Project: Teaching English in Puerto Jimenez. Volunteer: Kylie. Country – USA. Age: 19.
I would absolutely recommend Green Life Volunteers as a program to anyone looking to have a deeper and more fulfilled experience when traveling to Costa Rica. Janina Schan (GLV’s Owner and Manager) went above and beyond to help me get ready and feel comfortable for my trip and was a constant support during my time in Puerto Jimenez.
I decided to volunteer teaching elementary school, and though it was not always easy it was an extremely rewarding experience. I had the opportunity to help the kids speaking both Spanish and English, improving my Spanish at the same time, and loved the community of the private school I taught in. I would arrive at the school a bit before 8:00 AM and stayed until 12:00 teaching in the first and second grade classroom in a series of lessons taught in either Spanish or English. I went to my homestay for lunch and returned to school at 1:00 PM to stay until 3:00 helping organize their library. The teachers are all incredibly unique and come from all walks of life. They were so welcoming and I enjoyed getting to know them as well as the children they taught.
My homestay was perfectly located with the school, grocery store, and main street only a few minutes away. I stayed with a lovely couple and their grandson, and the grandmother never failed to cook great meals. Staying with a host family is a great experience and gave me the opportunity to practice my Spanish even more, and allowed me to feel much more personally connected to the place I was visiting. The family was very respectful of my privacy and personal space and always made sure I was comfortable. I definitely had a fair share of free time, so if you plan on traveling by yourself make sure you’re ok with being alone! Coming off of a busy year at first it was hard for me to handle so much time to relax, but it was a very welcome change of pace. I got to spend time with Janina and other volunteers she knew which was lovely, and I also spent a decent amount of my free time alone. It was no problem to me, just bear in mind if you’re planning on doing this program alone just bring a couple good books if you find you need help passing some of the down time.
Janina was an incredible help from the moment I contacted her with my interest in Green Life. After I met her in person and realized the incredibly busy life she leads with her various projects I couldn’t figure out how she managed to give me and all of her other volunteers such amazing individual attention and help. She works incredibly hard accomplishing amazing things with her organization and always seems full of even more innovative ideas, but she is also a wonderfully laid back person. She even helped add some flexibility to my schedule so that I had the opportunity to help out with one of her other projects at the local vet one day, and gave me the heads up about joining a hiking trip to Corcovado National Park. Both were wonderful experiences and I would not have been able to do either without Janina’s help and suggestions. Janina has created a program that is wonderful.
Staying in Puerto Jimenez on the Osa Peninsula was such a beautiful experience and made me feel like I was really getting a taste of the real Costa Rica and not some tourist version of it. Though Green Life I was able to travel to Costa Rica by myself and volunteer at an extremely fair price thanks to Janina, who feels strongly about paying as little as possible when traveling to volunteer. She finds wonderful host families who will benefit the most from the extra money they receive by hosting a volunteer and offers projects for her volunteers that are of undeniable importance to the town.
In all, I had a wonderful experience with Green Life Volunteers. For my first time truly traveling alone and my first time in Costa Rica I managed to fit in an incredible array of different experiences into only two weeks and I highly recommend this program to anyone interested.
Review taken from Abroad Reviews Online – Unbiased Reviews through a Third Party website.