My gap year in Costa Rica by Marion who graduated from Brillantmont in June 2011:
“Originally, I had hoped to work with children, probably teaching, in Asia. However, choosing a gap year project was not easy. Be warned: there are many gap year operations that don’t even know the people they claim to help and make you pay a fortune to volunteer. Gap year travel is a lucrative business.”
“After extensive research and a certain amount of disillusionment, my old school, Brillantmont, suggested I contact Global Harmony, a foundation for which Brillantmont has organised many fundraising activities over the years.”
“They don’t usually send volunteers, but after a few discussions found a project for me in Costa Rica. This was not at all what I had originally planned in Asia! Costa Rica is such a little country that no one hears about! However, the plan was to work with children and although I didn’t have a good level of Spanish I thought it would be a great challenge worth a try. So I went there for three months!”
“Those three months were the most wonderful of my entire (short) life! From the very first day, although I didn’t understand anything that was going on around me, I felt at home, and part of the family. I discovered a country with breathtaking landscapes, but also people who amazed me. Costa Rica is reputed for the happiness of its people, although their living conditions are very far removed from those in Europe. The people have learnt to always feel good about everything, to be happy with what they have, not to complain, and to look on the bright side of life. Their generosity also amazed me. They have very little but give willingly, whereas other people often have a lot but give very little. If everyone who is in a position to do so, could help others at least once in their life, the world would be different. I know it sounds cheesy, the kind of thing you read in books, but this is the part of my trip that truly struck me.”
“My workload there was not very heavy as I taught just twice a week – English to women and dance to little girls. So I enjoyed my trip, met lots of people and visited the country. All the ‘ticos’ (the Costa Ricans) as they are called, I met amazed me, and will be always in my thoughts. The beauty of it is that because I helped them, they gave back so much more.
As I prepare to enter the Ecole Hôtelière de Lausanne in autumn 2012, I know that in Costa Rica I will always have a home and family as welcoming as my own.”
Are you considering taking a gap year between school and university? Read more about the many gap year possibilities.