Volunteering in Costa Rica with AVIC on the Community Education Project was truly one of the most amazing experiences of my life. Although it was only two weeks, the memories made will last a lifetime.
All the administrative details were a breeze thanks to an amazing coordinator; every question I had before going was answered promptly. I was so nervous about going to a new country I had never been before all by myself, but I am so glad I got over the nerves and pushed myself to do it. All the inhibitions I carried before going quickly vanished in Costa Rica.
Upon arrival, I was picked up from the airport and brought over to the host family's home in which I was going to stay. What a warm welcome I received! It was a beautiful home and the room I was given was so comfortable. The family was so great to me and I will forever hold them close to my heart. They made sure I had everything I needed and more and made me feel so comfortable in their home; I am forever grateful to them and hope to visit sometime soon!
I looked forward to working on the Community Education Project in Bajo Tejares every day. Short walks on which I met the other volunteers, with whom I quickly forged such strong friendships, were a beautiful way to start every morning. The children at the community center were so full of light and happiness; we played games, did arts and crafts and even had a water fight one day. I also made great friends with the rest of the staff and volunteers. After volunteering, I spent my evenings either hanging out with the other volunteers, checking out San Ramon, shopping and trying out new places to eat or with my host family, relaxing and learning more about them and Costa Rican culture. Either way, everyday was so much fun!
On the weekend, I traveled to Santa Teresa with the other volunteers I met. It was great to have Fridays off in order to be able to make the most of the weekends. What a beautiful trip! Small surf and beach town with cute little shops and eateries and amazing weather. We stayed in a hostel where we met so many people from around the world, all on different journeys. It was so enlightening.
Overall, my experience with AVIC in Costa Rica is one I would and do recommend to everyone! Two weeks was definitely too short, so I would suggest going for at least a month and maybe giving yourself an extra week or two to travel after your volunteering term. I would also suggest practicing your Spanish before going! It was a trip filled with beautiful people, places and experiences and I left having such great friendships, an extended family and wonderful memories to last me a lifetime! Pura Vida!