Name: Theresa Koxha
Hometown: Bayside, New York
Nationality: United States
Occupation: Special Education-English Language and Arts Teacher at the New York City Department of Education
Languages spoken: English, French (beginner), Spanish (beginner)
Past travel experience: Moderate
Volunteer Abroad: Caring for Disadvantaged Youth in Cartago, Costa Rica
Duration: 2 weeks
Start month: July 2017
Claim to fame: Theresa has previously studied abroad for a Summer in Compiegne, France as part of her undergraduate degree at Hunter College. Great to have you in the UBELONG Family! 🙂
Why did you decide to become a UBELONG Volunteer?
I decided to volunteer to be able to give back while also being able to explore and learn a new culture. After much researching UBELONG seemed like the perfect fit. It offered diverse programs in a variety of countries and was affordable. Looking back, it was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.
What is your favorite memory?
It is difficult to choose a favorite memory from my time in Costa Rica. I would say a memory that stands out in my mind is the last day of working at my project. I showed up already feeling sad knowing I would have to say goodbye to the women and children I saw daily for two weeks. However, as soon as I walked in I was greeted by some of the children holding roses wrapped in paper with a sweet message handwritten on it. I was brought to tears by the kind gesture, and so honored they even tried to write the message in English. It left me with a sense of love and contentment.
What did you take from the experience?
I took a lot from my experience in Costa Rica; adventures I will never forget, knowledge about a culture I learned to be apart of, but most of all I took away a sense of fulfillment I had never felt before. During my time at my project I saw women and children be examples of how to spread love and that is something I hope to take with me wherever I go.
In a sentence or less, how would you describe local life?
Local life is relaxed and authentic…locals truly live a “Pura Vida” lifestyle.