Testimonial from

One​ ​of​ ​the​ ​experiences​ ​that​ ​let​ ​me​ ​mature​ ​the​ ​most​ ​-​ ​GVI​ ​Costa​ ​Rica After​ ​a​ ​gap​ ​year​ ​full​ ​of​ ​experience​ ​I​ ​look​ ​back​ ​on​ ​the​ ​past​ ​12​ ​months​ ​and​ ​once​ ​more​ ​I​ ​have to​ ​realize​ ​how​ ​amazing​ ​my​ ​time​ ​with​ ​GVI​ ​in​ ​Costa​ ​Rica​ ​was. Firstly,​ ​let​ ​me​ ​introduce​ ​myself​ ​shortly.​ ​I’m​ ​Christiane,​ ​now​ ​19​ ​years​ ​old​ ​from​ ​Germany.​ ​Last year​ ​in​ ​June​ ​I​ ​graduated​ ​from​ ​German​ ​High​ ​School​ ​and​ ​took​ ​a​ ​gap​ ​year​ ​to​ ​travel,​ ​improve my​ ​English​ ​and​ ​Spanish​ ​and​ ​decide​ ​what​ ​I​ ​wanted​ ​to​ ​study. I​ ​started​ ​as​ ​a​ ​Short-Term-Intern​ ​(3​ ​months)​ ​in​ ​September​ ​2016​ ​at​ ​the​ ​base​ ​for​ ​Community Development​ ​in​ ​Quepos. At​ ​the​ ​time​ ​GVI​ ​had​ ​two​ ​concrete​ ​and​ ​regular​ ​teaching​ ​projects​ ​in​ ​El​ ​Cocal.​ ​Every​ ​week started​ ​off​ ​with​ ​preparation​ ​for​ ​all​ ​the​ ​classes​ ​of​ ​the​ ​week​ ​on​ ​Monday.​ ​There​ ​is​ ​a​ ​outline​ ​for the​ ​structure​ ​of​ ​the​ ​classes​ ​and​ ​week​ ​as​ ​an​ ​orientation​ ​for​ ​volunteers​ ​and​ ​staff.​ ​Monday​ ​was the​ ​perfect​ ​day​ ​for​ ​everyone​ ​in​ ​the​ ​house​ ​to​ ​gather​ ​around​ ​the​ ​table,​ ​be​ ​creative,​ ​listen​ ​to some​ ​Spanish​ ​music,​ ​joke​ ​around​ ​and​ ​prepare​ ​for​ ​the​ ​rest​ ​of​ ​the​ ​week. Tuesday​ ​to​ ​Friday​ ​I​ ​went​ ​to​ ​El​ ​Cocal​ ​for​ ​the​ ​Childcare​ ​and​ ​Teaching​ ​English​ ​classes.​ ​El Cocal​ ​is​ ​hidden​ ​on​ ​a​ ​sandbank​ ​that​ ​is​ ​separated​ ​by​ ​the​ ​sea​ ​from​ ​busy​ ​Quepos,​ ​where​ ​you’ll find​ ​a​ ​lot​ ​of​ ​backpackers​ ​catching​ ​a​ ​bus​ ​from​ ​the​ ​main​ ​station​ ​to​ ​Manuel​ ​Antonio.​ ​After​ ​a 30-second-​ ​cruise​ ​you​ ​will​ ​find​ ​a​ ​lot​ ​of​ ​friendly​ ​Ticos​ ​and​ ​next​ ​to​ ​the​ ​beach​ ​GVI’s​ ​community center​ ​that​ ​seems​ ​to​ ​have​ ​gotten​ ​more​ ​colourful​ ​with​ ​every​ ​week​ ​that​ ​I’ve​ ​been​ ​gone​ ​now. I​ ​worked​ ​with​ ​both​ ​groups​ ​-​ ​the​ ​older​ ​one​ ​(8-13​ ​years)​ ​​ ​but​ ​mainly​ ​with​ ​the​ ​younger​ ​kids​ ​(3-7) in​ ​the​ ​childcare​ ​project.​ ​The​ ​main​ ​aim​ ​is​ ​to​ ​teach​ ​them​ ​social​ ​skills,​ ​play​ ​games​ ​and​ ​spend time​ ​with​ ​them,​ ​as​ ​school​ ​only​ ​covers​ ​a​ ​few​ ​hours​ ​of​ ​the​ ​day​ ​and​ ​a​ ​lot​ ​of​ ​their​ ​parents​ ​work the​ ​whole​ ​day.