Name: Leon Haupt
Hometown: Frankfurt, Germany
High school: Ziehenschule
Languages spoken: German, English (fluent), French (intermediate), Spanish (beginner)
Volunteer Abroad: Teaching English in Cartago, Costa Rica
Duration: 11 weeks
Start month: October 2017
Why did you decide to become a UBELONG Volunteer?
I came in touch with UBELONG through surfing on the internet. I wanted to support a respectable project that involved work at a school, preferably in English and Spanish. Furthermore UBELONG convinced me with low costs and flexible dates. This and having read about the experience of former volunteers, convinced me to be part of the UBELONG Family.
What were your major challenges?
Upon arriving in an unknown country, it took some time and effort to get to know the new culture, I had to let my guard down to engage with strangers and make new friends. Furthermore I switched to speaking Spanish with my host family and the other ticos, but everyone was happy to help me further learn the language. Even though Costa Rica is a highly developed country in its region, there still are differences, regarding living standards, to my home country Germany, which I had to adapt to, such as an occasionally interrupted water supply.
What advice would you tell a future volunteer?
Before you go ahead and prepare your journey, be sure to think about what it means to stay abroad. You will spend a considerable amount of time away from home and even though the local team will be eager to help you adapt, you will have to take matters into your own hands nonetheless. Be open-minded, embrace the foreign culture and engage with strangers, it will make your stay much more enjoyable. If there is a problem or a challenge you can´t tackle on your own, don´t hesitate to ask the UBELONG Team for help. But most importantly, enjoy the stay, it is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity after all.
In a sentence or less, how would you describe local life?
Pura vida, as the Costa Ricans would say, namely a very relaxed and simple but also joyful way of life.