|Name: Siobhan Richardson||Project: : Childrens Home|
|From: United Kingdom||Age: 27|
I first of all just want to start by saying my volunteering experience has been exactly what I wanted and more, and that if you are undecided about what volunteer company to go with, CHOOSE AVIC, I couldn't have chosen a better program and organization! They have been so helpful and willing from the first email I sent. The whole application process is so quick and easy too.
My chosen program was to volunteer at an orphanage in Costa Rica. I chose to stay here for weeks. I would advise anybody to do at least 4 weeks as time goes by so quickly. I would love to stay another 4 weeks!
When I arrived in San Jose, the lovely Ligia was waiting for me. We drove to the dorm, which is in San Ramon, approximately 1 hour away from the capital. When I arrived at the dorm our house mum, Dona Isabel (who is the BEST) had dinner ready for everybody. I defiantly timed my arrival perfectly. Within two minutes I already felt at home.
On the first day all the new volunteers are given an orientation about the culture and shown around the small town. This was so much fun. That afternoon, despite my jet lack I went zip lining with a few volunteers. It was so easy to make friends with everyone. All the volunteers were very like minded.
On the Monday, it was my first day at the orphanage. Ligia takes all the volunteers to there projects on the first day, so you don't get lost. The journey was extremely easy. From the dorm I would walk ten minutes to the bus station and then take a 10 minutes bus ride. I was made very welcome by all the Aunties (Tia's) at the orphanage. I was so worried about not being able to speak Spanish but that really hasn't been a problem at all. I am now an expert and charades. The Tia's are so friendly and patient with me. And of course the children are so, so wonderful. There are 13 children at my orphanage, all under the age of 10. They just want to play and receive lots of cuddles. I try and help the tia's out as much as possible. I would clean the floors and windows for them, I would also help feed the children and clean the dishes afterwards. They are so appreciative of any help.
You have to work Monday to Thursday at your chosen project. You then have 3 days at the weekend to go visit all the amazing places in Costa Rica. There really is so much to do. I have had 3 weekends to travel and I have been zip lining, to the beach, seen a volcano and been white water rafting!! The volunteers all go away together, which is so much fun. Ligia and Alicia help recommend hostels and tour companies, as well as explain the easiest way to get there. You really are in good hands here!
I had an amazing time here is Costa Rica. The people are so friendly and welcoming. The way of life is so relaxed here, which suited me perfectly. The landscape is absolutely stunning. I have nothing negative to say about my experience.
Thank you so much Ligia, Alicia, Nat and Dona Isabel. I love you all. You really have made my experience here unforgettable.