High School volunteers in Costa Rica – Robbie, Em, Madi, Elizabeth, and Reilly – describe a day of metal edging, teaching English, and discovering “wild life” with new Costa Rican friends.

Today’s projects included metal cutting and metal edging for the new trail by the garden that we bordered and gravel-filled on day one. It looks great. We also took on more gardening in planters by the classrooms.

Johnny, a naturalist at the Monteverde Preserve, along with some help from Profe Joy, found two sloths out on the trail! Tim thought he was joking, but after a two-minute walk on the trail, there they were up in the tree!  They had surprisingly long hair. You might think they were a big ball of moss if you didn’t know what you were looking for.

Teaching English as High School Volunteers in Costa Rica

Meanwhile, Elizabeth, Tim, Kaelan, and Siena observed classes in the morning, and taught students how to book reservations in English. Elizabeth noted that she saw this as the flip side of learning Spanish back home. Language can be frustrating to learn and always seems to involve role-plays and awkward conversational activities no matter where you live! One of the students connected with Kaelan over World of Warcraft. Reilly had older students during his observations, so they interviewed each other in “opposite” languages – the Spanish-speakers in English, and the English speakers in Spanish.

high school volunteers in Costa Rica teaching conversational English classes

Jackie in conversational English classes

As high school volunteers in Costa Rica,  we’ve been to Colegio multiple times. The ‘you are strangers’ (or possibly ‘you are strange’) phase is over and we see and greet those we’ve met before as familiar friends.

Elizabeth and Madi spent some time with Sebastián, one of the best English speakers at Colegio, who had gone to private school in Pennsylvania for a year. He is very approachable and friendly and humble. They talked about aspirations and education and learned about his early morning mountain bike training and desire to be a doctor. The girls said that Sebastián would not want to live in the U.S. after experiencing it. The pace is cut-throat and he feels too part of the fabric of his hometown. He also hates American junk food. Sebastián is a great example of a person who is a beautiful mix of drive to fulfill dreams, but also living in the present and enjoying the simpler parts of life.

Discoveries Lead to Reflection

When Sierra, Madi, and Elizabeth worked with ticas in the garden and hit cement below the surface, they were surprised by what they found! Out of curiosity, they lifted up the cement block and were in awe of the wildlife that found a home beneath it. This included worms, beetles, grubs, spiders, even a white tarantula! The teacher picked up the white tarantula and showed it off to all the students. At Colegio, bugs are important and play a role.

We realized we’ve been more relaxed doing manual labor here than at home! Why?  There is something about the pace of life here, the work and the play, the sense of accomplishment that makes life pura vida. We will miss this so much!

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