De Grace: Voluntaria en Costa Rica 09

En estas semanas con el grupo de Aprendizaje Global, en Liberia, he tenido la oportunidad de adquirir mayor conocimiento en distintas áreas. Primero que todo, con respecto a la educación, he tenido aprendido acerca de cómo aplicar la enseñanza de una manera diferente, en la cual alumnos y maestros enseñan y aprenden de una manera mutua. Además, la relación entre ambos (maestro-alumno) es más de igualdad, se nivela la posición de estos, para eliminar de cierta forma el paradigma de “Yo soy el maestro y ustedes los alumnos”. Este método da resultados grandes, lo he podido notar con la respuesta de los niños luego de impartir las clases, ellos se sienten muy agradecidos y esperan ansiosos la siguiente visita de equipo; esto es algo que realmente satisface y motiva tanto a los voluntarios a seguir trabajando por los niños, como a los pequeños a continuar aprendiendo.

Por otra parte, la relación con los miembros del grupo es muy agradable, cuando vamos a las escuelas nos levantamos muy de mañana, como a las 6:00 a.m., desayunamos, hacemos la limpieza del lugar y aprovechamos para escuchar música y de esta manera disfrutamos mucho del tiempo juntos. Luego de terminar las lecciones en las los centros educativos, almorzamos, hacemos trabajos individuales, me gustan mucho, ya que es la oportunidad de interactuar aún más con los compañeros, ya sea haciendo compras en el centro de Liberia o trabajando el las lecciones en las residencias que es donde vivimos. También tenemos tiempo personal, en el cual nos relajamos de muchas formas. Además, todos los domingos tenemos la dicha de poder descansar un poco mas, haciendo giras como a la playa, bosque, etc. Esto nos ayuda a comenzar una semana con gran energía. Algo importante es que todos somos como hermanos, nos ayudamos mutuamente y compartimos nuestras vidas en este mes.

En Aprendizaje Global tenemos la gran oportunidad de tener un intercambio de culturas, esto algo que me gusta mucho, he aprendido mucho de cada uno de los compañeros, locales y extranjeros, todos compartimos nuestras experiencias de vida, las cuales siempre son de gran provecho. En esta organización he trabajado duro con le resto de los miembros de grupo, sin embargo la satisfacción de ayudar es inmensamente grande. Cuando entre a GL pensé que me perdería de unas maravillosas vacaciones de verano con mi familia, pero ahora se que estas han sido las mejores vacaciones de mi vida por que he hecho algo productivo, no solo para mi, sino para los demás y por esta razón quiero mantenerme activamente en el equipo por mucho tiempo. Solo puedo decir, gracias a todos.

Grace Gonzalez Valdez
Voluntaria de Aprendizaje Global, Costa Rica 09

From Lily: GL Volunteer in Costa Rica 09

One week left. I write these words with regret because they signal the approaching end to my wonderful experience here in Costa Rica with Global Learning. Coming into the Global Learning program, I did not have many concrete expectations. I think I was mostly worried about my Spanish skills and excited to work with kids. I could have never anticipated how close I would feel to twenty-one incredibly diverse individuals. What has surprised me the most about my experience here in Costa Rica is the sense of camaraderie amongst the volunteers. There are people here that I feel like I have known for years instead of a few weeks. I am already making plans to visit Boston next year to visit with some of the volunteers who attend school there!

Global Learning has given me so much in terms of making new relationships. I am inspired everyday by the passion of my fellow volunteers. Their dedication not only to the GL program, but also to their personal endeavors allows me to feel more confident about my own dreams. Here, I have met university students, teachers, and even former Peace Corps volunteers. Everyone here believes in the importance of service in a global sense, and I am saddened to leave such an empowering and nurturing environment next week.

Now, onto the children. We returned to El Salto today to do a community project centered around recycling and protecting the environment. I was very surprised by the number of kids that showed up. It was amazing how much trash and recyclable goods we collected in such little time! Seeing children I had taught before and having them remember me was a very rewarding experience. I feel especially close to the children at El Salto because we were able to give special classes to them a couple of weeks ago when their school was technically closed. We were also able to attend a cultural festival there yesterday full of excitement, dancing, recitations, and laughter. I was able to share lunch with some very talkative kindergarten students. They cannot wait until next year when they can participate in the lessons.

Tonight was very special because we had an open house for all present and past volunteers. I was able to meet former volunteers like Javier, who was part of the pilot GL team back in 1998, and who continues to be a major force in the program. It was interesting to be part of a melding of two different generations of volunteers. This coming week is going to be full of planning, teaching, and hopefully a lot of laughter. I arrived in Costa alone, but I am leaving with a family.

Lily Fabela

Current GL Volunteer in Costa Rica 2009

Leadership Training 2009

This month GL program coordinators and support people (assistant coordinators) are gathering in Liberia, Costa Rica for Global Learning’s sixth annual leadership training. The leaders present are preparing to guide the 2009 School Enrichment Programs in Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Honduras. Over the course of several weeks new and experienced coordinators and support people are focusing on topics ranging from GL’s pedagogy to accounting systems to conflict resolution techniques.

What follows is a first hand account about how the training is going from Ashley Engel, a new GL Support Person who will work in Nicaragua this year.

We´re here! I have been in San Roque, Costa Rica (near Liberia) for a week and a half. As soon as I arrived, I have felt so welcomed by everyone. I live with nine other people in a house that a GL supporter is allowing us to use. We have volunteers from diverse parts of the United States, Nicaragua, and Costa Rica. Working with such a diverse group is a wonderful experience. Because we differ in nationality, socioeconomic status, personality, religion, ethnicity, cultures, and gender, we all contribute to the group in different ways. Although we are such a diverse team, we all work well with one another as we work to achieve the goals of GL. I love learning about different cultures and experiencing new things while I am in San Roque. I feel as though I am a part of something bigger while working for Global Learning. I am spending my time doing something worthwhile and meaningful and am getting really excited to work in the schools.

