Considering an internship abroad in Costa Rica? Eva Korte from the US recently completed a 6-week Environmental Conservation internship in San Ramon with Intern Abroad HQ. Read about how she found living with a host family, developed her adaptability, explored her career field, and set herself up for future success in the Conservation field.
My goal for my Environmental internship was to pinpoint where exactly my interests lie. This internship has helped me discover what area I want to continue my studies in, and how this can forge a path for my future career in Environmental Conservation.
My role as an intern allowed me to perform a lot of different tasks and interact with a diverse range of people. Learning about the lives of others, what they do, and how they got to where they are, has taught me so much about myself and what I enjoy doing. Exchanges like this have proved incredibly beneficial, as it has given me the opportunity to gain a more worldly perspective, which will only make my skills more universal.
Settling into life in Costa Rica
My first week in Costa Rica was fun! I expected the local people to be shy around me because I was from a foreign country, but they were all extremely welcoming and brought me along with them everywhere. While I’d hoped it would be easier for me to speak and understand Spanish, everyone I met was patient and laid back, which really helped my confidence.
The most memorable moment from my first week was attending a party with my host organization. It was a lot of fun to try new food, sing karaoke, and dance with the people I met.
My Environmental internship role and tasks
My role as an Environmental intern included maintaining tree nurseries and helping with new infrastructure to expand the nursery’s capabilities. I facilitated sapling growth and aided in reforestation and growth tracking of already planted trees. In the short term, I helped maintain the supply of tree saplings which continued the reforestation process. Long term, I aided in the expansion of the operation to allow for larger production of plants to help reforestation in nearby areas.
Exploring Costa Rica during my internship
Often when at my internship, I was taken to different areas of Costa Rica. Sometimes I was unsure of where exactly we were going or what tasks we would be working on when we arrived. This really pushed me to be ready for anything and more open-minded about the often unpredictable nature of Environmental Conservation work.
I could not have imagined I would get to travel around Costa Rica as part of my internship and experience such variety in my work. I enjoyed seeing areas “off the beaten track” and unspoiled by tourists. I was able to meet a lot of different people which went a long way in fulfilling my goal to meet as many people as I could.
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Why I loved staying in a homestay with a host family
I wish to hold onto some of the values of my host family and the Costa Rican culture, like the importance of spending time with family.
My host family was so incredibly generous during my stay and took great care of me, cooking delicious meals and helping with daily tasks. I was free to go out on my own and come and go from my homestay as I liked. After five weeks of having someone take care of you, it will take a few days to get used to taking care of myself again!
What’s next for me…
To continue progressing personally and professionally after my internship, one action I will take is looking into planning further trips abroad to expand my cultural awareness, adaptability, and independence. I feel so much more empowered to explore different areas and opportunities related to Environmental Conservation and wish to further volunteer, build on current skills, or learn new ones.
My advice if you’re considering an internship abroad…
One piece of advice I would share with a future intern who is heading into a culturally diverse setting would be to be open-minded and accept new opportunities. If someone invites you somewhere with them, go! Even if you are unsure, you will most likely regret not going later. Try to learn as much as you can while you are there. Also, ask questions! Ask how to say something, what an unfamiliar thing is, where different places are, about food, anything! No question is a silly question.
How can I get started?
Our step-by-step guide on how it works provides you with more information on how to get started. The process is user friendly and there are two options you can take to get the ball rolling.
If you’re unsure of which internship program is right for you, you can simply check availability to submit an enquiry which will help us to point you in the right direction. If you want to chat over the phone, you can also find our full contact information here.
If you already have an idea of what you want to do, and when you want to do it, you can submit your application. It doesn’t cost anything and won’t take more than 5 minutes. However, your formal expression of interest provides the foundation for us to help you take the next steps.