This past summer, UWC-USA Spanish teacher Ty Lewis embarked on a transformative journey to Costa Rica, hoping to break out of his comfort zone and rediscover himself as a student.
Ty joined Common Ground International as a volunteer teacher, a program featuring a blend of language immersion and volunteering. In collaboration with CEDCAS, an organization supporting the healthcare needs of immigrants, Ty landed in Guayari. Dominated by Nicaraguan immigrants to Costa Rica, in Guayari he experienced daily the harsh realities of poverty. Families inhabited makeshift corrugated tin shelters with no formal access to electricity or plumbing.
Yet amid these hardships, Ty found warmth. Living with a host family who embraced him wholeheartedly, they introduced him to the entire extended family and welcomed him as one of their own. They shared meals, laughter, and tales and the family’s matriarch, a culinary wizard, bonded with Ty over their mutual love for cooking. “After just one week of living with them I already felt like my host family had my back for anything and that I was part of their family.”
By the end of the summer program Ty realized that he had gained as much or more than he gave. He’s looking forward to sharing what he learned with his students in Montezuma this fall.