1.-How was the local ABV Coordinator and the support provided in-country (airport pickup and drop off, orientation, introduction to work, availability, other)?
My local ABV Coordinator, was extremely helpful. I was able to communicate with her easily as she was always accessible and she was able to guide me throughout my time in Costa Rica.
2- What was the most positive surprise you experienced?
At the program: I got to interact with many seniors and develop relationships with them.
At the accommodation: I felt like I was at home. Jenny took careo f me very nicely and the food was amazing. I was able to interact with other volunteers who stayed in the same accommodation as me.
About the country: I became more aware of their culture and the people’s day-to-day lives. I was able to tour many places during the weekends such as visiting a volcano, swimming in hot springs, going on a boat tour, and etc.
3- What was most difficult/cultural-shock to experience?
At the program: The main difficulty was language. I had some prior knowledge of speaking Spanish, however it wasn’t enough for me to socially interact with the people I met at the senior living center.
At the accommodation: The main difficulty was language. Although my coordinator spoke English and there were a few people from the United States, there were people who came from Spain with whom I had quite a difficult time communicating with. But, throughout my stay here, I was able to speak/comprehend Spanish better.
The country: Main difficulty was language. If I had to catch the bus or go in a taxi, communicating with the drivers was quite difficult. I was impressed how the people in Costa Rica have stayed in touch with their mother tongue.
4- Any tips for future volunteers, give as many details as possible…
Clothing: Pants (jeans or khakis), 2 long sleeve shirts, couple pair of scrubs, shoes, socks, slippers, swim suit, raincoat, t-shirts, and some night wear.
Donations: (I did not do any donations, so I don’t have any tips regarding this)
Weather: During my stay here, the weather was extremely unpredictable. It was cold, hot , sunny, and rainy while I was here.
4.1-Other things volunteers should know, about what to bring, what to do in country, what to eat, transportation, other:
a.- During your stay in Costa Rica, make sure you visit all the important tourist sites, as you will become more aware of the country.
b.- Taxis and busses are the best transportation. However, Uber is always available (based on your location), but quite expensive.
c.- You have to try traditional food at least once during your stay in Costa Rica.
5- Personal Paragraph (ABV Program Testimonial), don’t leave blank:
ABV was able to help me through ought my registration process. If I had any question they were quick to respond back. Even during my stay at Costa Rica, I was able to contact ABV quite easily. Overall my stay in Costa Rica was extremely nice. The coordinator was able to help me when I had problems and took care of me properly. ABV did a good job of finding a nice host family to stay with and provide me with all the information before I went to Costa Rica.
6- How would you describe your accommodation, meals and security in detail:
My accommodation was very nice. I felt like I was at home. I was able to freely Access anything I want such as the T.V., food, and etc. The meals were very well prepared. I liked every food I ate, and it was different each day/meal. I felt very safe during my stay there. Seurity was least of my worries as there was never a moment where I was scared or felt unsafe.
7- What was your favorite memory of this trip?
Program: I got to develop relationships with the senior people and the staff at my volunteer place.
Country: I really loved the food and the people there. Despite the language barrier, everyone I encountered were nice and friendly.
Tours: I liked swimming in the hot springs. It was a new and different experience for me and swimming in waters over 110F was very fun.
8.- How was the ABV USA support prior traveling?
Communication (Phone/emails/Online chat):
ABV was very quick to respond to any question (pone or email). I was able to ask anything I wanted and clear any doubts I had.
ABV website had all of the information I needed to decide that I wanted to choose this specific Project. It was very straightforward and easily understandable.
9 – Are you willing to speak to other potential ABV volunteers?
Yes. I Will definitely recommend my friends to join this program for volunteering abroad.
10 – Can you be specific how did you find or know about A Broader View? What keywords did you use, what did you search for.
I found ABV through a series of search. I was mostly on Google searching for volunteering outside of the United States and I came across this wonderful program.