My name is Laura, I'm 18, and I've been volunteering in Costa Rica with a friend for almost six weeks now, May- June 2009.

We're both college students who've worked with kids in different settings for a long time, but our initial visit to the Hogarcito didn't go quite as we thought they would. The Tias have a very smooth system here, and for the first week or so we had some trouble making ourselves part of the group here, although all the Tias were very nice- the kids just take some time to warm up to new people, as we eventually found out. Our English class was not what we expected at first either. (We've been teaching a night class for adults two times a week.) The first few times though, we only had two or three students, so the lesson plans we had made up and the ideas we had were switched for working one-on-one with individuals, which was good, just different than what we expected.

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After a lot of persistence and play with the kids, I now feel like I could stay at the hogarcito for a really long time and be really happy working there and watching those kids grow up. Our English class grew to about 15 regulars and we are invited to go for drinks or hang out in apartments and speak Spanish for a change with all the friends we’ve made in that class. Our host family is absolutely wonderful, and we love our volunteer coordinators, Fio and Suri, who are the coolest.

Laura Kortebein

For anyone who’s looking to go abroad for the first time I would recommend uVolunteer- it was nice to have a home base and some people who were there for us in a new country as we travelled all over on the weekends and worked during one week.

By Laura Kortebein

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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