Volunteer Work + Spanish Course
Spanish program and Animal Welfare / Costa Rica and Ecuador
(cortesy translation from German)
I participated in two programs booked with South America Inside. First, I spent 4 weeks in Costa Rica at a language and surf school. The course was held in small groups of three to six people, which made it possible for the teacher to focus on every one of us separately. The lessons were always fun and we studied in a very playful atmosphere. After class, we usually met with other Spanish students at a cocktail bar at the beach, discussed homework and enjoyed the amazing sunsets. I made many good friends during my time in Costa Rica with whom I was also able to travel over weekends to different places.
Costa Rica is a mesmerizing place and the combination of learning Spanish, being able to learn how to surf, being at the beach and watching the beautiful sunsets, having drinks and partying with new made friends and experiencing this marvelous nature was simply perfect. I dearly recommend it! Even though I went to Spanish courses every day, I would advise anyone who really wants to better his or her Spanish skills to make sure they talk a lot with the locals, e.g. the surf instructors, since most of the people in my class were German or Swiss it was hard to not speak German all the time.
For the second half of my abroad experience I volunteered at an animal welfare project in Puerto Lopez, Ecuador. Here I got to work with sea turtles directly at the beach. It was an unbelievable experience where we helped the baby turtles out of their nests and made sure they had a safe way into the water. I was able to save their lives and I saw amazing wildlife while snorkeling.
I also made many new friends in Puerto Lopez and amongst the other volunteers in the camp, which really helped me to further better my Spanish. Every Thursday, we would meet at “Victor Hugo” Bar & Hotel, participate in the free salsa dancing courses and enjoy the big party afterwards. The vibe and rhythm of this country, the bonfires at the beach and singing along with some of the boys playing guitar are all memories I will cherish forever.
Now, at the end of my time abroad, I look back on almost 4 months learning Spanish, and I must say I handle it pretty well! Most people don’t believe me when I tell them that I have only been studying it for such a short period of time without any basic knowledge whatsoever at the beginning of my trip. The Spanish course in Costa Rica really helped me a lot with understanding the basic grammar and vocabulary.
Overall, it was a truly amazing adventure that helped me grow in many aspects of my life. It was great to learn about the interesting cultures, experience the music, the dances and the nature of the two countries, live among the locals and hear about some of their incredible life-stories… I don´t know how to put it in words – it was simply amazing. I also felt very good taken care of by my South America Inside mentor. Thanks so much for everything and I would really, truly recommend this experience to anyone!!