A typical training day runs from about 8am to 9:30pm. Our team starts each day eating breakfast together. After cleaning up, we have a training session that lasts about two and a half hours in the morning. Then, we have lunch and enjoy some free time. In the afternoon, we have another training meeting for a few hours, and afterwards, members cook dinner. We have personal time to rejuvenate after dinner and then have another meeting at night.

In the bilingual training sessions and meetings, we are always learning. We have been studying the pedagogies of GL through numerous activities. The coordinators are instructing us on GL´s teaching tools to effectively teach in classrooms. In small groups, we practice these techniques in Spanish to prepare. In addition, we create visuals for the leaders and also other visuals to prepare for the arrival of the volunteers. As a support person, I am able to see the inner workings of the organization. The meetings are full of group activities where we learn about each other, ourselves, teaching, and the organization. The activities are about team building, collaboration, and forming relationships between the leaders. Although training is about learning and working, the house is always full of laughter, and we are always having fun even through work.

In the house, I feel comfortable around everyone and am constantly laughing. I love learning cooking techniques, feeling like a part of a community, being a support person in an international organization, and learning teaching strategies. I really feel connected to each member on the team. In our free time, we can go to the internet café, which is only two blocks from the house, play cards, go to the town center, and even play soccer in the street. We also go on field trips to bond and to take a break from working to feel rejuvenated. As a group, we already went to the beach. We will be going to a waterfall soon. I feel so lucky to be here and am so excited for the program. I cannot wait for the new volunteers to arrive! See you soon in Nicaragua!

Ashley Engel

GL volunteer, Nicaragua Support Person 2009

Funding for Exciting Research Project

Dear Socios,

Many of you know about the Stevens funding that came through in the spring and the exciting GL research/travel project that it will support. However, in order to ensure that everyone is up to date, here is the news…

In April, thanks in large part to good wishes, prayers, support and positive vibes sent by many of you, I was awarded a Mary Elvira Stevens Traveling Fellowship, an award available to alumnae from Wellesley College. I am going to use the fellowship for a new Global Learning research project starting in January 2009.

With Stevens funding, I will travel to Peru, Argentina, Mexico, Uganda, Kenya, and Thailand in order to learn with educators using empowering pedagogy that is similar to what we are using in Global Learning programs. I will visit three types of educational settings: progressive schools, outdoor education organizations, and refugee camps.

In each location, I will gather and share best practice teaching techniques that help students think, learn, believe in themselves, and be active world citizens. I feel very thankful for the opportunity to collaborate with our global colleagues engaging in best practices and look forward to returning to GL with valuable ideas from around the world to strengthen and improve our teacher training and educational programs.

Upon return, my intention is to work with GL volunteers to write a user-friendly handbook to help improve education in underserved communities. Targeted at educators and parents, it will be a manual of tangible student-centered techniques field-tested in the developing world that anyone could use to improve children’s learning and life preparation, even with minimal material resources. Hence, this exciting project will not only inform and strengthen GL programs, but also will enable us to share student-centered best practices with a much larger audience.

I will be traveling for approximately one year, with a few visits to our California office and current GL sites in Latin America worked into the itinerary. These visits will enable me to touch in and contribute, but I will need assistance with many of my duties as GL’s executive director in 2009. I am very grateful to the many Global Learning volunteers who have stepped up to make room for me to work on this new project. Regional coordinators and volunteers in Mexico, Nicaragua, Costa Rica and in the United States will add to their already heavy workloads next year to keep the GL wheels turning. We will have many experienced volunteers return in 2009 to guide the leadership training and school enrichment programs. I would like to offer special thanks to Nessa Mahmoudi, Jessie Anderson, and Roberto Vargas Sanchez who have committed themselves to taking over most of my administrative duties while I am traveling.

The solid, self-sustaining nature of GL’s current stage of development is a testament to the hard work and commitment that hundreds of volunteers have contributed. Thank you! I am grateful to work within our unique and passionate community and look forward to moving adelante with all of you in 2009.

With gratitude,
Jana

Publicidad (Radio y TV): Costa Rica

Septiembre 24, 2008
Liberia, Guanacaste
…MÁS INFORMACIÓN VIENE!
Saludos a todos Súper voluntarios de Global Learning.

La información que enviamos aquí es acerca de algunos de los puntos que habíamos tratado la reunión anterior, sobre las posibilidades de anunciar nuestro programa en la radio y en la televisión local.

Las noticias son positivas! Conversamos con personas de Radio Pampa y ellos nos ceden un espacio en su transmisión para hablar acerca del programa, la tarea es seleccionar una o dos personas para que asistan a la radio la próxima semana, cualquier día, solo debemos confirmar en la mañana al teléfono 26 66 49 63 que asistiremos en la tarde.

Sugerencia: las personas que vayan pueden conversar con ellos para obtener un espacio semanal para hablar de las nuevas actividades del grupo.

Con respecto a Canal 36 también tenemos un espacio al igual que la Radio debemos confirmar que asistiremos al teléfono 26 66 36 36 o con Doña Ingrid 83 10 82 47 (Nacira está perfeccionando los detalles con Doña Ingrid) y se debe elegir dos personas para ir a la entrevista.

Creo que las noticias son buenas porque hay disposición por parte de los medios de comunicación así que debemos aprovechar la oportunidad.

Pedimos disculpas por no poder estar en la reunión, pero tuvimos pequeños inconvenientes. Chao, éxitos y bendiciones.
Atte.
Nacira Valdelomar
Maylin Boniche

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