I work with Go Overseas and had the opportunity to participate in a INLEXCA’s volunteer project in Costa Rica this past month — I cannot rave more about my experience! I highly recommend this organization to anyone who is looking to volunteer abroad in Central America.
INLEXCA was highly organized start to finish. I was connected with my project coordinator (Tanya) pre-departure and felt fully supported of before leaving the United States. Upon arrival in Costa Rica, Tanya and Carlos (INLEXCA’s Co-Founder) were at my gate right on time with big smiles on their faces. I came to Costa Rica knowing little-to-no Spanish, so the smooth pickup was extremely comforting!
I was impressed that Tanya and Carlos went the extra mile to personally drop each volunteer off at their homestay and spend time at the house while the volunteers (myself included) got adjusted. Tanya even had each volunteer’s contact on Whatsapp and remained connected throughout my stay. I already miss her daily check-ins!
My host family was more than I could have asked for. I spent the week with the kindest, most caring couple and their family. While they spoke no English, and I barely spoke Spanish, so we found ways to communicated through food and dance. Every night I came home from my project and my host family would give me amazing food, turn on music, and we would enjoy each other’s company. It was very clear that they viewed me as a part of the family. All of my meals were home cooked (I felt so spoiled!) and I found that I needed to learn how to say “gracias, estoy lleno” very quickly.
The project itself was also great. I chose a childcare project in San Ramon, at Guarderia Creciendo con Amor. I spent my days busy playing with children from infancy – 12 years old. Even after only a week, I felt that I was able to provide concrete assistance to the teachers and form strong connections with the children. They were lively, sweet, and eager to learn. It’s amazing how much care the staff at Guarderia Creciendo con Amor put into their work and I’m proud to have been a part of the impact these experiences will have on the kids.
One thing I will say is that there is a solid amount of free time when you are not working on your volunteer project, and it is up to the volunteers to make the most of it! Carlos and Tanya provided us with every single outlet we needed to make the most of our stay and encourage the volunteers to meet up with each other and get out of the house. Many of my nights were spent at a cafe or restaurant after my project getting the know my fellow volunteer which really made my experience the most memorable. I’m thankful for the strong connections I was able to make in such a short amount of time.
Again, I can’t recommend this program enough. If you’re an experienced Spanish speaker or know no Spanish at all, INLEXCA will have a project fit for you. Take advantage of the staff’s amazing support and guidance, and make a big impact on the community!