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Volunteering Abroad Programs- Has anyone done this?

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April20

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My sister is considering doing a volunteering abroad program and is interested in going to Costa Rica. She''s trying to research it and is not finding a whole lot as of yet. She''s mainly looking to see what others have experienced. I have made her promise me she''ll research it extensively before she signs up for anything or goes anywhere as I don''t want her to end up as the feature of a 48 Hours Mystery or Dateline episode because we can''t find her.

At any rate, I was wondering if anyone had done this before. What was your experience and do you have a recommendation for a organization to do this thru?
 

movie zombie

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which group in costa rica? i personally have not but i know a lot that have done volunteer gigs in places a lot less safe than costa rica. and we have some very good friends that sold their los gatos home and moved to costa rica 2 years ago. if one is going to do a volunteer gig, costa rica is about as safe as it comes.....although no where is totally safe [not even here in the US].

mz
 

iheartscience

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I''m not familiar with programs there but my twin sis volunteered with Americorps for about a year and she basically picked up trash (literally) the entire time. Not quite what she had signed up for, although there were projects that she did enjoy.

So she should definitely research it a lot to make sure it''s something she really would enjoy!
 

Haven

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My sister A has done a program like this in South America, and I have a friend who leads student volunteer trips with Global Routes every summer. Both really love the programs they went on, I''ll ask my sister for the name of hers.
 

April20

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Thanks for the info thus far. I don''t know that she''s set on Costa Rica, I think that''s just the place she''s thinking about today. I''ll have to ask her if she''s thought about what she wants to do or if she''s looked into what kind of work is available.

I realize no place is ever perfectly safe, but I want her to make sure what ever organization she connects with has a good reputation and that she''s thinking about keeping herself safe as much as she''s thinking about making a positive contribution.
 

AprilBaby

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My daughter is considering Americorp or the Peace Corps after graduation, but with stellar reputations.
 

Elmorton

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DH''s cousin is doing the Peace Corps, and while I feel uncomfortable posting a link to her blog here, I highly recommend doing a google search of "Peace Corps Blog" + whatever area of the world you''re interested in. A lot (if not I might venture to say most) PC volunteers keep blogs for family and friends and they''re REALLY informative on basic stuff like living conditions, what the people are like, etc. I''m addicted to our family member''s blog - she''s very, very honest (and really humorous) about what it''s like to be an outsider in another culture. I know it''s not specifically about a program, but searching something like that may help get a feel what daily life can be like.
 

lyra

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I would just advise she carefully review the program first. My daughter was going to do one program in Costa Rica, but after some research found out it was more a case of paying to be unpaid or lowpaid manual laborer. The program cost money to enter, plus airfare, etc. I would make sure of the goals of the program in question and try to get some personal testimonials. Check it out any way you can and see if there have been any negative reviews.
 

April20

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Elmorton, this is fantastic advice. Thank you. I''ve just sent her a message to do this!

Lyra, I''ve told her to do what you have recommended also.

Thank you!
 
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