Why did you choose this program?
I chose International Volunteer HQ (IVHQ) because of the reviews from previous volunteers as well as their comprehensive website. Everything I wanted to know about the program was right there and very organized.
The reviews were well written and provided insight into the program. All of the reviews I read were consistent with my experience.
What did your program provider (or university) assist you with, and what did you have to organize on your own?
International Volunteer HQ (IVHQ) Provided me with everything I needed for my trip.
The program and all of my pre travel requirements were presented in an organized manner. This included a pre-departure webinar ( was EVERYTHING!) culture, airport pickup, accommodations, meals, list of what to pack, volunteer placement and transparency regarding fees. They provided me with everything I needed!
What is one piece of advice you'd give to someone going on your program?
I will offer two pieces of advice if I may. The first is to be open minded. My host family were amazing!!! But, its much different to being at home. Second, I highly recommend taking a few extra days to go site seeing. Third make friends and have fun!!! Ok, that may be four, but seriously, its a great opportunity yo not only give back, but enjoy the rich culture that country has to offer.
What does an average day/week look like as a participant of this program?
Once you land you’ll be picked up at the airport, then its off to orientation! It was for me!!!
The next day was a free day for me, so got up and was greeted with the most amazing break-fast (see pics). Hung out with my host family and room-mate (whom i had just met), we explored some on that day, then home for dinner.
On Monday our host took us to the Volunteer center via bus and showed us the route and the cost. I was then taken to the Community Center where I was placed and a tour, but not before helping to unload some donations with the other teachers… back to the community center for Spanish class and another orientation.
The rest of the week, I taught my students, did done site-seeing, took Spanish lessons and hung out with my new friends. Oh! Did I tell you the real reason I went was to give back during my birthday?! Well my host family and room-mate threw me a surprise birthday party!!!
Going into your experience abroad, what was your biggest fear, and how did you overcome it? How did your views on the issue change?
There was an article trending on Yahoo that questioned if Americans should travel to Costa Rica - so I had some reservations and in fact was planning not to go evening after paying for everything except purchasing my ticket up until that point.
Luckily I called my program manager! She was very professional during our Teams call and answered all of my questions and let me know that she was reading the same articles as well. After our call I felt comfortable enough to make the trip. I followed all of what was shared in webinar training and orientation.
What was most rewarding about your experience?
Gosh! I had a terrific experience! My host family was amazing, they had breakfast and dinner ready every day (never the sane meal). I made four new friends - one is like famous. Yup!!! Lol Finally, the kids at the community center were everything! Please don't forget to pack some school supplies to donate!!!