Hi, my name is Lucy and I will be doing the blog for the January Costa Rica team. I graduated college in May and now have an Extended Diploma Level 3 in Animal Management. I have lived around animals all my life being on a farm, being around humble animals such as chickens, sheep and cattle to the more exotic of animals – Arab horses and Ostriches. When I was a toddler my mum would bring me up to the lambing sheds with her and that’s where I spent most my early days. I have had my fair share of pets over the years including a pony and a bearded dragon. I currently have 6 dogs. So, animals as you can probably already have guessed played a big part in my life. Which encouraged me to go to college to study animal welfare in which I did 3 years of and came with 2 diplomas. From this my interest in animal behaviour was developed and I become an advocate for animal conservation. My interest developed from a small affection into a dedicated passion. I decided to take a gap year as I didn’t get into university, this was down to not having a maths GCSE at grade C or above. But I didn’t let this stop wanting to learn more about animals and the world they live in and how I can help save them both. Lucy Dickens

I chose the The Leap because they seemed to care about their volunteers extremely well and all of their programs look amazing but also when I got in contact with them they were so friendly and put with my questions of the day and they made me feel that I would be safe going on this trip. I chose Costa Rica because there is a lot of conservation work involved and I loved the idea to help look after baby turtles. My fundraising has stemmed mostly from my work and a fundraiser evening that I hosted. My job at a Canal museum let me have a tin for donations in front of our till in the cafe. I had a card next to it explaining what I would be doing in Costa Rica. It was so lovely when I would meet people who have been to Costa Rica and said how beautiful it was or how their son or daughter took a gap year and it was one of the best things they ever did or people who were just genuinely interested in what I was doing. My fundraiser evening was a prosecco and canapes evening where I did a presentation on what I would be doing on the trip. This evening was a big help in me raising funds towards my trip.

My packing tips are to research, research the people who have travelled to Costa Rica to how they handled it and what they wished they brought and what they wished they hadn’t brought.. My hopes are to be that see wildlife phenomena, having great time with the people there, learn about the culture and to help save part of our world. My fears are mostly missing home but you’ve just got to ride on through it and do something with someone to distract yourself from it but don’t hide it as you’ll make it worse for yourself. When I come back from Costa Rica I’m hoping to go to university to study Wildlife conservation.