​ ​Sometimes​ ​it​ ​can​ ​be​ ​hard​ ​to​ ​get​ ​the​ ​little​ ​‘sapos’​ ​to​ ​sit​ ​down​ ​and​ ​concentrate and​ ​even​ ​if​ ​you​ ​may​ ​get​ ​frustrated​ ​sometimes​ ​the​ ​happier​ ​you’ll​ ​be​ ​when​ ​they​ ​want​ ​you​ ​to play​ ​with​ ​them​ ​during​ ​break.​ ​By​ ​the​ ​way​ ​if​ ​you​ ​don’t​ ​speak​ ​Spanish​ ​that’s​ ​no​ ​problem​ ​-​ ​the kids​ ​couldn’t​ ​care​ ​less​ ​and​ ​always​ ​find​ ​a​ ​way​ ​to​ ​show​ ​you​ ​what​ ​they​ ​want! In​ ​the​ ​evening​ ​GVI​ ​offers​ ​free​ ​English​ ​classes​ ​for​ ​adults​ ​in​ ​the​ ​community​ ​center.​ ​Even though​ ​their​ ​English​ ​isn’t​ ​perfect​ ​they​ ​are​ ​very​ ​eager​ ​to​ ​learn​ ​and​ ​you’ll​ ​always​ ​have​ ​a​ ​good laugh​ ​with​ ​them.​ ​Maybe,​ ​probably​ ​most​ ​definitely,​ ​there​ ​will​ ​be​ ​lovely​ ​man​ ​who​ ​sells coconuts​ ​in​ ​Quepos​ ​in​ ​your​ ​class​ ​and​ ​you’ll​ ​get​ ​a​ ​free​ ​coconut​ ​the​ ​next​ ​time​ ​you​ ​meet​ ​him because​ ​you​ ​are​ ​“good​ ​teacher”​ ​:D. Every​ ​now​ ​and​ ​then​ ​we​ ​did​ ​smaller​ ​projects​ ​concerning​ ​community​ ​development.​ ​For example​ ​painting​ ​the​ ​community​ ​center,​ ​advertising​ ​English​ ​Classes​ ​and​ ​organising​ ​the Corona​ ​Cocaleña,​ ​a​ ​surf​ ​and​ ​body​ ​board​ ​competition​ ​at​ ​the​ ​beach​ ​in​ ​Cocal​ ​where​ ​the​ ​whole community​ ​and​ ​people​ ​from​ ​Surfer​ ​hotspots​ ​in​ ​Costa​ ​Rica​ ​join​ ​together. If​ ​you​ ​want​ ​to​ ​(!),​ ​you’ll​ ​quickly​ ​get​ ​along​ ​and​ ​know​ ​a​ ​lot​ ​of​ ​people​ ​in​ ​the​ ​community,​ ​that​ ​are very​ ​thankful​ ​for​ ​your​ ​work. The​ ​house,​ ​where​ ​staff​ ​and​ ​volunteers​ ​live​ ​together,​ ​is​ ​located​ ​in​ ​Quepos​ ​just​ ​around​ ​the corner​ ​of​ ​the​ ​bus​ ​station.​ ​You​ ​can​ ​find​ ​basically​ ​everything​ ​you​ ​need​ ​here.​ ​By​ ​bus​ ​it​ ​takes you​ ​10​ ​minutes​ ​to​ ​get​ ​to​ ​beautiful​ ​Manuel​ ​Antonio,​ ​where​ ​you​ ​can​ ​watch​ ​the​ ​in​ ​my​ ​opinion most​ ​incredible​ ​sun​ ​sets,​ ​go​ ​for​ ​a​ ​quick​ ​swim​ ​on​ ​the​ ​beach​ ​after​ ​project​ ​or​ ​visit​ ​the​ ​Parque Nacional. I​ ​met​ ​and​ ​lived​ ​together​ ​with​ ​very​ ​interesting​ ​and​ ​lovely​ ​people.​ ​Of​ ​course​ ​there​ ​were​ ​some arguments​ ​every​ ​now​ ​and​ ​then​ ​(most​ ​popular:​ ​who​ ​forgot​ ​to​ ​put​ ​new​ ​toilet​ ​paper​ ​in​ ​the bathroom),​ ​but​ ​things​ ​were​ ​usually​ ​sorted​ ​out​ ​in​ ​no​ ​time​ ​and​ ​after​ ​that​ ​we​ ​would​ ​go​ ​to work-out​ ​classes​ ​together,​ ​play​ ​a​ ​round​ ​(or​ ​10​ ​rounds)​ ​of​ ​extreme​ ​charade​ ​or​ ​take​ ​the​ ​bus​ ​to Manuel​ ​Antonio​ ​to​ ​watch​ ​the​ ​sun​ ​set.