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Volunteer in Childcare in Costa Rica

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Experience

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Community Impact

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

To be continued!

July 11th, 2016 was the day I realized how much this trip had impacted me. In just two weeks, the people, culture and music brought out the best version of myself. I was part of the childcare program, waking up everyday to go to Infantil Maria Orphanage was my favorite part of this trip. I met so many creative, smart and humble kids. I loved having a lesson plan to teach them English or math. My passion for childhood education grew. I was also able to see the beautiful beaches and parks. I never imagined going bungee jumping and parasailing in such a beautiful country. I can continue discussing everything I did but it could not have been possible without the IVHQ family. Since my arrival, I was able to quickly see the staff and I felt safe. We had an orientation, which fully prepared us to understand about the culture of Costa Rica. I knew that if I was worried or curious about something, they were available at any time to answer my questions. I stayed with a host family and I felt home within a few minutes. Honestly, the only advice I would give to future volunteers is to stay for more than two weeks. I only wish I had more time to explore but I made sure to make every minute count. This program will guide you through every step to make your trip as incredible as it can be. My journey does end here, volunteering abroad is something I will continue to do and I know IVHQ is the best choice. My story is to be continued...

  • International Volunteer HQ responded to this review October 11, 2016 at 5:18 PM

    Hi Jennifer, What an awesome review! It is great to hear that you made every minute of your two weeks in Costa Rica count by connecting with the children at your placement, exploring the beaches and parks in your spare time, and getting to know your IVHQ family. Imagine what you could have accomplished with a longer stay! We look forward to hearing about the next stage of your journey and we hope to have you volunteer again with IVHQ.

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • Volunteer Experience

    9

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Community Impact

    8

  • Health and Safety

    9

  • Social Life

    8

50 days to self discovery

I absolutely loved my experience with volunteering through IVHQ, childcare, in Costa Rica! I was there for 8 weeks, and I wish it was 80. It was filled with so much fun, laughter, growth, change, and humility. I learned more about myself than i ever anticipated. I went on this trip, because I teach at a daycare in the states, and I love it, and I wanted to experience my job in a different culture. Never did I anticipate, that I would learn more about myself through this experience, than my job description. I live in Florida, so Costa Rica climate, and the tourist attractions were not a huge difference, but the city life of San Jose was a huge difference! I had never even seen a bus before my trip, and now I could tell you I've been in over 100. coming to Costa Rica I didn't really speak too much spanish, now leaving after 8 weeks, I speak it! and I can't tell you how amazing that feels. the bond you create with your host family when you can speak spanish is incredible, my host mom will forever be one of my best friends, and I can't wait 'til I come back and visit her already! Also the impact you can make on the kids lives if you can actually communicate with them, and the other teachers is powerful as well. my first few weeks prior to speaking it were a lot more difficult, because the kids and teachers are frustrated and you can only do so much without being able to properly communicate to them what you want! near the end, I felt at home there, and I know the kids felt a real connection to me, and I didn't feel so "gringo" anymore. at first I was discouraged, because i didn't know how to make a huge impact at my placement! cause thats what everyone thinks right? I'm coming here for a few months, and i HAVE to leave them with something amazing. well my placement was already really established and was running better than expected, so i needed to think more internally, rather than what can i buy them or give them. as a teacher, i picked up on the lack structure and intentional activities going on at Gatitos. so i decided to try to install that into the program, because with structure, you will see a change of attitude and behavior in students as well as better habits and a better over all sense to the location. it appeared as chaos my first few weeks, and i know how much the staff and students could benefit from being more controlled and intentional. this will also help the students to focus and produce better work when they go to school after spending the day at Gatitos. so by the time i left, i can say the location was running on better structure and intentions. we broke the kids into four different groups of 15 kids, each with there own teacher.we had hourly activities we switched between, and we engaged in their lives, rather than them doing whatever they wanted, whenever they wanted. it was amazing to leave and have a better peace of mind, knowing that these kids are loved and cared for, and that these teachers care too. i also started teaching them english for an hour or two a day in my last two weeks there. the kids LOVED it, i couldn't believe how excited they were for english class! i loved to see them learn and try hard every day. i also loved when the light bulb clicked and everything made sense to them! we ran off a sticker chart, so i know they also had motivation to do well because who doesn't love stickers? I left my next volunteer a booklet of all the things we had done; crafts, projects, lesson plans, needs, mission, everything! i hope that whoever is lucky enough to be at Gatitos next, leaves them with even more than I did! because these kids, who have been through domestic violence and abuse, still show up everyday smiling and hugging me and showing me more love than I have ever felt. I hope they always feel that in return. I also was so impressed by the staff of the parrntership at maximo nivel. James, the director, is incredible and so helpful with everything. the other staff at the school are as well! the field managers, i thought could use a better attitude! there job is AMAZING, they get to see such beautiful change and growth in all these needed areas, and i wish i would have saw in them the desire for this as well. it would have been really encouraging to me as a volunteer to bounce ideas off of or get support from them! i would definitely recommend to future volunteers to take spanish classes before hand and at maximo novel! it was such a beautiful school and they really cared about teaching us. i could go on for days about how amazing my host family was, but to make it short, thank you! i don't know how we get paired with who we do, but i can't imagine my time n costa rica without my family. Cindy Cespedes, is the most beautiful women inside and out. I've never met a more hard working but loving person. i feel like the luckiest person to have been able to be apart of her family for the short time i was! while in costa rica i also got to meet Dan, a manager of IVHQ, and that made my trip even more fulfilling. to hear all about his experiences, and the other projects around the world, was incredible! was a great mission and organization IVHQ is! I would recommend them to anyone, any day! Thank you for making this time of my life incredible, and thank you for the memories I will have forever!

  • International Volunteer HQ responded to this review February 08, 2016 at 1:43 PM

    Hi Kelsey, thanks for providing such a great review of your volunteer program in Costa Rica! It’s great to see you using your skills and knowledge from working in childcares at home and applying them into your volunteer program in Costa Rica. We appreciate your valuable contribution and would love to have you volunteer with us again sometime soon.