I definitely hope to volunteer with AVIC again.

Testimonial Image
Name: Daria Kobayashi-Ritch Project: : Daycare Center
From: USA Age: 17

We worked at the Day care from 7am-3pm. The children at the day care are adorable. They are the sweetest children and loved playing with us. I came to Costa Rica knowing no Spanish and I feared this would be a problem but the language ended up being no barrier between the children and I. The staff at the day care was friendly as well. They always came to talk to me and my friend and the kitchen ladies always offered us food and drinks. The only down part of my experience at the day care was fumigation. On the first two days of work my friend and I had to pack up the entire day care into trash bags and then after fumigation clean all the dead bugs and semi alive cockroaches, clean the shelves, cabinets, and windows and place everything back in its place. I felt really unsanitary and had no good cleaning equipment. Basically we only had water and a towel. The up sides of the day care definitely override the negatives.

Along with the day care my friend and I also taught a pre-beginner English class with two other volunteers. This class was held Mondays and Wednesdays from 6:30-8:30pm. This class was definitely an experience. I enjoyed the class because the students were so eager to learn. I did not enjoy this class because it was completely disorganized and it was hard to make a schedule when all the students were on completely different levels. Although it was a challenge I would recommend it to those who are patient and know their Spanish well. I was pretty helpless since I don't know Spanish and spent most of my time writing rules on the board or checking people's work.

My days were extremely long here so I loved coming home to my home stay where there was always food ready and it was nice and quiet. By the end of the week I was really enjoying myself and decided I would stay the two weeks I originally decided upon. Since my friend and I were only staying 2 weeks we only got one weekend trip. For our trip we decided to go to Mal Pais/ Santa Teresa. We went with another girl from AVIC. The trip took us 7 hours. We had to catch 3 buses and 1 ferry. It was worth it though. It is absolutely gorgeous in Mal Pais. It is a funky little surf town with amazing beaches. The way to travel there is by ATV's, everyone there is super chill and most locals rock the dreadlocks and facial piercings. The locals definitely live by the phrase 'Pura Vida' I am so completely glad I spent my weekend there. It was a completely different atmosphere from San Ramon. I didn't even feel like I was in the same country. I was happy to come back home to San Ramon and back to work. I couldn't believe how much I missed the children at the day care.

Now it's Wednesday and I am really sad to be leaving Friday. I even tried to stay longer. What I learned from this trip is to try and be open to new things. DonĀ“t give up; give yourself time to adjust into a new way of life. You're bound to find something beautiful anywhere you go. I definitely hope to volunteer with AVIC again.