NINE students had the opportunity of a lifetime, volunteering to work in the tiny Central American country of Costa Rica.

The group from Worthing College were supported by two members of staff and it took six months fundraising to make the trip possible

They found that the trip was a real test of resilience, teamwork and stamina.

It enabled them to see first hand the projects being carried out in Costa Rica, which is leading the way in environmental practices and sustainability.

Student Oli Williams said; “I found it very useful to play a part in some of the conservation techniques that I have studied in A Level biology.

“Having the opportunity to converse in Spanish with the locals in the city and our guides in Barra Honda was also a fantastic way for me to build my confidence in speaking the language.”

The first half of the trip included visits to schools for underprivileged children, where the students ran a series of activities contributing to their education programme.

They set up games of football, a mini carnival, drawing and crafting clubs, dancing and even a magic show and sing-a-long.

Despite the language barriers, they still had a lot of fun with the children, who enjoyed having visitors too.

The second part meant heading off into the jungle to carry out restoration and conservation work in Barra Honda National Park.

They visited a coffee plantation to understand the world of Costa Rican coffee.

They also worked to capture bats and butterflies to estimate populations for different species of butterfly, and in turn help to preserve each species by giving help to the ones that need it most.

The students also had the opportunity to learn from environmentalists about the consequences of polluting the waterways with sewage or chemicals.

Student Isabella Stuart said: “Costa Rica was the most incredible experience.

“It pushed me out of my comfort zone at times, but I learnt so much. I had so many laughs and saw so many insane and beautiful aspects of the country which is such a contrast to England.”