​ ​If​ ​you​ ​need​ ​a​ ​moment​ ​for​ ​yourself​ ​I​ ​can​ ​recommend reading​ ​a​ ​book​ ​in​ ​one​ ​of​ ​the​ ​hammocks​ ​on​ ​the​ ​roof​ ​top. As​ ​an​ ​intern​ ​you​ ​will​ ​spend​ ​a​ ​longer​ ​time​ ​on​ ​base​ ​(3​ ​to​ ​6​ ​months).​ ​I​ ​got​ ​to​ ​know​ ​every​ ​project and​ ​you​ ​can​ ​get​ ​involved​ ​where​ ​and​ ​as​ ​much​ ​as​ ​you​ ​want​ ​very​ ​easily.If​ ​you​ ​have​ ​the possibility​ ​to​ ​do​ ​an​ ​internship​ ​with​ ​GVI​ ​-​ ​I​ ​highly​ ​recommend​ ​it!​ ​Several​ ​presentations​ ​and workshops​ ​help​ ​you​ ​with​ ​difficulties​ ​that​ ​you​ ​may​ ​face​ ​and​ ​teach​ ​you​ ​useful​ ​skills​ ​(not​ ​only for​ ​the​ ​project).​ ​Every​ ​intern​ ​has​ ​meetings​ ​with​ ​their​ ​mentor​ ​to​ ​keep​ ​track​ ​of​ ​their development​ ​and​ ​talk​ ​about​ ​their​ ​problems. On​ ​the​ ​weekends​ ​I​ ​tried​ ​to​ ​discover​ ​as​ ​much​ ​of​ ​Costa​ ​Rica​ ​as​ ​I​ ​possibly​ ​could.​ ​Costa​ ​Rica​ ​is perfect​ ​for​ ​everyone​ ​who​ ​is​ ​looking​ ​for​ ​impressive​ ​nature​ ​and​ ​a​ ​lot​ ​of​ ​adventure.​ ​You​ ​don’t have​ ​to​ ​go​ ​far:​ ​30​ ​mins​ ​by​ ​bus,​ ​a​ ​short​ ​hike​ ​and​ ​you​ ​will​ ​be​ ​at​ ​the​ ​amazing​ ​waterfalls​ ​in Dominical!​ ​Tico-Land​ ​offers​ ​you​ ​canopy​ ​tours,​ ​whale​ ​watching,​ ​amazing​ ​Caribbean​ ​beaches, animals​ ​you’ve​ ​never​ ​even​ ​heard​ ​of​ ​and​ ​a​ ​lot​ ​more. My​ ​time​ ​in​ ​Costa​ ​Rica​ ​ended​ ​after​ ​we​ ​had​ ​to​ ​flee​ ​from​ ​a​ ​Hurricane​ ​(Costa​ ​Rica​ ​had​ ​not​ ​been directly​ ​hit​ ​by​ ​a​ ​hurricane​ ​since​ ​the​ ​records​ ​began​ ​in​ ​1851)​ ​to​ ​San​ ​Jose​ ​just​ ​a​ ​few​ ​days before​ ​my​ ​departure.​ ​Saying​ ​goodbye​ ​to​ ​all​ ​the​ ​people​ ​I​ ​worked​ ​and​ ​lived​ ​with​ ​for​ ​3​ ​months was​ ​utterly​ ​hard​ ​and​ ​I​ ​hope​ ​I​ ​can​ ​return​ ​to​ ​El​ ​Cocal​ ​some​ ​time​ ​in​ ​the​ ​future​ ​to​ ​see​ ​how​ ​it’s developed. My​ ​experience​ ​with​ ​GVI​ ​is​ ​something​ ​I​ ​am​ ​sure​ ​I​ ​will​ ​never​ ​forget​ ​as​ ​at​ ​the​ ​end​ ​I​ ​realized that​ ​I​ ​was​ ​part​ ​of​ ​something​ ​that​ ​truly​ ​helped​ ​improve​ ​people’s​ ​lives​ ​by​ ​showing​ ​them​ ​how​ ​to help​ ​themselves. So​ ​if​ ​you​ ​want​ ​to​ ​make​ ​an​ ​impact,​ ​meet​ ​like​ ​minded​ ​people,​ ​enjoy​ ​Pura​ ​Vida​ ​and​ ​in exchange​ ​can​ ​renounce​ ​hot​ ​showers​ ​and​ ​share​ ​your​ ​home​ ​with​ ​toads​ ​and​ ​geckos​ ​then​ ​GVI Quepos​ ​is​ ​the​ ​way​ ​to​ ​go!​ ​¡Ándale​ ​pues!

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