A month into living in Costa Rica is as good a time as any to explain why I’m here and to give my initial impressions.
I am doing an 8-month internship for Global Leadership Adventures (GLA). GLA is a B Corporation based in San Diego and that sends high school students from around the world on service learning trips in Asia, Africa, Latin America and Europe. B Corps are like the meeting point between a non-profit and a tradition corporation, they use business as a tool to solve social and environmental issues.
Officially, my title is Global Education Industry Trainee. I and the six other trainees live together in the same house in Ciudad Quesada here in Costa Rica. A town about two hours north of San Jose, tucked up in the mountains and consistently gifted with hot sun complemented with a sprinkle of persistent mist.
Our office … is in the house. The whole situation is very Real World-esque. A 15-second commute and “no shoes necessary” policy makes for a great start to every day. We spend time learning about the sales and marketing software and calling warm leads to provide more information about the programs. Six hours of Spanish lessons are also provided per week as well as other cultural experiences, such as dance lessons and going to eat local foods. We even hosted a neighborhood barbecue!
The most exciting part of the internship are the excursions we take to the various programs we run in Costa Rica. Last week we spent five days in the Guanacaste region exploring the different areas high school students go for their service and adventures programs. First we explored the more temperate protected forests of the region where reforestation projects are the central focus.
Las Bromelias is located in a cloud forest on the side volcano Rincón de la Vieja. A wet and vibrant ecosystem provides a very stark contrast from the dry forest just an hour away. Here we hiked through thick forest to some natural hot springs and visited some of the schools that been improved upon up in these remote communities.
And finally, we enjoyed a moment of reflection as we watched the sunset off the Pacific Coast.
Kumbirayi Murinda is earning a bachelor’s degree in International Business at San Diego State University. He is blogging from Costa Rica during spring semester 2016.