We then went ziplining the next day and I like to remember that experience as 'Ziplining from Death' For the first two weeks, I helped out various teachers, but found my niche working with the 4-year olds.

I mainly helped the teacher do activities with them, such as coloring and painting, and meals (making sure they would eat and cleaning up a bit after them). The classrooms had few students, but I think it really helped having another individual watch after the kids. For the rest of my time at the school, I started working with another teacher who had 7-year olds. They were a lot of fun and started calling me Ninas, which I thought was absolutely adorable. During my time at the school, I got to know the other teachers and the techniques they used with their students. I was really impressed by them because they did their best to accomodate students who ranged from having autism to those who were deaf.

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Also, I had a great homestay family. My host mom, Dona Flor, was a very sweet, old woman who looked after me like I was her own daughter. My host dad, Don Iliecer, was a hilarious man who always practiced his English with me. There was also another volunteer, Elizabeth, who stayed in the room next to me.

Elsa Newman

We didn’t have a real wall between our rooms and thus, we had a lot of late night talks without having to get out of bed (which we thought was fantastic). On the weekends, a lot of us volunteers would travel.

My favorite trip was when six of us went to Monteverde. Apparently, we chose the worst way to get there. We first took a bus to Arenal and from there took a jeep-boat-jeep to Monteverde. As the name states, we first took a jeep to Lake Arenal. Then, we had the most amazing boat ride across the river. However, the jeep ride after that was like something out of Jurassic Park, but nonetheless made the trip even more memorable.

We then went ziplining the next day and I like to remember that experience as ‘Ziplining from Death.’ It was pretty scary because we did it with a company on crack, Extremo. We then took a hike in a national forest with a jolly tourguide, Johnny. Overall, spending time with the other volunteers really made the trip memorable. So, that’s my story… it’s been amazing time in Costa Rica and I’m definitely going to keep in touch with the great people I met while I was here.

By Elsa Newman

At the end of my program, I left this report for uVolunteer. I hope it helps future volunteers have a good understanding of the uVolunteer program. I've also allowed uVolunteer to give out my email address to those interested in asking me questions about my trip and the uVolunteer program.

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