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Volunteer in Costa Rica Teaching Sports & Physical Education

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Social Life

    10

  • Health and Safety

    9

  • Community Impact

    10

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Program Administration

    9

  • Volunteer Experience

    10

The best of the best!

Hola,
My name is Nicolas, I’m from Belgium and I’m 22 years old.
I stayed in Costa Rica during 4 weeks. Here is my story:
I arrived in San Jose Friday the 4th of July. At my arrival, I got picked up at the airport and was dropped off at the dorm. The next day when I woke up I had the chance to meet all the other volunteers during the orientation day. On Sunday we went to a beautiful place with waterfalls and some pools called Las Musas.
On Monday I took my first Spanish classes, the teacher was really amazing and I immediately had a good bond with her. I decided to take the Spanish classes project during my whole stay since they were so helpful and interesting.
The second weekend in Costa Rica we decided to go doing some water rafting and afterwards travelling to the beach (Puerto Viejo). The water rafting was awesome!! So much adrenaline and fun! Afterwards we went to Puerto Viejo. We arrived there pretty late. We had a great meal at a beautiful restaurant and afterwards we decided to go out and check out some of the bars.
My second week of Spanish classes project was really amazing. I felt that my Spanish was progressing and I could easily start a conversation with a ‘Tico’. During that week I also met a really cool local guy which whom I did a lot of cool things. He invited me to a football game (mejenga) on Wednesday. I really enjoyed it and I continued going there every Wednesday. The next weekend we went to Arenal. We did a 10-hour walk in the rain-forest, which was amazing! We even swam in a crater of a volcano, saw some waterfalls and last but not least we relaxed with a cocktail in a hot spring! In the evening we went to some bars and we had a blast! All the other volunteers were really cool and we had such a nice time! The day after we traveled to Monteverde. On Sunday we did a canopy tour, which was amazing as well!!
On Monday my actual volunteering project was going to start, more precisely the Sports Teaching Project. I had to teach sports with another volunteer in the Sport Education project in primary school in San Pedro, a little town just out of San Ramon. This was a great experience! The children were really friendly and all the staff of the school was kind as well and they took great care of us. I would definitely recommend this program to people who love doing sports and working with children. Even though the combination of the sports teaching and Spanish classes was quite exhausting it was definitely worth it and it was the best possible combination for me! I didn't regret it a second.
My third weekend I went to Liberia to go party and meet some locals. On Friday there was a big local event: there was a parade of more then 2000 horses during 4 hours; this was really cool! I had never seen something like that before so it was a great experience for me. In the evening we went seeing some bull riding and we went to a fun park. Saturday there was a big party (Espinar). The music was awesome and the people were, as usual, really friendly, warm and open minded.
My last week in Costa Rica was a cool experience as well. Everything was falling on its place and I had the impression the puzzle was completed. I was really sad to leave but I hope I’ll have the chance to visit Costa Rica again next year to see all those friendly people again!
It was the first time I did some volunteering and I would recommend everyone to try it at least once. This experience was enriching for me. I learned a lot of new things and met so many nice people.

PURA VIDA

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Experience

    9

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Community Impact

    10

  • Health and Safety

    9

  • Social Life

    10

Costa Rica - uVolunteer

After having spent a little over two weeks in Costa Rica volunteering with uVolunteer, I can confidently say it has been successful trip. My brother first took part in the program a few years ago and he recommended it to me. After a quick Google search, it proved to be the most efficient volunteering program for me. The time and money commitment was not overwhelming. Having a full time job in the States makes it difficult to find a program that allows volunteering for short periods of time.

All the things mentioned in the pamphlet were taken care of accordingly. My pick up from the airport was waiting for me on arrival. My orientation day was a great way to get a crash course on how things are done in the country. We consistently had food in the morning and at night. Since I was doing the sports program at a school, they were kind enough to give us lunch as well. The program is spread out in such a way that each individual is able to take advantage of as much as they choose.

I chose to change things slight upon my arrival. I decided to do a half day of sports volunteering and half day of Spanish classes. UVolunteer was quick to make the adjustment and find a great Spanish teaching class for me.

The Sports program was everything I had hoped it would be. Myself and another volunteer, Nick, were in complete control and were able to do as we pleased. I was able to connect with the kids in the one way I know best, and that is sports. The kids were very accepting and I actually ended up learning a lot from them. It was eye opening to see how similar things are around the world. I look forward to returning one day and visiting the little school in San Pedro, San Ramon.

As I mentioned before, the program allowed for plenty of time to explore and do your own thing. I spent my first weekend doing adventurous things like zip lining and waterfall canyoning. I spend my second weekend in a little city call Liberia in the North West. They had their yearly holiday parade and I really loved being a part of that. I spend my last weekend at Playa Jaco. Playa Jaco was extremely relaxing and fun. I did a little bit of surfing and met plenty of new people.

Before arriving in Costa Rica I had three goals in mind. I wanted to make a difference volunteering, meet new people and have fun. I can confidently say that I accomplished all three of those things on this trip. I highly recommend uVolunteer to any and all future volunteers.

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • Volunteer Experience

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Community Impact

    9

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    9

Pura Vida

To be honest, I had some reservations prior to arriving in Costa Rica. Though I had always wanted to volunteer abroad, learning Spanish had never been high on my priority list. I never expected to fall in love with the country nor like the language as much as I do now.
The Portilla family played a crucial role in helping me adjust to life in Costa Rica. They were nothing but patient and understanding despite my inability to communicate effectively. I suppose the fact that I took interest in immersing myself in the culture led them to teach me as much as I wanted to know about Costa Rican history, and more importantly, Costa Rican food.
There is always room for improvement, but I am happiest here when I am having a conversation in Spanish with Ticos and feeling like I belong.
Even now, it seems like a lifetime ago that I was in San Jose. I hardly remember Ligia coming to help Ryan, Ryan, and I move to San Ramon. I had grown so accustomed to living with the Portillas and had become attached with each family member that it was difficult to say goodbye. Regardless, transferring to the dorm here was a natural progression.
It was time to move on, meet new people, and put our Spanish speaking abilities to the test. I appreciated how quaint San Ramon was and Ligia and Mario made us feel more than welcome.
By this time, I was eager to start teaching sports and English. I had no idea what to expect from our first visit to Escuela La Palma. I was ready to help out however I could. My initial reaction was shock at how understaffed the school was and how much more could be done to help the kids achieve their full potential. Of course some of them desired nothing more than to play soccer. Others obviously had the motivation to learn and pursue further education. I guess our goal was simply to be a friend and set a positive example.
What was most rewarding for me was having the ability to teach English and translate sentences so that students could understand. Me! Translating English to Spanish! I still can't believe it. It will be bittersweet to say goodbye on the last day. I wish I could stay longer in order to have a more lasting impact on the school.
Escuela La Palma could definitely benefit from having more volunteers around to organize activities, and more importantly, keep kids interested in school. I would go back in a heartbeat.
In addition to the Spanish immersion and volunteering, what I loved about Costa Rica was the abundance of travel opportunities. Every place that I had the fortune of visiting from La Fortuna to Puerto Viejo was spectacular in its own way. I will never forget ziplining through the cloud forests of Monteverde nor lying on the beaches in Manuel Antonio National Park.
I have no regrets. In short, Costa Rica offered a whole new world for me to explore and opened my eyes to a different way of life.

Bryan