There's a ways to go till summer break, but one UCF alumna already knows what she'll be doing with her time off — and hopes others from her alma mater will join her.

Chelsea Montes de Oca, 25, will lead a volunteer trip to Costa Rica in July through an organization called International Student Volunteers and encourages UCF students to sign up.

The 2011 graduate recently accepted a University Leader position with ISV and looks forward to the short-term excursion slated for July 31.

"[ISV] send[s] students to different countries — like Australia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic and Thailand as well as South Africa — to participate in preexisting projects with partnerships through the program and help do volunteer projects in each of those countries based around community development and ability," she said.

Montes de Oca is currently a graduate student at the University of Denver, a partner of ISV.

"I just really like to go to different countries; I really like to volunteer," she said. "I've been volunteering since I was 12 at different churches, but I also really like this particular organization because they seem to be about responsible tourism and volunteerism, meaning that they aren't really trying to go in and change anything too heavily."

After the two-week volunteer trip there is an optional Spanish immersion week during which students live with a host family and learn Spanish.

"There's also the option of doing an adventure tour," Montes de Oca said, "which is a two-week excursion trip where there's a three-day rafting trip, there is zip-lining through Costa Rica, there's waterfall hikes and it looks like a really cool trip."

Although her project has not been determined, Montes de Oca said it will most likely revolve around sustainability and community development in Costa Rica. She implores students who are interested to contact her through her email at

"If they want to contact me, I can get them the information they need and they don't have to want to go on my trip particularly," Montes de Oca said. "I have friends and classmates who are leading trips to Thailand as well as Dominican Republic."


Alex Wexelman is a Senior Staff Writer for the Central Florida Future. Email him at

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