A two week placement volunteer teaching in Costa Rica was as valuable for the teacher as it was for the students
After traveling for 28 hours with two stop-overs in America, I was relieved to have arrived at Liberia airport in Costa Rica. Here I was met by a member of the Projects Abroad team and driven to my home for the next four weeks. The journey from the airport to my host family was fascinating. Although it was rainy season in Costa Rica, it was a very hot and sunny day, horses were at the side of the roads and it was completely different to any place I had been to before. I instantly loved it.
When I arrived at my accommodation I got to pick my room as the other volunteer staying in the house hadn’t yet arrived. It was comforting to know that another English speaking person would be staying with me as I soon came to realize that my host family didn’t speak any English and I only knew a few words in Spanish. Although the language barrier was a bit challenging to begin with, I soon felt comfortable—it was as if they were my own family. I lived with 2 host parents, their son, their dog and another volunteer from America.
My host family were lovely people and so warm and welcoming. They really tried to communicate as much as they could and when we didn’t understand each other, we laughed!
Once I had settled in, I started my two week teaching placement at a nearby school. The children at the school were very happy and caring and really keen to know about my own culture. They all had different levels of English and learning abilities, which proved to be very challenging at the beginning. However, I soon found that by using a variety of big expressions, written work and games, I could cater to their different needs. Flash cards were particularly useful when testing how well the children remembered things.
When the two weeks had finished, I started a two week summer project. In the mornings all the volunteers did painting work. The boys painted a volleyball pitch and the girls painted a wall of a nursery. This was really fun and rewarding. In the afternoon I taught English at a summer school to children aged 6-10 years old. Again, their English abilities varied and, as they were younger, they needed more engaging activities to stay focused. I really enjoyed my time at both projects and loved the fun that I had with the children.
By: Imogen Pearce
Source: Projects Abroad