Summer, sun, surf – Lena as a volunteer at the surf camp in Costa Rica
“The way people think and live is just fascinating. The nature is breathtaking and so diverse. If I had to describe Latin America in three words, they would be: happy, content, relaxed.”
Lena spent 3 months at the surf camp in Tamarindo, Costa Rica with WanderWorld Travel. In this report she describes her activities at the surf camp, her experiences with the culture and how she spent her free time. During her stay abroad, she explored the beautiful country of Costa Rica and then traveled on to Panama. In the process, she learned to be more independent and responsible and is very proud of herself for having dared this adventure.
I always wanted to travel the world and didn’t really know what to do after high school. I then talked to my parents and they were also very enthusiastic. I booked my trip with WanderWorld in early 2022 and went to Costa Rica for 3 months in November to work at the surf school. I had a lot of respect for the trip. Not knowing where you’re going, what kind of people you’ll be living with was enough to scare me. But since we really got all the important information from WanderWorld regarding the preparation and the trip itself, the whole thing was really relaxed (in hindsight).
MY FIRST DAYS
The first impressions of the country were super nice. The food was very tasty and the culture was briefly explained to us. We walked through the city with Lisa and were allowed to taste local fruits and typical dishes and saw some monuments of the city. We were a nice group of 15 people and we all got along very well too. From the capital we went by bus alone to my project. There, it didn’t take long for me to settle in because the accommodation and the people were really great.
A NORMAL DAY IN THE PROJECT
My tasks at the beginning were first to get to know the booking and cash register systems and then to communicate with the customers. I was responsible for booking surfing lessons and then collecting the money. We also cleaned, that’s just part of it. Later I had to do things like waxing boards and screwing on fins. At the end, when I had already gained a lot of experience in surfing, I was allowed to support as a surf instructor. That was mega cool! In general, we learned a lot of the tasks ourselves. But I also had a lot of freedom to bring in and implement new ideas. I was able to learn a lot of new things about surfing and surfing equipment. That was really great.
MY FREE TIME
I always spent my free time in different ways, but mostly with the people from the accommodation or the guests in the hotel. You were never alone and always had super nice people around you. The people also always changed. There were always 2 people from WanderWorld and then usually 1 – 2 people who did their internship semester there.
There was also a language school and we spent a lot of time with the language students from all over the world. For example, we went to parties, made boat trips, went to other beaches for swimming or surfing, went out for a delicious meal or visited the skate park. Of course, beach volleyball and soccer were not to be missed and the BBQ’S with the locals were also really nice and delicious.
MY EXPERIENCE WITH THE CULTURE
I think “quite different” describes the culture very well. You always feel warmly welcomed by the people and they are super welcoming. Everyone takes the time to explain or show you something that is typical for the country and the people. The people there are all much more relaxed and for them “working” means by far not what it means for us. Everything is also not so structured. This can have advantages as well as disadvantages, but I really liked it. The people taught me not to always see everything so narrowly, especially with punctuality.
MY MOST BEAUTIFUL MOMENT
The best moment I actually had just before Christmas, when we had a Christmas party from the surf school. We were invited to a local bar and there we, 4 Germans and 20 Ticos, sang karaoke, talked, had fun, ate and drank delicious and spent a super nice evening. Afterwards we went to a rodeo. Nice evening!
We had an eight-bed dormitory where volunteers as well as guests slept. The guests were those who had booked a week of surf lessons with an overnight stay at the surf school. They were all super modern rooms. We had two bathrooms, a big locker and a very comfortable bed.
WHAT I LEARNED FROM THE JOURNEY
I have become more independent and have learned to take more responsibility for my actions. I have learned to pay more attention to my fellow human beings and to be more mindful in general. I also found out what I want to achieve in my life and why it is worth living in this beautiful world. I am super proud to have mastered this journey.
THAT’S WHY I LOVE LATIN AMERICA
The way people think and live is simply fascinating. The nature is breathtaking and so diverse. If I had to describe Latin America in three words, they would be: happy, content, relaxed. It’s just how the people bring their culture across and their way of living. The words describe that quite well.
What I can recommend is to look at several countries. I traveled to Panama after my project, which was very nice. The countries in Latin America are absolutely breathtaking. Personally, I would not stay longer than 2 months in one project, I would rather use the time to visit the other countries and projects.