Jordin Trueman - General Care Projects in Costa Rica
It’s been a year since my trip with Projects Abroad to Costa Rica. I can’t even begin to explain how much I miss my placement, my host family and all the amazing people I was so blessed to meet. This is an unreal organisation that not only makes you feel comfortable and safe but allows you to make a difference! I heard about them through a family friend and decided to call and ask more about them.
I dealt with a lot of different staff with Projects Abroad and all were friendly and willing to answer any questions I had. After feeling comfortable I began looking at destinations. Costa Rica has always interested me and I had always wanted to learn Spanish, so I decided it was the place to go. I've always been a huge fan of children and loved working with them, so I knew the care programme was definitely for me.
My Costa Rican host family
The first day I got there my friend and I were greeted at the airport with hugs and kisses on the cheek! They then took us to our host family’s house and as we were driving I was secretly freaking out. Things like will I like my host family? Will they like me? Is it always this hot? When we got to the house it was very simple but clean and again we were welcomed with open arms.
I had no idea how much I would love my host family and the house itself. They turned into family and the house turned into my home. I will never forget how patient they were with me and my lack of Spanish. Funny thing - my host mom cooked a lot of beans and I remember at first hating how many beans I had to eat in a day. Now I'd give anything to be at her house will a plate full of beans!
My Care placement in Costa Rica
My care placement was incredible. I got to spend two months working with amazing staff and children that changed my life. They always made me feel welcome and wanted. I brought a bunch of fun things to give to them and I have never seen children so thankful for a toy car or a balloon in my life.
I remember thinking how ungrateful I was for things like having a car or never worrying about not enough food. It’s something that has stuck with me and always will. BE THANKFUL, life's too short not to be. I worked with children that didn't have a lot but their attitudes towards life were so uplifting. It was a pleasure spending my summer with such amazing people and I miss them every single day.
Weekends in Costa Rica
I really enjoyed having the weekends off to do whatever I wanted and decided exploring Costa Rica was the way to go! I can’t tell you how much I learnt about myself on this trip and how much I grew. I was constantly learning new things and going out of my comfort zone. There was one weekend where a few of the volunteers and I decided to make our way to Monteverde. I decided to zip line, horse ride through a coffee plantation and go on a night jungle walk. Little did the rest of the group know how scared I was for all three but I did it and it was one of the coolest weekends of my life! One of the biggest lessons I learnt on my trip with Projects Abroad is you shouldn't let your fears hold you back in case something really cool comes out of it!
When people say how amazing Costa Rican people are they aren't exaggerating. Everywhere we went locals greeted us with open arms and I always felt very safe while I was there. One time I was trying to buy a mobile phone from a local store and was having quite a tough time trying to communicate with the clerk. She then pulled out a Spanish/English dictionary and we both finally figured out what we both were trying to say! It was quite amazing how patient and understanding they were with the language barrier. I was harder on myself about it then they were with me. I do strongly urge anyone to take Spanish classes before you come to Costa Rica because it will make your time there much easier!
I couldn’t be happier with my decision to travel abroad and volunteer, and going with Projects Abroad just made my experience even better! A trip with this organisation is going to completely change your life and I strongly urge you to travel abroad and volunteer. It will be the best thing you have ever done. Pura Vida!
"Remember that the happiest people are not those getting more, but those giving more." - Jackson Brown
This volunteer story may include references to working in or with orphanages. Find out more about Projects Abroad's current approach to volunteering in orphanages and our focus on community-based care for children.