Volunteer Abroad - Costa Rica, Volunteer Abroad Programs

Absorbing the Costa Rican Culture

by Hannah Nevitt, Greenheart Travel Volunteer Abroad Participant

It is almost 2 o’clock in the afternoon and pouring down rain. The water drains from the gutters and splashes into tiny puddles along our driveway. I can hear the spraying of water as cars whiz by on the nearby road. Muffled voices in the distance, the clucking of chickens, and the background music from a TV advertisement I have come to recognize. I am starting to become accustomed to the world I now live in.

As time passes I am starting to realize how much of Costa Rica’s culture I have started to absorb. I am no longer fazed by thunderstorms, sudden downpours, scampering raccoons, or even by the variety of insects with which I now share board. I crave coffee three times a day and I am not yet sick of rice and beans.  I have become accustomed to the mid-day siesta; in fact, I am not sure I can now live without one!

I am reminiscing over moments of culture shock I experienced within my first month here; young children drinking coffee, watching them play soccer without shoes, drinking soda out of plastic bags, and seeing homes with earthen floors. Yet somehow, now I am no longer surprised. It is just the way of life.

I remember about a month ago when I observed my 10 year old neighbor, Ramon, sweeping and painting the roof of his house. I sat from my porch pondering the cultural impact of this situation. I remember wondering if I would ever see a 10 year old boy in the U.S. (who looks like he is 7) walking along the rooftop re-painting shingles. He wakes up every morning at 7am to milk the cows or help with chores, no questions asked. Always with a smile on his face. It is incredible.

About Greenheart Travel

CCI Greenheart Travel is personally invested in providing cultural immersion programs that change lives, advance careers and create leaders. We achieve this by partnering with organizations and governments overseas that empower their local communities through experiential learning and practical development. We provide others with the same positive travel experiences in which we ourselves engage. Through travel and cultural exchange, we help individuals reach their full potential, leading to a more tolerant, peaceful and environmentally sustainable world.


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