My name is Amy and I am the Program Assistant for the Calgary Serves Costa Rica 2011 trip! I am a recent graduate from the University of Calgary and have degrees in Sociology and Nursing. Throughout my studies at the UofC, I participated in three other Calgary Serves reading week programs: Project Serve Guelph in 2007 and I was the Program Assistant for Calgary Serves Calgary: Homelessness at Home in 2010 and 2011. These programs allowed me to develop a passion for volunteerism and service-learning and were undoubtedly some of the most memorable experiences I had in during my time at the UofC. I am so fortunate be given the opportunity to embark on an international trip to Isla Chira in Costa Rica!
I am excited to be able to live with a host family while down there as I enjoy being able to experience the culture from a local perspective. In 2007, I lived in a Spanish only speaking host family while participating in a study abroad program in Colima, Mexico with the University of Calgary. Living with a host family provided me with many valuable learning experiences in both non-verbal communication (I don’t speak Spanish!!) and the way of life that is both similar and very different to how we live in Canada. While in Costa Rica, I am so excited to be able to live with a young family who has a three-year-old child. I am looking forward to getting to know them better and being able to experience Costa Rica from their perspective!
While on Isla Chira, we will be working with the local elementary school by helping them to build an area to play sports, as they currently only have space for soccer. Being able to work with the children will be fun and is something I am really looking forward to! I am even looking forward to playing sports with them, which should be interesting given my lack of athleticism!
As a nurse, I am interested in learning more about the organization of health care and public health in Costa Rica. I have already been told that the access to health care on Isla Chira is very limited – with only one small clinic that has a doctor in attendance only a couple of days per week. Apparently, in most medical situations one must take a boat into the mainland in order to receive care. Nevertheless, I have read that the people of Costa Rica are some of the healthiest and happiest people in the world!
There are only a few things I am nervous about – the language barrier, heat and bugs. I think most of these can be remedied by having a positive attitude and a belief that the bugs are “friendly”! 😉
I am looking forward to sharing my experience while in Costa Rica with you all as I am sure it will be a life changing experience!