School for Disabled Children / Costa Rica
(cortesy translation from German)
I couldn't have imagined my stay in Costa Rica better. The coordination for my volunteer project was carried out by the partner school of South America Inside. On site I was given information about the project and was accompanied there on the first day. I spent four weeks as a volunteer in a school for children with special needs. I supported a teacher teaching children aged eight to ten. I took the bus from my host family to school every morning and worked from half past seven to half past three, choosing how long I wanted to work.
I felt very comfortable in my class right from the start, even if it was not always easy to communicate. But I also gradually learned new things and was able to improve my Spanish a lot by communicating with the teacher. Every Monday the school met for a short prayer and briefing for the upcoming week in the entrance hall. Then we all went to the classrooms. The students learned deeply how to imitate the vowels and matching words in sign language, as well as how to write the new aquired words. Other subjects were sports, math, art and music. I supported the children in writing and arithmetic, procured materials for the teacher and made or wrote teaching materials, picked up breakfast in the school cafeteria, accompanied the children to brush their teeth or waited until they were picked up. I also helped repaint the classroom, which was really fun.
In my work I was able to do a lot on my own after a short time and was involved a lot. During the breaks, breakfast was served together, afterwards the children had fun in the school's playground. At lunchtime we always went to the school cafeteria together, then brushed our teeth and practiced a little writing and arithmetic again. After my work, I usually went to the language school, where I made some friends and talked to other volunteers about their project.
It was very nice to experience and organize the lessons in a different culture and to experience the warmth and joie de vivre of the "Ticos" every day when you were greeted by a "Pura Vida" from all sides. I also felt very comfortable in my host family. With my "Mama Tica" I could speak a lot of Spanish and I was well looked after. She always had an open ear, was always very helpful and tried to integrate me into family life.
On the weekends I went with my new friends form the Spanish school to different locations all over Costa Rica. We experienced great things every weekend and had a lot of fun. I really enjoyed my time and can only recommend the project and the country itself.