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Intern Voice: Interns at Spanish School

By 5 years ago
Categories Jalova
Written by – Amy Bradley, Six month Intern

                 As a 6 month intern on the Costa Rica Biological Internship, I spent the first the first 3 months here as a volunteer in Tortuguero National Park. After that I, along with the other 4 volunteers from Jalova, headed to Nicuragura for two weeks of Spanish school, to immerse ourselves in the Central American culture. Despite being in a whole other country, Esteli is a large town located right on the Pan-American highway, very different to our small ‘local’ town, an hour´s boat ride from base from where we live out in the jungle. At first the change in the number of people, traffic and noise was quite a shock but once we were there, being back in a town provided the opportunity for some fun times and great cultural experiences.

We took a two week course at CENAC Spanish School, where once we were assessed on our Spanish we were assigned teachers. They were very patient with our limited ability and some of us picked up the language much quicker than others. The school placed us in homestays with local families, who were very welcoming and patient with our basic Spanish. I stayed in the same house as Rhiannan (an intern from GVI Costa Rica Quepos community project) and as we were both vegetarian we were provided daily with extremely good traditional Nicuraguan local food by our hosts.

Miraflor Cloud Forest Reserve where we spent our weekend
We spent our weekend off in Miraflor Cloud Forest reserve a couple of hours bus ride from Esteli, where the rural lifestyle meant we were able to stay on a beautiful farm, and go horseback riding, during which we got stuck in the local school traffic (everyone riding home on horses!). Here the food also did not disappoint and we were served amazing meals, for both vegetarians and meat-eaters alike.


The waterfall we all enjoyed cooling off in
Whilst in Esteli we got the chance to take a number of trips to see some of the local area and its culture. These trips included visiting a cigar factory, the local library, cathedral and a gallery for a youth art project. We also visited a local museum where we were told about the war that even to this day has made such a lasting impression on the city. The paper recycling factory was a surprisingly interesting trip where we got to see and have a go at making paper from recycled paper and vegetable extracts. This was nice this to see and to experience a small part of Nicuragua’s efforts to be more environmentally friendly. My favourite afternoon was when all six of us were taken to a water fall, spending a couple of hours swimming and watching local wildlife. This seems an idyllic thing to do Central America and I know that we all had a lot of fun. Also we had a local dancing lesson from one of the Spanish teachers who is also a dancing instructor, which was a great experience and made for a very funny couple of hours. And the last day of school was made all the more memorable by the traditional food that the teachers taught us how to make, and that we all very much enjoyed eating.

Nicaraguan-style dinner prepared by the interns and their teachers

                Although it was good to return to Tortuguero and my jungle home, I and the other interns had had a great couple of weeks that only added to our experience of living here in Central America and I will remember it for a long time.