This past summer I was an ESL assistant with Asociacion CREAR which is located in Samara, Costa Rica. The purpose of Asociacion CREAR is to offer a supplemental education to children in need. These services include English lessons as a second language as well as an after school art program. Asociacion CREAR’s role in the community helps children develop important dialogue and creativity skills they may use in the future. Asociacion CREAR’s role in the community is important due to the reality that children only attend school 4 hours a day. Because of the inequality Samara faces in the rural region its located in, schools often lack services for proper education. This includes lack of faculty which can lead to the cancellation of classes several times a week.
Public schools in Samara also don’t offer after school activities which can be essential to the personal growth of a child. Aside from after school classes, Asociacion CREAR helps reduce this issue by offering a summer camp program free to the members of the community as well as presentation nights to parents to see how their children have improved throughout their time with the program.
My only regret during my time in Samara was not bringing a rain jacket, which made my commute through the rain and mud quite difficult. In my role in the program I taught students various subjects in the English language. This included basic vocabulary, environmental issues, spelling and grammar structure, as well as many different types of board games. I taught English twice a day in the span of 6 hours between two different locations.
Other responsibilities included coaching a group of kids for a spelling bee and participating in the summer program. In the summer program we took kids on a movie night, hiking, surfing, cooking, and to the park.
I also had the opportunity to travel outside of Samara to other areas of the country were I learned about social and economic development. This included an island called “ Isla Venado” Where I met with a Peace Corp member who taught us about instituting change in schools as well as economic management. By participating in this program I learned how to become a better instructor, create lesson plans, understand how non-profits are ran and fundraised.
My experience with Asociacion CREAR has allowed me to see the important role of offering services to others that may help people achieve upward mobility. With the skills learned from Asociacion CREAR I am confident that I can work alongside other communities in Latin America through the Foreign Service or any NGO in their communities. This opportunity would have not been possible for me without the Social Science Scholars program and I am incredibly grateful for those that facilitated this experience.
Roman Ramos is an International Affairs and Political Science double major from Tijuana, Mexico. After graduating, Roman hopes to enroll in graduate school to study Public Administration and Urban and Regional Planning and Development