Through out my duration at this project, I had a very challenging yet rewarding experience that has forever changed me for the better and i would gladly do it again. The internship itself was both what i expected and not what i expected at the same time. I would say the project made an impact at the individual level; However, not on an international level which would be a future goal for the project in my opinion. The organization that i worked with was a popular internship for students from the Netherlands since it was a dutch program but by no means was it known internationally.
I believe that if the project gained international popularity, they would make a larger impact as an environmental project. I do think i made a difference at this project because i worked hard on my field of study and i worked with several other students on numerous other projects. I think the most challenging aspect of this project for me was the fact it was a solely a Dutch program (unbeknownst to me) where 80% of the students were from the Netherlands. I think this made it challenging because although all the students spoke english, it was a completely different culture and most of the students spoke their native tongue for the majority of the time. It was hard to be one of two American students and feeling like an outsider for quite awhile. It wasn’t until two and half weeks in that people finally started opening up to me and i started making friends. Even though the adjustment phase to the people, the environment, and the schedule was tough at first, once i got comfortable and started making friends it was amazing. I overcame these challenges because no matter how out of my element i was, i remained outgoing, energetic, and positive which i think drew people toward me in the end.
I think the successes i am most proud of are: exceeding at my internship, making friends from all over the world that i will have for the rest of my life, and most of all: being open to all adventures and learning experiences that Costa Rica and my internship had to offer. This project did meet my expectations and the owners of the organization were both kind and welcoming. I would definitely recommend a project like this to a friend but i will say that i would also recommend they do their research and try to find a project that had a better diversity of students. In the end, this was unlike any internship or experience i have ever had but at the same time one of the best and i will treasure it for the rest of my life.
Environmental Research Internship in Costa Rica