service during the homestay was quite similar. We have breakfast with our Costa Rican families and head out to the work sites and start work with some of the locals to dig holes to plant trees, to paint, or to mix cement and push wheelbarrows with cement for the communal kitchen floor. We took 10-20 minute breaks to have snacks, then we go back to work. For lunch, we go back to our homes and eat with our families. Then, we go back to the work sites after and continue or finish the work.

What made this experience unique and special?

Krizhalyn: For me, what made this volunteer abroad experience unique and special was definitely the people I was able to meet and work with like my family host. I was able to learn a lot about the Costa Rican culture through them because they were so hospitable and easy to get to know and get a long with. They made us feel like we were just like them, like we were Costa Ricans and not just foreign people. Therefore, I felt even more excited and dedicated to spend my time and volunteer to help as much as I can.

How has this experience impacted your future?

Krizhalyn: This experience in another country with another culture and other people has really impacted me as a person; gave me a different perspective on life and struggle. It has made me appreciate more of what I have in life. Also, my whole experience has made me more of a comfortable person knowing that I was capable of doing all of those things in Costa Rica.