I have had a really good time here at Maximo Nivel these past two weeks. The first week I did the Holiday Experience which consisted of different projects each day. All the AM volunteers gathered in a shuttle and we went to different parts of Costa Rica, poor sides or slums, and we painted a mural, had a party for the kids with different activities, and spent a day doing different stations of activities. The following week I was placed at an orphanage where my main job was to play, entertain, and show affection to a group of about 8 kids. One other volunteer from Maximo Nivel was placed with me. This is a very hands on job, they take you the first day so you know how to get around and then you do the rest. At Maximo Nivel they have a closet that volunteers can take from to do different activities. Mind you, supplies are very limited and there is a great need to be creative and think outside the box. At the orphanage the kids were very enthusiastic and grateful to do anything. Another thing, be mindful that these children only speak spanish and if you don't there may be a bit of a language barrier that will enable you from connecting with them.
During your week stay you will be with a host family. I have had an absolutely amazing experience with my host mom, Marita, she has been very accomodating with my vegan diet and very pleasant to stay with. I shared a room with another volunteer who joined me from the states, however, other volunteers were placed in rooms with people they may have not known prior to arriving. If you feel uncomfortable with your belongings, I would suggest bringing a lock for your suitcase. Your host mom will make you breakfast and dinner. Breakfast usually will consist of toast and cut up fruit, if you're lucky, maybe eggs, empanadas, gallo pinto, or quesadillas. At my home dinner was always delicious, typical meal is a meat, rice, and beans. She also made soup on two separate occasions. The only negative thing I have to say about my house visit is that I had to take ice bucket cold showers. Literally, I would wet the wash cloth and wash the important parts.
As for Maximo Nivel, I would suggest doing all the activities they offer because they are all free and fun to do. Also, it gives you something to do since there is not much to do around San Jose, well at least not enough to do for a two week stay. Another word of advice, you WILL have a lot of free time. Your project will only last about 3-4 hours every day. Had I known this ahead of time, I would have maybe chosen a different program and budgeted more money.
My final thing, budget more money than expected. I came to Costa Rica with the impression that things were going to be a lot cheaper. I'm from California and everything is about the same price! Also, if you plan on doing any leisure activities such as the beach or volcanos, budget for transportation and a hotel/hostel. You will need to stay the night or at least want to stay the night because all these places are about a 3-4 hour drive from San Jose. I stayed at Selina hostel in La Fortuna the weekend I went to explore and it was an amazing experience. Shop around and look for tours around whatever area you choose to stay in. Booking through M&J travels is really costly and you can bargain for better deals in person (don't book online either).
Have fun and be adventurous, make the most of your stay and be mindful that you are in a developing country. Don't be a spoiled brat and be thankful for what is provided to you.
If you need help wit anything, the staff at Maximo Nivel is amazing and there to help or to just talk to. Tati, Dan, Emmy, and Steve are great people and I hope you love them as much as I did.