My favorite memory in the program was while I was talking to one of the children. She knew a little bit of English, and we had fun playing games together and teaching each other our respective languages.
1- How was the local ABV Coordinator/staff and the support provided in-country (airport, orientation day, follow up, communication, emergencies)?
The local ABV Coordinator and staff provided excellent support to me. I received specific directions for my pickup at the airport that left no room for doubt, and met with the coordinator easily. While I was in the country, I was able to contact the coordinator easily and receive a prompt response. Luckily, I didn’t have any emergencies, but feel like I would have been well supported if I had.
2- What was the most positive surprising thing you experienced ?
- Program: The most surprising and positive thing I experienced with the program at the hospital was the amount of time I was able to spend with patients and their families. It was a great way to connect with them, and made my experience more meaningful.
- Host Family: My host family was wonderful. I was surprised that all of my meals were made for me. This was really helpful as I was busy with the program, and took the stress out of eating.
- Country: I really enjoyed the country. I found the people to be incredibly friendly to me and to each other. I thought it was going to rain everyday, but was pleasantly surprised when it did not, and that it wasn’t humid like I thought it be. I enjoyed the energy of downtown, and loved exploring the city.
3- What was the most challenging thing you experienced?
- Program: The most challenging part of the program was my Spanish skill level. A lot of times nurses, parents, or other volunteers would try to tell me something, and I had difficulty understanding what they were trying to say. It would have been a lot easier to have a better grasp of the language, and would have enabled better communication between me and others.
- Host Family: The biggest challenge with my host family was also the language barrier. Although I understood enough to get by, I would have liked to get to know my hosts better, and express myself better.
ABV: use the translator apps.
- One of the most challenging parts of the country as a whole (language barrier aside) was the nonavailability of bus maps and routes. I knew how to get from my program home, and vice versa, but had a very difficult time trying to figure out how to get anywhere else.
4- Any tips for future volunteers… (clothing, travel, personal items, donations, gift for the host family)
- Don’t bring scrubs- just bring loose pants
- Bring long socks
- Be prepared to remove any piercings
- Take the Spanish classes
5.1-Other things volunteers should know before coming here:
- Be prepared for rain
- Have a list of Spanish phrases prepared that will be helpful in the program
- You won’t be working Mon-Fri, just Mon-Thurs
- There are a lot of cool places to check out near San Jose
6- Personal Paragraph about the entire experience (ABV Program Testimonial) give as much detail as you can:
This whole ABV program experience in Costa Rica was challenging, but also very rewarding. I didn’t take the Spanish course, but wish I did. Although I have a very basic understanding of Spanish and was able to get by, it was difficult not being able to fully listed to others or express my thoughts. However, I did learn to use physical cues and phrases that I did know to understand what was going on, which really improved my communication skills in general. I enjoyed my time at the hospital, where I got to hold babies and entertain children whose parents were out. It was fun communicating with the kids, and they seemed to love the fact that they could help teach me Spanish while I was there. The other volunteers were very passionate, and I admired the work they put in. After each day at the hospital, I loved exploring San Jose and checking out the area. I had plenty of time on the weekends, each weekend was a three day weekend, and I took advantage of this by traveling to other areas. It was really nice staying with a local host, which allowed a full immersion experience.
7- How would you describe: your accommodation, what meal did you enjoy the most, security in the house/neighborhood, friendliness, quality others:
My accommodation was lovely. It was clean, the neighborhood felt incredibly safe, and my host was wonderful. I enjoyed all the meals, but I especially enjoyed one particular meal that had beef and pineapple over rice. I enjoyed talking with my host about my day, and she was very good about slowing down while she was talking and being patient with me. It was very kind of her to cook my meals and do my laundry.
8- What was your favorite memory of this trip?:
- Program: My favorite memory in the program was while I was talking to one of the children. She knew a little bit of English, and we had fun playing games together and teaching each other our respective languages.
- Host Family: On my first night in Costa Rica, my host family celebrated my housemates birthday. It was a fun evening getting to know everybody, getting used to the language, and eating cake.
- Country: My favorite experience in the country was while I was at the sea turtle area. I went on a tour to see the sea turtles nesting, and it was a really amazing experience. Was a lovely town, and I enjoyed getting too explore it and the national park.
9- How was the ABV USA support prior traveling? (who helped you, emails, phone calls, chat online, how fast did you got an answer, did you got all your answers)
For the most part, ABV USA was good before traveling. I didn’t realize that my profile contained all the contact info I needed, so I emailed ABV about it. I got a response in a few hours that resolved the issue quickly. It would have been nice to get a few reminder emails before arrival, or even an introductory email from the coordinator in country.
ABV: we do send a volunteer summary email prior traveling, and its in your abv account as well all the information of the program, host family and coordinator...always double check all your account and make a copy of the information.
9.1- What do you think about the reservation system online?
I thought the reservation system was pretty straightforward, and I didn’t have any issues with it.
9.2- Who did you find Abroaderview website (keywords, search engine, word mouth to mouth, recommended by .., other)
I found the ABV website while I was searching for a program that would allow me to travel and work in a medical setting abroad and in a Spanish-speaking country.
10 – Are you willing to speak to other potential ABV volunteers?