Valentina Carrillo was the winner of our first-ever uVolunteer travel scholarship. To help future volunteers see what the experience is really like, she wrote four blogs for us during her stay in San Ramon, Costa Rica––covering everything from her life in the dormitory to her project working with children with special needs. This is blog #2 on her travels.

July 20th, 2015

uvolunteer-travel-scholarship-winner-valentinas-project-experience-2 It has been a little over a week that I have been in San Ramon. So far it has been great. I have to say the dorms are very comfortable and have everything that we need. It truly feels like home. It is equipped with wi-fi, television, Netflix, a kitchen, comfortable beds, books, and a telephone. Virginia makes meals for us, and even packs lunch to go for those who work in construction and other programs that do not provide meals. I am very happy in my program. I had originally planned to do two weeks in special needs and two weeks in sports education, but since I like my placement so much in special needs, I have decided to stay there for the whole month. Not only for me, but mainly for them, because they need a longer time to open up to a foreigner who volunteers. My duties include helping kids color, read, dance, play, help them with brushing their teeth and going to the bathroom, assist them eating, and, most importantly, giving them the attention and conversation time that they need in their development. I have reached a point in which I know the kids and instructors by name and have made personal attachments with several kids. Working in special needs is very rewarding, and my favorite part is that it is a very humbling experience. I also love that in this program values the help of volunteers, and I feel that I am useful and productive. I go to the school for special needs children from 8:30 in the morning to 3:30 in the afternoon from Monday to Thursday, and the program provides a very good and balanced lunch. After the program, we walk back home and then go for a run, eat dinner, and watch a movie. uvolunteer-travel-scholarship-winner-valentinas-project-experience-3 Last weekend, we all traveled to Manuel Antonio, a beautiful and touristic national park, where we stayed for three nights. We traveled by bus on Thursday after our programs, and stayed at a hostel. We saw many animals, went to the beach, went out to restaurants and bars, and even surfed. The trip went smoothly, and we were definitely glad to be back in San Ramon with nice weather, beds, and food. Today we started our second week of service, and every time I feel more and more comfortable. I love all my fellow volunteers, co-workers and kids, and I am looking forward to spend three more weeks with them. I am very thankful to uVolunteer for this amazing and eye-opening experience.

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